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Sexual Offense in California
by Citizen Sane
07 Jul 2010
Sexuality and eroticism has always been “offensive” to somebody. Especially is this so in the landing of the European Blue Nose, which descended here in Native America from a long Christian paranoia of anything erotic and unclean. Even the devil was associated with illicit sex-and of course so were witches. But where is this psychology of “erotophobia” mentioned in California’s latest crusade against anything that falls under the rubric of “sexual offender?”
Sexual Offender as Label and the Zealotry of California’s Self-Righteous
By Citizen Sane
Sexuality and eroticism has always been “offensive” to somebody. Especially is this so in the landing of the European Blue Nose, which descended here in Native America from a long Christian paranoia of anything erotic and unclean. Even the devil was associated with illicit sex-and of course so were witches. But where is this psychology of “erotophobia” mentioned in California’s latest crusade against anything that falls under the rubric of “sexual offender?”
To feel offended is often very much a subjective notion. Take, for example, the original intent of the meaning molest. Molest originally meant that which was irritating, vexing or annoying; which naturally was subject to the whims of the personality interpreting an event or series of events. But now, due both to the ease at which practically anything sexual in nature, such as an invite or complement, can be taken as offensive, as well as a “misandrist” prejudice, the word molest must now mean something “men” mostly do as accused, and with this broad brushstroke of a word, as something very antisocial. This is to say this hobgoblin word, like the word sexual offender itself, gives the connotation that one has done the worst of things imaginable.
Yet, somehow the attitude for some citizens thus goes, after more legislation has been proposed, and in process of being enacted (Assembly Bill 1844 Chelsea’s Law), in California following the recent rape and killings by one John Gardener, a sexual offender released from prison and not very closely and competently monitored by the system, is that everyone, that is everyone thought to be a “good” citizen of the state of California, ought be able to live in a Utopian world in which “no one” feels offended—especially sexually offended—and this idealism should reside no matter how arbitrary and contradictory the propensity to feel offended may seem.
Certainly the case was well made about a violent repeat offender going bad and good social policy not actively in place, but this campaign has been extended to brand the phrase “sexual offender” as one who is not only capable of vicious acts, but likely to do it repeatedly, and this paranoia of terminology tends to assume, by some, that no sexual offender can ever go good or is deserving of a second chance. There has been much press, pressure and editorializing to come down hard on the sexual offender—since this new twist on terrorist psychology, that now is of sex, is to paint the word “offense” as the equivalent of absolute evil—so that the very notion of the phrase brings a Pavlovian response to the most unconscious of animal.
Notwithstanding, there exists from time to time obviously vicious and heinous crimes within huge statistical populations, as well as smaller—as the recent episodes show; but, there are many more sexual acts, or transgressions under such a rubric, that are far from vicious and heinous. Yet due to America’s latent extremism of moral Puritanism, including a long smoldering secular and feminist Puritanism that is when it came to attitudinalizing about men, one too often sees what one’s personality wants to see—and what some want to see is the criminalization of male sexual intent everywhere.
The mainstream media made the John Gardner murders a 9-11 catastrophic event—big headlines, big front page pictures, many stories, continuously stirring up anger, paranoia and despair. And needless to say, the event helped sell newspapers and news advertising for flagging reader rates. Nothing was spared to highlight the trauma and infuse a sense of alarm in the community of southern California.
This is not to argue that the investigative journalism was primarily political or having ulterior motives as some serious flaws in the system were revealed to the public. Nor is such a story not newsworthy—obviously it was—but there were other factors behind the scenes at play, and we shall touch of some of them.
Meanwhile the current legislation that is being hammered out in Sacramento increases penalties for “51” offences. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Ignacio Hernandez, spokesperson for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice called it “extreme over-reaching.” Supposedly now as tradeoff change is reclassifying “petty theft” as a mere year in jail without longer prison time to make more room for sexual offenders in prisons for longer periods of stay. But no one in this dear Christian country was, or is, asking why were petty thieves doing long-term prison terms in the first place? Obviously it has nothing to do with a thuggish prison guard union that even the hulk Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t face down? Nor does it have anything to do with the dark side of Christianity’s terrorist psychology of locking prisoners in hell and throwing away the keys.
But what has been particularly evident is the way the phrase “sexual offender” gets bandied around. Somehow the Gardner story that kept being played like watching the twin towers burning over and over again day after day was to equate all sexual offenders with unmitigated evil. California has thousands of offenders but a much smaller minority of them are classified as dangerous—but this point was not made. The point that was made is that potential rapists and murders are lurking everywhere, and that new laws had to be enacted.
Yet even the word “lewdness” suggests behavior that “affronts” a person’s sensibilities—but this word too is subject to personal and cultural prejudice. Remember how embarrassing it was that the mainstream media blew up the Janet Jackson nipple-gate affair making a mountain out of a nipple-hill while the rest of the world was more taken aback about how hung-up Americans get on trivial matters? After all trivial things affect trivial minds—and only the Great One knows how many that might include—but bet for sure no small number.
Still we are not talking about trivial matters. Rather we are discussing society’s social policies and attitudes toward people who have committed criminal offenses—some very serious; and yet in the process of doing so, out comes a broader, although unspoken, and often unacknowledged set of attitudes about sex and gender in general—and various attitudes and prejudices related to gender and one’s sexual orientation—somehow all wrapped up in this psychology of feeling offended.
And never mind that some people have great capacity to find things to feel offended when little is truly provocative. They will sniff through more and more dirty laundry, like some kind of fishing trip, just to find something—because they can’t feel alive unless they have something to complain or get hysterical about. But there was always that fanatic who wanted to personally watch videos so as to censure what was considered pornographic so as to put curfews on “other” people.
