Seeing that it’s a year ago to the day that I launched this blog with “18 common misconceptions about paedophiles & paedophilia”, today seems an apt date to announce the start of a prolonged sabbatical from blogging.
It’s a decision that I’m taking with much regret: during the past year this blog has been my baby, my major project and preoccupation, a pleasurable servitude, a discipline, an anchor and a bridle, a thief of hours and days, something into which I could divert the energies of thwarted love, a source of self-respect, an education, and a charm for keeping my demons at bay.
I’m stopping not for those reasons that might be most readily assumed for a blog of this nature: trouble from the law, capitulation to the hegemony of society’s narrative, despair, or threats, abuse and trolling.
I have had no attention (or at least none that I know of) from my local constabulary; as to ‘capitulation’ – the chances of me going ‘virtuous’ (or worse) are as near to zero as dammit; and I suspect that all Kind folk who manage to remain sane and reasonably happy have had to, in some way or another, make some kind of peace with Despair.
As far as ‘threats, abuse and trolling’ – the blog, I think, has received no more than two such ‘comments’, which consisted of nothing more than five or six misspelled words written by someone probably more deserving of pity than contempt or fear.
Indeed, this lack of negativity and hatred has bothered me. The comments on this blog have been interesting, entertaining, challenging, informative, friendly (and occasionally quite erotic), and if the quality of these comments reflects the quality of my blog’s readership then I have much to be proud of and grateful for. But the lack of usual insults and hatred, or even polite disagreement, suggests that the blog has failed to reach an audience outside the ‘paedosphere’.
Maybe this is not an entirely bad thing: maybe the difference between having a pro-choice paedophile blog that only paedophiles read, and having one which non-paedophiles also read might also be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a night’s sleep interrupted by a 4 a.m. knock at the door from the local vice squad.
But I suspect that this is not the case – Heretic TOC, Tom O’Carroll’s flagship blog, is not only read by Kinds, but undoubtedly also by some who are decidedly unkind in their intentions – and I know that Tom’s courage, integrity and doggedness in fighting for the cause have sometimes meant that life has not always been un long fleuve tranquille for him, yet I don’t get the impression that his blog has been a significant source of trouble for him.
So if it’s not for the usual reasons why then am I stopping blogging?
My reason amounts to nothing more exciting that ‘burn out’.
These past few months my mind has come to feel more and more like an over-farmed, depleted dust-bowl. When I sit down to write an essay all the ideas and inspiration that I thought I had worked out are as insubstantial fled phantoms fading in the light of the screen and its remorseless, pulsing cursor. To quote Ernest Dowson – that most kind of poets – “I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind”.
In its first few months I was driven by a wild enthusiasm – the prospect of being able to share with the world thoughts and feelings I had resigned myself to keeping secret was exhilarating. I was like a child in front of a bag of sweets, or like myself in front of a packet of crisps: I could not stop myself: during the first two weeks I published ten blogs in all! Then I managed to control my enthusiasm and for a few months published only once a week, and after a month’s break in February I settled down to publishing fortnightly.
Writing and researching the essays has been immensely challenging and rewarding. I have gone for long walks before dawn with my notebook, and come back having filled its pages with my near-indecipherable scrawl. I have often gone to bed, my mind buzzing with questions, puzzles, half-formed intuitions, with that same notebook on my bedside table, knowing that it was likely that I would wake up in the wee small hours with some insight or revelation flashing in my mind like a lightbulb, a connection made or some problem solved, or just a wonderful metaphor or turn of phrase.
I’m aware of having pushed myself intellectually, and with more purpose and enthusiasm than ever I managed when a student.
Working on my thesis at university I took it for granted that no idea that might occur to me, nothing I’d write, would add to humanity’s pool of knowledge, thought or feeling – I was merely recycling the thoughts of those who had come before me: those of the authors I’d read, of my tutors and the artists whose works I’d been studying and absorbing. I was performing a rite of passage, a ritual whose meaning was entirely symbolic. Nothing I wrote had the potential to change the world, nor had I any aspiration to do so – I was casting sterile seed on the sterile ground of tired, bored, over-worked examiners.
