The night before last, I came into work and was appalled by what I saw on television in a cubicle. A 51-year-old North Carolina man from Morehead City was on "paid suspension" by the Carteret County school system, most recently as a school counselor at an unspecified school, and also in some capacity at Morehead City Primary School and Newport Middle School before that, for taking nude photos of young boys. Unmarried, this man has five adopted "sons", who are likely the subject of the photos, though that was never specified. The oldest boy, 18, has moved out quickly enough, but defends his adopted dad's activities, saying that he believes strongly in nudism, and that nakedness is not bad. Further investigation reveals that he was planning on taking two of his "sons" to a pedophile resort in the area, which has photos of nude children with nude adults on its website, but hasn't been shut down due to vague laws over what is artistic and what is pornographic.
I understand nudist colonies are fairly popular, particularly with the college-age crowd. Now, I have nothing against nudist colonies in general. I think it's a novel idea, but they become labeled "pedophile resorts" by me when they force children to participate as well. I have no problem with consenting adults in a closed colony practicing nudity. I don't care if they have mass orgies, either. It is not something I would choose to do, but hey, life's short and all that. If that's how they want to spend their life, that's all good. It's when they want to bring children into it that I have a problem.
I remember a few years ago I read an article in TIME about a pedophile resort, highlighting a young girl whose parents had been taking her there for years, every summer they'd rent a cabin or apartment or something, and I guess it was only during the summer, because clothes were forbidden. She said that as a kid she didn't mind, it was fun, and she says she was never touched by anybody or forced to perform any sexual acts, but she says as she reached puberty, she wanted to cover up, and not only was it not allowed, it was not tolerated. The resort made a huge deal about it, threatened sanctions against her parents. Being a clever girl, she got ahold of the rules, and found a loophole that said towels could be worn, for example to dry off after coming out of the pool. So she began wearing a towel. And that was all she was allowed to wear. Now what kind of adults would tell a child she can't wear clothes? That pretty much sums up a pedophile to me.
Nude photos - Art, Nature, or Pornography?
A WITN poll, from the same site, asks readers the following question: "A local nudist resort has pictures on its websites of naked adults with naked children. Do you think this practice is appropriate?" Of the 428 who answered yes or no, 77 said yes, this is OK, or appropriate. While I don't doubt some of them were pedophiles, as this story would certainly attract their lot, especially an anonymous poll, I'm sure a good portion would have no sexual attraction to children, yet would answer yes for other reasons. When I was a child, back in the early 1980s, there was no grey area. Parents took nude photos of their children, but it wasn't explicit, and it wasn't in excess at all. It was common practice to have one or two pictures of baby's first bath, in those blue baby tubs they had. My mom sent my wife a picture of me, just having gotten out of the tub, at perhaps age 5 or 6, fully nude from the front. Or was it the one sliding into the kiddie pool? But back then it was considered cute, and innocent, and when I reached school age, the practice stopped immediately, but practice is too strong a word. It wasn't like my parents practiced taking them. But back then, you had to pay for film, and then you had to pay to have the pictures developed and printed. And in being printed, somebody got to look at each one as it came out of the machine. So you couldn't take explicit pictures. Well, you could if you had a Polaroid, but those were specifically low resolution images that did not last long.
Now, it's so much different. Just a couple years ago I remember hearing about a woman who tried to shoot a home video of her 11-year-old daughter in the shower. Took her by surprise and was trying to take closeup shots of her chest, backside, and private areas. The girl was so disgusted, she told her teacher, who called the law. When confronted, the mother said the video was just for family. Family, right. I'm thinking Uncle Craig. As in Craigslist. Yeah, she needed money and was trying to hawk the video online. Family wouldn't want closeups of her chest and private areas. That's not nature, that's not cute or innocent, that is patently pornographic, and it's porn because it focuses on sex. Now, you take - imagine, in your head, a naked girl of about that age, just standing there. Being a decent human being, you don't look her up and down, you look her in the eye - it's not a pornographic scene, it's natural. We're born without clothes, so there's nothing wrong with it. However, same girl, but now she's on her back with her knees up and her legs spread wide open. That isn't natural at all, that is patently pornographic. And there's the difference.
Having not seen the photos this school counselor was busted for having, I can't judge just the photos, but I can say they were sexual in nature. First of all, he's a single guy - no girlfriend or wife to speak of. He lives with five young boys, and forces them to practice nudity in the home. He hasn't adopted any girls, just boys, which shows a preference. Now, nudity in and of itself does not perversion make, and child gender preference does not sexual orientation determine. But when you add them together, what it adds up to is that this guy is a homosexual pedophile. He prefers children, and he prefers them to be the same gender. Homosexuality is a hot issue these days, and I have nothing against homosexuals who prefer adults. That's all good with me. But homosexual pedophiles, I hate just as much as heterosexual pedophiles. Because it doesn't matter if they abuse boys or girls, or both, I hate 'em just the same. But because he prefers, possibly requires that they be male - he hasn't adopted any girls - that makes it sexual. Now that doesn't mean that if he had adopted kids of both genders and forced them all to strip for him that it wouldn't be sexual, but the addition of a gender preference does help to quantify things. There are undoubtedly bisexual/omnisexual pedophiles out there.