But more to the point it is sex itself, or the desire for erotic experience, which is often what really aggravates some souls—especially if that desire is not within the context of monogamy or marriage. What is not tainted to those who find all manner of sexual connotation distasteful? And this prejudice too plays into this latest politics of castigating the so-called sexual offender.
As already alluded to, there is, and has been so for some time, an “enormous” amount of prejudice against men in the United States that has never been honestly addressed or debated regarding the so-called battle of the sexes—making this prejudice all the more insidious. (When is this culture going to have such a debate?) Yet how often do you here people openly discussing fear or prejudice of men? Nevertheless we are supposed to pretend that society’s attitudes and prejudices have nothing to do with how “offence” is categorized in a broader scheme of things?
Take the simple comparison of the use of the word misogyny versus misandry. How much more often does misogyny prevail as to categorize some men’s hostility to women—but hardly ever is there recognition of the opposite word that does not even appear in some dictionaries? This is a clear indication that things were not fair, to accuse a male of hatred of women if he was critical of women, whereas if women were critical of men—well that’s just because men are so blatantly deserving?
At least since Gloria Steinem “chose” to dress as a sexual object—that is to play a playboy bunny—men have been hearing epithets like sexist pig, male chauvinist, etc., although with much less frequency. But this is no small point however, because even to this very day there are plenty of women who still maintain their prejudices, and often enough to a hypocritical level. There are plenty of middle aged women who still hold the same resentful attitudes they learned to have decades ago—learning to blame men for damn near everything one didn’t like about the world. For example they made sure everyone was aware women didn’t get to vote until recently but completely glossed over the fact that the same was true for most men through much of history. (And Glorious Gloria was not in the top tier of playboy beauty, probably had a chip on her shoulder that was less than rational, and most likely too intellectual to compete with the so-called dumb bunnies—c’est le vie.)
All of this sex-as-minefield mentality was a long psychology of rejection of men who didn’t play the politically correct game. Or what about women who dress in very tight outfits, such as going to a yoga class, and if a male is, so-called, “staring” at her, or so-called “gawking” at her (men are so untoward) then it is totally his “male” problem? And yet this is a real attitude for many people—so willing to see him as a sexual offender of some sort. It had nothing to do with her “choice” of deliberately dressing as exhibitionist and creating the scene in the first place. Or the woman who sunbathes with a Band-Aid for a bikini at a public space and then acting ssooo irritated that a guy would approach her to attempt to socialize—how offensive it must feel—that she must be the snob inside so as to snub him? Or the lady jogging in her skintight latex, with her jugs jigging and hind assets bouncing while some guy says something mildly suggestive and she acts ssooo affronted! (Yet we should pity those who have criminalized all sexual innuendo by men, so they cannot imagine such erotic need for themselves, and are then left only to play the high and dry sadist.)
But this is not to argue women who dress sexually provocative are somehow doing something negative—it’s only when their attitude is so hypocritical. The point is there is a lot of double standard when it comes to labeling what is considered “perverse” or unacceptable in this society. More importantly there is a slippery slope for some too willing to see any kind of sexual offense as an obvious pattern toward worst criminality—as some suggests. It is a similar argument that if you smoke marijuana it will obviously lead to worst drug use and crime.
But apparently there exists some predictive wisdom for social scientists to assume sexual propensity will go to more extreme pattern? Yet few do-gooders even recognize their own sexual hang-ups or desire to humiliate or dominate others—even if they cannot do it physically. And more poignantly plenty of people who go into the helping professions such as psychology, and even including journalism, and eventually become counseling therapists, haven’t even got their own mental health together enough—yet they want to go out as save the planet—never realizing how much they “project” their stuff and presumptions onto others. And this reality of broken people and authoritarian personalities training to be therapists is not rare.
Or take a recent tidbit in the “gossip section” of the local newspaper (page two for the serious reader who needs that quick dose of celebrity tabloidism) that a Hollywood actor, we need not mention the name, had not updated his sexual offender registration status. This gossip section went on to delineate that he was arrested for having a 14 year old boy pose for sexually explicit photos. Whether this incident is or is not offensive is not the issue. Clearly this was meant as a shaming act of humiliation on the part of the mainstream media—because where there is humiliation there is often one who chooses to play the part of the humiliator. Yet one wonders how many shallow people who work the pathway from rumor-mongering paparazzi to mainstream media are likely to read something like Wendell Berry’s “Shame: The rediscovery of what some psychologists regard as the primary cause of emotional stress” in The Atlantic Feb 1992, or Toni M. Massaro’s “The Meaning of Shame: Implications for Legal Reform” from the University of Arizona (published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law 1997, Volume 3, No.4 pages 645-704)? Probably not.
No one voted any media person into some office of officialdom? Where do news people and editors get some idea they speak for other people or they have some right to punish others? Many of these people act as jacks of all trades and masters of none—yet they feel themselves the experts on damn near everything. Yet 99% of mainstream media of the United States did not mention the International Red Cross revelation, thousands of press releases, that dozens of people were murdered in the process of being tortured by U.S. sponsored gulag archipelago renditions to foreign countries known for human rights abuse—meanwhile they kept playing the same meme to debate whether water-boarding was truly torture or not. (see ProjectCensored.org)
Where, for example, is the awareness building that some social scientists have found a strong correlation between episodes of humiliation and retaliatory violence—that is if society is concerned about sexual violence—which it should be? (see Thomas Scheff’s “Emotions and Violence:” and “Bloody Revenge.”) Yet violence after episodes of feeling humiliated happens all the time. Take Israeli treatment of Palestinians day after day, week after week, and year after year—it’s almost as if this is a deliberate policy to ensure more insecurity and therefore more guilt-tripping and blackmail for more money flow (see Occupation101.com). Or take how some American military treatment of some Muslims—especially in war such as in Afganistan. Stanley Manning is now in a heap of trouble for revealing some of this. (see Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com) Nevertheless if you humiliate long enough you’re pretty much guaranteed to find some who want to gain revenge and blowback (see Chlamers Johnson’s “Blowback”).
