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#515#516#517#518 Episode #519 - The War on Sex
(Beneath 'Child Protection' to The Deeper Roots of Hierarchy and Separation)



Sat 2 October 2010  Judith Levine, Jackson Katz, Kenneth Dowst, Robert Jensen
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we begin a series on separation by looking at the furore surrounding sexual abuse of children. We start with, "Kids, Sex and The State" by Judith Levine, detailing officially sanctioned child abuse by the US government. Don't think paedophile priests when you read that, think "war on drugs". We read of a UK council which has banned parents from attending their own children in its parks, a reminder that crime prevention does not equate to concern for children's welfare. In our second hour, Jackson Katz exposes the main sexual socialization of young US men as increasingly violent and misogynistic pornography. We contrast this with more the traditional puberty rites of the Ashanti people of Ghana. We conclude with a presentation by Robert Jensen into what the rise of the US pornography industry reveals about the predatory nature of capitalism.
Judith Levine, author of "Harmful to Minors, The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex", starts our show by recounting some examples of child abuse carried out by the US government in the name of protecting children, cited from Ethical Treatment for All Youth:
Quotes-66.gifJustin's stepmother caught him and his 5 year old younger brother 'looking at each other naked.' They were comparing pee pees. Justin was given one year probation, had to complete 'crisis counselling', and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.Quotes-99.gif
Quotes-66.gifThe reason for placement was a sexual offense done when I was 13 in California. Basically I engaged in consensual sexual acts with 3 neighborhood boys ages 13, 11, and 8. Treatment involved putting a rubber band appearing contraption hooked up through a computer around your penis while you sat in a dark room with your pants to your ankles listening to various audio recording stories.Quotes-99.gif

Levine recommends "don't go to the state if you have a problem with your kid" and concludes that if the state really cared about preventing child abuse, it would tackle poverty rather that try to control kids' behaviour. Our first hour concludes by reading a 2009 article from the UK Telegraph "Council bans parents from play areas - Parents have been banned from supervising their children in public playgrounds, because they have not undergone criminal record checks." noting the overt totalitarian nature of the suggestion that government appointed strangers should be trusted in preference to ones own family.

In our second hour, we recall the hierarchical nature of money issuance, and suggest that survival anxiety generated by such a psychopathic system may underlie a lot of systemic violence which is blamed on individual 'bad apples'. We then listening to a short section of an interview with anti-violence educator, Jackson Katz, in which he argues that our society has a naive understanding of sexual violence, and that violence is less the result of bad apples than it is a reflection of mainstream culture. He notes the damaging effect on young boys of learning about sex through violent pornography which is overtly racist and misogynistic. For contrast we include a section of Kenneth Dowst speaking on Ghanaian puberty rites, and how sexual norms inevitably reflect other social influences such as career options and economic exigencies.

We conclude the show with an interview by Robert Jensen, author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, in which he asks what kind of people are we becoming when does it mean to live in a society which commodifies the most intimate spaces in our lives. He regrets that adolescents need for sexual experience is being seized upon by a multi-billion dollar industry that delivers sex in the form of increasingly violent pornography.

He does not limit his analysis of violence to pornography. Noting that capitalist culture accepts cruelty in many many ways, from the incredible barbarism of modern weapons to the phenomenon of homelessness, he asks "Why do we accept that as a culture? Have we, as a society, lost our empathic responses?" He concludes that it is hard to see how any such culture can survive for long.
Music: Tom Lehrer
Thanks to New World Notes for the music suggestion
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