‘Harmless’ paedos venture out of the shadows

It’s time for Heretic TOC to turn film critic, as several new films of MAP interest have been brought to my attention recently. Well, I say critic, but it’s more a modest noticeboard function as most of the movies in question have not yet been released, or are not readily available with English sub-titles.
Among the latter is Daniels World (Danieluv svet), winner of the Audience Award at Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival in the Czech Republic. There’s a trailer, but most of us will probably get a much clearer impression from a couple of other sites, including one with distribution details and a synopsis:

Daniel is a young man. Daniel is a student and a writer. Daniel is also a pedophile. He is in love and makes no secret of his sexual orientation; not even in front of the parents of his beloved boy. Daniel has never hurt any child. Neither have Jirka Fx100d, Tomáš Efix, Petr Kasz, MR_Xguard, Host, Simgiran, Silesia, Elrond or others from the community of Czech pedophiles. What is the way of the most intimate of feelings in Daniel’s and his friends’ heart? The film introduces the rises and falls of people living with paedophilia. It portrays Daniel and the community of Czech pedophiles. It narrates a story of a forbidden love and constant struggle to come to terms with oneself and the society.

The marketing information at the above site actually tells us English subtitles are supposed to be available but it doesn’t seem to have happened just yet: the title does not appear alphabetically in the distributor’s English-language catalogue.
Director Veronika Lišková has described the origins of the project and how it was handled. What I found particularly interesting and promising is Daniel’s total openness – a very brave choice for a young man in today’s world, even allowing for differences between Czech culture and that of the Anglophone world. What makes it slightly less difficult for him, or perhaps a lot less, is that he is committed to being what Lišková calls a “harmless paedophile” i.e. he is sexually non-active even though he is in love with a boy.
At least, this is what I picked up from the inevitably garbled (but much better than nothing) Google Translate version of a review that appeared on a Czech site. The shrewd-seeming review of this 75-minute documentary said Daniel’s World is “definitely a very important contribution to the public debate on this topic” albeit with serious limitations, notably as a result of Daniel being portrayed almost entirely in terms of his sexuality.
My chief anxiety, though, and doubtless that of other heretics here, would be somewhat different. The portrayal of paedophiles who present themselves as “harmless” all too easily becomes just propaganda for “virtuous” paedophilia – repressed, neutered, making no demands on society to end the current lunacy. The reviewer tells us, indeed, that Daniel’s doctor makes an appearance, giving his diagnosis on screen. That doesn’t sound good. But his “patient”, who is a literature student, has come out to all and sundry by writing his autobiography as well as appearing in this film. This encouragingly suggests a touch of Paedo Pride rather than the hand-wringing angst of those sad, shipwrecked souls who find themselves washed up on the desolate shores of Virtueland. He doesn’t seem like a beaten man to me, or a reflexive conformist. He is surely no mere CBT fodder. Let’s hope not anyway.
Ice-Cream Hands is a 10-minute short film made in 2002 but elusive to me for a long time. It didn’t come to my attention at all until about 2010. My name had been in the programme notes of the Brazilian University Film Festival, where the film had been screened in 2003. The notes said:

Experimental. Mr. Sprinkles. Single, 35 years. He loves ice cream … as well as little Jude, aged eight. An experimental narrative that relies heavily on the biographical work of Tom O’Carroll, a confessed “lover of children” in the UK.

As may be imagined, I was intrigued to know what this was all about, so I emailed Gavin Youngs, who had been listed as director. He replied, promising to post me a copy of the film, but somehow it never happened. I was prompted to try again this year when something jogged my memory. This time he came good, telling me I could see the film with the password 2002 on Vimeo. Ice-Cream Hands was the first film Youngs made at film school and he claims not to have watched it since. He now runs The Apiary, an independent company that produces films for clients in the creative industries. Commissions have included work for the Royal Australian Ballet and the National Gallery of Victoria.
One can understand that he might be keen to distance himself from such a controversial subject now that he has such prestigious connections in the art establishment of his native country, but he need not be modest about this first work, which was shown in 2004 at St Kilda Film Festival, Australia’s largest and oldest short film event, which is an Academy Award qualifying event; and much later it was featured in the Berlinale Talent Campus section of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
At St Kilda’s it was extremely well received. Bill Mousoulis, himself a well regarded Australian film director, wrote:

The absolute highlight of the festival for me was Ice-Cream Hands, a film about paedophilia. And it is an important film in that regard, asking brave questions such as “Is paedophilia per se, without any abuse, a bad thing?”, but it’s mainly a stunning film due to its form, style and sense of aesthetics. It gets far away from the dreaded naturalism that seems to dominate Australian cinema, and goes for an eclectic, excited combination of various stylised elements.

I’d say that’s one hell of a commendation, not least as he says he personally saw 70 of the 150 short films on show. Another reviewer, Rose Capp, also expressed enthusiasm:

Gavin Youngs’ Ice-Cream Hands… interrogates the idea of childhood innocence, tackling the topic of pedophilia in a courageous and original fashion. Minimal dialogue and an intentionally whimsical visual style mixing naive animation with stylised live action offer an appropriately disturbing take on the subject.

I think she’s a bit off target, especially with the near compulsory “disturbing” cliché, except that for me it definitely was disturbing in terms of sheer suspense. It may have been only 10 minutes long but I found it as gut-wrenchingly intense as any Hitchcock thriller.
Not that Ice-Cream Hands really had anything to do with my supposed “biographical work”, which turns out to have been a mistake in the Brazilian programme notes. Instead, the narrative is interspersed with short quotes flashed up briefly from my 1980 book Paedophilia: The Radical Case. Youngs assures me he was granted copyright permission for this by my publisher, Peter Owen Ltd, but no one from the firm ever bothered to tell me about it! I very much agree with the recent (1 November) comment by “Kit” on a Boy Chat thread that these quotes are a bit heavy-handed and overdone (they also wrongly make me look a bit of a VP but I’m not complaining), but otherwise my verdict is a big thumbs up for the film’s cinematic qualities and overall impression. Do let Heretic TOC know what you think.
As for Butterfly Kisses, it is a project I heard about around a year ago on the grapevine, possibly when Blue Shadows Films were undertaking research by contacting MAPs through Boy Chat and Girl Chat. Their website has now put up a brief notice for what I think may be intended as a full-length feature film due to come out next year:

This story is set right now in today’s world that is perhaps more broken, lonely and self destructive than ever. It focuses on the lives of three best friends. The protagonist, JAMIE (17) has realised he is not like the others but that he’s attracted to girls much younger than himself. He doesn’t want to feel this way. He hasn’t done anything wrong. He doesn’t want to do anything wrong but is now facing a life of loneliness and abstinence or exile.

Like Daniel’s World, and indeed Ice-Cream Hands, this description suggests a focus on the familiar “virtuous” angle – it looks like being sympathetic rather than radical. But, hey, a new Lolita would be pushing it a bit in these times. Actually, come to think of it, Lolita the novel was widely held in the literary establishment to be a moralistic work that in effect denounced, rather than celebrated, paedophilia, even though author Vladimir Nabokov was, as we now know, a GL himself.
One interesting aspect of Blue Shadows is the sheer youthfulness of the team, although they do have a token boring-looking old suit among them on the financial side, which gives some reassurance they aren’t just a bunch of kids having fun. While it is true they are only just beginning to grow out of their shorts and into their full-lengths, their budgets for the latter now run to a pretty grown-up £7 million per title.
Then there is Passion Despair, which sounds very exciting – so much so, unfortunately, that I’m not sure it would be wise to download it in the UK, and I have not done so. Jed Jones, presumably the same Jed who now comments here, put up a webpage about it in 2012 which begins thus:

The film that’s banned everywhere! The truth they don’t want you to know: a whole studio of former child web models who say, loud and clear, with the full support of their families, WE ARE NOT VICTIMS.

Now, when Jed says “banned” he probably means the film is unable to be shown for public exhibition in cinemas and elsewhere because a certificate has been refused. That would be the usual interpretation. But as I understand it the film could still be legal, depending on the jurisdiction in question. It seems to have passed muster in Poland as it was premiered publicly there at the Gdansk Dokfilm Festival in 2011. Perhaps Jed will tell us more on this specific matter although I should add that his webpage gives all manner of interesting information about Passion Despair, which need not be repeated here.
I’ll just stick with a few key details. Passion Despair is a documentary by Swiss director Steff Gruber. It features his fellow countryman Daniel Leuenberger (yes, another Daniel and another Daniel’s world: very confusing). This Daniel is a photographer working in Moldova who specialises in photographing girls aged between 9 and 14. Gruber met him there while working on another project.
Now for another documentary I first heard about only yesterday on Sexnet although it came out in 2012. It is from Austria and is called Outing. It has enjoyed a few outings itself, at festivals in Switzerland and Iceland in its first year, and very recently, this September, in Norway at Skeive Filmer: Oslo Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
Whereas Daniel in Daniel’s World manages to be totally open with everyone about his paedophilic feelings, the focus in Outing is on Sven, whose situation is surely much more usual. He has spent his entire adult life with secrets that isolate him psychologically if not socially: there are people in his life, but he cannot share his inner life with them. Sven, we are told, is creative, reflective and was willing to talk honestly. That is why, after approaching a group set up for paedophiles in Germany who were seeking support in living within the law, Sven emerged as the “star” attraction for the filmmakers, who appear to have done a thorough job: they filmed, at intervals, over a four-year period, enabling them to see how Sven’s life developed.
One learns all this from an interview with filmmakers Sebastian Meise and Thomas Reider at the website of the Austrian Film Commission. There is also a trailer on YouTube which, I have to say, goes out of its way to be not only bleak but also boring: it’s as though the makers feel obliged to depress and alienate their audience in order to show they are serious.
I doubt that this pair took the same dreary approach with a (sort of) incest-based drama they had done earlier, though, called Still Life (Stilleben). The synopsis on IMDB has this:

A father pays prostitutes to play the role of his own daughter. The shocking revelation concerning his long-secret obsession tears up the family’s delicate fabric. The son blames himself, and he resolves to find out whether his father ever acted on his fantasies, while his sister wants to sort out her memories on her own. Despite her uncertainties, their mother’s reaction leaves no question as to what she thinks. The father ultimately has to find a way of coping with his shame and feelings of guilt.

Still Life may or may not be straightforwardly a “sexploitation” movie but the final title on Heretic TOC’s list for today is a drama we will probably find neither boring nor exploitative though it may be controversial. This is Force Majeure, and the great joy is that unlike all the obscure stuff above, most of us should soon be able to see this in the cinemas or buy it for home viewing.
Perhaps that is because it is about manhood, not paedophilia, although the gender issues engaged should be of interest to more than one sort of heretic here. I heard about Force Majeure in the New York Review of Books last month.
It’s all about the emotional and moral fallout from an incident on a Swedish family’s holiday in a French ski resort. When an avalanche threatens to engulf their hotel, the father panics and runs for it, leaving his family to their fate. Nobody in the end dies, but how can the family live with dad after that? Isn’t the senior male supposed to be the brave protector, after all? Or is that out of date in these gender bending times?
There is no way this can fail to be a compelling theme, although I do somewhat suspect it is all part of a feminist plot (though the director is a man) to undermine not just macho culture but masculinity itself, and all trace of why men need to take pride in what their manhood can contribute to a family other than sperm. I am reminded of the wonderful book The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell, which challenged the belief that patriarchal societies make rules to benefit men at the expense of women. He argued that men are in reality the expendable sex, often called upon to sacrifice themselves for women and children in a whole range of ways, from defending home and hearth in warfare to being last into the lifeboats when the ship is going down.
And speaking of ships going down, I am reminded of a salty saga of yesteryear that presented a masculinity-affirming take on dereliction of duty and its aftermath. Joseph Conrad’s novel Lord Jim is more than a century old now. It is the story of a mariner who spends a lifetime dogged by guilt over abandoning an endangered ship and its passengers. His years of atonement see his courage permanently on trial and not again found wanting. His story is not, in the end, an exposure of “manliness” as fraudulent, but a stirring affirmation of manhood and its responsibilities.
Anyway, I hope there is something here that will be of interest. This selection is just a ragbag of heretical, or heresy-relevant, films that have come my way. I don’t even bother to follow the mainstream film reviews these days so it is possible I may have missed a lot of important stuff. If so, do let me know, or better still submit a review of one or more films that could be used as a guest blog for Heretic TOC.

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[…] comments on Boy Chat about Ice-Cream Hands, the short film introduced here in the previous blog, ‘Harmless’ paedos venture out of the shadows. In the BC thread, “cabinet maker” found the film “creepy as shit”, adding “the ice cream […]

[…] is not to say there should be no coming out. As Dissident pointed out, the recent Czech documentary Daniel’s World, was about a young man’s coming out that did not wreck his life: as with so much else, it’s not […]

Bloom

I just saw Grave of the Fireflies for the first time. I went by myself at a multiplex, then I sat in my car and cried.

Bloom

It wasn’t so much the crying in the movie. I’ve done that before and I did for this one, although not 796 times, but I’ve never had to sit in my car and cry before I could drive home afterwards.

[…] ‘Harmless’ paedos venture out of the shadows […]

mr.p

I have mentioned the film Bob Rita and sue set in the 80s…there is also Notes on a scandal with Judi Dench TOC if you have not seen this film then your in for a treat!

mr.p

its not about paedophilia,but a teacher has a affair with a 15yo pupal,and judi Dench is obsessed with this teacher in a implicitly sexual way,she uses the knowledge of the affair to gain trust,and to control her and push her husband into the sidelines.
when all is out in the open,the parents reactions are typical of the hysteria we live in today,but its a good film,in one scene she says why would i report you,it certainly wont benefit the boy or you!

A.

I enjoyed the film myself, as one might expect! 🙂

stephen6000

Yes, I’d also recommend it.

A.