Yet some peoples’ idea of treating “sexual offenders” is to humiliate them as much as possible with never-ending public exposure and making sure they have no means to a job, livelihood, or a place to live, or any kind of social life; by broadcasting where they live to every potential persecutor and personal avenger, and to make them carry special tags on their IDs, and to have tons of information forcefully posted on the Internet in an atmosphere of more and more paranoia, etc.
These rally calls against sexual predators of late, which is a serious issue that deserves serious consideration and reform for the minority of offenders who truly are vicious, is also a call for some, especially by populists, as present opportunity to find a political foothold to find new scapegoats, that is the so called perverts, and to thus avoid other more complicated political and social issues. There are a lot of issues some people don’t want to address—such as welfare of warfare—and this need to find scapegoats has always been a political reality. Now we have an emotional issue to steer tension as condemnation of sexual proclivity, which has always been part and parcel of a totalitarian agenda.
Take for example, the right-wing’s war against the Commie Pinko was an insinuation that if you have any kind of “feminine” compassion or sympathy for hearing the other side of an issue you were some kind of unmanly low-life of sorts and pink—because obviously real men don’t have feelings and don’t identify with outsiders. Their propaganda war against feeling, sensitivity and insecurity is such a method to exact conformity by those who have a need to prove how tough they are—like the Bush administration’s Neocon-artist chicken-hawks—the people who had a secret agenda already in place for a 9-11 like event—and so convenient ready to destroy constitutional guarantees).
Yet today people are upset with the status quo and they want change—but it is almost always change that effects others and for short-term benefit. Well Wall Street doesn’t want the heat, and since homosexuals are no longer an easy mark—as they have got organized since homosexuality motivated the rise of the moral majority in the first place—now the emphasis can be on the sexual “predators” (which doesn’t mean female prostitutes exploiting sexually deprived men for money—especially since feminism had so successfully created a psychology that men are the predators and women are the victims—or you are accused as “blaming” the victim).
Again obviously some forms of predation are highly offensive to morality and such propensities should be confronted. Murder and brutal violence is serious danger. And anger and indignation were certainly appropriate responses on the part of the family and friends of both Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.
But there is a lot of gray between the black and white when it comes to who and what is defining appropriate or tolerable standards of sexual behavior and solicitation. For example, is it not a form of aggression to put on lipstick that highlights one’s lips of mucous membrane as provocative to hormone stimulation? And is it not true men are more susceptible to visual cues of eroticism on average—which is why there is more market for male pornography? Yet when some feminists argued against “aggressive” looks, that is the eyes as violating, they did not equally discuss the choices of provocation such as feminine attire that catches the eye, like pantyhose, tight hip-huggers, high heels and other designs calculated to attract the eye’s attention?
Recently at a party, a supposedly sophisticated woman in her late 30s or early 40s, of college bearing, was wearing a see-through long skirt with a thong, showing off her assets, and a guy says: “you have a gorgeous ass” and so she complained about his verbal remark. Here is an example of a guy responding in turn to a scenario she set in motion. Granted her garment had a hue of rich blue so one had to glance twice to verify he was actually seeing through to the gorgeousness of the matter, but why was this even considered offensive—especially since her “goddess” asset really was correctly adjective/ objectified? What is even wrong with openly admiring a sexy part of her anatomy as worthy of a complement—especially when the so-called victim made it so obvious? Yet few would call her response offensive? Why?
Why is it OK for a woman to dress sexually alluring in public and yet when she gets attention that she dressed for from a person she didn’t want it—she points the finger at him—as if to say, “I can do whatever I want and act as arbitrary as I wish—too bad your not the man I was dressing for?” Obviously not all men are equal. But more importantly what does such an attitude signify besides it is OK for women to act spoiled and that only men are responsible for the consequences, intended or not, of their actions? That you have no right as a male to be honestly sincere in stating who you really are or what are your interests, or that you are a sexually sensitive being who appreciates sexual titillation. Rather you are supposed to act like you do not notice—that is don’t be spontaneous or real. Rather be artificial and phony, allowed to admire from a psychological distance, as with a poker face. Just don’t think it OK for men to assume the equivalent of that song “girls just want to have fun.”
And yet this is how plenty of sexual harassment policies in the work place are written—that is if you say something verbally or make certain gestures that a male is likely to be provoked—it is called harassment. But few of these harassment policies focus on more covert actions that might elicit such provocations in the first place. Nothing sexist here mind you.
Therefore when people think of sexual offenders they don’t think of women. For the most part their reflex is automatically to see men as culpable and to often assume the worst. But more importantly why has there never been a fair debate on how much prejudice and paranoia existed, now over the decades, against men in this society? Nobody talks of andro-phobia or any kind of intolerance of men being men?
What does it mean to be a male animal in this politically correct anti-culture, so that one does not feel one has to fit into some gyno-centric value system—that is where one gender dominates in defining the ideas of reality and sociability? Or is it too lowly to recognize one’s animal nature? Surely it has nothing to do with the still ingrained idea that the phenomenon of lust is somehow a bad and indecent thing? Surely our society has surpassed that guilt-trip?
But even before these latest episodes of sexual rape and murder here in California you could note that “plenty” of women were already very leery of wanting to interact with men as strangers. There already existed a lot of fear and prejudice of men—especially men who did not appear to make it into the ranks of the successful (with the job title, clothes, salary and who the media honors as good citizens of value—movers and shakers in the business community and sports stars.) If you move to a new community, as a stranger, with no previous ties, don’t expect many local women to just love you being alive.
