Skip to comments.Scratch a rock star, and you're sure to find a victim trying to get out
Posted on 01/12/2003 3:34:36 PM PST by MadIvan
When the news headlines bizarrely announced that Pete Townshend says he is not a paedophile, my first reaction was to wonder if there was anything sad celebrities would not do to get their picture in the papers.
We dont know (and some of us are not much interested in) exactly what The Who guitarist has done, or what was going through his head while he was completing his research into child pornography on the Internet. The only thing he has been found guilty of so far is idiocy, for using his credit cards to access child porn websites.
But it is already clear that the unfolding Townshend affair is a story for our times, revealing much about the sordid obsessions of contemporary culture. It involves the sort of things that, while not exactly news, are guaranteed to make headlines: celebrities with a troubled past of drug addictions and marital strife, allegations of child abuse, salacious glimpses of Internet pornography. It is enough to make the death of The Whos bassist John Entwistle last year, after a night of cocaine-fuelled sex with a Las Vegas stripper, sound like an uplifting tale of human liberation.
The Townshend story has been framed by the prevailing climate of prurient curiosity about child sex abuse. The resources invested in Operation Orr, the UK-wide drive to arrest 7,000 people whose credit card details were found on a long-defunct American website, tell us much about policing priorities. More striking still is the way that this ongoing police inquiry into child pornography has been conducted through the media, with reports of each fresh arrest of a judge, a deputy head-teacher, a policeman involved in the Soham murders case. The press seemed to know that Townshend was in the frame before he did.
Townshends response, and the reaction to it, was equally revealing. Winona Ryders claim that she had shoplifted only for research purposes was laughed out of court. Yet Townshends similar story has been treated far more sympathetically, mainly because the statement that he released contains the magic words I believe I was sexually abused between the age of five and six-and-a-half.
The sudden confession that you believe you were abused as a child has become a sort of fashion statement for celebrities, especially those in need of some sympathetic publicity.
Townshends statement suggests that, although he cannot remember clearly what happened to him as a boy, it has shaped his life. He implies that his interest in child pornography is part crusade it is part of my duty, knowing what I know, to act as a vigilante and part therapy to try to deal openly with my anger and vengeance towards the mentally ill people who find paedophilic pornography attractive.
This babble immediately sent the pop psychologists off searching for evidence in Townshends defence, wondering whether the abusive Uncle Ernie character in The Whos rock opera Tommy was based on a real paedophile who stalked the stars own wretched childhood, and whether the ritualised violence of his guitar smashing on stage had poisoned roots in his past.
There is something more than the reputation of individuals at risk in this obsession with abuse. It risks destroying the self-image of our society. There has always been a dark side to some peoples behaviour. But we have not always suffered such a one-sided preoccupation with the most degraded aspects of the human condition.
The automatic assumption underlying todays discussion is that people cannot be trusted; that abusive relationships are the rule rather than the exception; that we are all in some way victims or violators, and probably both if we look far enough within. The crackpot theories of the Recovered Memory movement might have been discredited, but its broad assumptions about how hidden abuse determines peoples destinies continue to influence the public debate.
One Sunday report noted that Tommy, the story of a disabled boy abused by a succession of sadists and thugs, offers an unremittingly bleak view of humanity. More than 30 years on, bleak is the new black, and Tommys time would seem to have come. Townshends claim that he has long predicted that the Internet would be used to subvert, pervert and destroy the lives of decent people is equally resonant today, when we are often depicted as hapless objects at the mercy of technology, blank disks on to which the evil e-pornographers can transfer their perversions.
I, too, have a confession to make. I own a personal computer, a credit card, and an Internet account. Presumably this means that I, too, must be teetering atop the slippery slope to shame. Where are those vigilantes when you need one?
Subvert, pervert and destroy decent people? Countless millions of we "decent people" manage to go on line without the first thought of going over to kiddie porn sites. As for doing *research*, what an obscene hoot. He's no qualified expert, he was there because it INTERESTED him and all the excuses are BS. The fact that anyone could feel sympathetic toward his plight only tells you how far we've fallen.
My career's over...
Downloaded child porn...
Was just for research!!!
I sing this song for my crazy addiction...
I sing this song for 8 year old heineys!
I sing this song for my medical condition!
I sing this song for boobies... 12 year old boobies!
And don't forget the revised lyrics to "You Better, You Bet"
When I see a young boy I grab some BUTTER!!!
"You butter, you butter his butt!!!"
Or "Let my teeth open your drawers.."
(Apologies to Col. Bat Guano)
My recollection as well. It seems to me that an awful lot of homosexuals were sexually abused as children. Then they grow up and start feeling sexual attraction for children and/or for straight men.
Before anyone jumps down my throat for that, let me just add that on the TV show "Will and Grace", the Jack character makes almost weekly jokes about his attraction to straight men. He is open about trying to seduce them. Apparently, its very funny.
Yeah right. I couldn't get a few medical texts on the subject from the public library, I had to surf porn sites with my credit card to be a vigilante. A perv by any other name still smells the same.
America's Fifth Column ... watch Steve Emerson/PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
New Link: Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)
Yes... that certainly does sound funny. Leave it to today's crop of crack TV sitcom writers to come up with such a side-splitting and novel idea.
Oh, I'm sorry! My own sarcasm threw me off- what I meant to type was "today's crock of crap TV sitcom writers."
I wonder how many people actually DO find that kind of thing funny, because I don't know any who would honestly admit it. Maybe I'm lucky. As for Pete, I think my enthusiasm for The Who has come to the end of a run that started when I bought the then newly-released "Who's Next."
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