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Apr-07-2010 21:23printcomments


Sex is not going to go away.

Early Marilyn Monroe; she was featured in Playboy in 1953
Early Marilyn Monroe; she was featured in Playboy in 1953

(CALGARY, Alberta) - There’s a storm of righteousness brewing across Canada right now over a convicted pedophile named Graham James.

James was a junior hockey coach who abused some of the young players in his charge. He was convicted in 1997 of abusing the young men from 1984 to 1995 and sentenced to three and half years in jail.

It was learned only recently that in 2007 he had applied for and was granted a pardon which means his criminal record is basically expunged. Anyone can apply for a pardon three to five years after completion of a sentence. Last year the Parole Board granted 98% of 39,628 applications. The only crimes that are not pardoned are the most serious, like murder.

What James did to his young players was horrific and he scarred their lives in many ways. The federal Conservative government and James’s victims are outraged that he was given a pardon, even though there was nothing out of the ordinary that went on in the process.

No one knows where James is today. He was last heard of a few years ago when he was coaching hockey in Spain. It is believed he is no longer in Canada (or even the U.S.), but that’s all that anyone seems sure of.

There’s another storm brewing, this across much of the world over the cover-up and dismissing of pedophilia by Catholic priests. This has been known about for decades and has certainly been going on for centuries. Writing in the NYT, Maureen Dowd says:

The church is dying from a thousand cuts. Its cover-up has cost a fortune and been a betrayal worthy of Judas. The money spent came from social programs, Catholic schools and the poor. This should be a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance.

Wondering if she had only a female perspective on the scandal, she asked her brother Kevin, a conservative Catholic who wrote to her:

In pedophilia, the church has unleashed upon itself a plague that threatens its very future, and yet it remains in a curious state of denial. The church I grew up in was black and white, no grays. That’s why my father, an Irish immigrant, liked it so much.

I have always wondered about the vow of celibacy in the Catholic Church. Sex is such a natural part of life that if you deny it in males, there should be no surprise that it generates aberrant behaviour. It was put in place originally because the Church did not want heirs making claims on money and land. Instead, the claims against the Church are moral and legal.

Our society is permeated with sex. I would be challenged to come up with a list of more than a handful of products or services where sex isn’t a major component of its marketing and sales.

Early in the Eisenhower 1950s Hugh Hefner in Chicago, invented sex. Working at his kitchen table, he put out the first issue of Playboy in December 1953 with Marilyn Monroe as the first centrefold (the pose had been for a calendar, not exclusively for Playboy). The issue had no date on it because there was no certainty that a second issue would be printed. But, from there, Hefner never looked back as he expanded his empire into Playboy Clubs all over the world. He had a Playboy jet (a converted DC-9) and lived in the Playboy Mansion. It was hedonism all the way.

Down from the Playboy Empire's peak in the early seventies, Playboy is still the best-selling men’s magazine, with circulation of about 2.6 million/month in the U.S. (The highest selling Playboy edition was November 1972, which sold 7,161,561 copies.) There are also nation-specific editions for many other countries. (Can you just imagine the Afghanistan edition? If such existed.)

The sex industry expanded from there and, with the invention, first of video tapes, and later the internet, sex is available 24/7 online and through DVDs.

And yet, in Puritan America, (not so pronounced here in Canada) sex can bring the highest people down. Bill Clinton almost lost his presidency over it. Gary Hart, because of an alleged affair, never even had a chance to run. And let’s not forget what happened to John Edwards. These examples only scratch the surface of the number of individuals who have been politically wiped out.

A good example is that of Claude Pepper, Democrat of Florida who, after 14 years in office, was defeated in 1950 by George Smathers who said as often as he could, that Pepper’s sister was a thespian and that, before his own marriage, Pepper had practised celibacy.

What would be the fate if some candidate were accused today of being a carnivore heterosexual biped who had caused his wife to undergo parturition?

The last (actually only) major sex scandal I recall in Canada was the so-called Munsinger affair. Reputedly an East German prostitute and Soviet spy, she had affairs with several high ranking cabinet ministers in the late 1950s. The government was able to keep the whole thing quiet by deporting her to her native East Germany in 1961, and at least one minister quietly resigned, until it was brought up in parliament in 1966 when the whole affair became public. She denied being involved in espionage. Overall, this was less an issue around sex, than around a fear of communism.

Sex is not going to go away.