In another words most women don’t go out of their way to meet a man unless he drives a status car, or has a high paying job, and is handsome, and hangs out at the right places like a marina—where they can expect he has a boat. It was always OK to think of men as “success objects.” As a nation of consumers most women know the names of the status cars, clothes, etc. and where to meet the men they want to interact—otherwise there are plenty of cold shoulders.
And despite the demand for equality these last decades there was never any kind of equality of a woman buying a man a drink or asking him to dance—not in the United States. How many women ask men for dates? How many concerts or plays have you been invited to? The average male just couldn’t shake the status of having all those chinks in his armor—no doubt hiding away somewhere. Being male carried too much negative baggage—at least as the stereotypes were compounded.
Now it seems some people want “all” sexual offenders to be databased, with all kinds of personal information so they are minutely profiled, and all this information should be made available to all elements of the world on reports written on them or what some so-called experts or correction personal wrote about them—and of course they never get it wrong—especially in the subjective world of opinion.
One big discovery of this released murdered Gardner was “not” diagnosed as a high-risk offender. But you can bet now practically every offender from here on will be so diagnosed as high-risk—that is anyone with half a heart beat or less than 85 years old. These people are not going to err on the wrong side of this politic stakes game—which was to revamp a whole system—not simply to look at violent offenders.
But of course the mainstream media would never have a fanatical need to use sexual information on another as a weapon against potentially perceived enemies? They would never highlight the latest scandal if it helped destroy a political career like a Bill Clinton or Gary Hart or numerous others? No they are far much too fair-minded! Certainly they should have access to unlimited information on anyone—since we never know where they invest their money—or who or what they really represent? (see “Operation Mockingbird” and ask yourself how long are you going to remain chained to a rock in Plato’s cave—isn’t it time to finally realize what you see are shadows of puppets projected on a wall—that is the propaganda your country’s intelligence services are using against its own citizens—and using your tax dollars to bribe people to do whatever they want as “false flag” operations—that is working solely for the very wealthy, the military industrial complex, energy industries, banking industries, and including special interests such as right-wing Zionism that not only twisted our arm to go to war with Iraq but is setting up the “same” pattern of propaganda so we go to war with Iran?)
For example, the mainstream media would never gratuitously print a wire story “again” accusing Scott Ritter of Internet interaction with a women pretending to be a teenager—since Scott Ritter was once again, that is one of the very few with the courage, warning the American people that these latest accusations against Iran’s nuclear buildup, like his warnings that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction (and who would better had known), were manufactured propaganda with a disguised agenda. What happened with that story and where is “his” access to an open media to state his side of the issue? Not even pseudo-progressives seem to now care that such a courageous man has been seemingly silenced, or smeared and now ignored into oblivion, while the U.S./Israel continues to push the world into a major world war—that could be very catastrophic—especially now that the U.S. has “no” real friends—while it has alienated many.
And of course we “all” had an absolute need to know the details of Tiger Woods private life and choices? Its not like this story was good for selling news advertising? More importantly we all had a “right” to receive an apology from Tiger Woods regarding his obvious character faults as a “cheater” of women. Yes it made headlines—Tiger Woods apologized to the world, and there were discussions as to whether he was sincere. Yet you absolutely know none of those “intuitive” women were nothing if not victims. It wasn’t their fault they hung around places where people like Woods might be. It is not their fault that Tiger found their presence alluring—surely none dropped their panties for his knighthood to stoop down and return? Surely those women would just as easily have fallen “victim” to the less wealthy, less famous, and the less handsome? Surly we Americans would never dream of expecting their female apologies for victimizing an Afro-American male trying to make it in the white world of gulf? They couldn’t possibly have done a little due diligence and checked the Internet on so famous a celebrity to see if he was not already married or engaged? But there were no headlines and apologies to Americans that these women were any kind of cheaters. It’s all good. And it’s all so typical.
But less we forget the script—just remember that men are the predators until you look at some divorce settlements. Or if a young woman accuses a young man of date rape—since she did not verbally and overtly consent to sex and offered some resistance—then obviously it is the “male” who is the criminal since his behavior can be seen as aggressive. It never has anything to do with what she chose to wear, or how she acted, or what kind of psychological games might have led him and his desires on, or what kinds of unconscious conflicts she may have been dealing as to send conflicting messages. She can simply accuse him of getting her drunk—it is his fault. That schemer.
And lets belabor this notion, “He got me drunk” a bit. You see sometimes men provide the drinks for free. It’s kind of like those nightclubs that advertise “Women Get in Free.” Or how often do you see such clubs advertising “Men Get in Free” (that is heterosexual nightclubs)? Maybe, if you are lucky, once just to show they actually recognize, although begrudgingly, who sends most of the revenue stream their way.
With so much preconception and prejudice once a woman accuses a man of something it is pretty much a done deal—the male is assumed the perpetrator. Case closed. Yet when Nancy Friday did her research on woman’s sexual fantasies she learned that some women fantasized being raped. Of course she couched this reality with some pseudo-scientific explanations of the mitigating sort. Still we never have women charged with rape in this society? It is never a case of sometimes it takes two to tangle. Yet once you are accused of a violent sexual offense, such as rape, now you can expect to stay in prison until you die, or you are going to be on parole for a very long time.
But this is not to argue to be easy on rape or rapists—especially violent criminals that run down joggers and then kill them. In fact it seems reasonable some crimes of murder deserve the same in retribution. Yet there are lots of ways for women to “hurt” men without being physically violent. For example, you don’t like some guy at work and want him fired. Easy—accuse him of harassment and management will find some way of letting him go to avoid any kind of expensive lawsuit (expensive lawsuits almost always paid to women—not men—as if none of this prejudice ever entered the workplace?