One important aspect of all this, which the mention of Passion Despair (sounds fascinating) made me think about: where are the films from the other side, the films by or about real kids or former kids who had sex with adults and didn’t feel abused?
Well, not absolutely nowhere, actually. First port of call is a gentleman with the splendid name of Gérard Ernest Zéphirin Blain, a heterosexual, four times married and the father of three sons, who acted for Truffaut and Chabrol, then went on to make movies himself. One, Pierre et Djemila, is about the star-crossed love between a seventeen-year-old French boy and a fourteen-year-old Algerian girl. Another, Le pélican, is about a father, released from prison after eight years, who is desperate to get in touch with his adored son, now ten, while is ex-wife and her new husband want to keep him away from the boy. And then there are a couple of early ones which are heavily autobiographical. Blain, you see, had a very difficult childhood: not only was it the Second World War in Paris, but he was severely emotionally neglected at home and left school at age thirteen, considering himself already “in a state of legitimate self-defense” against society. Being hungry for adult attention, and also, if his adult appearance is anything to go by, very beautiful, he attracted the notice of various MAPs, both men and women. He later described his sexual experiences with them as “very difficult” and in a video interview filmed many years later clearly found the subject hard to talk about. Yet it seems there was at least one positive experience too.
Un enfant dans la foule (1976), while its main character is named Paul, is near as dammit straight autobiography. When Paul is seven, his father leaves the family, and his mother packs him off to boarding school and generally begins — if she wasn’t already — treating him with cruel coldness, favouring his older sister. We next see Paul when he is twelve. He picks up odd jobs; develops a crush from afar on a blonde little girl; mutually masturbates with a friend, a Jewish boy who later disappears in a roundup; and, desperate for adult male attention, sells cigarettes to and hangs around with German soldiers, who show him photos of their kids and treat him with fatherly kindness. Then the battle for the liberation of Paris begins, and Paul helps out the FFI, sees a German soldier shot and dying on a street corner, and sees a ‘horizontal collaborator’ with her head shaven. Next Paul is hanging around with some American soldiers: one treats him to a fun day at the pool, another shows him a photo of his girlfriend and then has sex with him in exchange for rationed food. Not long after, Paul, now thirteen and a half, is picked up in the metro by a rich young man who promises him trips to the cinema but turns out to be interested solely in sex with him. The young man then passes Paul on to an older, female friend, who plies the reluctant boy with wine. After the final break with the young man — “He didn’t like me” says Paul with heartbreaking forlornness — Paul is taken up by a teacher, separated from his wife and kids, who in addition to having sex with him also lends him books, teaches him to tie a tie and generally is a good mentor. In the end, however, the teacher breaks things off, saying he can’t give Paul what he needs. With that, Paul’s childhood, such as it was, is over: now nearly fourteen, he’s told by a former teacher of his, a Jesuit, that he needs to be bringing some money home, so puts on his first pair of long trousers and heads off to try out for his first bit part in a film.
Before Un enfant… there was <>, which won the Golden Leopard for best first film at the 1971 Locarno Film Festival. This one is also quite autobiographical, though less so than Un enfant…: the main character, aged sixteen, is also named Paul, also broke, also an aspiring actor, also fatherless, also living with a mother and older sister who treat him coldly. His “friend” is Philippe, a rich businessman of forty who’s in a sexless, polite marriage and has no kids. It’s a classic pederastic set-up: Paul has sex with Philippe, Philippe treats him to stays at expensive resorts and to riding lessons, but there is genuine affection there, with Philippe hearing Paul’s lines when Paul starts acting classes, encouraging him to go out with friends his own age even though this causes Philippe painful jealousy, and giving Paul a shoulder to cry on when he’s dumped by the first girl he has sex with. “They love each other, but not in the same way”, Blain explained. Paul makes friends with a boy of his age and eventually confides in him about the nature of his relationship with Philippe, and the boy is accepting. My guess is that Philippe and the teacher in Un enfant… are based on the same person. According to an interview with a friend of Blain’s, included on the DVD of Un enfant…, the teacher, at any rate, was based on someone who was “very important” to the young Blain, and who is the father of a well-known director. Tantalising! Someone who worked with Blain on Chabrol’s Le beau Serge said that Blain had suffered an attempted rape by a stablehand at age fourteen and thus at that point hated homosexuals. True? A mix-up in someone’s story? Who knows.
Both films are on YouTube. No subs, I’m afraid. I hope my summaries prove helpful if anyone wants to try to follow the action anyway. (By the way, Blain did not like to shoot sex scenes. He said they were boring. Sorry.)
Excursions into the world of gay documentaries yield a few interesting things as well. Chris & Don: A Love Story is about the long and happy relationship of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, which began when they were respectively fortyish and about sixteen or eighteen. It was a big hit when it came out a few years ago. In Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives, a 1992 documentary about Canadian lesbians, one woman matter-of-factly recalls her first relationship as a positive experience even though she was thirteen at the time and her lover was her teacher and about ten years older. I seem to remember that she made the first move, as well. The documentary used to be on YouTube, but now it’s only available at Wolfe On Demand and you have to pay. Then there’s Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives, a pioneering 1976 documentary about gay men and women which has just had a 30th anniversary DVD release and is, I think, available on Dailymotion. One of the interview subjects says that he was having sex with men from the age of fourteen or fifteen and that he thinks the idea that that sort of thing is inevitably traumatic is complete nonsense.

A.

About that : the title of the film is Les Amis. Quote marks are part of the title, but it seems WordPress does not like French quote marks.

A.

DAMN, and they disappeared out of that one. Let’s just say the film is called “Les Amis” and leave it at that.

James

You can’t use angle brackets (ie: French quote marks) because WordPress interprets them as HTML tags. If you want something to show up, it’s best to use regular brackets (ie: []) since they look similar and wont disappear.

A.

Thanks. 🙂

A.

I forgot Paragraph 175, a harrowing documentary about the persecution of gay men in Nazi Germany. One man interviewed says that he began having sex at age twelve thanks to his youth group camping trips. Some of the sex was with boys his own age, some with the group leaders, young men in their early twenties. Another man says that as a teen he seduced his gym teacher in the showers and ran home to tell his mother all about his conquest, and a third says he began a relationship at eighteen with a considerably older man and that the relationship was happy and lasted for some time.

A.

And it is on YouTube with English subtitles.

James

These look great. Adding them to my more and more unwieldy list.
“Blain did not like to shoot sex scenes. He said they were boring.”
Can’t say I disagree with him 😛

A.

Blain’s films are rather like Robert Bresson’s in that he thought acting was artificial so he sought out nonprofessional actors and made them deliver their lines with deliberate woodenness. It takes a bit of getting used to — especially, I imagine, if you don’t know what’s being said! — but it’s worth the effort, as Blain’s two autobiographical films are very rare and special things: cinematic views of intergenerational relationships by someone who participated in them as a child, but did not grow up to be attracted to kids himself.

gantier99

A., forgive me for barging in here, but an earlier observation about “Vi är bäst” (“We are the best”) maybe got caught up in all the noise. This film from last year about a 13-14 yr old girl-punk band was given a “no restrictions” certificate in Sweden and a 15-certificate in the UK – as far as I can see. So a 7 year old Swede is allowed to see it but not a 14 year old Brit. Have you seen this film? Why this age discrepancy?

A.

Hey, sorry I missed that. Barge in anytime :). No, I haven’t seen it, but as a Moodysson fan I’m delighted he’s made something new. Alas, it doesn’t seem to be available online and I’m not to flush of cash at the moment. I’m no rating-system expert but it seems to me that mainland Scandinavia is a bit more relaxed about the ratings than the UK is and certainly more so than the US. I would expect that the Swedes would be more easygoing about sex and less so about violence. Maybe something to do with swearing as well? It is less of a social taboo over there in my experience — well, in Denmark at least. Or drink/drugs? But the Swedes are pretty strict about alcohol. Have you seen it? What’s the sex & drugs & violence quotient?

A.

Not TOO flush. Oh for an edit button.

gantier99

No I didn’t see it, but I’d have liked to. Was ill and out of it when it was released. A friend went to see it this year with her daughter (15) in the UK and they enjoyed it, I’ll ask them to comment on the rating discrepancy.
(During my “Swedish phase” (with my kids in lower teens) we used to joke they could legally watch films with sex in Sweden, but films with violence had to be saved up for trips to the UK. Their UK friends had to do a reverse commute but they suffered from the lack of subtitles.)
This reviewer liked it too http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/may/28/we-are-the-best-film-review-spirited-anarchy.
He mentions Moodyson’s “Together” which I missed too, life in a Stockholm commune in 1975, you might have seen it? “the adults squabbling like kids, the kids sombre and purposeful, like miniature adults”. Bit like this blog really 🙂

A.

“Bit like this blog really.” Indeed! Yes, I have seen it: it’s great, unsurprisingly.

James

I’ll take that as a compliment 🙂

A.

You were meant to! 🙂

James

Good. Just wasn’t sure whether I was the intended recipient. I’m not the best when it comes to communication 😛

gantier99

Just to confirm, you were the intended recipient, it was intended as a compliment, and your communication skills are just fine. Hope I’m not revealing that I’ve lost the thread 🙂

A.

PS: What you said below about the classifieds where you are (reply limit again): Well, shit, what a mess. The 70kg one sounds very much to me like part of the rent is expected to be paid in sexual favours, and if they’re not forthcoming, well…but it’s not my culture so I may be making the wrong assumption.

James

That was precisely my thought. My first reaction was “what a creep”. Then my inner economist kicked in and reminded me that all mutually-beneficial trades are worthwhile. For all I know, this was consciously intended as code and the reason it wasn’t made explicit is for cultural reasons. ie: This way the woman has plausible deniability and can avoid being labelled a “whore”. I wish people could be more upfront, but I’ve given up on having my culture make any sense….

A.

Seems a very plausible explanation. If it is some sort of a code, no harm done, certainly.

jedson303

One very fine film worth mentioning is “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” It is not about an intergenerational relationship, but one of the two main characters is in prison for a sex offense against a minor—presumably a young boy. He is a strange but sympathetic character. This was when people like that were still a part of the gayt community. This is a classic. A great film.
A not so great film is “The Man Without a Face.” In the book, on which this film is based, a man and a boy have a relationship that clearly becomes sexual on least one occasion. And the man has a history of getting into trouble. The movie changes the ending in a very sappy corny way to suggest that had never been any sexual behavior with anyone. Very disappointing.

A.

I would be interested to know what you made of Isabelle Holland’s attitude to the material in the book of The Man Without a Face. [NOTICE: I am about to spoil the plot so beware]
The emotional aspect of the relationship was portrayed positively but there’s also a heavy emphasis on guilt and God in the man’s life. Is he feeling guilty purely because he had a drunken car accident and killed the pupil he was (it’s implied) in a sexual relationship with? Or is he guilty over the sex, too? My reading of what happens in the bed scene is that rather than the two getting mutually hot and heavy, the boy simply ejaculates (first time?) while the man is holding him, but that’s contested, I understand. Anyway, I found the book a bit of a puzzler: did Holland approve of what she was writing about, or not? She apparently also wrote this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bump_in_the_Night_%28novel%29 , (it has apparently also been made into a film), so…

bencapel

I apologise if I appear to be wandering off topic in this, my first post on Tom’s extraordinarily thought-provoking site with its inspirationally courageous and intelligent commentators. I would like to recommend a film that, at first sight, has nothing to do with people who consider themselves to be MAPs: Spielberg’s 1976 blockbuster, Jaws.
Or, rather, I would recommend viewing Jaws after viewing radical philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s remarkable movie “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology.” As Tom is aware, I’ve become something of an anorak in my dotage, deeply committed to recovering the revolutionary-emancipatory potential of Freudian thought, especially as it’s been elaborated by Jacques Lacan. The openly Lacanian Žižek’s thoughts on Jaws, I believe, have immediate relevance to MAPs.
My excuse is this: Tom’s excellent blog-post is concerned with filmic representations of MAPs (so I feel a little more justified in offering a Lacanian perspective here). Representation isn’t the same as reflection; it involves selection, omission, accentuation and effacement to fashion specific images. These images can conform to a dominant ideology, or resist it, punch a hole though it (interestingly, that was Lacan’s definition of truth: a force of novelty and universal good which necessarily bores a hole through a viciously discriminatory established knowledge, to which it is inherently opposed).
A few years ago, I remember one of the numerous avatars for the twenty-first century incarnation of Witchfinder General claiming that the UK had “an enormous paedophile problem” (he was, I believe, a leading light at the “charity”, the Lucy Faithful Foundation). In one respect, however, I think he was correct: he was correct in exactly the same sense as the Nazis were correct in claiming that 1930s Germany had an enormous Jew problem. The Nazi term “Jew” was an ideological construct, a representation, not a “reflection.” It functioned, just as the synonyms “paedo” and “sex offender” function in contemporary child protection fascism: to act as a lightning rod, to create a specular icon of evil to unite a fragmented and anxious populace.
Back to Jaws: the sunbather-guzzling Great White Shark in Peter Benchley’s novel and Spielberg’s film illustrates vividly how fascist ideologies function. We no longer live in an age of racialised fascism, or even of party-political fascism. Let me offer a working definition of fascist (i.e., incipiently murderous) ideologies: they seek to obfuscate and conceal real, irreconcilable antagonisms in a given social order by (mis)representing them as a singular, alien threat posed to “our way of life” by a concocted biopolitical monster.
A spurious and fictional “us” is created, as is an equally spurious icon of evil. The shark in Jaws condensed a multitude of anxieties, fears and insecurities amongst ordinary people, at a time of crisis, into the orchestrated, focused hatred for a threatening “external” monster – just as the Nazi signifier “Jew” did in Hitlerite Germany and the signifier “paedo/sex offender “ does in our US-influenced Anglophone regimes.
The fact that filmic representations of MAPs are beginning to appear which run gently counter to the dominant ideology of our times (which I would characterise as smiley-faced pseudo-liberal fascism) may signal that more thinking people are growing sceptical about the illiberal, coercive and hysterical claims of the child protection establishment. I can only hope this is so. But, old curmudgeon that I am, I also anticipate an hysterical backlash.

Bloom

In times of social anxiety, naming the nameless threat is a powerful tactic. The ‘fasces’, a bundle of rods and an axe representing corporal and capital punishment, also signifies strength in numbers and the weakness of individuals. Concomitantly, the weakness of individuals is literally demonstrated in the persecution of the isolated “other”.
The corrosive effect of ‘them and us’ mentalities on the human spirit is vividly portrayed in the book “No Mercy: True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality” by Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff.

bencapel

Thanks for the book suggestion, Bloom: it looks original and illuminating and I’ll definitely be checking it out (and thanks for the welcome, Tom).
What interests me is how such extreme “them and us” fictions can gain currency in relatively prosperous and (within the bubble of the Anglosphere at any rate) peaceful times. We shouldn’t forget that paedo-revulsion long preceded the economic downturn, at least amongst the establishment and the child safeguarding caliphate it bankrolls. I personally believe that a politically-mobilised fusion of fear and fascination, revulsion and enjoyment, plays a major part in the obsession with child sexual abuse amongst the establishment. Jacques Lacan’s concept of an obscene and horrifyingly limitless form of enjoyment (he called it “jouissance”) plays a major part here, I believe. His work is a major resource for heretics who need to resist a tyrannical and increasingly sadistic normality (my word for the dominant narrative).
I won’t drone on here – the comments pouring in are too interesting to be interrupted by my geeky obsession with Lacan!

jedjones1

Spot-on analysis. The traditional good v evil theme and structure of stories most often serves the ideological purpose you identify. And it’s true that if you write speculative fiction which challenges child-protection hysteria, you will encounter like-minded sceptics and a censorious, hysterical backlash as well.

A.

I don’t know a lot about Nabokov, but I figured he had to be a GL, despite his denial in the afterword to Lolita, as soon as I read that poem of his about having sex with a little girl and realising he’s in hell. So it has been officially confirmed now? New biography? Have I missed something? Anyway, given that he described Humbert as “a vain and cruel beast”, I think we are meant to understand from Lolita that he did treat Lolita cruelly and make her very unhappy, though we are also clearly meant to understand that Lolita has been enjoying sex since age eleven and initiated sex with Humbert that first time.
This may be of interest: http://www.upworthy.com/this-19-year-old-pedophile-has-never-gone-near-a-child-and-he-needs-you-to-hear-his-story It’s a This American Life podcast about a nineteen-year-old, attracted primarily to young kids, who has organised an unofficial online prevention-and-support group among people his own age. It’s very much in the virtuous mold, but it may be encouraging that there has been no hate mail over it and that towards the end of the podcast, the narrator says that there’s no proof that being a paedophile makes someone dangerous around kids. This article https://medium.com/matter/youre-16-youre-a-pedophile-you-dont-want-to-hurt-anyone-what-do-you-do-now-e11ce4b88bdb?%3Fc=upworthy gives some extra background and detail, including the story of a young man attracted to girls 7-12 who’s working at pre-kindergarten and intends to keep working with under-sixes after he finishes studying. Here http://www.theawl.com/2014/08/the-pedophiles-who-didnt-want-to-hurt-children is an interview with the (young, gay) man who did the story.

gantier99

Thanks for these useful links A. About Lolita: I also remember reading the denial in the afterword and thinking “like hell”. The descriptions of how Humbert feels, that combination of heaven and hell, are so real that I remember thinking “no way” could he have got this so accurately without having been there himself.

