The Way Forward?

November 11th, 2010 by Stephen James

What exactly is the best way forward for the minor attracted movement in a world whose hostility seems as unrelenting as ever?

In any radical movement there is a division between the ‘purists’ and the ‘pragmatists’. The purists seek the retention of simple undiluted principles and resist compromises aimed at short-time gain. NAMBLA is an example of a pro-minor attraction group that is, or was (when active), largely dominated by purists. Its position statements defended all forms of intergenerational relationships (except some forms of incest) and called for the complete abolition of all age of consent laws. Its leaders asserted the rights of minors to make decisions regarding their own bodies, a statement to which qualifications were rarely attached. As far as I can tell, NAMBLA has not generally shown the sort of interest in strategic goals (such as lowering ages of consent) that arguably ought to accompany their simple rallying-calls, which can only have practical realisation in the long term. (No country in the world is going to abolish age of consent laws in the foreseeable future.) The recommendations of pragmatists, focused on more short-term goals, are in general more likely to result in positive change, which may develop further in the long run. Purists can usually only obtain quick victory if they insist on violent revolution, which I hope is not on the agenda of anyone associated with our movement!

But what I want to suggest here is that there is a good case for an even more radical pragmatism (so to speak) than we find in support for limited reforms such as lowered age of consent laws. Minor attracted individuals have long considered themselves entitled to speak out on behalf of children and youths who enjoy consensual physical relationships with adults. This is not unreasonable. It would be better of course if these young people were able to speak on their own behalf, but, with a few exceptions, this is not possible, for obvious reasons. So why shouldn’t we? But there is a problem here. However reasonable it may be for us to take on this task, the result tends to be disastrous in practice. We are not seen as honest brokers. We have a vested interest in greater sexual freedom for young people and so our pronouncements on these matters are not taken seriously—worse, they are regarded in an outright hostile way as a means for us to promote our own ‘evil’ agenda. However unfair this might be, it is a fact which, for the time being at least, we have to accept, and something to which we must adapt our strategy. But what can we talk about with authority? Our own plight as minor attracted individuals, the stigmatisation and unfairness that we have to put up with on a daily basis. Of course, even here, there is a tendency in the popular mind to treat what we have to say as mere rationalisation. But that comes mainly from hearing about our accounts second-hand, which makes it easy to mock our remarks and treat them as dishonest. If the more articulate amongst us are able to speak about our situation directly to open-minded psychologists and health-care professionals at first, and to the general public in due course, this may help to slowly ‘humanise’ us and bring us some legitimacy.  From this point of view, an initiative like B4U-ACT in the U.S. represents a key development. It would be good see equivalents to this initiative in other countries such as the U.K.

None of this should be taken to suggest that we should stop debating such matters as age of consent laws, the illegality of child erotica and so on amongst ourselves. Nor should we pass up opportunities to quietly influence opinions on these matters outside our own ranks. It is just that this should not be the primary focus of activity at the present time.

Another point that we would do well to remember is that our societies are very primitive with regard to sexuality in general, not just as it relates to young people. One aspect of this is the way that erotic entertainment is looked down on, with the viewing of violence treated as a more legitimate form of activity than the viewing of happy consensual sex. Another is the stigmatisation of sex workers. A third is the fact that an enthusiasm for sex on the part of men is all too easily portrayed as an aspect of women’s oppression. Unless progress is made on these fronts, it is unlikely that we will be seeing acceptance of minor attraction for some considerable time to come.


New Old Format

November 10th, 2010 by The Administrator

Due to a lack of input, we have moved from the quarterly Wiki format (that supported us for five editions and over a year) to the old free blogging format.

Existing authors may have their accounts reactivated on request.

We welcome new authors to request an account – preferably, to email Jim through the forum.


Edition 5 – 1 Mar, 2010

March 1st, 2010 by The Administrator

Edition 5 has been published.

In it, you will find editorials, news, updates and all of the usual topics we have been covering over the last year.

We really need your help to keep this magazine publishing, and to maintain the NewgonWiki website.

Thanks to Pyro for the cover art.