Or take the latest splash in July’s British Elle creating blogosphere outrage when Kristen Stewart compared paparazzi photos of her to images of women being raped. She too felt a need to apologize for her “choice of words” since the reactionaries could not see any connection—so were offended by the comparison. Yet isn’t what is considered most damaging about rape is the idea of being humiliated and violated? Does violence have to be physical or blatant for it to be violent? And does not the paparazzi humiliate and violate from time to time? Why is it that it is considered OK for the paparazzi to stalk famous people and never allow them a sense of privacy? Why is this media function allowed so much free reign to spy on others as a supposed profession—and to have it occasionally appear in the mainstream media? Apparently if you psychologically humiliate someone without using physical violence then it is permissible? So the word rape, which means to seize, still can now maintain its distinctive male accusation.
And certainly it was press-permissible to print enlarged colored photos of Paris Hilton crying prior to going to jail, or for a female comedian to tell a joke about her at a public forum just prior while she was part of the audience, that is about her sucking the jail bars, referring to her performing fellatio on video—that is calling the rich, blonde, bitch a whore to the world for engaging in sexually explicit practice. But, hey, we know it is mostly men who came up with the idea of labeling women as whores—don’t we-after all that is what the dogma told us? And we know that jealousy never shows its face in the corridors of the fourth estate? No one seized the front page moment there for viewer gloating?
And quite frankly Carrie Prejean does deserve praise for being honest about her convictions, even if it is true the media found later she had a scandalous sex tape filmed of her. Yet is it really so shocking that a so-called Christian had engaged in sexual or narcissistic behavior? Is it not true that nature itself has found it fit to make sexual appeal and sexual appetite an alluring reality—so much so that on occasion it makes hypocrites of all who pretend angelic stature? (Yet where are the media and entertainment people willing to broadcast the shocking truth about Moses—that is Jonathan Kirsch’s scholarly “Moses: A Life” clearly blowing the myth of a saint—and showing this story manufactured, that is it boils down to show how war propaganda of one tribe occupying land of others after killing them off is covered as God’s command—suspending all normal ethical evaluations. If liberal media is so down of Judeo-Christian prejudices well then why not cut to the heart of the matter?)
Or for that matter how many Californians, with their overly crowded prison conditions, are screaming about rape of weaker prisoners as victims. Not many. The big fear here is that the courts are forcing California to do something about prison overcrowding—which may mean releasing thousands of prisoners—many who never committed a violent crime. So it is not surprising how this politics now works in Sacramento.
Yet the issue here is when it comes to sexual offenders of any sort, that is male offenders as so labeled by the legal system, we come to expect it was a worst-case scenario. Someone spreads a rumor that another is a “pervert” or is an x-offender, and we readily “assume” serious or highly offensive behavior. Labels mean danger, that is to avoid, to watch, to be suspicious, to be ready to run, etc. Such is the terrorism of stranger paranoia. “Quick, cross the street, here comes a homeless person!” Gasp.
So you might realize there were a lot of gender issues remaining underwraps—that is this society, and it’s professionals, have not honestly confronted. So we wait for a Willy Horton moment to deal with the cases of “x-offenders” never imagining that society itself has always been part of the problem. Nothing over-wrought here hid in the sand of the brown wrapper—that is while the pornography industry is as explicitly shocking as a well-mannered mainstream pretends to be so innocent.
Plus people of this nation have never truly accepted impulses that violate the gender norms of male and female—especially that a male might have androgynous traits—or that a male might seem effete or narcissistic or whatever. While women made strides in tearing down stereotypes of proper girl behavior there has been little acceptance of a male’s feminine side.
Plus there are all kinds of anxieties related to man’s waste elimination organs being also related to sexuality. Plus there are various kinds of potential fetish labels, which is still grist for the American psyche to fear and to project. So there are plenty of unresolved issues? For some people all the more need to be suspicious, critical and judgmental—because any kind of propensity that deviates from the missionary position of marriage must lead to bad things?
Or, for example, gays may have managed to create enough of their public relations campaign to erase some stigma from the word homosexual, but they did not entirely erase anxieties some people fear in their interests that cross the line—exotic they may be. For example, they did not create awareness to the basic fact that the lower end of colon tract has its own erogenous potential in normal people. Nor would they address the reality that some women like backdoor eroticism blurring the line between what is considered homosexual, etc. But such anxieties still have their consequences in fear and hostility.
This is the psychology side of society that wants to make sure all violations are condemned and punished. Whereas people are taught, as children, that strangers are dangerous—and granted some few are—but what a form of xenophobic prejudice to grow up with. The “Don’t talk to strangers” mindset, that one learned with such alarm, often enough carries over to adulthood.
Some women walk by you and act as if you don’t even exist. They don’t look at you. Sometimes its fear, sometimes deference or preoccupation, sometimes snobbery—in fact there is plenty of snobbery. This is you are not recognized as a human being—rather the invisible man. Some women say to defend this kind of shunning behavior—well you don’t know what it is like being a woman; but hey no learned prejudice here with any kind of biased distortions expecting nothing but creepiness? And this attitude that is prevalent basically says “I don’t know you but likely you are not worth knowing so I will not waste any effort” equally signifies something else—that is the person doing the rejecting might also not be worth knowing. After all when one has no basis of resourcefulness, no true moxie, no wit or sense of fun, but rather some judgmental reticence—how can such a person be worth exploring as any kind of spirit worth enjoying?
Or how often have people acknowledged that nature itself created certain conflicts between the genders—that is certain misunderstandings that sometimes cause alienation between the sexes? Yet how easy to exploit such natural conflict, confusion and frustration as did some feminists by projecting men as “deliberately” sexist or offensive—as if men invented the idea of a sex object or desire? How dare that lecher think like that!
