Holy cow, Ratman, whatever BS next !

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A plague of mutant rats the size of cows threatens Britain. Or so the redtop tabloid Daily Star claimed last week in a front-page splash.

It caught my attention on the newsstands not just for its eye-popping improbability but also because it came on the same day as the latest “horrific” and “sickening” revelations about the alleged depravities of the late Jimmy Savile were dominating supposedly more sober and respectable media outlets, including the BBC.

Even more eye-poppingly, literally, Savile was said to have stolen glass eyes from corpses to make rings and other pieces of jewellery, and also to have had sex with corpses. The reason why even the “quality” media gobbled up this bullshit with greedy alacrity, like a monstrous mutant rat getting its teeth into tasty, tender human children, is that it was all safely in an official government report. So it must be true then!

Whereas the mutant rats thing turned out to be just an obviously exaggerated version of a quote from a scientist, the government report, from the Department of Health, was based on accounts from “victims” and others who had known Savile. And we all know that “victims” are never sad fantasists and attention seekers or compo-hunting liars, don’t we?

The Guardian wheeled out famous psychotherapist Oliver James to explain Savile’s psychopathic deeds; the Sunday Telegraph had Glenda Cooper saying the original stories of sexual predation had “turned into a Gothic monstrosity that even the Brothers Grimm would struggle to imagine”.

Neither of them significantly challenged the evidence.

The mainstream media across the board failed dismally to stress-test this story but at least the admirable Anna Raccoon has stepped into the breach in her blog Eyeball Eyewash! – The Yewtree Allegations.

Anna reports her reaction as one of “utter shock” at the ridiculous nature of the allegations. She sets out a number of them, as detailed in the official accounts, and invites her readers to “gaze in wonder at the hours of expensive NHS time that has been expended writing these reports, the hours of conference time, the NHS resources expended….enjoy!”

For the full works, see Anna’s blog. Here is a taster (with my own bold text for emphasis), this being from a report by the Director of Corporate Affairs at the Royal Hospital, Portsmouth:

An alleged sexual abuse reported to Operation Yewtree: committed by Jimmy Savile against a patient at the Royal Hospital in Portsmouth in 1968. This information is related to an allegation by an individual who said that he had been told that he had been abused by Jimmy Savile but that victim had no recollection of the incident. The victim did not know the name of the witness to the alleged abuse who told him that it had occurred.

No interviews of staff have been conducted, as the only staff member involved was the cleaner who had supposedly witnessed the alleged attack. It has not been possible to identify this witness as the complainant was unable to provide a name or description of her. No documentary evidence exists that confirms this or any other visit to the hospital by Jimmy Savile.

I have been provided with a summary of the interview, conducted by Gosport Police at the complainant’s local police station, which includes descriptions and assertions by the complainant that appears to be either fanciful or impossible. Gosport Police state in their summary that they do not consider him to be a credible witness. The complainant was asked, during his interview with the Police, why he had only now come forward with the allegation. He replied that “he might be believed as others had reported the same and that he wanted the BBC to be fined and held to account as they knew what was going on and chose not to investigate”.

Details provided to me during my interview with the complainant were broadly similar to those given to the Police, although there were some significant differences and 5 omissions. However, this is perhaps not necessarily surprising when considering the time that has elapsed since the alleged incident and that the complainant suffers from schizophrenia and memory loss. The complainant told me, when I asked why he had chosen to speak out about the incident after 46 years, that he wanted some compensation.

This document speaks eloquently for itself, as do the other “victim” reports Anna sets out. So I need say no more about them.

Back to those mutant rats, then. In case you are wondering, the only authority given for that “big as cows” claim was an unnamed report. In addition, Leicester University scientist Dr Jan Zalasiewicz was quoted as saying, “Given enough time, rats could probably grow to be at least as large as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent, that lives today, that can reach 80 kilos.” Impressive enough, you might think, but the average size of cattle is 753 kilos. The biggest breeds, such as Aberdeen Angus and the Hereford, can weigh more than a ton and a half without looking fat (1600 kilos), while the smallest, such as the Jersey, do not average less than 272 kilos.

