Psychologist needed: Ownership culture run amok


There is nothing like the perversity of prudish sexual obsession to shake off the doldrums after a couple of unproductive weeks. When you make the mistake of laughing so hard that your daughter asks you what’s up, and, well, she’s five years old, it’s not like you really want to explain the joke at this point. So you end up saying something mitigating. I came up with, “Silly people. Silly people.”

Let us hop back a few years to Le’a Kent’s examination of homophobia and politics, called “‘Abnormal, Wrong, Unnatural and Perverse:’ Taking the Measure (9) of the Closet“, written in the wake of the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance failed 1992 effort to institutionalize Christian bigotry in that state. Ms. Kent quoted Judith Butler:

Elsewhere in her discussion of Helms’s legislation, Butler delineates the same slide from homosexuality to pedophilia to sadomasochism that informs Measure 9:

Courtney McAlpin, 14, of Minneapolis, listens as her father, Steve, reads a pledge in which he vows to protect her sexual and moral purity.  (Photo by Kevin Moloney for The New York Times)“The exploitation of children” comes [immediately after sadomasochism in the text of Helms’s legislation], at which point I begin to wonder: what reasons are there for grouping these three categories together? Do they lead to each other, as if the breaking of one taboo necessitates a virtual riot of perversion? Or is there, implicit in the sequencing and syntax of this legal text, a figure of the homosexual, apparently male, who practices sadomasochism and preys on young boys, or who practices sadomasochism with young boys, a homosexuality which is perhaps defined as sadomasochism and the exploitation of children? Perhaps this is an effort to define restrictively the sexual exploiter of children as the sadomasochistic male homosexual in order, quite conveniently, to locate the source of child sexual abuse outside the home, safeguarding the family as the unregulated sexual property of the father?

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