All this kind of indoctrination mindset was in place before Gardner’s release to do his crimes. These recent gruesome murders of innocent girls in a population of three million had it so that suddenly we are lead to expect murders potentially lurking everywhere—that is as feelings and fears go. The media events had all the elements of a Frankenstein movie. Suddenly a big city was a sympathetic community—as nothing unites like tragedy. Yet the outcome was a lot wider net as the situation was being concocted—that if your crime was once sexual—there is no right for you to not be re-prosecuted and re-punished again and again and again. Suddenly everyone was trying to discover where all the offenders lived. NIMBY was everywhere more or less inviting x-offenders to commit suicide. Big numbers were thrown around to give the impression of serious rapists everywhere. And now pretty much all convictions will have longer sentences and evaluation periods—and all offenders will be subject to polygraph tests for long terms of parole.
Nevertheless way prior to this ground zero story there had already been many men who chose not to go into any professions that have any interaction with children such as teaching—for fear of being thought a predator or a pedophile. Many men don’t go out of their way to interact with children—except their own. Perhaps children pick up the idea that men are not really very human to a child level—whatever. No inequality there. Another related point is that while women made forays into the work world that was once considered male, female work will stay female because the male is not trusted on face value—which means more jobs for women and less for men.
And this extended with temp agencies that made it a habit of hiring men for coolie, out-of-office, usually labor work while sending women to easier indoor jobs which allowed for more training. Why, because you didn’t want some permanent female employee of a customer company complaining, because in reality she just didn’t want to rub elbows with a temp male. Well let’s just ban them to labor jobs. And colleges too really extended a warm welcome with their dogma and diatribe—which is one reason why there are more women than men in college—but then maybe men can’t afford it?
A couple of years ago a man told me that a women called the police because he was watching a little league game (he use to play himself when he was a child) and she learned he had no children there playing. The sheriff deputy advised him to leave and escorted him away even though he had nothing on his record. He told me it was humiliating. Now days you only need be male and if you are even thought looking at a child you might be automatically suspect. Hey we better check his ID if he’s going in the children’s library—even if on occasion there exists a better book on a subject.
So now, for men, the unspoken rule is to not attempt to socialize. Follow the female lead and play non-social. Don’t look. Don’t approach them. Don’t whistle or make catcalls. Especially don’t compliment them like: “Wow you are so sexy.” Nothing like that as some will take it as an insult (nothing perverse with such brain wiring of dogma and personality?). Or they will think you are too presumptuous to assume human relation with Christopher Lasch’s Culture of Narcissism. Just stay your distance.
Besides, before they interact with you they will want a detective to do a background check anyway—just in case. You see they can’t afford to take a chance. Now men should be profiled—especially if you are trying to meet on the Internet. Isn’t that what was already going on—that before you met in person you should have given some webpage personal information so they could do a background check? It’s not racist—because men should “prove” to women there are equal. That was the attitude. You are guilty until you prove you are innocent. (Whereas how many men were asking for the same kind of check to see if someone woman was not some kind of gold-digger, or nutcase? “May I have the names and phone numbers of your last two boyfriends?” Yeah—right. Since most men were not making such demands you have to be pretty special to expect they would conform.)
Yet what is sexual offense in a society that does not even legalize prostitution? The law of this society basically says that you can only engage in sexual activity with another person if you are legally married or if you are engaged in a monogamous relationship of mutual consent. In another words if you are a male who didn’t make it socially, financially, etc., to attract a woman who is looking for whatever kind of guy she wants to get, then you don’t have a legal right to sexual experience—except with yourself and that assumes you’re not homeless. (Granted this same argument works for women who are deprived but on average women are not as promiscuous by nature.)
Should people who have a bit of a personality disorder be denied the right to occasionally engage is erotic experience with another person for the purpose of pleasure and pursuit of happiness—if they are willing to pay for it? How does that harm the judgmental world? Maybe someone is a bit on the ugly side or whatever? How does this oppression work for everyone’s sanity?
Where are the enlightened pillars of society screaming for a human right to have sex whether you are married or not—provided you have some means to pay for it—and the price isn’t so outrageous, and provided it is not truly harmful to society at large? Few people care because this society is so family-centric and Judeo-Christian. And yet it can be argued that having children is also the equivalent to an offense of great magnitude. What sane person who bring children into a world in which there are supposed thousands of nuclear bombs stored and ready to go, and other weapons of mass destruction created? What sane and humane person would bring children into a world on the brink of economic, environmental, and population disaster; or where abortion is condemned by the same nuts that readily advocate for the war machine? Anyone who studies human nature, political nature, history, and current realities cannot easily justify bringing more children onto this planet—and yet family values are the singular bedrock for our current morality?
Maybe we should change the law that anyone who has children should be forced to get professional counseling? “Why would you bring a child in a world that forces more competition for limited resource?” After all if republicans are going to demand more government bureaucracy to watch for every sexual perversity and demand all kind of services so “potential” minor offenders get long term treatment then why not the whole human race?
But then we forget. After all, does not an American deserve heaven on earth—that is total security as metaphor? Why should any Californian have to live in a world in which even “one” potential criminal of any propensity might be stalking the state? (This is not meant to be facetious in the face of discussing serious crimes and in which parents and families of victims have truly suffered calamity.) But somehow we have managed to justify Abu Graib. We justify locking up people without any rights at Camp Gitmo—even there plenty of elderly and children. So while the paranoid American is fretting having to cross the path of an x-criminal that served his time, she goes blissfully about her business not realizing crime happens in many parts of the world partially because the average citizen here is economically privileged and partially due to injustice elsewhere. How many innocent civilians and children are killed in the name of high-minded propaganda—so the average American can have the nice lifestyle? How many dictators has America helped put into power including Saddam Hussein and the brutal Shah of Iran? Just so long as he has access to cheap energy, world resources and markets, and throwaway fast food packaging and golf courses in the desert.