A.

Also the observation of pubescent girls’ physical characteristics. In my experience many non-MAPs aren’t that good at judging children’s ages. Accuracy is not a dead giveaway, but it’s a hint.

gantier99

Also the observation of pubescent girls’ physical characteristics.
Yes! I’d forgotten! At length and in great detail. Nymphets. Must dig up this book and read again. Thanks for reminding me.

ethane72

If Nabokov was a pedophile, he was a Virtuous Pedophile. Not just a (probably) celibate pedophile. He understood the fantasy and desire from the inside, but fundamentally didn’t see such a relationship as consistent with a girl’s nature in a way that was OK for her. “Bad for Lolita” was not some moralistic afterthought — it is at the very core of the story. A lot of us VPs love to read or even write erotic fiction.

James

What do you consider to be a girl’s nature?

ethane72

What matters here is what Nabokov thought to be a girl’s nature, though it seems pretty close to mine. He recognized that Lolita had sexual desires and sought sexual pleasure. I think he even recognized that early sex might not be harmful to a girl. Here it is initiated by her — she’d already done it at camp once out of curiosity and did it just once with Humbert — and in the normal course of events would (I maintain) have probably never have done it with him again. Had it stopped there, by my proposed criteria any prosecutor brought in would let the case go (if Lolita is allowed to say that it was her idea and he didn’t misrepresent anything).
Where everything changes is when her mother dies, and what she needs is a parent — not a lover whose perspective on life is totally different from hers. That’s where the harm starts, that Humbert cannot overcome his lust and be a good parent. I think Nabokov here shares my fear that lust can blind good judgment in basically decent people. Lolita consents to just about everything. But she lacks the perspective and judgment to know what a girl needs. Humbert could turn her over to the state, and although being an orphan is bound to suck, I think she’d have a much better chance in foster care. I think Lolita is an argument against youth liberation.
The Lolita plot was illegal as reality back then as it is now. Lowering age of consent would risk creating a lot more Lolitas. Even on the German system where age of consent is sometimes 14, it is higher where the adult is in a position of authority.

Bloom

It’s a while since I read it, but I seem to recall a passage where Lo falls ill and develops a high fever. Instead of taking her to hospital immediately, as a parent would, Humbert performs cunnilingus on her first. I guess this supports your theory Ethan, and suggests that Nabokov was thinking along similar lines.
Something I’ve tried to get across in my responses to James is that although paedophilia, and so sexual attraction, is an essential part of the general attraction I feel for little girls and children in general, I know there is also a nurturing aspect. I think this nurturing aspect is a key reason why paedophilia (at least as it manifests in my life) persists in our species’ behavioural repertoire.
I believe it’s possible for sexual relationships to be nurturing (as in any successful marriage) and I also believe it’s possible for sexually expressed paedophilic relationships to be nurturing. However, I agree with you that sexual arousal is a disassociated state that can compromise judgement, and that the roles of lover and caregiver (as opposed to partner) are conflicting ones.
It can’t be argued that sex is necessarily incompatible with caregiving, but perhaps it’s enough to argue that it’s rational to treat it as if it is. Also, there’s sex and there’s sex. A mother masturbating a restless infant to distract and calm him is only marginally comparable to oral or penetrative sex leading to orgasm. As in most human affairs, categorical statements are generally inadequate.

gantier99

I think Nabokov here shares my fear that lust can blind good judgment in basically decent people.
Hi ethane from another Dad. This is at core I agree. But to make the jump from that to the VP outlook? Can’t we allow that basically decent people can/should be sufficiently self-aware to know when to stop, without resorting to blanket prohibitions? Am busy with guests now, shame, there is lots to consider here tonight.

James

Well, I’m not in favour of sexual relationships where one person has authority and control over the other, so I don’t disagree with you there.
However, I don’t see how this is an argument against youth liberation. Humbert has absolute control over Lolita’s life and, as a result of his own problems, everything gets horribly fucked. How is that an argument in favour of absolute power over children? That’s like saying that Ivan the Terrible’s rein of terror proves that monarchy is the best possible form of government. It simply does not follow. Lolita’s problem isn’t the sex per se, it’s the toxic interaction between sex and power.

ethane72

I agree it’s not an obvious connection and there may be different ways to think about it, but here is what I was thinking: The Lolita story happened despite the law, so there is no obvious way to prevent it. But if law enforcement had stepped in, Lolita (faced with the unknown of foster care, the devil she doesn’t know) might well have just said, “I’m fine, let me go with Humbert.” Remember, there was lots of candy. As I understand it, youth liberation says they must respect her choice. Current law requires a more thorough evaluation and would overrule her if she said she wanted to go with a step-father who is screwing her constantly.

James

“As I understand it, youth liberation says they must respect her choice.”
That’s one thing, yes. However, I consider YL to be broader: a general increase in independence. You could argue that YL would let Lolita stay with Humbert, but it would also have limited his control over her life. She wouldn’t have just been free to decide who to live with, she would have been free to make most of her decisions herself. The reason everything falls apart is that no one but Humbert is in control.

stephen6000

I know this is a minor point but I just want to say that it annoys me when people who mostly refer to sex using neutral language suddenly resort to crude words like ‘screw’ when it happens to assist their argument. It’s a cheap piece of rhetoric.

James

I agree. I dislike dysphemisms (and most euphemisms).

A.

I think you are right. Humbert says that she comes crying into his room because “You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.” He pays her for sexual services, but when she tries to hide away enough money so that she can escape, he keeps finding and confiscating her stashes. Under those circumstances, her nominal consent is not all that valid.

James

“when she tries to hide away enough money so that she can escape, he keeps finding and confiscating her stashes.”
The analogy to historical tyrants keeps looking more and more accurate….

James

I first read the story at the medium via the Life of a Pedophile blog. I don’t particularly mind this article. The only things that really stand out as stupid are the fact that Ms. Letourneau wants to “sexually recondition” pedophiles and the fact that, after seeing one instance of abuse in CP, Adam decides it is all evil and he is no better than a rapist.

A.

That stuck out for me, too. One single instance of admittedly horrific abuse is presented in the story as more or less typical. Park your brains at the door, folks. Par for the course, I suppose.

James

The weirdest thing is the way they explicitly state that Adam has watched lots of CP and this is the first time he’s seen abuse. Yet the story still manages to spin it as if this is the end-all and be-all of CP. Is it any coincidence that this is the only instance of CP they describe in detail?
*cough* bias *cough*

ethane72

I (wearing the hat of Virtuous Pedophiles founder) was the one who found “Adam” for Luke when he was first starting the project and wanted pedophiles to talk with, and am still in touch with him. The effect of that one horrific scene in the CP had more of an emotional effect on Adam than as part of some logical deduction. Many of us in VP-land also don’t see any necessary connection between a particular piece of violent CP and the entire genre.

A.

An emotional jolt that pushed him into an examination of conscience, then? Fair enough. Every person’s conscience is their own. I just don’t care that much for the way it’s presented in the article.

Bloom

I can understand what Ethan’s saying here.
Imagine you’re looking at child porn and feeling by turns exhilarated and guilty. On balance the children involved seem to be willing participants, but you have a nagging feeling that you’re kidding yourself at least some of the time. One day you’re confronted with an image that defies any attempt to gloss over and that confirms all your worst fears. Suddenly, your whole collection looks like a charnel house, even though most of it consists of laughing children indulging a natural talent for exhibitionism.
If we’re claiming to ‘love’ children, paedophiles have to be concerned with sexual abuse of children, especially when it’s severe. A culture of denial is really just an admission that most of what we say is bullshit.

mr.p

But most child porn,sorry “child abuse images” LOL! there in no sexual activity taking place,most are nude/semi nude and candid pics,taken covertly on a beach!
you could moralize about that,or you could take the view,what they don’t know don’t hurt?
Next maybe old films where there’s clearly nudity,will be considered Cp?

James

“One day you’re confronted with an image that defies any attempt to gloss over and that confirms all your worst fears.”
I’m confused. I’d think one’s “worst fear” would be that everything you’ve ever watched has been abuse. The fact that one image/video clearly was is no evidence that any of the others were. Therefor, I don’t see what’s being ‘confirmed’…

Bloom

The “worst fears” and “confirmation” could be entirely subjective and have no basis in reality. I’m describing “Adam’s” psychological state, not the world as such.

James

OK. Got it. I may just be confused because my mind doesn’t work like that.

Bloom

Of course, sorry.
It’s ironic that of all my efforts to develop an accurate theory of mind, the minds I find most difficult to inhabit are the very ones that struggle to inhabit other minds.
Subjectivity has an awful lot to do with everything I say here, btw. Other than the obvious exceptions (unwanted pregnancy, infection and injury) I know of no mechanisms by which harm can flow from shared sexual pleasure, regardless of the age of the participants. However, I do recognize that psychological harms can result from the processing of experiences after the fact, and I think that is where the element of risk appears in adult/child sex. Cultural context has much to do with it.

James

“Of course, sorry”
….Sorry about what?
“the minds I find most difficult to inhabit are the very ones that struggle to inhabit other minds.”
At least we can chalk it up to a deficiency of mirror neurons. What’s your excuse? 😛 [/kidding]
“Cultural context has much to do with it.”
That’s just a sign that we need to change the culture. (I know, easier said than done. Especially when people like Tom have been at it half their lives….)

feinmann0

To Bloom: Does an adult-attracted-adult feel guilt when he watches adult porn that chimes with his or her sexuality? Does a human being feel guilt when he watches a terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre? A human being watches what he or she wants to watch; morality tends to take a back seat to desire or instinct.
We have to be careful what we say here: even imagining watching child porn may now be a crime!
Footnote: We are heretics, so by definition, everything we say is bullshit.

Bloom

==We are heretics, so by definition, everything we say is bullshit.==
That’s too pomo for me. I prefer the illusion of meaning.

feinmann0

Oh dear, an opaque response, guaranteed to terminate the debate …

James

I’m pretty sure that by “pomo” he means “Post Modern”. I suspect he’s particularly referencing the idea that truth is relative/illusory.

mr.p

Then its very similar to watching the British News,regarding anything pedo related!

Bloom

To me, “The Enchanter” provides a much less obscure glimpse into Nabokov’s sexuality, which is probably why he didn’t publish it in his lifetime. Perhaps the fact that he wrote it before he emigrated to Puritanica allowed him a greater honesty. Even then.
Also, it’s unlikely that childhood sexual experiences would feature in several other works, such as “Pale Fire” and “Ada”, if the idea of childhood sexuality were of no interest to him,
I suspect that Nabokov’s attitude to sex with children is similar to my own: arousing in the abstract but, if in theory consummated, somehow a betrayal of the very object of one’s admiration. (I’m most attracted to very little girls, four to six, so the undeniable sexual agency of older children is a less immediate temptation.)
Nabokov was a highly regarded amateur lepidopterist and wrote Lolita while on a butterfly collecting expedition. I think the image of the beautiful living creature, one minute happily dancing on the air, the next suddenly netted and pushed into the killing jar, may illustrate his internal struggle with his attraction to young girls. Butterflies are a symbol of transience and evanescence and could easily represent the cusp of puberty that seems to interest him.
On the other hand, Nabokov was one of the greatest authors who has ever lived, in any language, as well as being a polymath with advanced skills in several other disciplines. If he wanted us to think all of these things about him as a result of reading his books, it would be well within his powers. Was he a passionate person in life? I honestly don’t know, because he seldom wrote about himself.
Finally, it amuses me to draw some parallels here with Anais Nin’s story “Little Birds”, wherein an artist charms a giggle of schoolgirls into his flat. At the climax, he drives them away, screaming with delight/panic, by showing them his erection. It’s a story wholly lacking in moralism or rebuke, but nonetheless cautionary because, of course, they will never visit him again.
Ps: could you remind me of that poem? I forgot the title.

A.

I forgot the title too, I’m afraid! Will let you know if I remember.
Interesting what you say about the butterflies. In The Woodsman, birds are used to symbolise little girls in much the way you describe.

feinmann0

The butterfly analogy is highly creative Bloom! As a boy-lover/girl-lover and a Lepidopterist, I evidently have a lot of respect for Nabakov. In my case, I would say that my passion for kids is more to do with the overwhelming desire as a boy to seek affection and be intimate with my peers (in the absence of any real male affection in the home), and then, once intimacy was discovered, being physically punished for it, igniting repression. My passion for Lepidoptera is more to do with following in my father’s footsteps, again, as a boy, attempting to find common ground with someone who had no clue how to relate to children, and thus I ended up rebuffed.

feinmann0

Apologies to Vladimir: Nabokov.

A.

Wow! As a film buff, I’m hopping up and down with excitement!
I would like to recommend Guter Junge, 2008 German TV film directed by Torsten C. Fischer. It’s a fictional, but realistic and accurate, portrait of a seventeen-year-old named Sven who is exclusively attracted to younger boys. I get the impression that the filmmaker and scriptwriter are not a MAPs and do not approve of MAPs’ being anything other than celibate with regard to kids, but that they probably spent a fair amount of time talking to MAPs in order to create a convincing portrayal. Were they involved with B4U-ACT or something similar? Anybody know? In any case, they did have the honesty to show Sven’s relationship with his young friend Matthias, twelve or thirteen, as affectionate and the sex as consensual. The film is available in full on YouTube with optional English subtitles.
The actor who plays Sven, Sebastian Urzendowsky, has been in a lot of interesting films. There’s Mia Hansen-Løve’s Un amour de jeunesse, about a love affair between a fifteen-year-old girl and a nineteen-year-old boy which, though broken off, reverberates through both of their lives. There’s also Kaspar Heidelbach’s Berlin 36, the quite heavily fictionalised true story of two female high-jumpers in Nazi Germany, one Jewish, the other really a boy (in real life possibly intersex). And there’s Ein Leben lang kurze Hosen tragen, in which Urzendowsky portrays Jürgen Bartsch, a teenager who lust-murdered four younger boys in the 1960s: another true story, in this case quite lightly fictionalised. It’s grim viewing but very well done. It’s on Tudou in a single block with English subs and on YouTube in eight parts with no subs.
Then there’s the by-now-quite-venerable Chicken Hawk: Men who Love Boys, in which several NAMBLA members discuss their attraction to adolescent boys. It’s a mixed bag: one guy in particular comes across as intelligent, thoughtful and friendly, while another in particular comes across as perhaps just socially awkward and lonely — which is hardly a crime, after all — but perhaps seriously self-deceptive and possibly dangerous. There is, however, a heartening sequence in which some high school (US: age 14-18) pupils say they support a teacher of theirs who was kicked out of his job for NAMBLA membership. It’d available on Dailymotion in four parts.
About those shipwrecks: http://www.livescience.com/21951-women-children-first-shipwreck-myth.html

James

“they did have the honesty to show Sven’s relationship with his young friend Matthias, twelve or thirteen, as affectionate and the sex as consensual.”
Then how did they manage to get across the ‘and that’s terrible’ message?
” two female high-jumpers […] the other really a boy”
Could you please explain what you mean by “really a boy”?
Besides Ein Leben lang kurze Hosen tragen and Chicken Hawk, do you know where to find the others online?
PS: I was going to bringing up the fact that “women and children first” is a myth in my own comment but I thought my question about masculinity was enough feminist agitation for one post. The origin of the myth lies with opponents of the suffragette movement who argued that women need not vote because men were naturally inclined to look after their interests. The only proven case of such a rule being used was the Titanic, which was itself exceptional. Basically: “Patriarchy is good for you too!”

