Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The Big Orange vs. The Big Taboo
"Isn't life strange?
A turn of the page
can read like before.
Can we ask for more?"
-- The Moody Blues, "Isn't Life Strange?"
Oh, to be anyplace but New York right now. One would almost think the environs have been invaded by the ghosts of John Gacy, Jeff Dahmer and everybody's fave Texas sex fiend/torturer/murderer, the "candy man" himself, Dean Corll. I know I'm going to burn in hell for writing this, but the child sex abuse thing is kinda right in our faces at the moment (so to speak). Here we go again. Remember when this blog was just about UFOs?
So assistant Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine is in trouble big (joke making the rounds: "I don't know about Bernie Fine, but those boys must have been burnin' fine!") and a cottage industry of people tripping over themselves and others to gain the public eye seems relentless. I don't have any particular love for The Big Orange, though I guess it's my public duty to admit that, yes, during my not-nearly-so-exciting life I completed three courses of study there (all with the grade of "A," natch' -- would you expect less?).
The child sex allegations -- maybe not so much allegations, now that an old tape of Fine's wife speaking with Boy Number One seems to have surfaced on the national level -- have fostered in Syracuse a finger-pointing fest rarely witnessed in the area previously. The Syracuse Police Dept. refused to release old records of its previous negative investigation of Fine to the county district attorney, who responded angrily in front of TV cameras by accusing the police chief of gross incompetency, unwilling even to keep up with the science behind DNA research and other areas pertaining to criminal investigations. Amazingly, the DA also singled out the police division for having something to do with the vandalizing of a DA office associate's car. Not to be outdone, the police chief ordered that any and all pages of police records requested by the DA's office would now cost 50 cents a page.
Then the REALLY crazy stuff happened, as the U.S. Secret Service invaded Fine's home and carted away file cabinets and other Things Of Interest. Suddenly, all the locals cooperated and the police chief released the old investigative files. Now, not content to leave the situation as nuts as it has become, the absolutely worthless U.S. Dept. of Education has entered the fray, investigating Syracuse U's innards, perhaps to appear relevant as well as overblown. Frankly, I'm not sure the ancient Syracuse infrastructure will be able to hold the anticipated crush of out-of-town media, Ph.D.'s, pomposity and child experts. Despite what you've read in the travel literature, let me tell you this in the words of the young, who have deserted this place in droves: This town blows. Some folk are frantically attempting to make it blow less, and it may eventually, but in the meantime. . .
And, oh yes, there was a second supposed victim, and now a fourth, and in between was a third -- a third whose father paints his son as a total and unapologetic liar who never met Fine alone at any time. The son retaliates in the press with accusations of his own about troubled relations with his father.
Those of us who picked up a few bucks writing over the years often encountered subjects we didn't really wish to bother with, sometimes because we know others will handle them better. Or maybe we just don't have enough information. Right now, I'm dependent upon news media stories from such sources as the Syracuse Post-Standard and Central NY TV and radio stations, and as a lowly blogger I certainly can't keep up with developments as they continue to crash earthward. The newspaper has come under fire because it held on to Mrs. Fine's secretly recorded (by Boy Number One) phone conversation tape for years, and some think they should have been turned over to the authorities long ago. I disagree. When the press and the cops become too cozy with one another, that's when we learn to fear, rather than respect, each. I prefer not to live with such apprehension.
Nevertheless, we now learn, in addition to those currently popular phone conversation tapes, that Bernie Fine's wife also may have had a sexual relationship with Boy Number One a few years after his athletic duties as a 12-13 year old, when he reached 17-18 years. Shock, horror! "Mrs. Robinson" for the junior set. And she also apparently confesses to knowing about her husband's relations with the boy. New stories circulating claim that Fine's wife had sexual contact with several (numerous?) S.U. basketball team players as a "rite of passage" in years past. I believe these assertions have been denied by the Fine family. What's truth, what's not? Hey, don't ask me.
Okay, there's no question that child sexual abuse exists, and the results can be horrible for a lifetime, particularly for girls, but no less for boys.
But there's that other side, disturbing to some, to those who bother to open their eyes and see. The problem is that the media would rather focus upon the horrors than other aspects. For instance, what to say about a university athletics dept. "ball boy" who was treated to trips around the country with a top team, enjoying the benefits along the way? It's interesting that a significant number of sexual abuse cases surface only after the good times and money disappear.