And just so long as “all” potential criminals in his own country are locked down or hounded and watched in everyway imaginable. There can never be enough security at home if hysteria and fear reign supreme. Remember how Gray Davis would not dare pardon hardly anyone for any circumstance—as having any kind of empathy for a criminal was political suicide? This is really not so far from a McCarthyism call to find Hitler’s need for scapegoat.
And yet what was more indicative of California and the U.S. than how highly active were gays about gay issues—that is so hyper vigilant about gays rights and yet so blasé about other more important human issues? Thousands turned out to march—it was really impressive. But where were all the gay activists when it came time to protest before the war in Iraq—where millions of bombs went off? Where were all the thousands of California’s gay activists to learn about a myriad of issues to confront of far more serious issues than whether they were allowed to be married—complacently living their isolated lifestyles—while hoping that “gay” would become known as a happy word—wrapped up in living the good life like the rest of America.
Where were all the artists who are suppose to be on the cutting edge of what is happening? Where were all the pseudo-spiritualists so concerned about singing songs of peace and love? Hiding away in their denial of reality or thinking the only real issue to get political is marijuana or organic food.
But now it is more a woman’s world and plenty of women in voting were even more conservative then are men. Plenty were content to see the ranks of prisoner numbers skyrocket—since most prisoners were men. Furthermore prisoners don’t compete for jobs, and when homeless are not likely to find jobs, especially as if they will have some kind of scarlet letter on their state ID they never will. That was one issue debated—that all sex offenders be branded so they dare interact in any setting in which someone might demand to see their ID.) No one would rent x-offenders an apartment, or hire, etc. There is no such thing as re-integration into the mainstream—for x-criminals in general let alone those who did something sexual.
Yet it is a curious thing that in a tolerant society one learns by making mistakes and growing, yet when it comes to sexuality, one is suppose to have some uncanny capacity to have already know all the politically correct reactions and socio-sexual maturity—because there is no room for mistakes—there is no room for negotiating one’s style, there is no room for negotiating one’s individuality, there is no tolerance for a learning curve, there is only intolerance and inflexible banishment.
This is probably another reason why people want much information posted on anyone who has ever committed any kind of sexual offense or crime—because it can operate as a kind of political tool. In fact we ought to have a database in which every accusation against anyone can be registered and never destroyed. We can then know everyone’s business and every rumor. At least we can be titillated by distraction—but no fanaticism or addiction here.
Isn’t that how it sometimes goes—that some people are so voyeuristic they want to know all the dirty laundry about everyone so they can tell everyone else, and more importantly so they never have to confront their own issues? They want to electronically stalk people, especially people they don’t think they like. And these private investigation services do well meld into a security police state that rides to the brink of fascism in the larger context.
That is how it is in the American society—once you make a mistake—it must always be recorded, remembered, and used to stigmatize long after the event occurred. More importantly the label never can leave you—no matter if 99% of your life was exemplary to community standards—they will always remember the sin that will weigh so heavily—and no sin is as terrible or as terrorist as a “sexual” sin.
Take for example the act of exhibitionism. It was the “male” perversion—never would women be so debased with anathema. But truly how victimized was such a victim? Did her eyes burn in their sockets? Did he really do it to shock another? Was she psychologically damaged for life? Is that male penis, made of collagenous skin and balloon tubes, the real deal on monstrous abomination?
Certainly the male genitalia can never gain the worship status of the female. How many men get hired and advance along because they are sexual objects—and let’s not pretend this does not happen—that is that if you are attractive you are more likely to get a job? How many men can expect to be housed and supported so they can be available for her when she comes home after work for a little afternoon delight? How many men are paid the kind of call-girl prices Elliott Spitzer got caught shortly after he had an article published in the New York Times decrying the financial finagling on Wall Street—prior to the crashes?
Whereas the person who drives his car dangerously and fast and could readily do some serious financial and physical damage to a victim is seldom viewed in so dire a manner of reprehension. There are all kinds of unethical behavior that damage the rights and needs of others and they suffer little in way of stigma or prison term. Take the people who deliberately sold bad mortgages—knowing they were putting people’s financial livelihood to damage. The huge majority still made their cut, and paid no penalty, some who are looking for their next scam job. Some even claim bragging rights.
Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden will have to become more secret—because it wouldn’t be good politics to reveal that women too have all sort of sexual curiosity and appetite? We can’t destroy the myth that all women who work in the sex industry just do what they do because they need the money—less we think badly of them for having erotic urge and impulse? It’s not even kosher for men to have such as part of their humanity—at least not the white male.
But then what area of human endeavor is more vulnerable to mobilize fear than sex offense? Sex seems irrational. It does not readable adhere to idealist or angelic standards. Even the mandate that women should have their organism by the time a man does is not readable achievable simply because it sounds so egalitarian. Furthermore there is so much potential to manipulate guilt and shame.
After all how many people have never done anything sexually questionable—at least by some group’s standards? Surely you must have called a 900 number once? Surely you thought about a sexually ambiguous thing or two—at least for a minute—tell the therapist so she can write it down and then the world can review it—or extracted generalizations presumably made by experts? Or at least you dreamed about something ambiguous? Or maybe you’re just angry that you don’t get the kind of erotic experience you secretly want on some level—so at least you should know what kind of life others live?
You don’t live in a sexually healthy society. You never did. They haven’t even come out of the closet enough to tell you they would label masturbation as a disease generator of many illnesses—not really all that long ago. No neurosis there. Further some people seem to constantly fret that others might violate norms of appropriate sexual expression. And despite the enormity of pornography on the Internet and stores we still live in too much a sexually repressed state. (And yet women too make a “lot” of money in the sex industries that capitalize on “desire” but don’t expect many to be branded as offenders anytime soon—this is to say those women who enjoy showing off their wares and engaging spicy behavior are not considered very offensive by predilection or impulse—there is a market—and people are paying for it where it might elsewhere be labeled a crime—and sometimes far more explicit). It’s not like pornography, such as some made in California, never earned a blush or two?