How do I know? Because I’ve looked it up, of course. It’s a bit sad, arguably, being such a fact anorak. Those, like me, for whom facts, facts, facts are all-important have had a bad press ourselves. In his novel Hard Times, Charles Dickens gave us the character Thomas Gradgrind, a fact-obsessed headmaster, to paint fact freaks as unimaginative, soulless, boring types. The classroom, to be sure, is a place where kids’ creativity should be given free rein. Learning isn’t just about cramming their heads with information. There’s a place for poetry and invention, including the telling of tall stories.

But there is also a time to get real, when the fantasising needs to stop. So far as Savile mania is concerned, this is just such a time. The current orgy of credulous gorging on gossip about Jimmy Savile alarmingly reveals a sort of mass infantilizing of the nation: we demand scary fairy tales, not reality. This is deeply dangerous.

 

COMMENTS MILESTONE

Comments posted at Heretic TOC have now passed the 2,000 mark. It’s good to see such a lively active interest from readers. Thank you, everyone! The most recent blog, as I write, has attracted 47 comments. This is well above the overall average of about 17 comments per blog over the 115 articles published to date. It would take a while to check, but my impression is that the average number is on the whole rising over time although it all depends on the subject. Remarkably, some of my own favourite pieces have attracted relatively little comment. I like to think that’s because I have covered the topic well enough and readers feel they have no need to add anything! What really gets people going, of course, is when there are differences between us on matters we care passionately about. Your input is always interesting but when there is controversy it becomes even more valuable.

Techno-tethering globalises oppression

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David Kennerly, who debuted last year for Heretic TOC  writing about his childhood in the American Midwest, now makes a welcome return. This time his theme journeys to far horizons – places that may soon be closed to us for actual travel if restrictions envisaged by governments worldwide have their way. Yes, it’s a very alarming thought and one that has accordingly prompted David to document in considerable detail what the securocrats and fear-peddling politicians are up to and why we need to wake up to it. In his guest blog today he outlines two essays specially written for Heretic TOC but which he intends also to use as a basis for lobbying more widely. Links are given to these articles.

 

The thin wedge to immobilize citizens

An introduction to two essays exploring the unfolding war on freedom of movement

Over the last several months, I have been researching a series of legal assertions now being advanced by governments worldwide. While being enacted piecemeal in individual countries, they can only be fully understood in aggregate and in the recognition that these governments are clearly working jointly towards achieving their aspirations for tracking people’s movements and restricting our freedom of travel.

Developments in this area are very dynamic and so my findings are a work in progress. Nevertheless, enough is now known to perceive a clear and ominous trajectory in governmental ambitions to regulate the movement of all people, both within and between countries.

It is nothing new that government has always had such ambitions. What is new, and fundamentally different from any other moment in the past, is the unprecedented ability of the state to realize its dreams by means of an immensely powerful digital infrastructure. Its far-reaching ambitions for total control now lie fully within its grasp. The limits of technology that once held its desire for omniscience in check have been effectively removed, granting it an extraordinary level of power over the lives of its citizens.

So far, my writing in this area consists of two pieces:

1) A report on “The International Megan’s Law”, both as a bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives (to be considered now in the Senate) and as a global concept which extends to all other nations through both international agreements and international bodies, such as Interpol (a previously backwater agency revived through the opportunities afforded by Islamic terrorism), who coordinate and implement its sweeping and dangerous policies. The openly hoped-for result of the U.S. bill is to prevent American child sex offenders from ever leaving the U.S. But it is also clear that this goal is being at least partially attained with, or without, the help of Megan. The title is: “DEAD END: The International Megan’s Law Assault on Everyone’s Freedom of Travel– The free movement of the individual is increasingly seen as a revocable privilege – not an inalienable right”.