Edition 4 – 1 Dec, 2009

December 1st, 2009 by The Administrator

Edition 4 is now ready for reading!

Within this edition are two response editorials, one on political movements, one on the Age of Consent, information on the latest developments online, in academia and in the news, and some pointers towards recommended reading.


Edition 3 – 1 Sep, 2009

September 1st, 2009 by The Administrator

Edition 3 of Uncommon Sense is published and ready for viewing!

In it, we bring you:

Stephen James’ editorial on Child Erotica and Morality, updates on the state of the movement and academia, news digest from a large number of countries, and recommended reading.

We also invite you to participate in planning, writing and editing the next edition by contacting ncat -(at)- hushmail -(dot)- com. Letters and illustrations are also welcome.


PDFs/en Français

August 31st, 2009 by The Administrator

PDF Copies of both editions are now available:

Uncommon Sense Edition 1 – 16 Feb, 2009: http://newgon.com/w/images/UncommonSense1.pdf

Uncommon Sense Edition 2 – 16 May, 2009: http://newgon.com/w/images/UncommonSense2.pdf

Sens non commun Édition 2:

http://newgon.com/wiki/Sens_non_commun_%C3%89dition_2


Edition 2 – 16 May, 2009

May 15th, 2009 by The Administrator

Edition 2 of Uncommon Sense is available. (En Français)

In it, we bring you:

A great editorial, updates on the state of the movement, news digest from ten countries, updates on what has been said on the various forums, 3 months in “anti pedophilia” and recommended reading.

We also invite you to participate in planning, writing and editing the next edition by contacting ncat -(at)- hushmail -(dot)- com. Letters and illustrations are also welcome.

Thank you to Pantheadoros for creating the attractive cover.


Edition 1 – 16 Feb, 2009

February 16th, 2009 by The Administrator

 

Edition 1 of Uncommon Sense is available.

In it, we bring you:

Two editorials, updates on the state of political movement, news digest from five english-speaking countries, updates on what has been said on the various forums, 3 months in “anti pedophilia” and recommended reading.

We also invite you to participate in planning, writing and editing the next edition by contacting ncat -(at)- hushmail -(dot)- com. Letters and illustrations are also welcome.

Thank you to Pyro for creating the attractive cover.


Proposing, Veiling and Prosecuting Thoughtcrime

January 24th, 2009 by The Administrator

[Reposted from ATC]

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, labelling disapproved thoughts with the term thoughtcrime or, in Newspeak, “crimethink”. In the book, Winston Smith, the main character, writes in his diary: “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.”

In this post, I will present three very real news stories and assess whether in my opinion they constitute thoughtcrime. For the purpose of this article, I will define thoughtcrimes as crimes convicted with laws and/or rationales entailing explicit and deliberate prejudice against the thought processes of a defendant. I do not deny that in reality many child porn convictions are based on faulty rationalisations, leaving no arguable rationale other than thoughtcrime.

1. Concerns over Exeter porn charge man.

“Mr Bennett told the court that other “material” was found at the defendant’s home when it was searched by police. “These images have to be seen against the fact there is clear evidence they are fuelling some very unlawful fantasies,” he said. “This is borne out by the fact that there are artefacts fuelling these fantasies, although fantasies are as far as they go.”"

The prosecutor is suggesting that the defendant’s fantasies are illegal in and of themselves. But as anyone well studied enough in British Law will tell you, there is no law on the statute that can be legitimately used against pedophilic fantasies. Whether through his own stupidity or opportunism, the prosecutor is therefore talking rubbish. It can therefore be concluded that what we are seeing here is a proposed thoughtcrime, and one from a biased, non legislative source at that.

2. Pervert had sick baby fantasy.

“A PERVERT has been jailed for four years for fantasising about kidnapping and raping a baby before strangling it. (…) Lloyd told how he wanted to steal a baby, rape and strangle it before burning the body to destroy DNA evidence. (…) Mr Roberts said: “Lloyd admitted what he said – but said it was stupid fantasy talk and he never meant it. “He told police he had downloaded sexual images and films on to his girlfriend’s computer from the internet but had deleted them.” Lloyd was sentenced to four years in prison for threats to kill and downloading child pornography.”