Still if this were a liberated society a person could communicate a sexual interest to another and not expect the person to denounce, make a scene, call the bouncer, or get others to chase and harass. The person flattered could simply say, “I’m not interested” and not make a big deal about it. And the rejected person could carry on with looking elsewhere.
Yet it is more than interesting the attitudes Americans have willingly adopted toward the sex industries that make money from sexual frustration. If there seems to be much porn on the Internet or children can see it too easily—well then it is the job of the family to take corrective actions by getting blocking devices—no police state here putting restriction on pornography companies that make money—even if there is little dispute to the levels of what some would deem lewdness or subsequent feelings of being offended or affronted? Why that is just good American capitalism.
So they will impound the cars of men who pay prostitutes—those who make propositions to streetwalkers, that is streetwalkers who are scolded by the police from time to time—not like the aristocratic prostitutes that can afford to advertise in L.A. adult magazines that sit in front on the courthouse. High class prostitutes are too special to be classified as offensive in any way, beside they might know a few secrets, granted not as many as women paid to listen to 900 number explicit fantasy calls (giggle, giggle).
Yet with the Internet the entire world can see American pornography—and sometimes it has stuff arguably offensive to hygienic standards. For example, how often does a woman, who has been penetrated from behind, expected to orally deliver to the same instrument of bacterial contamination? This medically questionable and socially distasteful reality is allowed by corporate industries because the standard of business enterprise presumes some inviolable right to make money (besides they can afford good lawyers and might even be connected to the underworld). Yet this loose standard could use a bit of education.
Or why does there exist advertising about “teen sex” on the Internet and in some porn magazines, and yet the country is arresting people who they claim have downloaded pictures? What kind of double standard is this all about? Some of most serious offences according to legislation have to do with teenagers yet for-profit industries enjoy latitude? Certainly we are not so tolerant that we have allowed for teens to see teens—or is this excess that suggests permissive normalcy really entrapment on steroids?
Meanwhile just like the witch-hunts of medieval times, some zealots will spend time on their computers checking out the “profile” on every potential offender. Some argue sexual criminals are a “different” sort of criminal and this form of discrimination will be used to help alleviate all anxieties of the modern age. Even now men, especially the homeless, the single, the loner, the one not well-heeled, and the one who does not play the American game of having a family, is seen as a burden or threat to society—like elderly women were during the witch trials.
Despite the fact that science has never met the task of adequately and humanely explaining the labels it uses to classify the “deviants” it somehow carries an authority it does not deserve. Sexologists cannot even come to terms with their prejudice about “sexual addiction.” Somehow if you desire more sex than the average person you are addicted? It does occur to these people that libido levels do peter out on their own once satiated. Or if you have some fascination with viewing pornography you are viewed as deformed—because it’s “all” deplorable-or is it not quite the same as romance novels? Somehow to be turned on to a different state of consciousness is bad?
Nevertheless no one is writing a book on sexual starvation or sexual frustration—that probably is more common than addiction. Why? Where is there any kind of recognition of sexual deprivation or need for touch in this society?
Or what about the people who push the idea that your erection “should” last a long time or you need Viagra—that is you are not really a real virile male? Who is countering this form of insecure exploitation and mis-information? It seems social scientists have a way to go themselves to deal with issues. In fact there are very few books on the mental health of sexuality. Now why would that be—if it is related to serious problems? But hey they are trusted to determine the guilt of others? Meanwhile in the English language thousands of books are published yearly on all manner of subject. There are literally thousands of living psychologists and plenty of sexologists and they haven’t even come up with one good book on the mental health of sex? Nobody seems to wonder too much about this odd affair?
So why can’t they make a prescription that kills sexual desire that sexual predators are required to take if they are on leash? Certainly the world could concoct such a drug? And why not for the over-the-counter since there is so much eroto-phobia anyway? Why would anyone want to have sexual desire in this society—with all its blame and shame games?
They probably don’t even have a hypothetical model, that is of an Aristotelian presumption of knowing a healthy model, as to who would qualify as sexually and socially healthy—perhaps some celibate with little sexual drive? I don’t think they would nominate someone like Xaviera Hollander and her Xavier’s Supersex: her personal techniques for total lovemaking? Probably not. They probably wouldn’t nominate Isaac Asimov and his How To Be A Dirty Old Man? (Of course he used a pseudonym—but why would a prominent scholar and author feel a need to use a pseudonym when writing on how to be a dirty old man? Doesn’t every red-blooded male want to grow old that way—apparently not?)
So why don’t they just get to the legislative issue they are really hankering for—to have a profile on every male in America—DNA and all—with every crime, every accusation, every suspicion etc., recorded, so that people in general, and bored journalists can easily find in some “centralized” Edgar Hoover database? This is basically where we are headed. Plus first sexual offenders will be booked and not allowed to use computers at all—then this curfew will expand to others, etc. Of course their motives are always worthy—those do-gooders who know how to fix every social problem with more government and more need for tax revenues, and who have little faith in the average person’s ability to lead his or her own life. Their hero will say: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
What is the opposite of a sexual offense—a sexual defense? That doesn’t sound very complementary. Is there a label for an act that is sexually positive while being pro-social? What label is that? Meanwhile there are lots of unemployed, lots of people worried about their kids being sent to war, lots of people worried about financial matters, housing, etc. But this sexual offender “program” will be good politics for the naïve masses that the media usually distains as hoi polloi populist—when they are not so much hoi polloi themselves.
P.S. This July 4th I celebrated what constitutional rights I still believe I can exercise because given the state of reality and law in this country—what is left will not last much longer. Also if you have the email addresses of state legislators please send them this message. Thanks.
This work is in the public domain