Now we are truly ‘all in it together’

At least they aren’t calling it the gay plague, the way they did with AIDS, or God forbid the paedo plague – they blame us kind folk for everything else, though, so why not the corona virus disease (Covid-19) first identified last December in China? But stigmatisation of some sort follows closely on the heels of every pathogen, as was observed recently in the authoritative New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). At first the finger was pointed, quite rightly, at Chinese “wet markets”, but this quickly morphed online into generalised anti-Asian racism. Within the last week, though, the demonization has moved …

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Now I’m a believer in Patek of Geneva!

Patek Philippe, the super-luxury, Geneva-based Swiss watch brand that makes Rolex look about as exclusive as my Casio, has been running a series of award-winning ad campaigns on its Generations theme for nearly a quarter of a century now. Perhaps because I am not in the market for these products and have little exposure to the lifestyle magazines etc. where I imagine they are promoted, I have only just noticed. Now that I have, I am bowled over by these fabulous productions – the ads, that is, not the watches, which come at crazy prices with far too many noughts on …

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Licence expires for French men of letters

What do you call a guy who can openly celebrate his sexual relations with children in books and on TV without being prosecuted? A giant of French literature. Things are different in France, or have been until recently for elite figures in the cultural establishment. One of those figures, Gabriel Matzneff, is a feted novelist, a winner of numerous literary prizes who appeared many times on France’s top cultural TV show of the 1970s and 80s, Apostrophes. Back in the day, he wrote: “Once you have held, kissed, caressed, possessed a 13-year-old boy, a girl of 15, everything else seems bland, …

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Scholar hounded over pederasty studies

No fancy philosophical focus on Foucault and his ilk this time, folks. No festive season reflections on the passing year and decade either. Christmas is usually slow for news because the politicians and the other movers and shakers who make the headlines are at home with their feet up just like the rest of us, somnolently finishing off the mince pies. There is seldom any let up in bad news for us heretics, though, and this month has seen a particularly shocking story unfolding in America. What makes it so alarming is that it is not a sex scandal. There is …

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Turning our view of power upside down

Heretic TOC’s two-part review of The Fear of Child Sexuality, by Steven Angelides, began last time with a focus on the author as himself a prisoner of fear. We noted that while he clearly acknowledges children as sexual beings and is positive towards their sexual expression and agency, he is very tentative as regards the practical implications when it comes to their freedom to choose an older partner, opting to discuss it solely in relation to the more easily defensible possibilities, notably mid-teen boys in relationships with women. In Angelides’ own country, Australia, the boy in these liaisons dangereuses has traditionally …

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Warily going where angels fear to tread

Book review: The Fear of Child Sexuality: Young People, Sex, and Agency, by Steven Angelides. University of Chicago Press, September 2019. This is an important new book. Heretic TOC has accordingly decided to give it an in-depth review in two parts. This first part will focus on Angelides’ aims in relation to his earlier track record. The second part will consider the book’s content in more detail with a particular focus on the author’s interestingly “post-Foucauldian” view of power in sexual relationships.  We might guess that someone called Angelides would be on the side of the angels. This family name is …

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The kids are not alright. Why not?

What makes a child happy? Heretic TOC readers, thoughtful and Kind in all senses, as I believe you generally are, will see this as an important question. So it should trouble us that a recent Children’s Society report found a decline in children’s happiness in the UK over the last decade as judged by a range of factors affecting their sense of wellbeing, such as whether they are being bullied at school, or neglected at home, or even whether, in food bank Britain, they are going hungry. Anxiety about their job prospects, the state of the environment and their own future …

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A queer way to be ourselves

Bearded bloke walks into a bar. Says to the barman, “I’ll have a bottle of that new beer, please, the Pink IPA.” “Sorry, sir,” says the barman, “this beer is for women only.” “Well, actually,” says the customer, “I am a woman. It’s how I self-identify.” “Very well, madam,” says the barman, “a wise choice of gender, if I may say so, and of ale. The lady’s IPA is on special offer at £1 less than the gentlemen’s IPA.” “To be honest,” says the customer, “that’s why I became a woman. Cheers!” No, this isn’t a joke. Apart from a bit …

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Are we making ‘useful idiots’ of ourselves?

When the religious reactionary press in the US launched a tsunami of hateful bile against an academic article of mine last year, they relied almost entirely on distortion and defamation, lies and libels. But one writer made an uncomfortably strong point when he described me as “a useful idiot for conservatives intent on establishing a link between homosexuality and paedophilia”. It’s true. American conservatives never tire of using boy-love as a stick with which to beat the gay community, and whenever we radical heretics speak out in favour of consensual child-adult sexual relations, we give the reactionaries more ammunition. Now they …

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FGM: wedded forever to religion?

A powerful and provocative guest piece today from our old friend Leonard Sisyphus Mann, whose Consenting Humans blog is highly recommended and who has guested here several times before, as Lensman, perhaps most notably in this profound, forward-looking, contribution: “The future is green, and liberating for children”, which prompted over 30,000 words of comment. Today’s piece bravely identifies female genital mutilation (FGM) as primarily an Islamic problem, and a growing one, in the modern world. While acknowledging the pre-Islamic roots of the phenomenon, LSM sees specifically religious factors as responsible for its perpetuation. There is evidence to support this claim but …

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