2) A report on the current treatment of American sex offenders who return from travel abroad (from any country) by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Those who have traveled over many years likely noticed some dramatic changes in the way they were welcomed back home by that agency soon after September 11, 2001. That treatment has only escalated in severity since then: it is ever more intrusive, more threatening and more violative. So much so that many have decided travel is simply no longer worth the degradation they will experience upon their return. And that is, after all, the point of such harassment, isn’t it? The title is: “HOMELAND SECURITY’S ASSAULT ON TRAVEL: How America’s sex laws endanger your, your children’s and everyone’s freedom of movement as travelers are routinely detained, interrogated, searched and harassed by the Department of Homeland Security”.

I identify this trend, that of limiting the movement of people through the imposition of regimes of extreme pretextual scrutiny, as one which is running counter to another trend now emerging as a reaction: the demand to restore freedom of movement as an essential principle of freedom itself.

This counter-trend is up against powerful adversaries, as governments have always been in their dealings with a citizenry grown complacent and unsuspicious of their motives.

But, of course, there are also those who believe the government message that there are real perils requiring the movement of people between countries to be as constrained as technology allows. They fail to appreciate that the historical porosity of borders has been a bulwark against the denial of the rights of the individual and has helped to propagate free societies; they also fail to appreciate the near-limitless effects that present and future technology will have upon their autonomy and upon their future array of choices. Systems now being devised will forever limit their opportunities and constrain their interactions with others but in ways which they cannot foresee.

It would be a terrible shame to see our civilization succumb to tyranny through the incuriosity and untroubled indifference that is so characteristic of so many of its members.

Men used to go to war and die for the rights that so many now eagerly volunteer to relinquish, identifying them as, somehow, quaintly anachronistic and no longer affordable or even terribly worthwhile.

Those of us who know these rights are not just worthwhile but vital have an obligation to say so, to bear witness to the unfolding destruction of our liberties and to do all in our power to stop a dangerous movement fundamentally inimical to freedom.

Tom has graciously (and patiently, I might add) invited me to share my findings and observations on his wonderful site and, for that as well as his critical and discerning eye and valuable suggestions, I am grateful.

When I first became aware of his work through a fortuitous discovery of Paedophilia: The Radical Case more than thirty years ago (can it be?) I was immediately impressed.

Neither of us knew, or could have known, the depths to which society might submerge itself in the decades to follow. While our optimism for society’s near-term future may have since undergone a dramatic reassessment, we both (it would appear) continue to assert what we believe to be true, a fact which must – by itself – betray some indication of hope.

I also hope you will read both of my current works on freedom of movement. They are, I believe, essential reading in order to understand some of the implications of the authoritarian shift that has taken hold in society and which threatens to repay us – for our complacency – by doing its very worst.

 

TOC adds:

As regular readers will recall, I travelled to Brazil in February and was allowed entry without challenge despite being on the UK register of sex offenders. However, on the eve of the World Cup Brazil announced the start of a crackdown. A reader has alerted me to a news item in the press there from earlier this month saying that an American “convicted for pedophilia” has been deported after trying to enter the country.

The same reader also spotted a news story from 17 February. This reported that 51 “paedophiles” had been denied entry to Mexico. The text says these refusals had been “since last year” (“desde el año pasado”) but I guess what is meant is over the course of the previous year rather than just the first six or seven weeks of this one. Could be wrong, though.

 

Perversion, the erotic form of hatred

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Psychoanalyst Robert Stoller once wrote a book called Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred. For him, perversion was an unconscious revenge-taking for traumas going way back into childhood, in which the Oedipal conflict was a focal concern. Few these days would see this Freudian theme as the single key to unlocking the psyche’s secrets, profoundly important as a child’s early relationships with its parents surely are; but Stoller’s attention to sexual hatred was well placed and should engage us too.

Discussion here recently has rightly taken misogyny very seriously. Several commentators have pointed out that women constantly face sexual provocations of a clearly hostile nature: this is true harassment, intended to humiliate and degrade. Well-intentioned minor-attracted people can easily become heartily sick of hearing the truth of this harassment because it feels as though harping on about it plays into the hands of those who wish to play up the dangers of sex to the exclusion of its connection to more positive feelings: affection, rapture, adoration.