A.

In real life, probably intersex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dora_Ratjen); in the film, unambiguously male physically and mentally, forced to live as a girl by an unstable, cruel mother who wanted a daughter.
Guter Junge is actually told through the eyes of Sven’s dad, Achim, who is supposed to be the character we all sympathise with: his shock and horror at finding out his son’s sexual activities, etc. Achim’s girlfriend insists that Sven needs therapy, but Achim won’t listen, and that doesn’t end well. I smell Projekt Dunkelfeld. And on German-language Wikipedia, there’s a quote from the scriptwriter saying something like (my German’s not very good): “Perpetrators are also victims in that they don’t have a choice. They can’t help being the way they are. But they’re responsible for what they do.”
Un amour de jeunesse is on YouTube as “amor de juventud” (Spanish subs). Berlin 36 is on DVD but I don’t think you can watch it online.

James

Thanks for all this info! I’m off to find what I can.
PS: I generally prefer English subs since almost everything I read is in English anyway.

Bloom

Hi Tom,
could you elaborate on the irony quotes in ‘Harmless’ paedos. I don’t subscribe personally to the dogma of harm, but I do recognize that harm is possible in all sexual relationships.
I read your construction as suggesting some of these ‘Uncle Toms’ might in fact be causing harm in their stance on adult/child celibacy.
Is that correct? For the sake of overly literal readers, could you perhaps strip away the irony and swym?
Best wishes,
Bloom.

Bloom

I’m child celibate for a variety of reasons (see my recent comments at celibatepedos) but I certainly don’t feel diminished by that or by my paedophilia..Maybe if I were ‘exclusive’ (I’m not) I would feel differently about enforced celibacy, but as I am I experience it as just another of many sacrifices I make every day in order to be a worthy companion and mentor for the children I love.
My paedophilia brings absolute joy to my life and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Film that.
Bloom

James

*Applause*
I wonder how the rest of the (MAP) commentors feel about their attractions and position in society. I’d suspect that, in general, acceptance would correlate with age.
It’d be cool if Tom could put together a survey (à la the one at SSC)

Bloom

yes! It’s been a long, hard road to reach the point where I can be proud of who I am and be confident that I can have feelings for kids without hurting them. We need to share this information with people just setting out on this road, because a wrong turn can cause a lot of unhappiness. 🙂

James

True. I’d bet it’s hard to find help if you don’t know who to turn to. However, once you do poke around, I doubt just locating information would be too much of a problem. (I had next to no idea what MAPs were until I started looking into you guys last year on a whim.) The question then becomes: who to believe? The people who think MAPs are all evil are the ones who shout the loudest.

Bloom

It’s not just a question of having information. There’s plenty of that around and it varies a great deal among sources that are supposedly sensitive to the needs of MAPs, from GirlChat to VirPed and further in either direction. Really it’s a problem of growth in a hostile medium. It requires both commitment to personal values, respect for community values and a willingness to seek support from muggles.
It bothers me that so many MAPs here and at Girl/BoyChat are so harshly critical of VirPed. Although I agree that VirPed are far too ready to internalize pathologizing discourses and risk leading MAPs up the garden path, they are people like us trying to make the best of a difficult situation and they are at least trying to be realistic about it. I love many things about GirlChat, but making a religious experience out of a glimpse of a little girl’s panties isn’t going to change laws or win public sympathy. B4u-act are nearer the middle ground and their efforts to influence the recent DSM revision was heroic. Although they were trumped at the finish line by an ignorant conservative backlash, they showed the American Psychological Association up as the prevaricating, spineless toadies they really are, and that is a win.
I don’t think its asking too much to hope for a world where a MAP can be open about his paedophilia with a parent and still have permission to take her child to a movie. I already know that can happen. Otoh, I think we’re dreaming if we imagine that permission one day extending to exclusive romantic affairs and romps in the hay. I don’t accept that adult sexual conduct with children is necessarily harmful, but I expect it to always remain something children are instinctively shielded from. MAPs who disregard caregiver’s wishes and social mores by engaging in sexual conduct with children should not be surprised at the viciousness of the reaction. If we hope to be trusted with children, we need to condemn this devious behaviour that exposes kids to a world of misery if it goes wrong.
I don’t expect everyone to share my values in this, but I want to make the point that I’m very clear where I stand personally. A useful principle I follow is to do this kind of thinking in the calm light of day, and not in the heat of the moment. If a little friend breathes something provocative in my ear, I can return her affection chastely, without panicking or violating her or anyone else’s trust, because I’ve already decided where my boundaries lie. Such moments (and all MAPs have them if they’re lucky enough to spend time with kids) are not the time to be sweating over unresolved moral dilemmas, they are the time to just relax and stick with the plan.
I have three basic tenets that I will not depart from under any circumstances. First, I’m not sick, sad, bad or mad, I’m just different. Second, I’m absolutely committed to putting children’s wellbeing before my own. Third, child sexuality is what it is, complete with a capacity for sexual pleasure and sexual agency; it is not a function of legal definition, moral conviction or cultural norms.
I have very little else to say on adult / child sex. I don’t think it’s as harmful as is made out, but I don’t call for law changes to allow it. We’re beastly by nature, but we also have a capacity to care for one another and the world is a better place when we do,
Sorry about the soapbox! 😀

Bloom

Ps: I regret using the word ‘condemn’. There’s enough condemnation already without me adding to it. What I mean is we ought not excuse them.
MAPs need to be honest and open about their relationships with kids. In my opinion, it is unforgivable to drag a kid into a situation where she feels ashamed or obliged to harbours a guilty secret.

A.

Bravo, Bloom.

Bloom

-=:bows:=-
🙂

James

(I’m replying to your other comment above. I’m putting my response here to avoid having a perilously thin column of text.)
“It’s not just a question of having information. There’s plenty of that around and it varies a great deal among sources”
Fair enough. I see your point.
“willingness to seek support from muggles.”
I’ll have you know I’m at least a squib 😛
“making a religious experience out of a glimpse of a little girl’s panties”
LOL. No way! Can you link to that convo?
” I don’t accept that adult sexual conduct with children is necessarily harmful, but I expect it to always remain something children are instinctively shielded from.”
In most cultures, daughters are instinctively shielded from pre-/extra-marital sex. That doesn’t mean it’s inherently wrong or that the instinct is unchangeable. Even as we speak, throughout the developed world (and at least my part of the developing world) that attitude is fading. Is there any reason the adult/child taboo can’t follow suit?
“we need to condemn this devious behaviour that exposes kids to a world of misery if it goes wrong.”
Why do you say this about sex but not about driving children in cars? Especially considering the fact that the sum of all childhood misery caused by car accidents vastly exceeds the sum of all CSA trauma. This isn’t even counting the number of children who have been retarded by exposure to leaded gasoline….
“violating her […] trust”
I don’t see how doing what she wants could possibly qualify as a violation of trust. If anything, I could quicker buy an argument that rejection would be a violation of trust (though even that’s iffy).
“We’re beastly by nature, but we also have a capacity to care for one another”
I don’t see why sex should come under the “beastly” category rather than the “care” category. (Besides, I’m a bit Rousseauian in that I believe most people are basically good.)

Bloom

==Can you link to that convo?==
Haven’t visited for a while, but I’m mostly thinking of Furby’s ‘heaven’ posts, which I used to find very amusing.
==That doesn’t mean it’s inherently wrong or that the instinct is unchangeable.==
I’m not getting into a debate over what’s right and wrong, but my observation of non-human animals suggests that mothers usually protect their young from male aggression, including sexual aggression. In some species (sheep, seals) it’s not that uncommon for juvenile female mammals to be basically raped to death by adult and adolescent males (I’ve seen this happen). This explains the protective instinct.
Otoh, there are other mammals (bonobo, most cetaceans) which engage in prosocial adult/juvenile sex. My sense is that human parents will protect their offspring from sexual aggression for the next few thousand years because there is plenty of evidence that we are a species that rapes, but that doesn’t mean that nonaggressive sexual conduct doesn’t occur. It just means that mothers are generally risk averse and err on the side of caution.
== Especially considering the fact that the sum of all childhood misery caused by car accidents vastly exceeds the sum of all CSA trauma.==
I think ‘accident’ is the operative word here. I’m not suggesting that sex play between adults and children is intrinsically risky, but I am suggesting that social context makes it so. Secrecy makes it so. Deceit makes it so. The fragility of emerging sexual identity makes it so. It’s totally irresponsible to drag children into such an arena and expect them to keep it a secret. Yes, life is risky, but some kinds of risk are unjustified.
By my measure, this risk is one of them. But this is just my assessment.
[TOC: Surprisingly, I find myself obliged to censor a paragraph here. Bloom will understand why.]
==I don’t see how doing what she wants could possibly qualify as a violation of trust.==
What child knows what she wants? One day I was called a coward by my eleven year old friend as I unwound her clingy arms and pushed away her wet kisses. As it happens, she is someone I know well. She’s in her mid 20’s now and we’re still very good friends. I’m 100% certain that had I returned her embrace and kissed her back, it would have shocked and embarrassed her and ruined our friendship.
==I don’t see why sex should come under the “beastly” category rather than the “care” category.==
No, I didn’t really intend them to be mutually exclusive or that beastliness is particularly shameful. I don’t equate civilization with kindness. Quite the opposite. Wild animals can show a gentleness, affection and loyalty that puts most of us to shame. I think the trick is to cultivate social habits that encourage kindness and weed out the ones that encourage selfishness.

James

“mothers usually protect their young from male aggression, including sexual aggression. […] we are a species that rapes”
Only a small minority of all sex is aggressive, so it disingenuous to equivocate between sex and sexual aggression. Further more, just as we are a warlike species which has seen a precipitous decline in war, I expect sexual aggression is also waning.
“I think ‘accident’ is the operative word here. I’m not suggesting that sex play between adults and children is intrinsically risky, but I am suggesting that social context makes it so.”
I think the point is that both of these things are risky and people should manage risk as best they can.
“life is risky, but some kinds of risk are unjustified.”
To channel my inner economist/statistician: risk are justified when probable rewards exceed probable losses. I for one wouldn’t make a blanket statement that the cost/benefit analysis never comes out in favour of an adult/child relationship.
“What child knows what she wants?”
Well, I always have and I’ve always been completely clear and upfront about it, but it may be unfair to generalise this onto neurotypicals.

Bloom

I pointed out the risk of aggression to put in an evolutionary context the instinctive tendency of human (and other) mothers to shield their offspring from unrelated males. I agree that violence is growing less common in human society, but what we’re talking about here are incremental changes over hundreds or thousands of years, not fashions.
Neither would I say “the cost/benefit analysis never comes out in favour of an adult/child relationship”, but the overwhelming perception at the moment that harms are more likely than benefits is not explained solely by ‘paedophile panic’. As I said, mothers instinctively protect their young from sexual aggression, so the cost/benefit is moot. All mothers don’t do this of course. Some enter into relationships with men in full knowledge that the real attraction is one of their children, but I would call that a risky strategy, especially if she is allowing the male to have sex with the child. It isn’t the first choice most mothers would make, just as a street kid might not offer sex for shelter and food if she had a viable alternative.
This is the background against which I see paedophilic desire playing out, but it’s more complex than that. I personally think that paedophilia is a reproductive niche strategy, like homosexuality, and persists because it works in some contexts. Modern living, urbanization, atomization of tribal and village life into social units that can’t even be called families, have all robbed paedophiles of the social framework within which their sexuality may have made sense to those around them, As a final insult, paedophile panic has shifted the balance strongly away from tolerance and toward suspicion.
Sure, men still teach and coach kids, but they are inexorably being pushed out of these roles by women generalizing their protective instinct to all children, rather than just their own. The ideology driving this is fear of male sexual aggression, so I guess that’s why I seek to dispel some of that fear in my friendships with women and children. It isn’t in my nature to do this by simply being deceptive and devious, I am determined to be involved with kids and to allow that, I’ve made a commitment to myself that my dominant interest in them is other than sexual.
I’d made some progress in this when I first came out to friends. I had some great friendships with some girls at the time, then when I spoke openly about my orientation, trust in me was revoked and I lost contact with all but one of those girls. I was surprised because I had imagined there was some implicit understanding of my feelings, but I had underestimated both the protective instinct and the reach of paedophile panic. The one girl I didn’t lose contact with (and probably the others) was questioned closely about my conduct with her, so to that degree she was aware of my sexual interest. It was very embarrassing for both of us and effectively ended our friendship for the time, however it resumed in her teens and we’ve been good friends ever since. It feels good to have a grown up little girl friend who knows this about me.
I would never burden a child with this knowledge though, and this was the most distressing thing for me about the above events. I’d been careful to keep my sexual feelings absent from my friendships with these kids then here they were suddenly brought centre stage by the parents.
There is a kind of romance in my relationships with little girls, because they are romantic creatures by nature. They fall in love with me and I fall in love with them back, but it isn’t an intense, passionate, exclusive, possessive, smothering kind of love and it isn’t ever allowed to be overtly sexual. I don’t engage in ‘girlfriend/boyfriend’ jokes for example, even though other adults sometimes do some ribbing along those lines. My love is real, but it’s light hearted and more about care than desire. Perhaps I just can’t bear to have my heart broken again, but i’m very cautious in how I let my feelings for children develop. I will always love those kids, whatever their age, but children grow up, so such friendships are doomed to end whatever happens. It’s bitter sweet, but that seems to make the experience richer and give it gravitas.
I met a teacher once who told me he’d nearly quit because of the loss he felt every year when kids he’d come to love moved on, and then, he said he’d just learned to accept it. It’s the same for me, except I’ve also had to learn to accept that my sexuality is problematic for the people who’s trust I value and rely on.

James

It was quite nice to read about that. Thank you for sharing 🙂

Bloom

==Inexorably, huh? I hope not. Inexorably steamrollered by extreme feminist aggression? Paedophiles are a small minority but men are not. I don’t think we’ve heard the end of the story by a long way.==
Please don’t shoot the messenger Tom! This just my reporting of what’s happening, not my “socially conservative analysis”. It’s a situation I find disturbing and depressing and I’m set against it. One of my greatest regrets in life is not following my desire to train in early childhood or primary teaching. I argue strongly that men should be involved in these fields and I don’t think being a paedophile is an automatic disqualification.
(I was persuaded not to be a teacher by friends who knew about my orientation and thought it would be a problem. I wouldn’t be so easily dissuaded now, but I would also feel much more confident in that role. I’m not sure they were wrong at the time.)

A.

Bloom: I have deep respect for your feelings, your relationships and your general way of living as you have articulated them here.
Regarding, however, what Tom says about feminists and biological determinism: there is more than one way of looking at these things. I often recommend to people Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s exhaustively researched book Mother Nature. Hrdy argues that maternal instinct is not as automatic or as all-powerful as our culture currently believes. In many cultures, ‘allomothers’, who are often but not always relatives and by no means always female, have a big part in the care of small children, and Hrdy’s thesis is that this setup is beneficial both to mother and to child and that, indeed, humans have evolved as ‘cooperative breeders’.