Art as Safe Haven for Pedophiles?
When I got home the next morning, I fired up my Firefox browser, and saw Google's response to the controversy. They say a picture speaks a thousand words; worked into the Google logo was a painting of a woman holding a nude girl of about 8 or 9 years old, with just a cloth covering her lap. I'm sure it's a coincidence, Google being a Mountain View, CA company, some 3,500 miles from Morehead City, NC, but their point is made just the same. Porn isn't pornographic sometimes, if it's art.
When I was a young teenager, I had a few Penthouse magazines hidden away in my closet. I got them from my best friend, who stole them from his dad. His dad kept them in the bathroom in a cupboard without a lock. We were 13, he'd sneak them over to my place in his backpack, and he and my brother and I would gather in my walk-in closet, which was like a fort back then, and we'd all giggle over the bare breasts and genitals. It was great. And he'd let me keep some, too. One, I remember, weirded me out because it had a little history article where it was talking about how in the 1800s, it was common practice for the wealthy to have nude portraits done of their children. Nothing explicit at all, and the one they had featured a girl of about 10 or 11, sitting on a rock, like at the beach, with her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms around her knees. Her arms covered her chest, and she was sitting at an angle, so you couldn't see between her legs. I was glad the picture was small, maybe a square inch at the most.
A few years later, one of my cousins became obsessed with anime, and to this day he, his brothers, and my aunt still are. Very strange lot. Anyway, one of my cousins puts in this videotape, it's an anime about three crime-fighting sisters, and all I can remember is their names started with A, B, and C, and they rhymed. Anyway, this scene he thought was so cool, had this girl of about six get out of a swimming pool, go into the changing room, strip out of her bathing suit, and get dressed. Of all the ways I could think of to do it tastefully (aside from not doing it at all), they avoided, and I was pretty disgusted. I thought he had something illegal on his hands, but it turns out that because it was animated, and not involving real kids, while distasteful, it was legal. And that makes sense. Nobody's really being hurt, freedom of speech and all that. "If you don't like it, don't look at it" and all that. Fine. I don't like it, so I don't look at it. As a more popular example, I hear the original Japanese Sailor Moon got away with the same stuff. (Well, OK, I've seen it, an anime music video I've seen shows a clip. It's bad. Worse, I bet I could find it on YouTube. Yep, I think I see it. Search YouTube for "Jerry Springer Weird Al" and look for the boy with the dazed-out eyes. I didn't want a clever IT nerd at the servers seeing a search for Sailor Moon in my net history, otherwise my search would have been more specific.)
Lastly, I saw a program on Showtime named "Sex and the Silver Screen" in which they covered the crackdown on underage sex and nudity in the late 1970s. Reportedly, movies made before this time featured children in nude scenes to softcore sexual situations, and this was stopped by the 1980s. However, because the films in question were made before the law was passed, the movies are legal, and are still available to this day, even remastered on DVD. And every now and then, those movies and movies with similar content produced in other countries (including a popular one from Italy) are discussed on movie forums, and one has to wonder about the fans of these movies. I called some out rather recently, actually, and these guys got pretty defensive, their arguments basically boiling down to "you normals wouldn't understand". I've come to believe that topics like, "Hey, anybody like (such and such movie)?" are generally a sort of gathering call, I don't know if they're swapping email addresses to trade the "real stuff" (meaning the hardcore porn), or what, I don't know, but it's a good bet it's a gathering of perverts.
I've always thought of myself as an advocate or ambassador to kids, and I certainly like spending time with them, and listening to what they have to say about various topics, and I love helping them learn, but no, I don't understand the attraction. Even if you can justify the attraction, it has to go both ways, and then you have to have consent. The consent must also be informed, and a preteen is incapable of making the level of informed consent to engage in sex. Furthermore, there are physical dangers, not just risks, certain internal parts which are not developed enough, not large enough, to handle sex. So there is no way, shape, or form that it can ever not be abuse, and abuse of the worst kind, and while these perverts may try to tell themselves (or others, e.g. on forums) that they love the kids, they're not fooling anybody, probably not even themselves. And I've always thought of it as natural, as human nature, to be somewhat defensive of kids. So when I hear of people advocating abuse in any form, or saying it doesn't matter, I wonder if they're somehow less than human.