While sharing our common longing for a more positive discourse, I believe there is a nettle that must be grasped. So, here goes. First of all, I think we should make a distinction between real misogyny – the hatred that can lead to girls being gang-raped and hanged from a mango tree, as happened in India recently – and merely giving way to a temptation to take sexual favours that have not been offered. Lord Rennard may have been guilty of the latter, but it would be grotesquely unjust to impute to him any secret wish to commit real atrocities.

Secondly, having made this distinction, there is an urgent need to understand where all the misogyny is coming from: How does it take root? In what circumstances does it flourish? Feminists have tended to think in terms of power structures, contrasting patriarchy with mythically imagined matriarchal golden ages somewhere near the dawn of time. They may be right, but we know too little about our prehistoric background to be sure, and modern remnants of hunter-gatherer societies are not a reliable guide.

The recent terrible case of mass murderer Elliot Rodger reminds us, also, that the individual psyche is as important as social structures: Rodger was violently misogynistic and also a classic troubled loner. Gang rapes and lynchings, to be sure, are the work of mobs, not individuals; but arguably it still takes psychos of one stripe or another to set the tone and lead the action in the more concerted forms of hostility: violently minded types should not be seen as ordinary guys (or not the majority of them) but as birds of a feather who gravitate towards each other, pooling their hatred and conspiring to act upon it.

This brings us back to Stoller: perversion as the erotic form of hatred. Elliot Rodger, so angered over still being a virgin at 22 that that he went on a murderous rampage, looks a classic case. We have his own very extensive account of what lay behind the killing spree that left seven people dead, including Roger himself, and thirteen injured. The 137-page document this son of a Hollywood film director wrote in the weeks before the killings discloses that his early childhood (including the Oedipal phase) was not at all troubled in terms of his family upbringing. It was at school, especially on the sports field, where he did not perform well, that he began to feel like an outsider and began to have “the first inkling of my shortcomings”. Only later would he develop a hatred of women when he believed they had slighted and ignored him. His parents’ divorce, when he was seven, is remembered as a deep wound in his own life. By 13, he was the “weird kid” at his school. He saw all girls as “mean, cruel, and heartless creatures” who took pleasure in his suffering. From that point on his misogyny became more entrenched and his personality emerges as self-centred and grandiose. He appears to have been an extreme example of narcissism. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in the psychiatric terminology, is a condition characterised by finding it difficult to care about other people, who are valued only for what benefits they can give to the narcissist, which tends to mean indulging a wish to be uncritically admired.

Rodger fitted the bill. He could easily have afforded to pay prostitutes but that would have offended his vanity. So sex was not the problem in his case, or not the biggest one. He was good-looking and had a glamorous life. Getting laid should have been easy, but it seems he was regarded as a shallow jerk. He expected to be admired for his expensive Armani sunglasses and BMW car, but instead was despised as a self-important nonentity.

Rodger was newsworthy because his actions were so extreme. There is evidence that at a lesser level, though, his misogyny is widely shared by others who in some degree have a similar personality profile. The Rodger case opened my eyes, for instance, to misogyny expressed through “the incel community” online, “incels” being “involuntary celibates”. There was a whole lot about them in this recent Salon article by Tracy Clark-Flory. My inspection of these websites has so far been very limited but I should say at once that Clark-Flory’s piece is not the place to find a deeper understanding. To my mind her woefully superficial, one-sided effort is a hatchet job almost as nasty as the people she attacks. It’s the sort of journalism that gives feminism a bad name among reasonable people who try to put truth and humanity above crushing their enemies. For a corrective, see this alternative view, more balanced, view of incels.

For the moment, though, we need to stick with the sensational side, as per Clark-Flory. What are we to make of this, for example, from That Incel Blogger:

My mother, the murderous whore, is refusing to have sex with me when that could alleviate my sexual frustration.

Irony? Doesn’t look that way. And it would be perverse in this case to rule out the Oedipus Complex! There’s a whole lot more floridly desperate stuff on the same site, such as this:

It is over. I will stop looking for women. There is no longer any chance for me to escape loneliness and I must embrace hatred, destruction and punishment now. The girl from my previous post has rejected me. My last chance came later today when another girl answered my ad but she was just another airhead moron who wanted to talk to me on a cellphone and said I’m too quiet because I couldn’t giggle at everything like an idiot the way she did.