Working on this blog has felt very different to the above. All through my life I have enjoyed reading essays that mattered, essays that have changed people’s way of thinking, that have changed the world: as a teenager I worked my way through the essays of George Orwell; more recently I’ve developed a passion for John Ruskin and Montaigne. But for the first time I experienced what it meant to write with fire in one’s own pen, to write with urgency; for the first time I felt that in writing I was doing something truly dangerous, both to myself and to the status quo. I felt that the world, or at least a part of it I cared about, needed to read what I was writing.
Radical paedophilia is a pioneer subject. As far as I know there is no department of ‘Paedophile Studies’ in any institution of learning anywhere in the world. It is a subject where the ordinary man and women can break new ground. Granted this ‘new ground’ is not soft and yielding to the trowel but is a ground that has been fenced off with razor-wire and which been concreted over for fear that the inconvenient truths that lie buried there might one day see the light of day.
And it is exhilarating to be one of those who have cut through through the razor wire, broken through the concrete and are studying what lies beneath. We are unearthing truths that society does not wish to be revealed. I think of Galileo, emerging, scathed and humiliated, from the inquisition, stamping upon the earth and asserting ‘Eppur si muove’ – ‘and yet it moves’.
This fire is still in me and wants to burn as brightly – but it is a fire that has burnt at a rate beyond the capacity of its fuel to renew itself. I intend this to be a ‘sabbatical’ rather than a ‘retirement’: I plan to take off between six months and a year. During that period I will continue with my on-topic reading, reflection and research. I also intend to continue preparing and writing, though not publishing, blogs; and hopefully I will be able to do this with more ease – without the pressure of looming deadlines, and without having to integrate into an essay ideas and information which I have only just read – a too-rapid intellectual turnover for an essentially slow and sluggish mind such as mine.
I can imagine indefinitely continuing a ‘6-months-on/6-months off’ rhythm for this blog – recharging my batteries during the six months off, doing reading and research which, rather than being immediately employed in an essay is left, rather, to ‘compost down’ and integrate itself into my broader thinking on the issues.
Indeed, even as I type this ‘au-revoir’, I have several essays which are straining at the leash to be researched, pondered and written.
It still feels like I am at the start of my exploration of the over-arching thesis of this blog – that paedophobia is a result of a generalised anxiety resulting from the two dominant archetypes of ‘childhood’ that exist in our society, archetypes which most spectacularly conflict in their conception of child sexuality.
I have just finished reading “Moral Panics – The social Construction of Deviance” by Eriche Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda – and this book, in combination with a rereading of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, has really developed my thinking on the conditions that give rise to moral panics, and how, on issues around child sexuality, a low-level moral panic has endured since the 1980s which has been reinforced and impelled by regular outbursts of more spectacularly hysterical witch-hunting.
“Williamstheatre presents THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller. Directed by Omar Sangare. Once emblematic of political persecution in the 1950s, THE CRUCIBLE is an allegory that resonates wherever sanctimony is used as a weapon of oppression and intolerance. In this canonical American drama set during the seventeenth-century Salem witch trials, Arthur Miller explores human cruelty and the manipulations, accusations, and dishonesty that afflict a paranoid community looking for scapegoats.”
I’m also aware that I have the second part of ‘The Consumer Child’ to complete (the ‘Consumer Child’ being one of contemporary society’s two principle archetypes that, I strongly suspect, are so intensely in conflict with each other).
My failure to complete this second part, despite having an enormous amount of things I want to explore and communicate on the subject, is largely what has brought the issue of ‘burn out’ to a crisis point. I have felt daunted and fettered by the importance of getting this essay ‘right’. Also, much of what I need to say draws on notes taken from my reading of several books. I have found it hard to write with any fluency, and have several times restarted the essay, and each time scrapped it, dissatisfied with what I’ve written – it feeling too much like a picture made up of random pieces from several disparate jigsaws.