Bloom

I know Hrdy’s work and alloparenting is central to my understanding of the adaptive logic of paedophilia. I think I said somewhere else that I’m not a fan of the feminist protection racket and the exclusion of men from nurturing roles. To me it’s no different to roughnecks bullying women who want to work on oil rigs. There is one difference though: there’s a long tradition of men as primary school teachers, and their loss from that profession is a real one.

A.

“…I’m not a fan of the feminist protection racket and the exclusion of men from nurturing roles. To me it’s no different to roughnecks bullying women who want to work on oil rigs.” Absolutely.
The degree to which men are being driven out of primary education varies a bit from culture to culture even within Western Europe. In France not long ago, for instance, I knew two primary (5/6-10/11) schools one of which had a male special-needs teacher and the other of which, considerably bigger, had a male head, a male French as a Foreign Language teacher (he worked in conjunction with his wife), a male teacher of nine-year-olds, two male teachers of ten-year-olds and a male classroom assistant for the little ones. (At the same time, funnily enough, I was sharing a flat with a male paediatric nurse!) That was cheering — and yet even in France the situation is far from good for men in primary schools. Apparently you need roughly 25% of any given minority group in a profession in order for the members of that group really to be seen and evaluated as individuals. I can’t think of any European country that hits that mark for men in primary schools, except Greece. Also, while it might be considered OK for a married man to do one of those jobs, people would at the least look askance at an unmarried man who tried it, especially as he got older. And it’s not merely a question of bodies in classrooms, but also one of stifling vs permitting certain aspects of good early-years teaching: for instance, it is natural and good for caretakers to cuddle young children, but try that these days and you could be opening yourself up to nightmare — if you are male, at least.
But I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you all that.

Bloom

Yes the fraught question of cuddling children. There’s been a backlash against the anti-cuddling fascists where I live, which is also cheering. Male teachers are specifically mentioned as needing to be given back this freedom to comfort their charges, but I don’t think paedophiles need apply.
Speaking of France, have you seen “To Be and To Have” (or “Être et Avoir”). If not, you have to.

James

Where I live, the main reason there are more female teachers than male teachers is that teaching doesn’t pay well and men tend to have better career opportunities than women. However, as unemployment rises, our male:female ratio is actually going up in education.
PS: About 5 years ago I helped out at a daycare because I had free time and my brother attended. It may have been my age (11), but no one found this to be the least bit weird. If anything, their only question was why I was kind enough to do volunteer work instead of hanging out with friends. (Silly grownups, thinking I have friends… 😛 )

A.

WordPress has hit its reply limit so I’ll reply up here: Yep, have seen Être et avoir. Very special, and moving, especially at the end where the kids all hug him and leave and he’s alone in the classroom. I choked up. I also liked another documentary by the same guy, Le Pays des sourds / In the Land of the Deaf (on YouTube but no subs) which focuses partially on a school for the deaf.
And James: I’ve met a male kindergarten teacher and a couple of teenaged male babysitters, and I have a friend who worked in a daycare in Sweden when he was fresh out of uni and needed a job. Of course, his mother worked there, so that made it easier for him to get the job! By the way, do the classified ads specify age and sex where you are? I was shocked stiff, though I really shouldn’t have been I suppose, the first time I looked at the classifieds in a Latin American newspaper.

James

We don’t have classifieds per se where I live. You have to find a job through connections (ie: you know someone who knows someone who’s friends with the manager’s brother…) or by sending out applications blind, hoping one of the places you send to has a vacancy. It’s crazy and inefficient but my community is just small enough that this system hasn’t imploded under its own weight.
However, apartment listings are another story. The majority of people find a house or apartment through connections but a significant number find them through ads in the newspaper or phone-book. Ads tend to specify things like marital status, employment status, kids, pets, smoking, and occasionally (though not always) sex. Beyond this, I do remember one outrageous ad I saw asking for a single female student of no more than 70kg! I did a double take on the fact that they had the audacity to specify a weight.

Bloom

Here’s the thing tho James. I reached a point where I was in despair of ever finding any kind of happiness. I was attracted to little girls but I couldn’t express my feelings for them, especially my sexual feelings. Instead I felt guilty and ashamed and hopeless. Also, I’d fallen in love with someone little and she’d suddenly moved overseas with her dad, so I was heartbroken as well. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it and then I attempted suicide. That was kind of a wake up, because I only survived by dumb luck.
Over a long period I did everything I could to resolve these difficulties. Eventually I decided that I would just try and transcend the dilemma and have platonic friendships with kids, enjoying their company without ever putting it in a sexual context. I made a very clear decision about this and, although I still fantasize about imaginary children when I’m alone, I maintain strict boundaries with the kids I spend time with in real life. I hardly ever cuddle them or have them on my lap unless other people are around, and never at all unless they initiate it. I never drink when I’m around them. I don’t talk to them about the birds and bees or peek at their undies when they arrange their legs.
I’m being puritanical I suppose, but you know what? I’m a paedophile who’s come out to a good number of friends and yet I’m hardly ever without the company of little girls and their annoying brothers.
I love those kids. They give me so much pleasure. Far more than the ..what? ..few seconds of excitement I thought I might be missing in some furtive sex play that would probably have sat like an undigestible lump in my conscience. I can’t believe I was so deluded.

James

It seems perfectly reasonable to behave the way you do without considering sex bad/shameful.
PS: Are you out to the little girls you know?

gantier99

Hi Bloom
I’m losing track of all your comments, just want to say I find your story very moving. Just a thought about the little girl who dared you to kiss her. I don’t see the harm in that? Don’t mean to make light of what you experienced as a difficult situation. Respect to you for standing proud.

Bloom

Thanks gantier99. Yeah, maybe a kiss wouldn’t have hurt anyone, but she was replaying some seduction scene from a tv show, not being affectionate. There wasn’t really any response I could have made that wouldn’t have felt equally fake and trashy. The point was, she was trying on some adult sexuality for size like a little girl trying on her mother’s shoes. She would have freaked if I’d responded with the real thing.
Besides, I was busting out of my pants already. I didn’t really trust myself, and that’s probably the main reason i pushed her away.

mr.p

cultural context is important regarding the kiss,If you grew up in a tribe I’m pretty sure the girl would already have experiences of a sexual nature!

Bloom

Absolutely. I responded as I did because I knew her well enough to know where she was coming from and didn’t want to damage our friendship.

gantier99

Ok I understand. If this girl had been wanting to show affection to you then pushing her away might have caused more harm than good. Each situation is unique, I’m sure there are kids around who become confused when adults they really like try to push them away instead of reciprocating. Perhaps some heart to heart adult talk could sort the situation out, kids usually know more than you think and hate being talked down to. But hey, hats off to you for putting yourself in the front line!

James

kids usually know more than you think and hate being talked down to.
Data point of one but yes, definitely. Couldn’t agree more!

James

(Reply to Tom elsewhere)
“narrative of biological imperatives […] very sceptical of biological determinism.”
Might I defend the honor of biological determinism? I think the narrative you oppose is one of stupid BD.
[simplification] For an atheist who doesn’t believe in souls or “higher selves” or any of that nonsense, it should go without saying that decisions are made in the brain. The brain is a biological system and the majority of the difference between brains can be explained by a combination of genes and biological environment (ie: pollution, nutrition, etc.) Hence, biological determinism. [/simplification]
The thing is, it matters quite a bit what is causing this variation and to what extent. Due to the way evolution functions, males and females must only differ substantially in cases where they face opposed selection pressures (a similar argument can be made for race but I am not entering that minefield.) Since the sexes are overwhelmingly similar, to claim a systemic difference in a given trait requires evidence. The problem with the narrative you mentioned above is that it’s quite short on facts and long on assumptions. Variations in height and age of puberty between sexes have been observed to be true. All males as predators? Not so much. That’s less BD than BS.

James

Ah, yes. I see what you mean. I tend to draw a distinction between four main behavioural influences: Nature (genes), Biological Environment, Nurture (upbringing), and Cultural Environment (all social influences beyond the home). Many Social Scientists group the last three under “Environment” and put #2 & #4 under “Non-shared Environment”.
I’m also suspicious of people who try to explain everything through genes. However, I might have a bit of a grudge: I’ve ended up in lots of arguments with “racial realists” (ie: scientific racists) who’ve made such arguments while ad homineming me for being black and Jewish. Unfortunately, determinists are my ingroup, which makes this whole thing super awkward.
Can I conclude from this that you are a determinist of some form?

James

But I also feel society should be so ordered as to maximize everyone’s sense of self-determination.
Absolutely. That’s exactly how I feel.
I’m hard pressed to think of anyone else with so many aspects of identity that are widely taken to be (often with good reason) signifiers of oppression and disadvantage!
Never even thought about that. I haven’t had any issue of race come up IRL because I live in a majority-black community and I don’t think anti-Semitism really exists around here. In terms of being autistic, it’s at times been difficult but never made me feel oppressed. The only area where I think “oppression” is a reasonable term is my gender-identity, and even there I don’t dwell on oppression.
(PS: While we’re keeping score, I’m also a minor and live in the developing world 🙂 )

gantier99

Let’s add “farm labourer” to the list, or indeed “boy”. James is our Noble Savage, working the fields one minute and teaching us to be good paedophiles the next 🙂

James

‘“boy”’
More like Strange Boy/Girl/Non-Binary 🙂
“Noble Savage”
Might just be a cultural thing, but that term definitely doesn’t have good connotations where I live….
Thank you for all the compliments 🙂
I just hope Tom doesn’t ban you for filling his blog with fanfare 😛

gantier99

Yes Noble Savage has terrible connotations here too. I was probably trying to be ironic. Sorry. As for “teaching.. to be”…. I was thinking about your observation about assholes. And there I wasn’t being obtuse, it really is quite a good guide, mostly people know deep down when they’re being an asshole.

James

“mostly people know deep down when they’re being an asshole.”
Not necessarily. There are many psychological conditions that can render people incapable of realising when they are harming others. Sometimes autism causes this. Empathy definitely doesn’t come easily to me.
Then there are the people who are incapable of caring whether they harm people. With all the weight of Utilitarianism behind me I resoundingly declare: fuck those people!

Bloom

=====Tom please read as well.=====
Might I suggest you both have a look at Daniel Dennett’s “Freedom evolves”. The point being that determinism is the difficult conclusion that any materialist must face. Anything else admits some deus ex machina. However each organism is bound to it’s own unique creode that admits a field of preconditions so complex that ‘determined’ can never mean ‘predictable’.
Dennett comes to the conclusion that ‘free will’ is something that occurs in slow time, not on the cusp of decision making, and that if we want to exercise it, we can only do so through forming habits of mind, not by applying a set of rules to our day to day decision making. An example of this would be empathy, which is like a muscle we can exercise, but is not like a capacity we can call on and expect to work first time out of the box.
These ideas have had a profound influence on my own personal philosophy, especially in relation to the other stuff I’ve discussed in this thread.
Btw Tom, could you maybe reduce the indent for subordinate threads so they don’t wind up trailing down the page like zen poems?

James

What you describe is pretty much what I believe. I’ve believed roughly that for as long as I can remember (even when I was a theist, I thought the idea that the “soul” made decisions was bullshit). I only encountered the formalised explanation when reading the work of Eliezer Yudkowsky (owner of the world’s most Ashkenazi name), who is also a fan of Dennett and may have been influenced by him.
BTW: Are there any theists on this site? It’s like a Richard Dawkins conference around here….

gantier99

BTW: Are there any theists on this site? It’s like a Richard Dawkins conference around here….
There must be, judging by what they say about priests and vicars 🙂

A.

Well, I believed in God till I was twelve, and it hurt me to lose that belief…

James

I deconverted at 9 and I kicked myself over not realising sooner.
What triggered your deconversion? Is it still painful?

A.

Acquiring the ability to reason abstractly (loosely speaking — Piaget’s Formal Operational stage, perhaps), which happened almost overnight in my recollection. Nah, I got over it long ago, though I have a lingering sentimental fondness for certain religious rituals.
Well, actually, come to remember, it wasn’t as simple as that: I wasn’t brought up religious, but I started taking an interest all by myself when I was six, and decided I’d carry out an experiment to see if God existed. I arranged some pebbles down at the bottom of the garden and prayed to God, if he existed, please to prove it by taking them away. They stayed put, of course, and I should have concluded then and there that there was no God, but I didn’t like that conclusion and resisted it, becoming privately quite devout. This makes me sceptical of claims that religion is a kind of mental virus. There is clearly something within at least some of us that pulls us towards religious belief. I’ve wondered about the old genes: when I met some long-lost cousins I was startled to discover that they were missionaries in China, and that one of our collective ancestors had been very devout.

James

It also came to me with abstract reasoning, but I suppose for me that started earlier.
I have a sentimentality specifically for Catholic rituals, but I don’t discriminate between religions.
I didn’t really do an experiment because my original cause for deconversion was realising that there was nothing to indicate Catholicism was more true than Islam thus, since they can’t both be true, they were both false.
Religiosity is indeed hereditary. (Willing to link to studies on request.) My mother’s family (ie: the Jewish side) vacillates between being weakly religious, “spiritual but not religious”, and atheistic. They’re also the side with some Marxists and I don’t think that’s a coincidence 😛

A.

Figures you hit that stage earlier: you are the mentally precocious type, aren’t you! Please do link some studies on the hereditary of religiosity. I’d be very interested to read them.

A.

Hereditary NATURE.

James

When I said I’d link the info, I’d forgotten that a few months ago I’d lost a cache of research I’d downloaded in the course of becoming a bio-determinist. After looking around for some of it, I’ve realised that finding this stuff again from scratch is a hell of a lot harder when I’m not following a bunch of bloggers down a rabbit hole. Allow me to apologies and present the few relevant morsels I’ve managed to find. I’m afraid they’re both pay-walled. The abstract of the second article takes the heredity of religiousness for granted so I assume that somewhere in the body it’ll cite a few papers arguing such.

gantier99

I didn’t really do an experiment because my original cause for deconversion was realising that there was nothing to indicate Catholicism was more true than Islam thus, since they can’t both be true, they were both false.
Good description of how I felt as little boy (but I did not articulate it very well then). Every week cast between Sunday school at a huggy free church and non-huggy high Church of England at school. And thinking “this is all so bollocks”. It did not help that the school was basically for rich kids (boys only to boot) and all talk of Christian Humility was not just bollocks but BOLLOCKS.
A memory comes up only marginally connected with this. School trip to see an open air performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream in city centre. Coach trip takes us at a crawl through the disadvantaged suburbs. More blacks than most boys had ever seen before probably. Some boys at the back of coach do graphic ape imitations against the glass of the coach windows. Carries on until English Teacher (English Master!) notices. To his credit he goes ballistic and gives us a spontaneous and very angry lecture about privilege. The perpetrators got the cane the next day. Don’t remember much about the play on the other hand….

James

I’ve actually been to a Catholic church, a Mormon church, and a Seventh Day Adventist Church. (The last two I visited while living in another country that was in the British Caribbean, but I consider both the mainland and the Caribbean to be “Latin America”.)
I once was on a bus with some strangers and while we passed some tourists a bunch of the kids on the bus started shouting, “White meat! White meat!”
I was absolutely mortified.

gantier99

I was absolutely mortified
know the feeling…..

A.

Thanks for the relevant morsels, and sorry to hear you lost all those papers.

gantier99

Not atypical perhaps! Kids believe in Father Christmas to 8 and God to 12 is a terrible generalisation but with some truth to it. I think I was born not believing in either and that makes me sad now… My atheism is plagued by doubt in my old age. What lead you to lose your belief at 12?
You’ll have seen Bergman’s “Fanny and Alexander” of course…..