Whilst Lloyd’s fantasies are sadistic and fundamentally non-pedophilic, they form an important part of our analysis. Despite his suicidal admission to downloading child pornography, Lloyd was also convicted for threats to kill. One can only assume that whilst there was no solid evidence that Lloyd threatened any particular child or was about to victimise one at random, the court nevertheless convicted the “pedophile” with extreme prejudice. This case can not be described as statutory or explicit thoughtcrime due to the good intentions of the law used to convict and the justification given for using it. However, the conviction may be better characterised as a phantom thoughtcrime – not explicitly stated, but implicit in the prejudices of those who lawyered for it.

3. Judge refuses to reduce 48-year prison sentence.

“A Champaign County judge refused Friday to reduce the 48-year prison sentence of a former Urbana teacher convicted of child molestation. (…) Clem sentenced White in early April on eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse to which White pleaded guilty in February. White admitted that he had eight blindfolded girls, about ages 7 to 9, lick sauces off a banana for his own sexual gratification (…) Olmstead argued 48 years was excessive given that the offenses did not involve actual sexual contact, that White never threatened or intimidated the girls, and that his conduct didn’t cause or threaten physical harm. “The acts were made criminal because of what was in his mind, something they couldn’t know,” he said of the victims who played White’s “tasting game.” (…) “Teachers should be safeguarding children in their care. They (children) certainly shouldn’t be reduced to bit players in someone’s sexual fantasies,” the judge said.”

This case differs markedly from the one above. Whilst the charge (sexual abuse) is again, not specifically tailored towards the conviction of thoughts, it is very clear that through the “pedophilic gaze” of the prosecution and judge, White’s thoughts modified a harmless, non-criminal tasting game into an abusive “sexual act”. In deciding whether this case should be described as an explicit thoughtcrime, we may ask ourselves whether there really is anything implicit about redefining “acts” as criminal based on the thought processes of a defendant. On that consideration, only one conclusion is appropriate. From this case alone, we can say that explicit thoughtcrime is alive and well in the United States of America.


The boy who refused to grow up

December 15th, 2008 by The Administrator

What follows is a January 25, 2007 review of Peter Pan, posted to the long-gone BL blog known as Paiderastia.


“I always forget them after I kill them”.

Thus speaks Peter Pan of his opponents in the eponymous novel by J.M. Barrie, and in those words lies all the difference between the original novel and popularized images of it.

Like just about everyone, I grew up more or less knowing who Peter Pan is, but for some reason, I never read any version of the story at the time, and neither, to the best of my ability to recall, did I see any film version. I do remember seeing pictures and models of Peter, and thinking that he was immensely handsome and impressive-looking. And I knew he could fly, which fired my imagination.But I retained a weird gap in my cultural education, and it was not until I saw the 2003 film version of the book that I obtained any clear idea of what the story was really about. I found the film disappointing. As sexy as Jeremy Sumpter was in the lead role, I thought the film rather boring. I got the impression of a perfectly wholesome movie for children under ten, but not something that an adult could take seriously.And so I ended up writing off one of the great classics of children’s literature. I should have known better. We all know what Hollywood tends to do to classic stories. Some committee of politically correct bureaucrats get together, and before you can say ‘Little Mermaid,’ they have transformed a masterpiece of literature into some syrupy, inoffensive piece of fluff that you see, enjoy and then forget.Fortunately, I had the good luck to stumble upon Barrie’s original in the library a week or two ago, and on a whim decided to give it another go.

It was a revelation. I simply could not believe just how different the book was from the film I saw. What made this even more striking is the fact that the film actually stays very close to the main events outlined in the book. And yet it seemed like two completely different stories. In short, the film version, as we have come to expect of Hollywood, is a sentimental, bowdlerized version of Barrie’s original great – and often dark and disturbing – masterpiece.

What made the whole thing even more laughable is that so many critics thought the film version was actually quite daring, since it shows Peter and Wendy kissing. As if such innocent kisses amount to a sort of implied child pornography. In my opinion, the most disturbing thing about the film is just how utterly undisturbing it is. How the hell do they manage to do this, one has to wonder, and why?

