Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No Commercial Possibilities

Pederasty Deflated is a book that will never be written, though its general outline is easy enough to rough out. Such a text would point out that the obsession with sexual crimes against children is rather recent and that the salience of the issue is more than debatable given the fairly obvious fact that children are harmed far more by poverty and the lack of good health care than the ministrations of horny priests and peculiar uncles. Like the witch craze of the Renaissance and Reformation era, the SVU hysteria of our times is a clear instance of displacement, the refocusing of anxieties on a convenient target. It’s almost as if the need to get upset about other people’s sexual behavior has a constant mass and the pederast now bears a much larger proportion of this burden now that it has become socially unacceptable to hate homosexuals and cohabiting unmarried couples. The persecution of sexual deviance is also politically useful, as we see in the predictable way in which any person who threatens ruling interests will be predictably accused of sexual irregularities, often involving children. Just as the war on drugs has long served to erode everyone’s civil rights, the interminable campaign against child pornography is a crucial element in the state’s campaign to tame the Internet. There are, of course, people who prey on children, just as there really are people who want to blow up buildings for political and religious causes; but the response to both pederasty and terrorism is so ludicrously disproportionate as to call for an explanation in terms of the psychological, economic, and political utility of these inflated threats. Unfortunately, while various people have addressed the hyping of terrorism, it is a far more daunting prospect to confront the other great inflated monster.

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