A.

See my reply to James :). Yes, and also Nattvardsgästerna / Winter Light: my favourite Bergman, and Bergman’s as well, apparently.

Bloom

I like Fanny and Alexander.

gantier99

Yes, Fanny and Alexander is one of my favourites (and A., thanks for remembering Winter Light, will try to see it). Bergman’s own father, a vicar in the state church, was a disciplinarian and as a child Bergman could never reconcile this with the Christian message of love. The scenes of Alexander being bullied and physically/psychologically punished by his stepfather the bishop are to this day almost impossible for me to watch. Perhaps the more so for the contrast with the happy family scenes from before his mother re-married.
Another MAP-friendly film comes to mind. Scorsese’s “Last temptation of Christ”. I specially remember towards the end when Christ on the cross hallucinates, and a little girl (of perhaps 11?) visits him and tells him he doesn’t have to suffer any more, he can get down from the cross and just be a regular guy. Scene changes to Jesus as family man with little kids running around. But just when you wonder where this is going the little girl reveals herself to be the devil, and back on the cross he goes. Little girl as temptress, give me more please!

A.

Lewis Carroll poems. “Fury said to the mouse…”

James

The comments section seems to have shifted toward recommending MAP-relevant movies. If possible, I’d like to break the mold and suggest a three books.
Firstly, I’m re-recommending Fledgling by Octavia Butler. It’s about a 53 year old (but physically preteen) vampire who is trying to come to terms with her place in the world. In the course of doing so, she begins romantic relationships (and has sex) with several adults.
Secondly, r9kElsa Is Suffering, a fan fiction of Disney’s Frozen (because I’m uncultured 😛 ). Not directly related to minor attraction, but it is about incest which seems to have become a favourite topic here. It follows introverted, disgruntled, 4chan-ised Elsa as she tries to come to terms with her not-quite-platonic love for her sister.

Spoiler
Arne gur raq gurl’er sbhaq bhg
and the story becomes even more dramatic and heart wrenching. Well written by published-novel standards; exceptional by fan fic standards.
Finally, I’m pretty sure Edmund’s too humble to say this, so I’ll say it myself: you all need to buy his book. I’ve yet to read it (very hard to but books without my parents knowing) but I’ve heard many good things about it and I plan to find a copy. Please give this good man your money 🙂
(Now excuse me while I go reread r9kElsa Is Suffering 🙂 )

mr.p

I intend to..but only when i get rid of these viruses on my PC..so nobody gets my personal info…don’t know whats worse,them getting my credit card NO or seeing
the content of my order!

jedson303

There is a short (11 minutes) independent film called “Brotherly” which portrays an incestuous relationship between an older and younger brother as a loving and life-enhancing thing. No apologies. No “but of course we know this is not OK.” No arty ambiguity about what it the movie is saying. A very simple story, and well done. Can be downloaded anywhere without fear. I found it on Indiflix. But it is also on you tube.
Another short film that is not explicitly “pedophilic” but that shows a boy and and man who fall in love with each other is “A Russian Elephant In The Room.” I thought it was nicely done. Again it is available on both Indiflix and on you tube.
I share Tom’s concerns re: the virtuous pedophile angle. Is a story about someone who is unjustly ostracized by society for being a pedophile even though he is “virtuous” really helpful? One can argue that the social prejudice must be broken down in little steps, but I have my doubts.

A.

At a gay and lesbian film night last year I was impressed by Mathilde Bayle’s short film Le Maillot de bain, about a ten-year-old boy who, on a camping holiday, develops an unrequited crush on a handsome thirty-something man, filches his swimsuit and has quasi-explicit fantasies about him. There’s a trailer and a few extracts on YouTube, and a short clip of Bayle talking about her film. No subs I’m afraid. She says that for her, the boy’s attraction to the man is definitely sexual, that he is in love and feels desire. She also says it’s a true story and that her script won a competition, whereupon she set about making the film. She’s now working on a project set between Amiens (France) and an archaeological site in Mexico.

A.

It won several awards at international festivals, so it’ll probably be appearing on a DVD compilation one of these days :).

jedjones1

Jedson, I tried to ask you if you might be interested in forming a writers’ circle / critique group of like-minded people (the feedback forms on your web site don’t work). Or could this form part of a wider group for buffs of books and films on the themes of this blog, if I could find a web host and create a forum? Anyone else interested?

feinmann0

I would be interested.

Edmund

I would be interested too.

James

Bump for interest.

jedson303

I would love that. We could do it here, if Tom wanted that, or you could put one up, or I could add one to my site. (I didn’t know why I was not getting any responses – not even a little hate male.) Putting it on my site would have an advantage and a disadvantage. I get a lot of hits so it might draw in new blood. On the other hand if we wanted a forum to be more selective – just people we invited, it would not work. In either case, I’ll take down the place to contact me that is up there (and doesn’t work) and find a discussion forum to download from Joomla. Then we could use that or not as people would want. But wherever is decided about that, I’d like a place for discussion up on uryourstory. I’ll try to get on that tomorrow.
I am, by the way, going to start offering e-books for free download. Some mine and some from other people. If you know of a book that is asking to see the light of day that deals with intergenerational love, let me know. It would have to be reasonably well written and the author would have to be willing to offer it for free. Also, no erotica. By that term I mean fiction that has the main purpose of providing sexual excitement to the reader. I am not especially against that sort of thing, but it is plentiful elsewhere, and not what I am looking for.

jedson303

That makes a lot of sense, Tom. If someone could set up a mailing list, or something of that sort, where it could be discussed, that would seem like a first step.

A.

I’d like to join in.

jedson303

I did go ahead and put a forum up on my site, and am happy to discuss any topic with anybody there. However, since Tom’s blog is where the action is, and where the topic re: movies, (and maybe the arts in general) got so much interest, it might make sense to keep the discussion here. What do others think? Would you be willing to put something together, Tom. We would need to discuss whether we wanted it open to everybody, whether we wanted to include all the arts, etc.

jedjones1

Wow, sorry I’m rushed, and late checking back, having started an avalanche! I appreciate the offers to host and facilitate. Wicked, Jay, setting up the forum – I will try it out a bit later. If it has a PM facility, we can form a mailing list safely.
A critique group would need to be select – like a football team, you need team players who play well together. IME 6-12 is the ideal number (ideally at similar skill stages and similar stages into the similar-length stories they’re writing – unlikely but ideal). It needs to be private to avoid pre-publishing.
I’ve been trying for years to find a critique group of like-minded people (and based on the posts here, I sense the posters would be brutally honest); though I have found value in reviews of my novel chapters by “normal” people (without counting, only 1 in 10 has been hostile to my story’s heretic exploration of child web modelling and forbidden love, but I’m not writing erotica).
As a public book and film club (too), with a decent number of regular hits on your site, the published authors and producers we review should appreciate the exposure and may even participate:)

mr.p

Does anyone know that Hayley mills film,where she stared with her farther John mills,she runs away with a polish man,and tries to escape to Poland on a ship with him.its not about paedophilia but there is implicit romance between them,mind you I think it was made in early 60s well before the pedo-hysteria.
Another one i must mention is Leon,about a hit man,who rescues a young girl from a violent drug lord.

clovernews

You must be thinking of Tiger Bay (1959). Hayley plays a tomboy who bonds with a murderer but inadvertently gives him away.
The film script originally called for a boy, but Hayley got the job – her first film role – after the director saw her larking about at home (or so the story goes).

A.

I am told that twelve-year-old Natalie Portman as she was in Leon is quite a common masturbation theme for otherwise bog-standardly straight guys…

gantier99

Leon was a great film, I remember Natalie Portman sitting on a stair smoking a cigarette, I fell in love with her directly. Have you seen a Norwegian film called simply “X”? I never got to see it but it was about a 12 year old girl living on the streets in Oslo, and her love for an older homeless guy. Never got to see it myself but I remember my then partner going to see it (by herself!) at the cinema as a kind of “let’s see if this helps me understand my partner’s attraction to little girls”.

A.

No, I haven’t, but I’ll have to look for it!

gantier99

Let me know if you find “X” I never managed! My life was a bit all over the place when that film came out…

James

Did it help?
Also: adding this to the list of movies to find.

gantier99

Did it work?
Haha good question. I see I wrote “(On her own!)”. An indication of how mixed up life was for me then. Person in question was adult, it almost looks like I meant a child had managed to get into the cinema underage. As to if it helped, yes a little, I think so. Person in question had her own demons in the paedophilic fantasy department. Nuff said you never know who reads this blog 🙂

James

” Person in question was adult, it almost looks like I meant a child had managed to get into the cinema underage.”
LOL. I knew what you meant 😉
“Nuff said you never know who reads this blog”
Fair enough 🙂

Peter Herman

I just viewed “Ice-Cream Hands”. The overall arc of the short film, looked at dispassionately, is quite positive. But the film also has a Rorschach ink blot quality where one’s prejudices can easily be confirmed. For example, some of the background music has ominous overtones that will resonate with those who are appalled by paedophilia. Depending on personal fantasies, some will notice symbolic touches such as the oozing ice-cream in some of the scenes.
And yes, some of Tom’s quotes in the film, taken out of context, do sound VP. But Tom’s observation has caused me to tentatively rethink my position. VPs, as dreadful as they may be for their essentially self-loathing mentality, may yet be of use as a wedge in the social consciousness. That said, we will still need to be vigilant that VPs’ sickening outlooks do not give grounds for the medicalization of the rest of us who are completely sane and healthy.
While we are on the film genre dealing with paedophilia, a French film dating back to France’s military involvement in Indochina is worth mentioning — “Sundays and Cybele”. Though the male protagonist in this film is not a “paedophile” as such, the film is a cautionary tale about jumping to conclusions about friendships between an adult male and a young girl. Or, for that matter, any intergenerational relationship.

A.

I just watched it myself and thought it was very good. Glad I wasn’t the only one to think that about the oozing ice-cream. In particular, the scene with the stuff all over the little boy’s face is slightly reminiscent of the ‘facial’ so popular in porn these days.
Sundays and Cybèle has just been given a beautiful, if pricey, new release on DVD and Blu-Ray by the Criterion Collection, including “new interviews with director Serge Bourguignon and actors Hardy Krüger and Patricia Gozzi.” There’s also a bog-standard European DVD release with multi-language subs. Four years later, Gozzi starred in Rapture, in which she again plays an imaginative, mistreated innocent falling for an older man — but this time the relationship is sexually consummated.
This is as good a place as any to mention the three fascinating films by Anne Wild, all of which star the stunningly beautiful Henriette Confurius, then aged 10-12, now all grown up and a successful actor. Well, I haven’t seen the third, which isn’t available anywhere: called Nachmittag in Siedlisko, it’s apparently a short about a twelve-year-old who’s on holiday with her parents when the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The first, Ballett ist Ausgefallen, is about a ten-year-old who skips ballet class to hang out at the ice-cream parlour where the seventeen-year-old boy she has a crush on works. It’s available on a DVD called Tagträumer, a compilation of four short films about kids (no subs though). The middle part of the triptych, Mein erstes Wunder, is also available on DVD (only with German captions though). Dedicated “To my great love”, it’s about a forty-three-year-old married father of three and a fatherless eleven-year-old girl who fall chastely in love and, when people try to separate them, run away together. I thought it was realistic, moving, very well acted and beautifully shot (by Wojciech Szepel), and apparently I wasn’t the only one, since it won the prestigious Max-Ophüls-Preis. The trailer’s on YouTube. Really, it merits watching: it’s one of the best portrayals of what it’s like to be a little girl that age that I know if.

A.

Know OF.

gantier99

The middle part of the triptych, Mein erstes Wunder, is also available on DVD (only with German captions though). Dedicated “To my great love”, it’s about a forty-three-year-old married father of three and a fatherless eleven-year-old girl who fall chastely in love and, when people try to separate them, run away together.
Now you’re talking! This I must find!

ethane72

“VPs, as dreadful as they may be for their essentially self-loathing mentality”
I protest! Self-loathing is no part of the VP message. Such an allegation seems somewhat parallel to the idea that promoting condoms for gay sex in the face of the AIDS epidemic was encouraging self-hatred among gay men. We do not speak against adult-child sexuality because the desires are evil or sexuality is evil, but because of our judgments about the nature of most children.
It does seem like we attract lots of self-loathing pedophiles among the 500 who have joined our support group (maybe half). This makes sense regardless of your views — they won’t go near a pro-contact forum. But my goal is to nudge them towards feeling better about themselves.

ethane72

Even pro-contact pedophiles acknowledge that adult-child sexual contact is wrong if a child does not consent, and you yourself recently endorsed the view that failure to object is not consent. In today’s world, you also recognize iatrogenic harm and think everyone should obey the law for the sake of the kid, not just to avoid going to prison. But these messages are at best whispered in the pro-contact message. Sometimes the pro-contact line is that such cases are incredibly rare. When you include the cases of the child who fails to object, they are in fact very common. The non-virtuous pedophiles are those who engage in such relationships today. As I understand your own beliefs they align with mine up to this point, but your exposition of that point is inaudible. But that is the reality that the public sees and that VP sees and that we emphasize.
As a footnote (a FAQ-note) we do say we don’t buy pro-contact arguments for changing laws and attitudes (or more precisely changing them THAT much). Perhaps it’s exaggerated self-importance that leads you to think our name was meant to contrast ourselves with the law-abiding pro-contact pedophile.
I recognize that adult-child relationships are not inherently harmful in the sense that all squares are inherently rectangles. I think pedophilic desire is often positive and life-affirming in its intention. Where’s the self-hatred there?
I also believe that as social policy, a blanket prohibition on adult-child sexual relationships is a good idea. In any event, I think it is a question best left to society at large to determine, as its resolution depends on the nature of children, not the nature of pedophiles. My self-evaluation will not switch between hatred and acceptance depending on whether that’s a good social policy or not.
I also think very few prepubescents will actively and enthusiastically agree to sex, and my self-evaluation does not rise and fall depending on whether that count goes up or down.
There’s no self-loathing in that message. You are the one who conjures up “vicious” as the opposite of “virtuous”, not us. Even towards those who break the law, our attitude is not a vicious frenzy of hate, it is “non-virtuous”, a much more restrained judgment.

Bloom

I think you’re being a bit pompous Tom. I thought what Ethan had to say was quite reasonable. I sense you feel threatened by it, which might suggest you are the one who’s self loathing. That seems at odds with everything I know about you, but there you are.
To me the key thing is that VP have found a positive path for MAPs by taking a
clear position against sex with children. Given the alternatives, surely this is a valid choice, even if you disagree with it. I don’t hear them crying out for more hatred and persecution of sexually active paedophiles, I just see them trying to find a way forward for themselves.
I don’t agree with everything they have to say on sexual contact and I don’t agree with everything you have to say. I have my own position, which is probably more ‘virtuous’ than yours, but really it is quite noncommital on universals. I tend to remain silent on the question of ‘contact’ for anybody other than myself.
I’ve made my own decisions about how I intend to act and I’ve attempted to explain why. If I knew of a child being subjected to sexual or any other kind of abuse and it was within my power to stop it, I would act, but I would not automatically equate age discrepant sexual activity with abuse.

James

“the key thing is that VP have found a positive path for MAPs by taking a
clear position against sex with children.”

That’s the rub. Tom does not believe this is the only positive path and seeks to open up others. You and Ethan see this as the one true path, with all other paths being dangerous. I’d think this would reduce to a simple empirical argument where you could determine whether the other paths are indeed dangerous. Yet, lo and behold, you’ve all heard each other’s arguments and still disagree. Either you’re talking past each other or the question is more complex than anyone’s saying out loud.