The good news is that unexpurgated versions of the book are still, thankfully, available, despite all the efforts of the politically correct. Yes, indeed, Barrie lived in different times, and it shows. Violent battles (the sheer carnage is quite beyond belief!), boys wearing the skins of bears that they themselves dispatched, and a main character who is, to put it mildly, something of a psychopath. Even better, just as with all real psychos, Peter Pan manages to be both creepy and inexpressibly sad at the same time. For all his exuberance and love of adventure, there is also an embittered loneliness and alienation about him, and his tendency to quickly forget even very notable things makes for a confused, fragmented and almost schizophrenic personality.

That all of this was, at the time when it was written, considered perfectly suitable literature for children, tells us something about changing attitudes. I was also struck by how much more mature and even downright ‘difficult’ the writing is, compared to so much of modern children’s literature.

Whole encyclopedias have been written about what the story might tell us about J.M. Barrie himself. Was he a pedophile, or was he really completely uninterested in sex, as many who knew him reported? Does something of his presumed sexual self-repression surface in the novel? There is not really anything overtly sexual about the story, but I have to say I seemed to perceive a sort of vague, half-formed sexuality seething just below the surface, that you cannot quite put your finger on, but seems to be there all the time. But perhaps that says more about me than about the book! This is the ever-present danger in interpreting all texts. One has to wonder though, about a male character in Barrie’s time, in puritanical Britain of all places, who goes about clad only in leaf skeletons and tree sap, and visits sleeping girls in their bedrooms that way.

Many other enigmatic passages are found in the book. What are we to make of Peter’s reply to Hook’s question about what exactly he is? “I am youth, I am joy,” says Peter, and then proceeds to feed Hook to a crocodile. What exactly does Barrie mean by the ‘riddle of his existence?’ Is Barrie just whimsically making all this up as he goes along, or is he hinting at something deeper, or perhaps even doing a bit of both? Did he deeply think through the implications of what it would mean for a child to really never grow up, or is he just having a bit of fun?

Perhaps I am the one who is reading too much into all of this, but I found the character of Peter to be fascinating and disturbing at the same time. His cavalier attitude towards even extreme violence, his egocentrism, the way in which he quickly forgets friends, including even Tinker Bell, and claims ownership of other people’s ideas all make for an altogether frightening and unlikeable character, a sort of clownish but thoroughly terrifying Stalin in drag.

And yet, we end up liking him, and I found myself feeling sorry for him too, when he forgets all about Wendy, and years later visits her only to find that she has gone and grown up. For all the joys of remaining a child forever, there is also a terrible price to pay for it, and his confusion about just who and what he is, and his terrifying nightmares, the content of which are never disclosed in the book, strike a chord that is perhaps more relevant in these times than ever before. I found his world of arbitrary make-believe to be simultaneously magically attractive and repulsively terrifying.

The book has generated some controversy, but for all the wrong reasons. Mostly, modern reviewers are concerned about the somewhat blatant racism and misogyny here and there in the story, but Barrie after all lived in different times, and this is an aspect of the book that should really neither surprise nor offend anyone. I am much more fascinated by Barrie’s portrayal of a child character that is in some respects so empowered and emancipated, but in others still vulnerable and in need of emotional nurturing. Peter and his gang of Lost Boys are indeed very thoroughly lost. That Wendy so quickly becomes their source of strength is actually something of a feminist statement way ahead of its time!

But most of all, what I liked was the sheer complexity of the themes. No simple moral or moralistic little lessons here for young readers. Barrie’s novel confronts them head-on with a confused, fragmented, magical, beautiful, terrifying kaleidoscope of themes and characters, and they have to make of it whatever they can. What a far cry it is from the insipid, sentimental, propagandistic slush that passes for so much of children’s literature today. Peter Pan is great children’s literature not despite its content, but because of it. It is through confronting issues in fiction that we learn to deal with them in real life.

For those who have not read it (and I mean specifically the version written by Barrie himself, not the many expurgated versions that are constantly floating around), I can heartily recommend it.


Next Page »