And it's fascinating how the number of abuse incidents have skyrocketed since the cottage industry of abuse "professionals" has proliferated throughout society, waving a magic wand and proclaiming all instances of sexual encounters based upon age discrepancies as abuse. Poof! You're abused, now go sue for the big money. It's always about the money, as it may ultimately be for Syracuse University. Sometimes, the "abused" come forward for reasons other than to warn potential victims. It's the economy, stupid. It's the money, stupid.
We demand victims, however defined. And some of those boys, already street-smart for their age, can be smart in other ways, in ways one anticipates only from adults. With the routine availability of texting, sexting, tweeting, image sharing and all sorts of digital opportunities, anything goes now.
There's a time in every young person's life known as coming of age. Strangely, one's personal sex equipment functions very early on, and telling young people that it's because "God is just tempting you" sounds about as crazy as pedophile priests insisting God told 'em to do it. Sex is a weird beast, yet it's the reason we are all here. Sometimes it's beautiful, sometimes it hurts and sometimes it ends in the murder of passion or the passion of murder. Sometimes it's a woman and a boy (the movie, "Private Lessons" certainly exemplified a boy's fantasy) Sometimes it's a man and a boy. Sometimes a woman and man share in the bounty. Sometimes a boy from a broken home meets a man who gives him a good life and an education, and the boy becomes a doctor, lawyer or embraces other professions -- and few would ever know. But the professional sex abuse prevention brigade is out there, keeping us safe from ourselves and presumed devils. As did The Inquisition.
So, The Sexperts increasingly invade our lives, often with religious influence, to establish an agenda of morality via legislation.. One size fits all. And if it's not The Sexperts it's the experts attempting to tame us in other ways -- the global warming crew, for example, who once again were embarrassed a few days ago, when even more old e-mails extolling their lies were released publicly by some renegade force.
As world economies plummet, with more and more young people prostituting themselves on the streets, just what do the sex police intend to offer as an alternative? Hope and change?
Allow me to wrap up some basic observations from the non-hysterical realm, regarding young and older male sexual relationships, without the perfect storybook distortions of which "normal" dreams are made:
Like it or not, since ancient times men have had their boys, and this apparently inherent human activity probably continues today in numbers to astound -- leading the rational mind to ask why. Does anybody really think that ships' captains of days gone by kept cabin boys around simply to act as servants? Military leaders were notorious for their boy attendants. In areas of Melanesia, as we mentioned a few blog entries ago, it is acceptable and encouraged for men to raise boys from ages 7-13 apart from their families, and in doing so to perform invasive sex acts upon them in the belief that it will make the boys better men. There's no prison industry to send the men away for years, and no legal system insistent upon taking away homes and money to provide "cures" and payoffs for attorneys and rats inhabiting a legal system gone wild.
In contrast, our growing child protective industry staffed by "professionals" from various fields continues to make the issue either black or white, excluding historically and socially relevant variations, while at the same time politicians lower than weasels continue to take advantage of the "child abuse" issue to win re-election based upon serving up even more redundant child legislation in a law book jungle already filled with it.
It's not uncommon knowledge that many women are aware if their husbands or boyfriends have boys on the side, and they tolerate, if not embrace the fact, because knowing it's a male and not another woman at least gives them a glimmer of comfort about maintaining their sometimes shaky relationships.
It is pathetic that athletics and every word mouthed by coaching personnel have a strong grip on the daily life-and-death activities of communities -- and, by the way, where would college and professional athletics be without homosexuality at all levels and ages? Remember football star David Kopay? How about Olympics activities, when condoms are requested in quantity, especially among young gay men? Let's not be stupid about the way things have always been. Feel-good attempts to change the leopard's spots through extended bureaucracy, hearsay, public humiliation, arrests, incarceration and additional child legislation will just drive an already clueless, hyper-vigilant, anxiety-ridden society to wolf down even more antidepressant medications, as it begs for increased government surveillance and spending to save us from the inescapable. The things going on are not new, but panic has set in.
When is it child abuse and when is it not? To paraphrase sexual philosopher Bill Clinton, it depends upon the meaning of what is is.