It’s all gone quiet…
Is it just me but have things have gone a bit quiet across the ‘paedosphere’ recently? There seem to be fewer posts on other blogs, fewer comments, and all the pro-paedophile podcasts and youtube channels I know of have gone silent.
I’ve only been blogging a year – clearly not long enough to be able to distinguish and identify annual patterns in activity – but I wonder whether it is a seasonal thing – people more busy in the Summer, the long Winter nights being more conducive to engaging in the world of internet groups and forums..?
But this might be related to another reason for my taking this break: in the face of climate change and the evils of islamism, paedophile liberation and child sexual rights do not feel like the most pressing issues the world currently faces.
This puts me in a dilemma: the issues I know most about, and feel most zealous about, are paedophilia-related ones. I don’t think it’s hubristic of me to state that I’m more informed about and understand these issues better than probably 99.9% of the population. This is something I could never say about climate change or islamism: though I feel very strongly about these issues I have nothing to contribute to the debates and discussions round these issues. I could never aspire to pioneer new ideas or approaches to these issues – I haven’t put in the foot-, book- or brain-work necessary to make a difference regarding these issues.
So is it better to dedicate all your efforts to being a mere pawn or foot-soldier around those issues where the fate of humanity, civilisation and the biosphere are at stake, and to make a negligible contribution to them, or to dedicate yourself to being a knight, rook or bishop in a lesser issue, to which you can maybe make some significant contribution or difference?
Of course the two are not mutually exclusive: if I had infinite time, an infinite attention span and greater intellectual capacities maybe I could fulfill my sense of duty to all these causes. But I don’t, and I have found that maintaining a wordy fortnightly blog is as near-as-damn-it a full-time job, and given that I already have a demanding full-time job and various other passions and responsibilities I’m left having to choose which battles I wish to engage in.
Winning a debate, especially with a disrespectful opponent, is a wonderful feeling. Before I started ConsentingA̶d̶u̶l̶t̶s̶Humans, before Tom O’Carroll published my first essay on his blog, I had a phase of debating paedophile issues on various forums. I quickly realised that the knowledge-gap was so great between myself and those opposing my position that I often ended up feeling guilty at the battering I was subjecting my opponents to. They seemed so unprepared to face the arguments and evidence I had ready to hand – they seemed to have never thought beyond the mantras of ‘children are not sexual’ and ‘children cannot consent’.
Purely in terms of debates and discussions, we find ourselves in an orchard-full of low-hanging-fruit. If a non-paedophile is willing to engage in a serious and civil discussion it is relatively easy to change their way of thinking, or at least to introduce nuances into their prejudices. But of course, society, knowing this, does everything to forestall such discussions: the rooms which contain the most valuable treasures, or the most subversive truths, lie behind the doors with the most locks and guards – and consequently, and to mix metaphors, it is extremely rare to encounter someone whose well has not already been poisoned to such an extent that they are incapable of even acknowledging that some debate is possible.
In my experience, debates and disagreements about climate change and islamism can often end up at a level which the layman cannot follow, getting bogged down in whataboutery, questions of methodology, statistical complexities, quibbling about details of research, and unpicking biases inherent in the vocabulary used. Such debates can quickly become attritional rather than constructive.
However In my experience debating paedophilia rarely feels this way – at least when debating with non-paedophiles (and aren’t they, because their ignorance and prejudice are so profound, exactly those people who are most in need of enlightenment?). Yes, the debates can be nasty and disrespectful – but, because of our opponents’ profound ignorance, the debates tend to turn around big concepts: the nature of child sexuality, the nature of consent or the true nature of paedophilic love.
I’ll still be contactable through this blog. I may publish the occasional announcement or link if the need arises. I’ll also be doing some occasional ‘house-keeping’: I intend to create a page which lists and links to all the posts on the blog. This is because, as it is, old posts effectively disappear out of sight. The only way of accessing them is by using the ‘archive’ menu at the bottom of the page – but in order to use that you have to already know that a particular post exists, and know during which month it was published.