In discussions and in my reading, internet-browsing, film-watching etc I often come across quotes, anecdotes and ideas which are of interest, or which seem to encapsulate an idea particularly well. However, I often have no immediate use for these and they therefore pass through the holes of my sieve-like memory and end up inaccessible and festering in the blocked plumbing of my existence.
This page’s function is that of a kind of ‘digital scrapbook’ – a place to store these ‘finds’. As such this page is primarily for myself. But I thought it might be interesting and fruitful to give the readers of ConsentingA̶d̶u̶l̶t̶s̶Humans access to this scrapbook, and therefore also offer them the possibility of sharing their own thoughts and insights in the comments section.
Some of the ‘cuttings’ may be a little incoherent – it’s not always evident where a quote should start and where it should finish, and how much context needs to be included in order for it to make full sense. My comments that accompany some of these finds may, on occasion, be a little cursory or garbled.
The ‘cuttings’ are in the order that I found them with the most recent finds at the top of the page.
Please feel free to comment and make suggestion.
Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director of Regents Park Open Air Theatre, on Britten’s/James’ ‘Turn of the Screw’
Listened to the BBC’s ‘Start The Week’. It includes a discussion with Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director of Regents Park Open Air Theatre, and who is staging a production of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’. He sees the part of Quint as a kind of ‘liberator’ and ‘educator’ of Miles, who is aged 10 in the story and the opera. But note, especially from 35:20 onwards how he obfuscates Miles’s age – describing him as a ‘teenager’ and ‘young man’. He also dodges the issue of paedophilia – both Quint’s and Benjamin Britten’s.
from ‘Such, Such Were The Joys’ – by George Orwell
from section IV – in which Orwell remembers a sex-scandal at his school.
” there was sex, which was always smouldering just under the surface and which suddenly blew up into a tremendous row when I was about twelve[…]At this time I was in an almost sexless state, which is normal, or at any rate common, in boys of that age; I was therefore in the position of simultaneously knowing and not knowing what used to be called the Facts of Life. At five or six, like many children, I had passed though a phase of sexuality. My friends were the plumber’s children up the road, and we used sometimes to play games of a vaguely erotic kind. One was called ‘playing at doctors’, and I remember getting a faint but definitely pleasant thrill from holding a toy trumpet, which was supposed to be a stethoscope, against a little girl’s belly. About the same time I fell deeply in love, a far more worshipping kind of love than I have ever felt for anyone since, with a girl named Elsie at the convent school which I attended. She seemed to me grown up, so I suppose she must have been fifteen. After that, as so often happens, all sexual feelings seemed to go out of me for many years. At twelve I knew more than I had known as a young child, but I understood less, because I no longer knew the essential fact that there is something pleasant in sexual activity. Between roughly seven and fourteen, the whole subject seemed to me uninteresting and, when for some reason I was forced to think of it, disgusting.”
and from section V, some sobering words for paedophiles :
“One can love a child, perhaps, more deeply than one can love another adult, but it is rash to assume that the child feels any love in return. Looking back on my own childhood, after the infant years were over, I do not believe that I ever felt love for any mature person, except my mother, and even her I did not trust […] I could feel reverence respect, admiration or compunction [for an adult], but I seemed cut off from them by a veil of fear and shyness mixed up with physical distaste. People are too ready to forget the child’s physical shrinking from the adult. The enormous size of grown-ups, their ungainly, rigid bodies, their coarse, wrinkled skins, their great relaxed eyelids, their yellow teeth, and the whiffs of musty clothes and beer and sweat and tobacco that disengage from them at every movement! Part of the reason for the ugliness of adults, in a child’s eyes, is that the child is usually looking upwards, and few faces are at their best when seen from below. Besides, being fresh and unmarked itself, the child has impossibly high standards in the matter of skin and teeth and complexion.”
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
“Rebecca Sharp looked like a child. But she had the dismal precocity of poverty. Many a dun had she talked to, and turned away from her father’s door; many a tradesman had she coaxed and wheedled into good-humour, and into the granting of one meal more. She sate commonly with her father, who was very proud of her wit, and heard the talk of many of his wild companions–often but ill-suited for a girl to hear. But she never had been a girl, she said; she had been a woman since she was eight years old.”
What does Thackeray mean by that last phrase? I have seen it suggested (where?) that this means she lost her virginity at the age of eight. The bohemian circumstances of Becky’s childhood, in which she socialised much with her father’s friends and colleagues, on a kind of equal footing, seems to reinforce this possibility. LSM
Silverback plays with his baby gorilla (Ebobo with Yoko)
To what extent could this be read as a paedophile/child interaction?
Does the silver-back perform cunnilingus on the little girl-gorilla? Is the way the little girl-gorilla repeatedly raises her leg a way of drawing the silver-back’s attention to her genitals? of signalling a wish to be genitally stimulated?There seems to be no suggestion that her leg-raising gesture is connected to any intent to climb.
The little-girl gorilla is so sweet, and her interaction with the terrifying (to me at least) male is so gentle. It reminds me of how such a huge power disparity is not only rendered harmless, but can be rendered salutary and beautiful through tenderness and love. The little girl-gorilla in this interaction is probably learning and exploring her feelings of attraction to the alpha male, indeed there are moments when she stops and seems to be admiring his magnificence. LSM