Polanski’s popularity got you scratching your head? Kevin Jenning’s continued employment as the Safe Schools Czar boggling your brain? Then perhaps you’re one of those un-hip, tight-arsed Americans who have yet to embrace the cool cultural concept of Pedophilia Chic.
Mary Eberstadt, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University, identified this latest trend oozing its way through the American zeitgeist back in 1996. Her article, Pedophilia Chic, appeared in the Weekly Standard in June of that year, giving the name to the latest smarmy representation of American sexual consumerism.
…even as the public rhetoric about protecting America’s children has reached deafening levels, a number of enlightened voices have been raised in defense of giving pedophilia itself a second look. After all, or so some of these voices have suggested, what if pedophilia is in fact a victimless crime? What if teenagers, and even children, are more in control of their emotions, their bodies, their sexuality, than the rest of us think? What if sexual relations with adults are actually “empowering” to the young? What if pedophiles and would-be pedophiles are in fact victims themselves, exploited by the cunning young people they befriend?
Eberstadt succinctly characterizes the new hip and with-it indulgence of American progressive culture in its attempts to tag adult/child sexual abuse and its pornographic obsessions as smart, stylish, and fashionable. The media, and the market it serves, shrugs its shoulders with greedy indifference. After all, the rationale goes, kids today are independent sexual free spirits, encased within their own sub-culture, and primed with Mommy and Daddy’s ready cash and credit. So why shouldn’t precocious teens and preteens get their groove on with an older, wiser, altruistic adult? And what about the ‘rights’ of all those paternalistic predators?
There are also the matters of civil liberty. Is it fair to send people to jail for owning, trading, and obsessively consuming child pornography when no one is really injured by such practices? And what about the notion of an “age of consent”? Isn’t it an anachronism, in this age of adolescent sexual precocity? Shouldn’t it be lowered to a more realistic standard? Say, to fourteen? Thirteen? Twelve?
Back in 1996, Eberstadt saw these cultural warning signs not so much as a troubling trend, but as quirky isolated phenomena: “the last gasp of a nihilism that has exhausted itself by chasing down every other avenue of liberation, only to find one last roadblock still manned by the bourgeoisie.”
But by 2001, Eberstadt had a more foreboding view of the adult/child sexual agenda. In an article entitled Pedophilia Chic Revisited, Eberstadt cites the academic and scientific platforms offered to the pedophilia apologists and concludes that it is the male homosexual pursuit of boys that is driving the pedophilia debate.
…contemporary efforts to rationalize, legitimize, and justify pedophilia are about boys. Forget about abstractions like nihilism; what the record shows is something more prosaic. The reason the public is being urged to reconsider boy pedophilia, is that this ‘question’, settled though it may be in the opinions and laws of the rest of the country, is demonstrably not yet settled within certain parts of the gay rights movement.
Eberstadt gives a good account of the literary, academic, and media mouthpieces who have trumpeted this New Age gobbledigook. And she is right to point the finger at the gay community. Even today, Gay Incorporated, the community’s non-for-profit patrician class, has been prone to hedge and howl over this issue, haughtily dismissing it as just another anti-gay assault.
But does Pedophilia Chic target boys only? I don’t think so. The Polanski case demonstrates there is a twisted rationale running through the progressive ranks that pooh-poohs the sexual abuse of girls depending on who the male perpetrator turns out to be. Eberstadt is correct though when she states that much of the momentum behind the current reinvention of the sexual predator persona is powered by a male lust for boys. Unlike the predator-driven market for girls, boys are being stalked by predators who are hiding under the cloak of an officially classified victim group. And it is under the gay victim umbrella that many of these predators and their apologists attempt to redefine and rehabilitate the image of man/boy sexual exploitation.
When the openly gay French Cultural Minister, Frederic Mitterrand, penned a supposedly autobiographical novel several years ago in which his protagonist reveled in the availability of boy prostitutes at his disposal in the Bangkok, Thailand brothels, the book was greeted with acclaim and best seller fame. A gallant gay hero finding his self-worth slumming in the streets of Bangkok, shopping for the bodies of little boys. How absolutely empowering! I’m sure Monsieur Mitterrand’s apologists felt that this biblio-paragon of the gay male prerogative was committing an act of heart-felt charity as he indulged his Search For Self in the rear ends of little boys. The cold and brutal reality of a wealthy white Euro-male jetting to a Third World slum to use, abuse, and rape Asian boys who live in abject poverty, well, somehow such a graphic and despicable scenario never penetrated the so, so superior European psyche.
Pedophilia Chic, along with the vacuous rationalizations of victim privilege, keeps the likes of Kevin Jennings banking a government paycheck and explains the unrepentant Roman Polanski receiving all those seasonal best wishes. The gorge of sexual consumerism and its cannibalizing of children, all in the service of a self-deluded progressive paradise, have created the hottest sexual commodity on the market today: our kids.