At another site, I see this:

Why don’t girls talk to me? Why did I not do this, because I was too NICE (big mistake), and yes, there was actually a time when I did not hate women. Women made me hate them… I would like to see which woman would not hate men if she approached 15,000 men and got rejected each time.

Wow! What this reminds me of (apart from the uncomfortable suspicion that this last guy has a point in his final sentence) is that we minor-attracted folks are not the only ones with problems. And neither, for that matter, are women who receive unwanted and sometimes hostile attention.

All these troubles and tensions are important. Sticking with harassment, which is where we began, the perspective gained by looking at the mental abnormality of individual perpetrators (relevant conditions probably include autism, schizophrenia and much else, as well as narcissism) simply has to be significant bearing in mind the potentially murderous consequences of ignoring it. But psychiatry isn’t going to fix everything, especially as some of the heartless “psychos” who commit acts of sexual aggression are in a sense normal. Yes, they may be psychopathic to the extent that they show a callous lack of empathy, but unlike the rejected narcissist they are not themselves necessarily suffering. On the contrary, the classic building site wolf-whistler may be a very confident and contented sort of bully, not in the slightest need of medical help.

Which brings us full circle back to power structures and societal solutions – with, I hope, a bit more useful stuff in our heads than when we started. This little detour into mental health has raised empathy issues beyond our own concerns as MAPs. We can deplore the selfishness of a narcissist like Rodger, who thought his problems justified slaying random strangers; but we can also notice, can we not, that a lot of the misogyny out there is more than merely gratuitous? It appears to be fed by a real sense of pain and injustice among those who are left out, especially in a culture such as ours where sexual gratification seems to be “in yer face” everywhere, from popular music videos to films, TV, etc.

Life, unfortunately, is always going to be unfair: we cannot turn every unpopular person into a socially successful one. But I do think we can soften the blow in some ways. To start with, while acknowledging the realities of sexual harassment and misogyny and the need to address them, we need a more sympathetic feminist narrative, not just endless ball-crushing. Also, while some mental conditions, such as autism, may be inborn, others are probably not. I doubt Elliot Rodger was born a narcissist, for instance: circumstances contributed – especially perhaps his parents’ divorce. Emotional security is hugely important in childhood: children’s interests are handled very badly in our culture when it comes to adult partners splitting up. Shouldn’t we be doing something about this?

I intended in this piece to go further, to look at particular social values and structures in our society with reference to children’s sexual socialisation, and how these might be improved in ways that could take the sting out of the gender wars. As so often, though, I have reached the point where I will have to leave off, and hope I will be able to pick up the threads another time.

Even creepier than the creepiest creep

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It is a good bet that anyone described as “creepy” these days has earned the unenviable epithet through suspicions he is a paedo: for lazy reviewers of novels and films it has become the go-to cliché for hinting that the scenario includes a sinister and scary perv.

Far more sinister and scary, though, is a rather different kind of creepiness: Mission Creep. In a sexual context, it is everywhere. Feminist analysis that began quite reasonably some decades ago with a long-overdue assault on entrenched “patriarchal” power structures, may have been hostile to adult-child sexual contacts but care was generally taken to emphasise that if children wanted to express themselves sexually it was fine and dandy to do it among themselves. Not anymore! Even kids are under attack now for “inappropriate” sexual behaviour, which has come to mean pretty much anything sexual at all. With anyone. Including yourself.

Nor do “normal” adults escape the ever-widening remit of the nay-sayers. The fight against grotesque abuses of male power expressed through such cultural practices as female genital mutilation, rape as a weapon of war and so forth, is a legitimate, vital and continuing one: gang rape in India is a particularly horrific phenomenon right now, as registered in Heretic TOC’s “No wonder women turn against ‘teasing’”. But the cause will not be helped by Mission Creep that extends to wiping out – or trying to – every conceivable manifestation of male sexual interest.

