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Archive for October 23rd, 2010

“It had the biggest head you ever saw, Christopher Robin. A great enormous thing, like — like nothing.  A huge big — well, like a — I don’t know — like an enormous big nothing.” –  A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Poor Piglet had of course never seen a heffalump, in fact had never even heard of a heffalump until Pooh started to talk about catching one.  And since Piglet was a rather timid and easily frightened creature, it should come as no surprise to anyone that after staying up half the night thinking about heffalumps and worrying about whether they might be fierce, that he should conclude that the first unidentified thing he saw the next morning was a heffalump and react with predictable hysteria.

We have become a nation of Piglets obsessing over a heffalump named “pedophilia”.  Pedophilia is defined as sexual attraction to prepubescent children, but since the Cult of the Child insists on willfully confusing the legal concept of a “minor” with the biological concept of a “child”, many modern Piglets have concluded that sexual attraction to fully-developed women who happen to be under the age of legal majority is somehow “pedophilia”.  And since they know absolutely no real facts about this heffalump, it should come as no surprise that after worrying about it for two decades they tend to conclude that anything which bears even a passing resemblance to attraction to a person under 18 must be real, dyed-in-the-wool pedophilia, and they react with predictable hysteria.

Here’s the most recent example, paraphrased from an AP story:

Two of the good-looking young actresses who star in the popular television show Glee inadvertently provoked controversy this week by appearing in a suggestive photo spread in the November issue of GQ.  Though the actresses are in their twenties and the magazine is intended for adult men, some critics and fans of the show are upset because many children watch the show and the actresses portray high-school students in it; furthermore, the photos show them in a high-school locker room setting and one shows the actress licking a lollipop. Glee stars Lea Michele (who plays “Rachel” on the show) and Dianna Agron (who plays a cheerleader named “Quinn”) appeared clad only in skimpy panties, and though Cory Monteith (the quarterback “Finn”) appears as well he remains fully clothed.

“I just wasn’t impressed at all,” said a disapproving Emily Martin, a mother in Ontario, Canada.  “I guess I just don’t understand why they chose to even pose for these photos in the first place,” Martin wrote in an e-mail message. “I don’t get what they hope to gain by putting themselves out there like that.”

Her feelings were echoed by commentators as prominent as Katie Couric, who devoted an opinion segment on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News to the controversy.  “I’m a Gleek,” she began, saying that she and her 14-year-old daughter watch the show every week. But she decried the photos, particularly Michele’s spread-eagle one, as “raunchy” and “un-Glee-like,” and concluded: “I’m disappointed.”

“Utterly tone-deaf,” chimed in Salon.com. “An explosion of cliched fetishism not seen outside the cheap Halloween costume aisles,” wrote EW.com. Unsurprisingly, the harshest commentary came from the Parents Television Council:  “It borders on pedophilia,” said its president, Tim Winter.  He called the spread a “near-pornographic display” — especially the “full-frontal crotch shot.”

Though GQ will obviously profit from the publicity, editor in chief Jim Nelson took issue with the pedophilia reference, pointing out that Agron and Michele are 24, and Monteith is 28; “I think they’re old enough to do what they want,” he said.  In an e-mail to The Associated Press, he elaborated: “I don’t think it will surprise anyone that we knew what we were doing,” he wrote. “I think most people will take the pictures with the wink and spirit of fun in which they were made…What we wanted to celebrate in the shoot and the story is (the show’s) playfulness, its wicked sense of fun, the clever way it plays with its self-awareness.  And it doesn’t hide from its sexual suggestiveness.”

Nelson is unquestionably correct; Glee, which airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on the Fox network, frequently deals with mature themes such as teen pregnancy, homosexuality and the loss of virginity. Nor is it any stranger to controversy; some parents took issue last season at a scene in which Monteith’s character Finn ejaculated in a hot tub, and this season there was a lesbian love scene between two cheerleader characters in which one of them referred specifically to a more intimate sex act.

Yet, inattentive parents allow children as young as 8 or 9 to watch the show; kids are apparently drawn in by its energetic musical numbers.  If one had any doubt as to the youthfulness of the fan base, he need only have witnessed the legions of squealing “tweens” at last spring’s Glee concert tour.  The show’s creators didn’t quite expect that at first; “We didn’t know 9-year-olds would like it so much,” co-creator and executive producer Brad Falchuk told the AP in May.  “We didn’t know the geriatric set would like it so much, either.  I wish we knew how we did it.”

It wasn’t clear how the show’s producers felt about the GQ photos:  Fox denied the AP’s request for comment.  Jim Nelson said that Fox knew about the shoot, but didn’t get involved; “It was up to the individual actors and the reps for the actors to approve the concept,” he said.  A publicist for Michele did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the actress, who is the breakout star of Glee and the subject of the raciest GQ photos — the one with spread legs, and the lollipop-licking photo.  Nor did a representative for Monteith.

A publicist for Agron would only confirm the authenticity of a posting by the actress on tumblr.com:  The photos, she said, “do not represent who I am…They asked us to play very heightened versions of our school characters,” wrote Agron, whose poses weren’t nearly as explicit as Michele’s, but still had her in tiny schoolgirl skirts intentionally raised up. “At the time, it wasn’t my favorite idea, but I did not walk away…If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention,” she said. “And if your 8-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry.  But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?”

At least one parent interviewed for this article agreed with Agron that it was the parent’s responsibility to control what children see.  “Parents need to filter what comes into their house,” said Vivian Manning-Schaffel, a 42-year-old mother of two in New York City and a frequent blogger on parenting issues. “It’s up to parents to be clear about what is what.”  About the GQ photos, she added: “I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about.  If I were those actresses, I’d be out there posing in those outfits myself!  They’re both gorgeous.”

Celebrity editor Bonnie Fuller also came to the actresses’ defense.  “They are entitled to promote their careers as they see fit,” Fuller wrote on her website, Hollywood Life.  “Whether you like it or not, posing in sexually suggestive photographs has become a staple for actresses and actors to self-promote,” she wrote. “They almost all do it.”

I think it’s obvious that actresses aren’t responsible for lazy parents letting their kids watch inappropriate shows, and that 9-year-olds don’t read GQ; once again we’re faced with the bizarre catechism of the Cult of the Child, which holds that since these actresses did something “dirty” their mere images will somehow destroy the “innocence” of children who watch their show.  But it even goes beyond that to something even more mind-bogglingly stupid:  “It borders on pedophilia,” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council.  What???? How in Aphrodite’s name does a photo shoot featuring two ADULT actresses portraying biologically adult characters “border” on pedophilia?  So if one of them put on a necktie and a man’s hat, would Mr. Winter claim it “bordered on homosexuality?”  If they dressed as Playboy bunnies, would he claim it “bordered on bestiality?”  Perhaps one of them could slip in a pair of cheesy plastic vampire fangs so Mr. Winter and his fellow cultists could proclaim it “bordered on necrophilia!”

This is utterly insane; these people have now fetishized children to the point where even semi-nude pictures of adults playing legal minors constitutes “pedophilia”?  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, considering that nude drawings of children, sexual descriptions of fictional children and even depictions of cartoon characters having sex have resulted in their possessors being jailed for “child pornography” or “obscenity”.  And if adult prostitutes can somehow be defined as “trafficked children”, then certainly adult actresses can be defined as “children” too.  How much longer must we endure this evil nonsense before it finally burns itself out and reveals this dire threat to civilization as nothing but an empty jar?

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