Bloom

==You and Ethan see this as the one true path, with all other paths being dangerous.==
I don’t know where you get that James. I’ve never made such a claim and I don’t believe it. All I’ve ever said is that for me personally, it’s easier to go with the flow and subordinate my sexual desires. I like spending time with kids so I’ve made a kind of a pledge to myself that I’m not going to fiddle them or fuck them. All I’ve ever said about the alternative to that is that I don’t have much to say about it.
If anyone here seems compelled to champion a particular course, I think it’s the faction that claims to be pro-contact yet refuses to actually have sex with children because they’re too chicken.
To tell the truth, all this bickering reminds me of the rivalry between techno and house. One has squelch and one doesn’t so never the twain shall meet. We should be looking for common ground within our marginalized, stigmatized, put upon little community, not making our differences into barriers.

James

“I’ve never made such a claim and I don’t believe it […] All I’ve ever said about the alternative to that is that I don’t have much to say about it.”
Sorry, but that is false. You said (and I quote): “MAPs who disregard caregiver’s wishes and social mores by engaging in sexual conduct with children should not be surprised at the viciousness of the reaction. If we hope to be trusted with children, we need to condemn this devious behaviour that exposes kids to a world of misery if it goes wrong.” (bold mine)
This is exactly what I said you said. You claim contact is dangerous. Your quote is proof of pudding. I don’t mind the fact that you disagree with me. I mind the fact that you’re shifting goalposts. It’s like when theists claim God is simply the order and beauty in the universe and then pray to the order and beauty to win the lottery. *sigh* Neurotypicals….
[/frustration]

Bloom

Looks like a fair cop, but let me unpack that a bit.
First, can I draw your attention to my immediate follow up to that post, which says this:
“I regret using the word ‘condemn’. There’s enough condemnation already without me adding to it. What I mean is we ought not excuse them.
MAPs need to be honest and open about their relationships with kids. In my opinion, it is unforgivable to drag a kid into a situation where she feels ashamed or obliged to harbour a guilty secret.”
Again in my original post, altering the emphasis:
“MAPs who disregard caregiver’s wishes and social mores by engaging in sexual conduct with children should not be surprised at the viciousness of the reaction.”
No ‘one true path’ there, just an observation that acting against express parental and societal wishes is known to provoke a negative reaction.
“If we hope to be trusted with children, we need to condemn this devious behaviour that exposes kids to a world of misery if it goes wrong”
Notice I said devious behaviour, not sexual behaviour. I also said if it goes wrong. I admit these are strong words, but they say nothing at all about the intrinsic harms or benefits of sexual conduct with children, simply that to engage in such conduct is building a wall between self and society (and not just society but friends, family and community) and simultaneously dragging a child onto the selfish side of it. The distinction here between socially constructed and intrinsic harm is fine but real. Also, while I have no right to dictate to sexually active paedophiles, I do feel that their conduct casts a shadow of suspicion and prejudice over other the rest of us. My life would be a lot easier if the word ‘paedophile’ were not synonymous with child molester, and if the teachers and child care workers who represent my orientation to the world were not doing so from the dock or a cell.
Also, the ‘world of misery’ I’m talking about has nothing to do with sex being harmful, it is to do with a young person freely engaging in, perhaps initiating sex with an adult, finding it enjoyable and exciting, and then coming to feel differently about it, feeling guilty, ashamed or dirty and perhaps suffering homophobic bullying if the older partner was the same sex. The secondary harm can be significant, especially when there is an atmosphere of secrecy.
It isn’t acceptable to deliberately expose children to this risk. Having sex with children in the current climate cannot be an innocent pleasure. It is always contaminated by society’s hateful sex negative ideologies, it’s dictatorial power over children’s lives and children’s own diminished capacity to process and manage these conflicts,
So I think you’re not only misreading but deliberately misreading what I’m saying. Perhaps you’re misreading what Ethan’s saying as well, although as I said, my position differs enough from his that he would not allow me to state them on his web site.
So put that in yer pipe and smoke it. ;P

ethane72

Perhaps you’re misreading what Ethan’s saying as well, although as I said, my position differs enough from his that he would not allow me to state them on his web site.
There may be some confusion there. I am not allowed to argue for MY OWN position in the Virtuous Pedophiles support group. We don’t talk about arguments for OR AGAINST adult-child sexual contact. That’s a discussion for here, or GirlChat, or I suppose innumerable websites in the wider world that are the domain primarily of nons. In VP we take “no sex with kids” as the given for our lifetimes, and don’t discuss our reasons but rather how to live (and enjoy life too!) with that reality.
With regard to child porn, I was very interested in what Michael Seto had to say on the subject, as he has worked alongside police whose job is to deal with this stuff. Understanding the people working in the trenches on the other side of an issue is always worthwhile. Blog post here:
http://celibatepedos.blogspot.com/2014/08/setos-internet-sex-offenders-on-cp.html
Quote here: “Yet, despite these questions [about borderline cases], the large majority of child pornography images identified by police are unambiguous. They depict sexual activities, focus on the anogenital region, and are of prepubescent children, particularly girls. This set of images seized by police does not represent all child pornography, however, as there are undoubtedly selection effects: Only cases involving unambiguous child pornography content will lead to arrest and prosecution and thus the inclusion of these images in police databases.”

Bloom

So put that in yer pipe and smoke it.
Pardon? That’s a bit aggressive, isn’t it?

I’m sorry Tom! I’m mortified that you took that at face value! Didn’t I put some kind of smiley after it?
So I think you’re not only misreading but deliberately misreading what I’m saying. Perhaps you’re misreading what Ethan’s saying as well, although as I said, my position differs enough from his that he would not allow me to state them on his web site.
So is this.

Yes, I agree. I apologize James, and to you Tom. It’s a comment borne as much out of frustration that I don’t feel I’m explaining myself well as any ‘deliberate’ misreading.
I note with interest that you are not allowed the same degree of latitude on Ethan’s site. Please respect the opportunity you are given here.
I feel I was misunderstood there as well, but I admit I did violate the rule about not discussing these issues regarding sexual conduct. I had not particular position on the subject, but I find it difficult to discuss anything related to paedophilia without that question coming into it at some point.
Latterly the distinction between coercive and non-coercive encounters has been lost sight of in the general onslaught against all minor-adult relationships
I couldn’t agree more. This is a very real and important problem.
The secondary harm can be significant, especially when there is an atmosphere of secrecy.
It is more than significant; it is the only source of harm when consent is given.
Agreed.
the ones I worry about are the young MAPs, in their teens and twenties especially, but also the poor kids at even younger ages who are ending up on the SO registers. The younger generation will continue to get into trouble and I don’t think any of us should be hurling our haloes at them, complaining they are giving us a bad name
Yes, that is a very good point, and I think it’s why I immediately moderated my call for ‘condemnation’. I don’t call for condemnation. I call for education and support, perhaps I call for greater tolerance. What I would really like to see is more open communication between MAPs and greater mutual support. I’m kind of hoping that’s what’s going on here a little bit.
I’m broadly in agreement with everything you’ve said in this post Tom. I don’t want you to feel I’m here to criticize others or generate controversy. I always find these discussions valuable and I do think about the things others have to say that I might not instantly agree with.
I think you and I have quite similar attitudes actually.

Bloom

I don’t think things are helped by the page layout and the length of the thread. …feeling a bit fragmented by it I have to say 🙂 <—[smiley]

ethane72

As I understand it, you were essentially framed. OK, selectively prosecuted. That was IMHO outrageous, but on the other hand ordinary people who want to know how safe they are can discount those circumstances in terms of their own personal risk, as they are not (in)famous in the same way. I am very itnerested to learn the broader context of people who are prosecuted only for manga possession. My hypothesis is that there is something extra involved that gets the police’s attention rather than just downloading illegal stuff like thousands of others. Seto was talking only of the US and Canada, I believe.

Bloom

Where I live there have been a number of travelers who have essentially had their laptops trawled by customs at the airport (or also during rummaging of crew quarters on visiting shipping) and have been prosecuted on cp charges for nothing other than lolicon or shota.
It’s a fucking outrage really, but who can speak up about it?

Mr Phil

Note that Seto’s work is relevant only to North America, principally the USA. In the UK, with no constitutional protection for free speech, the situation is different and the vast majority of ‘indecent images’ for which people are prosecuted, convicted or jailed are very much borderline and ambiguous, despite the police’s successful attempts to imply otherwise in their public campaigning for increased hatred and fear of paedophiles.
So much so that police assessors frequently disagree on which images are indecent and which are not, as I know of them freely admitting in private.

James

“That’s a bit aggressive, isn’t it?”
To be fair: my comment was also aggressive and I fully anticipated an aggressive response. When I let my frustration get the better of me, I deal with the consequences….

James

“the ref only noticed the reaction?”
Apparently. I thought the sports(wo)manly thing to do would be to admit I shoved him on the field.
PS: In my capacity as Official Comment Counter, I’m pleased to announce we’ve burst right through 200 comments for the first time ever and are still going strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got to 250. 300? Probably not…

ethane72

Why do you come here?
I come here because there are interesting discussions among thoughtful people about pedophilia.
Why do you obsess over what is said and thought here?
I have hardly been hijacking threads or giving any indication of obsession. My protest was in response to: “VPs, as dreadful as they may be for their essentially self-loathing mentality”
I think it’s laudable of you to post my answers — since you are judge as well as a party to this dispute, you obviously don’t need to.
As in most controversies, one side will often take the most extreme position of their opponents and characterize them all that way. My positions are more moderate and a useful reminder perhaps that there is an anti-contact position that (for instance) lets children masturbate and explore with each other and have sex with those who are reasonably close in age and feel good about all that. You may accuse me of not looking beyond the end of my nose, but if you scan the titles of the posts in my blog celibatepedos.blogspot.com, you will see many challenges to the status quo. To all too much of society, my views are so radical that they would barely see the difference between you and me.
If the heretical view is doomed, wouldn’t it be more energy efficient just to ignore us? Or is it that the issues are not as settled in your own head as you pretend?
My views have evolved over time, in no small part due to discussions here (mostly over a year ago). You may be exasperated that they have not evolved to be in accord with yours, but they have changed. I like to think that we’re all after the truth and I can hope that some of your readers might challenge their views too.
you (and now Bloom) moralise not just for yourselves, which is your prerogative, but also for those of us who see things differently, which apparently you cannot tolerate.
Bloom and I are different people. You once told me to post less, which I did. Maybe now I’ll have to share the quota of anti-contact column inches with him. 🙂
My discussion here was instigated by a factual assertion about what VPs believe. Any moralizing has been indirect.

James

“Why do you come here?”
I would suspect for the same reason I visit feminist forums: it’s hard to write-off your ingroup, even when you think they’re stupid/misguided. Ethan’s ingroup is MAPs and he wants to be a part of the community of MAPs while at the same time bringing the rest of you to what he considers to be the correct viewpoint. Is that a charitable assessment, Ethan?

Bloom

Also, it might interest you to know that I was quickly banned from VP when i started posting there. So where does that leave me? The wandering Jew?
I’ll tell you, I got bored with GC because the dominant paradigm was unable to give a fair hearing to dissenting voices. Is that how you’re planning to run things here?
More to the point, I don’t try and tell other’s what to think, I explain what I think and why. I make the choices I do because they work for me and allow me to express my feelings in a meaningful way.
Tom, I have huge respect for your commitment and courage in your revolutionary endeavours, Ok, so I’m not in the ranks with the rest of you revolutionaries, but my own journey hasn’t been easy either. I think I’ve earned the right to an opinion.
Most of all, I say again, why turn on each other when we have so many others waiting to tear us limb from limb for something they have not the slightest understanding of. Aren’t we all on the same page wrt our sexual attraction to children? Doesn’t that give us more in common than not?

Bloom

==I also think very few prepubescents will actively and enthusiastically agree to sex==
I’m sorry Ethan but I can’t let you get away with that. Even very young children will spontaneously initiate sex play with adults and sex play is very exciting and enjoyable for many children. Why should they care if it’s with another child or with an adult. If there’s trust, affection and privacy, many will happily engage in mutual exploration at least. This much is on record in a whole library of memoirs and case studies.
I think one of the most difficult problems we face is how to respond to children’s romantic and sexual initiatives. It’s one thing to refrain from coercing, cajoling or tricking a child into a sex act, but it’s a whole lot harder to turn away when they take the lead. For one thing it can leave them with strong feelings of rejection.
As if that’s not enough, to report on this if the activity comes to light is held to be ‘blaming the child’ and invites an even more hysterical and draconian response from authorities than usual. Asserting children’s sexual agency is …heresy.

James

” I think it is a question best left to society at large to determine, as its resolution depends on the nature of children”
If it’s about children, why is it up to “society” rather than those same children?
Nihil de nobis, sine nobis. Nothing about us without us.

James

One more thing (sorry for the failure to consolidate):
By their original etymology, “virtuous” means “something or someone that possesses virtue” while “vicious” means “something or someone that possesses vice”. Hence, a vicious cycle is one where the pursuit of one vice leads to another and another (this also has an opposite: the virtuous cycle). Virtue and vice are opposites, thus virtuous and vicious are opposites.

A.

Ethan, you say, “Sometimes the pro-contact line is that such cases are incredibly rare. When you include the cases of the child who fails to object, they are in fact very common.” As a big proponent of the idea that failure to object is not consent, may I ask where you are getting the idea that they are very common? What would you call very common?

James

I was wondering how long it would take you to show up and protest your innocence.
“Such an allegation seems somewhat parallel to the idea that promoting condoms for gay sex in the face of the AIDS epidemic was encouraging self-hatred among gay men.”
No, it’s more like saying: “stop having gay sex or you will give everyone AIDS!” The difference is that condoms are meant to route around harm so that you can have your fun and avoid the risk. Your message is more a kin to saying that the risk is way too high for anyone to have any fun. Which is fine, if you back it up with evidence.
“It does seem like we attract lots of self-loathing pedophiles among the 500 who have joined our support group (maybe half).”
That seems fair. It’s just a selection bias.

Mr Phil

“The portrayal of paedophiles who present themselves as “harmless” all too easily becomes just propaganda for “virtuous” paedophilia – repressed, neutered, making no demands on society to end the current lunacy.”
Don’t you think the current lunacy has gone so far that the portrayal of any paedophile as harmless does make heavy demands on it, and will be found a significant challenge?

kate

Another I liked: the 2013 Japanese film Garden of Words is not really a work of social criticism, but a sweet story of feelings developing between a 15-year-old boy and a female teacher.

James

I checked out the trailer. It looks awesome. Plus, the teacher’s right at the peak of my AoA 🙂
I’ll see if I can track down the full movie with subtitles. Wish me luck!

A.

Let me know if you find it. Also, since you like Ebba och Didrik, you may like Lust och fägring stor (All Things Fair) in which Johann Widerberg (Didrik, three years later) plays a fifteen-year-old who has an affair with his thirty-seven-year-old, married female teacher. Most films on this subject are done for the laughs or purely for the fantasy value, or else (e.g. Notes on a Scandal) use the relationship as a springboard for a plot that’s really about something else. This one is a rare exception, and very well done. It’s by young Johann’s dad, the distinguished director Bo Widerberg, and it won a couple of pretty big awards. You can watch it on YouTube in eleven parts, with English subs.