The viragos now conducting a vicious, vindictive campaign to oust a leading member of the minority party in Britain’s governing coalition are a case in point. Lord Rennard, formerly chief executive of the Liberal Democratic party, was accused of making passes at female party workers, touching them as he did so. One “victim” said he brushed parts of her that she “didn’t want to be brushed” (Would that be as opposed to the parts she did want to be brushed?). An internal party inquiry concluded there was credible evidence “the women’s personal space had been violated”, but not enough evidence to establish that there was a case of sexual harassment to be answered. Brendan O’Neill, in Spiked, rightly asked “who benefits from this redefinition of normal human activity as harassment. It certainly isn’t women, who come to be treated as fragile creatures ill-suited to the rough workplace – an argument I’m sure feminists might once have challenged.”

The attacks on entertainer Jimmy Savile, no longer alive to defend himself against mere allegations, are another case in point. In “Savile: The Power to Abuse” on the BBC’s Panorama programme this week we were treated to such gems as a man testifying to his horror after taking his young niece to meet Savile at a public event and seeing him kiss her. This was supposed to show that Savile, as a huge celebrity with great influence in high places, was able to offend in plain sight and get away with it. The uncle, asked whether he had tried to intervene or complain on his niece’s behalf, unwittingly and hilariously revealed the true source of Savile’s evil power. He had not felt able to intervene, he said, because there was a whole crowd of girls lining up to be kissed! The superstar’s power, in other words, was fan power. If, like James Bond, he had a licence to do what others could not, it was a licence to thrill, not kill.

Also this week we see a third kind of Mission Creep. Or rather we would see it, but this creepy beast is a monster of the shadows: I feel like shouting “Look behind you!” to the all-unseeing British public. This is the creeping mission of the security establishment. The securitocracy, as noted here recently, is now adding paedophilia to its empire of anxiety. “Paedophiles to be treated like terrorists” was Heretic TOC’s headline. It referred to a forthcoming measure against online “paedophile manuals”, a proposal sold as analogous to sanctions against terrorists who download guides to bomb-making.

This measure, it must now be solemnly reported, was duly if obscurely announced in the government’s new legislative programme, in the Queen’s Speech. Well, not quite in the Queen’s Speech. Perhaps it was thought too embarrassing for Her Majesty to utter the word “paedophile”. Instead, she said briefly “a Serious Crime Bill will be brought forward to…disrupt serious organised crime”. An official briefing note issued with the published text added, just as briefly, that the Bill would “create a new offence of possessing ‘paedophilic manuals’.” Perhaps the government found it too embarrassing to spell out how they intend to define “paedophilic manuals” in a way that will not include this blog – or maybe a disguised intention to outlaw Heretic TOC is another aspect of Mission Creep!

Finally, I would just add that I will be guilty of Mission Creep myself unless I am very careful. Heretic TOC’s mission does not include defending the indefensible, and some of Jimmy Savile’s behaviour may have gone too far. As for Chris Rennard, His Lordship was perhaps a bit free with his wandering hands and should be made to sit on the Naughty Step for 10 minutes, or perhaps offer his “victims” a decent meal out with him at a posh restaurant by way of penance. If they don’t want to kiss and make friends again (or just make friends again), well, tough: their apparent determination to crucify the guy is out of all proportion and should not be indulged.

My invocation in this context of a voguish punishment for errant toddlers (the Naughty Step) is not accidental: how to liberate childhood sexuality while maintaining reasonable sanctions against precocious liberty-taking by little Lord Rennards is a topic that needs discussion and which I hope to take up soon.

 

PS: I’ve just noticed that pageviews on Heretic TOC have now topped 100,000. Standing at 100,723 over 575 days, that comes to 175 per day since launch in November 2012. Is that good or bad? Hard to say: the top blogs in popular mainstream subjects doubtless have a vast readership, but they number only a few thousand whereas the total number of blogs in the world is now heading for the hundreds of millions, with an average of under 10 pageviews per day. What interests me more is the increasing number of comments received as time goes on and the generally extremely high quality of these contributions, especially latterly. So there is clearly an appetite for intelligent discussion. Well done all you heretics for providing it!

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