The Catholic Thing
Dead Girls and Live Boys Reconsidered Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Thursday, 26 February 2009

In 1983 Edwin Edwards, the flamboyant and controversial candidate for governor of Louisiana, famously said, “The only way I can lose this election is if I am caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.” As a general political proposition, only part of this may be true anymore.

A few weeks ago, the newly elected mayor of Portland, Oregon, admitted to having a sexual affair in 2005 with a much younger male legislative intern. Mayor Sam Adams insists his affair with Beau Breedlove did not turn sexual until after Breedlove’s eighteenth birthday. But he has also admitted getting Breedlove to lie about the affair.

There were calls for Adams’s resignation, even from the homosexual press, though the outrage among the gays was not about the affair per se, but over Adams’s lying and his role in getting his partner to lie. Adams says he is staying put in the mayor’s job, and the controversy seems to have died down. This quick disappearance from the news cycle shows how far we are from the 1983 world of Ed Edwards. Dead girls are still taboo. But live boys? That’s a whole other story.

In ”Pedophilia Chic” and “Pedophilia Chic Reconsidered”, published in The Weekly Standard in 1999 and 2001, our Catholic Thing colleague Mary Eberstadt explored the presence of pedophila in some then-current homosexual literature, and how this was gaining acceptance in mainstream publications. She also asked why more representatives of the homosexual establishment failed to condemn these themes.

In 1992 Vanity Fair carried a sympathetic story about a pedophile who happened to be a teacher at the tony Phillips Exeter Academy. Larry Bateman was caught with thirty-three tapes of child pornography. Police also found $200,000 worth of videotaping equipment in his apartment, along with suggestive films created by his students. Vanity Fair reporter Jesse Kornbluth made Bateman out to be the victim of a single accuser whom Kornbluth painted as an alcoholic, drug-abusing hustler. Kornbluth blithely dismissed the shocking aspects of this case as if it were merely a matter of the existence of people who are homosexual: “The idea that single male teachers might be homosexual and appreciate young men would not be a soul-shattering revelation to Exeter students.”

The New Republic published an article in 1995 that Eberstadt called “the most overt attempt by a hip journal to give pedophiles a place at the table…” The story by Hannah Rosin explored a sympathetic documentary called “Chickenhawk," which is about the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Rosin called the documentary riveting and said the film was worth seeing because “it succeeds, at least partially, in making monsters human.” Here is a quotation from the star of the movie, Leyland Stevenson: “He’s just like a flower in bloom. He’s at that perfect stage, in which he is hermaphroditic. . . .He’s in that wonderful limbo between being a child and an adolescent — he’s certainly an adolescent, but he has that weird feminine grace about him.”

The 1992 National Book Award was won by Paul Monette for his “Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story.” Monette advanced the thesis that it is the youngsters who are the aggressors: “If I am particular about the fact of being seduced — putting it all on him, the will and the dare and then the control — it doesn’t mean I don’t feel the guilt. . . .I had become the thing the heteros secretly believe about everyone gay — a predator, a recruiter, an indoctrinator of boys into acts of darkness.” Later he writes, “I don’t think that now. Twenty years of listening to gay men recount their own adolescent seductions of older guys has put it all in a different light.”

A recent and very mainstream Broadway play and movie, “History Boys,” is in part about an older teacher sexually groping his high school students. The only judgment is slight amusement at the old guy. In a similar vein, the first version of the play The Vagina Monologues approvingly tells the story of a twenty-four-year-old female teacher getting a thirteen-year-old girl drunk and raping her – though that, of course, is not how the author, Eve Ensler, and her many fans (including militant feminists on Catholic campuses) present it.

Besides revulsion, what strikes you about all this is what a remarkable double standard exists. Take any of these stories and turn them into older heterosexual men having sex with young girls, and then have them crow about it in magazines, books, and movies. They certainly would not get a mainstream audience, or win National Book Awards. They would likely land in jail. It’s a new spin on the old Soviet line. The truth of things doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is who does what to whom.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.

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Comments (6)Add Comment
written by Brad Miner, February 27, 2009
In the political dimension: I lost all interest in Rudy Giuliani when he marched in New York's Gay Pride Parade -- in the same procession as a NAMBLA delegation. I get it that a big-city mayor has to deal with many constituencies, but, as Dr. Johnson quipped: "He who sups with the devil had better use a long spoon." In fact, it's best not to pull up a chair to a table at which a place has been set for pedophiles .
written by debby, February 27, 2009
I hate to tell you but dead girls are not taboo. At least not when speaking about food.
Maybe people dont talk about having sex w/them, but in China, aborted girls are sold w/cooking directions & are recommended as a rejunivation holistic specialty FOOD, said to reduce aging & enhance skin. And China is our Favorite Nation...
Just how much deeper into the abyss of Hell must we sink before our days are worse than in the time of Noah?
Yet His Mercy Is Deeper STILL. Even Now He Longs to Save us.
written by William H. Phelan, February 27, 2009
Does pedophilia/edebophilia bother you Mr. Ruse? If so, may I recommend Leon Podles book: SACRILEGE? It focuses almost entirely on the actions you describe, but having been committed by Catholic priests. Geoghan, Shanley and all "the usual suspects" are there, but with a twist. Podles ACTUALLY DESCRIBES THE ACTS performed on the young boys. The next time you are invited to a bishop's installation, you may wish to send "regrets".
written by Jane Johnson, February 28, 2009
You're right about the double standard that exists. It's striking to think of how many ways it is "ok" to take advantage of young women in comparison to similar issues in the gay community--it's a heterosexist world in that arena--and no one is keeping count. It's very hidden--and taboo. People look right past it. I often think of how I would rather not have to watch dating scenes that occur in broad daylight--patriarchy is not "pretty is as pretty does". Accepted abuse is a cornerstone.
written by Jane Johnson, February 28, 2009
Yes it's wrong to harm or misuse young people in this way, but there is a larger issue here that gets buried. If we treated homosexuality as something other than a curse, it would not be something to be ashamed of and kept hidden. We are responsible to commend all of the members of the church to God, and that means to forgive them for the things we think they have failed in, and not to cause more harm. We are not to live by "an eye for an eye" anymore--we are called on to do more, and better.
written by debby, March 01, 2009
to Jane Johnson, can u clarify ur meaning about treating homosex as a curse...not be ashamed of? i for one am ashamed of all my SINS, not just sexual sin...yes, the Church embraces all sinners who repent, but not all desire forgiveness or confess the truth about their sin. He calls to us 1st & always the call of Love requires a response-mere indifference re:ur sickness will never bring a cure.Jesus came to save the sick BUT He came to SAVE-not leave us as we are.

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