James

“Let me know if you find it.”
Yes I did.
“since you like Ebba och Didrik”
I do? This is the first time I’m hearing of this show. I think you’ve got me mixed up with someone else 🙂
(Of course, now that you’ve mentioned it, of course I’ll track it down 🙂 )
” You can watch it on YouTube in eleven parts, with English subs.”
Will do!

gantier99

Well James I quite like being mixed up with you 🙂
Ebba and Didrik is a Swedish TV series from the nineties. One of the story-lines was 12 year old Didrik’s love affair with 23 year ld Ylva. Might be difficult to access in your part of the World.

A.

That was you? I could have sworn it was James! Sorry! Anyway, I think you probably will like it, James.

gantier99

I take it as a big compliment being mistaken for James, but really, I’m not in his league 🙂

James

LOL. High praise! Thank you. Now I just have to make sure I don’t disappoint…

James

“I quite like being mixed up with you”
LOL. So it was you she was confusing me with! Let me guess: it’s from the thread where you mentioned some Scandinavian TV series, including the one with the hubots?
“Might be difficult to access in your part of the World.”
Depends on if it’s online and if it’s subbed in a language I can read.

gantier99

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSNzuoPi4tE
part 2, where Didrik meets Yrla (not Ylva as I wrote earlier). Bit of girly bullying in the middle. Not subtitled so you’ll have to put a babel fish in your ear! Enjoy the atmos of the small seaside town on the Swedish west coast!

James

Thanks.
“you’ll have to put a babel fish in your ear!”
Hitchhiker reference FTW! This was the book I used to introduce my brother to Sci-Fi.

A.

Great, thanks!
While we are introducing you to Swedish kids’ TV, you might like Dårfinkar & dönickar, based on a book by Ulf Stark, in which twelve-year-old Simone is mistaken for a boy on her first day in a new school and goes with it, adopting a new identity as Simon. You can see at least some parts of the series on go2films.ru and 56.com, but I highly doubt you’re going to find subtitles, I’m afraid. Have you seen it, Gantier?

gantier99

“Let me know if you find it.” Yes I did.
This (Garden of Words) is a bit of a double whammy for me because it has trains in it. Will enjoy watching, thanks for link James and for the suggestion Kate. You know the bit in Slumdog Millionaire where the kids go through the train? Accompanied by M.I.A. Paper planes? Ah the ecstasy! Hand me my anorak!
you might like Dårfinkar & dönickar…. Have you seen it, Gantier?
No I haven’t but I will try to find it now you mention it. Thanks A! I think the seventies/eighties was probably a golden age for kid’s tv in Sweden, after this it became slowly more difficult to deal with “risky” subjects. A kind of self-censorship started kicking in is my non-scientific observation. So there are probably more interesting programmes waiting to be rediscovered from that period. Would you agree? Is that also true of English speaking countries? Holland, Germany?

James

“a bit of a double whammy for me because it has trains in it”
You’re a train spotter?
“Is that also true of English speaking countries? Holland, Germany?”
For the Anglosphere, I think so. For the Hispanosphere, I’m not sure. I’m not exactly an expert on children’s television. My idea of TV growing up was National Geographic.

gantier99

You’re a train spotter?
Lets say I’m a Virtuous Trainspotter… Difficult to know what to wear really, Anorak or Macintosh 🙂

James

“Virtuous Trainspotter”
By analogy to Virtuous Pedophiles, I’ll assume this means you want to stand on platforms and watch trains all day but don’t due to…. morality? LOL. Maybe not morality, but is the rest of that assessment correct?

gantier99

is that assessment correct?
Train spotting? No not for me, I was joking. Actually I’ve only come across this weird phenomenon in the UK, they try to look interested there at the end of the platform, but inside they’re crying and wondering why they’re not going out with a girl. In the rest of Europe trains are for transporting people, not getting off on. End of thread or Tom will probably go nuts.

A.

I think mainland Scandinavia is a bit of a special case because they have always punched above their weight cinematically and because they are justly proud of their tradition of high-quality children’s film and TV. More recent productions retain some sexual frankness. In Alla älskar Alice (2002), twelve-year-old Alice spies on the boys in the showers at school, sees her mother and father make out in the kitchen, and overhears her father and his new girlfriend having very enthusiastic sex, but manages not to be scarred for life. In Fucking Åmål (1998) and I taket lyser stjärnorna (2009, based on a book), fourteen-year-old girls have intercourse and emerge similarly unscathed. (All of these should be on YouTube.) This isn’t an isolated thing, but part of a general pattern of dealing with all kinds of subjects in films about and/or for kids. Kids facing death is a favourite. The book of Dårfinkar & dönickar, by the way, is even franker than the film: the main character touches a boy’s erection in a scene near the end.
I know less about productions from the rest of western Europe, but certainly reading kids’ books from the 70s and 80s gives me a time-warp feeling. In Allan Ahlberg’s Woof! (1986), two nine-year-old boys enjoy degree of freedom almost inconceivable today: they have paperrounds, they go to the park and the swimming pool by themselves, etc. In Ben liebt Anna (1979), by the distinguished writer and father of four Peter Härtling, a boy of nine and girl of ten fall in love and end up kissing and cuddling in their underwear.
This http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Film_Foundation_filmography is a list of stuff from the UK’s Children’s Film Foundation, quite a lot of them dating from the 70s and 80s. Many of them are on YouTube. By and large they’re just jolly romps, not the same kind of fare as SVT’s programmes at all.

gantier99

Thanks A. for this very handy summary. “Fucking Åmål” is a film I enjoyed very much indeed. Lukas Moodyson has a knack of getting middling teenagers just right, how about last year’s “Vi är bäst” (haven’t seen unfortunately) or the much darker “Lija-4-ever” about underage forced sex-work (I found it gripping and sadly believable). Another film that comes to mind is “Mitt liv som hund” (1985) about 2 kids growing up in the country. I remember the 11 year old girl Saga in a state of undressed, in bed, with similarly aged Ingemar in the original, but that this scene had been (annoyingly) taken out in a later TV showing!
And if James is listening (of course you are): There’s a novel you might enjoy, called “Barnens Ö” (Children’s Island) by P.C.Jersild about an 11 year old boy, Reine, on his own in the city after having refused to go to camp. He spends a lot of his time worrying about puberty and examining himself worriedly to see if any pubic hairs have appeared. It’s something of a classic in Sweden and when I googled just now I found out it had been made into a film in 1980. Amazingly it has been effectively banned (refused a certificate) in Australia this year (2014) because there is a short scene with Reine naked with an erection and masturbating. Well I never. Regrettably I never saw this film.
http://www.webcitation.org/6RAL7YTUZ

gantier99

Hi Tom, yes Barnens Ö was as mainstream as they get, as are all the other films I (and A.) mentioned. The information I have is that it had a “from 11 years” certificate on release in 1980 in Sweden. I looked up the certificate for Fucking Åmål (1998): also 11. The much nastier Lilja-4-ever (2002) got a 15-certificate. So sex at 11 and violence at 15 seem to be the certification criteria in Sweden. “Vi är bäst” (2013) got a “no restrictions” in Sweden… and a certificate 15!!! in the UK. Someone explain please?

James

“if James is listening (of course you are)”
Damn. The secret’s out 😛
Yes, I read every comment on each post. Why else would I be talking so much? (Since A. is also a prolific commenter, I suspect she does the same.)
I will indeed look for this book. However, it may take me a while to read it (if I find it) since I have lots of reading material, movies, and school work to look into. Plus, it’s the rainy season so I’ve got tonnes of farm work to deal with. (A few weeks ago we had flooding that destroyed our most recently planted crops. My dad flipped.)

gantier99

James, after Enid Blyton and all other surprises, farm work. Respect. Not kidding.

James

“James, after Enid Blyton and all other surprises, farm work. Respect.”
Thanks 🙂
“What with the farm work and all, I’m amazed you’ve got time to breathe.”
It doesn’t take too much time or energy to comment 🙂
Besides, there isn’t too much work to do (by local standards). Farming isn’t even our primary source of income. Both my parents are economists by trade and I’m an aspiring economist. (Yes, I know; we’re the most stereotypically Jewish Jews to ever be Jews.) The main reason we keep a farm is because my father believes farming helps to cultivate virtue (it’s what his family did when he was growing up). However, I’d think that, as an economist, he’d be inclined to focus on his comparative advantage 😉

A.

Yes, I enjoyed Mitt liv som hund as well. You may like it too, James: more gender-bending. Fucking Åmål is indeed overwhelmingly accurate. I *was* Agnes at sixteen (except that I didn’t get the girl).

A.

I’ve got another one for you: Clément, by Emmanuelle Bercot. It’s on YouTube in two parts, the first titled Viel zu jung Full – ?????? 2001 – Clément (2001) Full Engsub – Clement Engsub Full – HD Movie. Original French audio and, as it says, English subs. It’s the story of an intense love affair between a boy of thirteen and a woman of thirty; it’s long and uneven, but realistic and thoughtful and overall impressive. The English subs are comprehensible, if clearly written by someone whose mother tongue this isn’t. This won’t appeal to you, I gather, but I must mention that the actor who plays Clément, Olivier Guéritée, aged thirteen or fourteen at the time of filming, is staggeringly gorgeous. Or was: he’s now grown up, of course, and has acted in a few other films and become a production manager. Bercot herself plays the boy’s adult lover.
Bercot’s an interesting filmmaker. Her film school graduation piece, La Puce, is about a fourteen-year-old girl who flirts with a much older man at the seaside and meets him back in Paris, determined to have first-time sex with him. She loses her nerve and he half cajoles, half bullies her into going through it. Bercot’s third film, after Clément, was Backstage, about a seventeen-year-old girl’s intense obsession with a female rockstar. After a several-year hiatus, she reinvented herself with Elle s’en va, which starred Catherine Deneuve and was a big hit: it’s about a sixty-year-old who, finding her life is falling apart, takes off on a roadtrip and reconnects with her ten-year-old grandson.

James

Thanks.
So many movies, so little time….
(PS: We managed to burst through the 100 comment threshold in record time – just slightly more than 4 days.)

A.

Our resident comment-counter!
The movies can keep till you have less on your plate. They’re not going anywhere: they’re niche-interest enough that I doubt the copyright police will be very heavy-handed.

A.

Thanks. I will have to look for that one!

kate

Everyone should have already seen it, but the 2012 film The Hunt is an excellent exploration of the mob mentality surrounding child sexual abuse (although there are no actual pedophiles in the film).

A.

Great film, yeah, and also kind of a big deal because it’s by Thomas Vinterberg, who did Festen, which many Danes consider *the* quintessentially Danish film. It’s also sort of the flipside of the big reveal at the end of Festen. And it ties in with what Tom said in his original post in that it’s partly a study of what masculinity means in modern Denmark: e.g. the main character hunts and drinks beer with his male buddies but also enjoys working in a nursery school. I read an interview with Vinterberg in which he said that people frequently don’t believe that the little girl would in real life have been asked such leading questions by the sex-abuse investigator. In fact, Vinterberg said, that part of the script is based very closely on transcripts of real-life sessions between kids and investigators.

James

“who appeared last year playing “a drug-crazed Lewis Carroll” in a music video”
LOL. That music video was top kek! I’m recommending it to Gantier.
“Passion Despair, which sounds very exciting – so much so, unfortunately, that I’m not sure it would be wise to download it in the UK”
Luckily, I’m 95% sure it wouldn’t be illegal where I am so I’ll go look for a download link. Wish me luck!
“undermine not just macho culture but masculinity itself”
What does it mean to undermine masculinity?
These all look great. Thanks for sharing them. When are you planning to officially announce that documentary you’ve been involved in? I expected to see it here.

James

“The Czech film review was not done by the Lewis Carroll actor after all.”
LOL. This incident is almost as funny as the music video itself. Hopefully I’m the only one who saw the error. It’s especially funny the way the name got translated 🙂
“Don’t! […] it could be worse.”
Alright. I’ll be cautious. I probably wont go for it but, if I do, I’ll reread our relevant laws.
“thorough-going undermining of traditional values”
Well, I’m not particularly fond of traditional values or pigeonholing men into “masculinity”. If a man (or woman) what’s to adopt any of the qualities associated with masculinity, they should be free to do so at their own prerogative. However, I don’t believe the entire construct of masculinity (or femininity) must be defended so that it can be thrust upon boys, heedless of their preferences.
(Disclaimer of possible bias: I am trans)
“As this is such a difficult and controversial subject […] The final shape of the programme still hasn’t been decided.”
Well, that’s not good. The fact that you’ve redacted the name of the channel indicates that they’re not yet willing to stake a claim on it. I hope it’s just delayed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s made its way to the great cutting room floor in the sky.

James

I’m aware of the two-spirit tradition (which only existed in some tribes, mind you) but I don’t think that entirely solves the problem. What if you don’t want to adhere to the role prescribed by the male or two-spirit gender constructions? I think people should, in the absence of harm to others, follow their own preferences without social pressure to conform to the mold of a particular gender.
This is not, of course, an endorsement of people who seek to shame others due to their adherence to masculinity (or femininity). People really should be free to make their own choices. That’s liberalism (and Preference Utilitarianism).

jedson303
James

It’s really nice, although it triggered some dysphoria.
Who’s the author?

jedson303

It’s my poem. Glad you like it. It’s a melancholy situation. I agree that in the best of worlds everybody could be whoever they wanted to be so long as they hurt no one else. But in the real world maybe roles where unaverage people can find a niche is the best that can be hoped for.

James

Then congrats on a well written poem 🙂
I suppose a profusion of roles eases the pressure but it never quite alleviates it. The social pressure tends to zero at the limit as the number of available roles tends to infinity.
Are you transgender/transsexual?

jedjones1

Tom/James – the Passion Despair press kit has more info. It’s safe for work (if you can take it from me) though the mild PG rating for the film itself on my old copy of the pdf file is missing from this one. http://kino.net/IMG/pdf/presskit_passion.pdf
(Well done tracking down my old blog, that was two computers ago – I couldn’t find/use the editing tools or even access my account – same here, forcing me to create yet another new one.)
IDK how film distribution works. So a film needs a certificate of some sort from the board of censors of a given country before cinemas are allowed to screen it?
I blogged that the film was “banned” because something or someone is evidently blocking the film’s distribution.
FWIW I very much doubt that this documentary film would justify a rating higher than 18 or even PG.
The immediate problem is talking to Steff or his staff. If you could succeed where I failed, you could perhaps ask him if he has even touted the film to the censors of any country besides Poland? What was its rating there, if it needed to have one before it could be premiered at the film festival? Relevant contacts are at gruber.org and kino.net
At kino.net none of the films are available to buy as downloads. There is an announcement that they soon will be but that has been there since 2012! Valentina Gladkova, a former model from Studio 13 who co-stars with her mother in the film, told me about a year ago that no one who appears in the film has seen it, either. This baffles me. Even a low-budget film costs a pretty penny to make. What stops a producer selling downloads to people who want to buy them?

James

“the Passion Despair press kit has more info”
Thank you!
“So a film needs a certificate of some sort from the board of censors of a given country before cinemas are allowed to screen it?”
In some countries, yes. Not where I live, though. We have almost total press freedom because the government doesn’t involve itself in the flow of information (besides the occasional bulletin). This probably has more to do with apathy than virtue, but be damned if our local journalists don’t exploit it! 🙂
“What stops a producer selling downloads to people who want to buy them?”
Technical difficulties/ignorance? Extra-judicial intimidation? Holding out hope that they can bring the film mainstream?

jedjones1