Sexual Puritanism and religion go hand in hand. America, being the most religious of Western nations, correspondingly has the most dysfunctional and hypocritical views about sex—next to the Islamic nations.

One of the craziest ideas I’ve run across is a fatwa against nudity during sex, issued in 2006 by the Egyptian cleric Rashad Hassan Khalil a former dean of Al-Azhar University’s faculty of Sharia. He said that “ being completely naked during the act of coitus annuls the marriage.”

Al-Azhar’s fatwa committee chairman, Abdullah Megawar did not go so far as Khalil, but did say that couples should not look at each other’s genitals and should cover themselves with a blanket during intercourse.

In all seriousness, there are couples I have seen, clothed, and come to the self-evident conclusion that prohibiting nakedness is sometimes a good thing.


“The Church’s Judas Moment”, Maureen Dowd

Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place

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blastfromthepast May 24, 2010 4:18 pm (Pacific time)

a recently deceased florida lawyer held this secret for years as did his mother the tax collector.Their quest for power was done on the backs of others

blastfromthepast April 27, 2010 5:46 pm (Pacific time)

Both of these women became activists in their own areas What was so toxic about this dude that drove the women into the politics of the oppressed

blastfromthepast April 19, 2010 12:25 pm (Pacific time)

The florida county was the one Flamingo Road was based on.The one the govenor had to send the troops into to suspend the mayor and city council back in 1937.

blastfromthepast April 16, 2010 5:19 pm (Pacific time)

George Smathers got the beautiful foster daughter of a democrat tax collector pregnant.The tax collector had to arrange a bogus marriage for the girl.After much abuse his daughter fled to Canada when she found out about her past.

The Phantom Stranger April 11, 2010 3:07 pm (Pacific time)

The illegitimate daugther of George Smathers is a Poverty Activist in Toronto, Ontario...Canada.

Anonymous April 10, 2010 9:40 am (Pacific time)

The U.S. has always had scandels of a variety of causes. The media generally makes a decision on what and how they report it, and I imagine that is a process that can be found across the globe. America is made up of all the world's religions, and how members of these different ideologies address matters that are in conflict with their values is quite often subject matter for academics trained in these matters, and for those interested in reading their research, which rarely gets in the popular media. In my undergraduate years I took a 9 semester hour sequence in Cultural Anthropology (lower division) and a 9 semester hour sequence in Physical Anthropology (upper division. Later during my university training I took a 6 semester sequence in Cultural Anthropology as a graduate student. What I learned during this training was that when it comes to informing the public about sexual mores, it is frequently pursued on an agenda basis. For example most media played down behavior of people like Barney Frank and his live-in lover who was running a homosexual prostitution business in Frank's home. Oh sure they reported it, but they simply let it play out. Then when someone from a different political side acts out, it becomes a concentrated story that continues on until the individual who engaged in questionable behavior leaves his/her position. I recall a former Senator from Oregon, and his love for box wine and questionable behavior. He was attacked by the media until he resigned. Compared to others in political office who engaged in far more serious misbehavior, even manslaughter and repeated DUI's, they were nearly applauded with good humor. The late Ted Kennedy and his congressman son are two easy examples. With over 300 million people, and a huge porno industry, Americans are hardly shocked about much anymore. But there is a system in place that is quite hypocritical in nature on whose behavior becomes augmented in the media. I'm not very familiar with anything going on in Canada in this area, I guess the local media here just doesn't see anything up there as newsworthy for us. Though I did notice that you have had problems with your people registering their long guns and your government figures over 15 million of your citizens have these guns. That makes nearly 50% of your population as armed. We in the states just have about 1/3 of our citizens armed. Canada sounds like they're ready to rumble. Maybe your low homicide rate is because of this high gun ownership. This is how the stats work in America, for the higher concentration of gunownership by law abiding citizens, the lower the homicide rate. I wonder if some anthropologists have correlated sexual misbehavior with gun ownership?

Hank Ruark April 10, 2010 9:12 am (Pacific time)

"Anon": You wrote: "To understand the mores, values and folkways of different societies for comparative purposes is something I'm sure Margaret Mead and most cultural anthropologists would refrain from attempting to take on." Yours reflects striking unawareness of what Mead et al really did write...not at all surprising in statment by one so cowardly as to withhold even Comment-name ! But it also reflects quite precisely your rapid following statement re value here of "uninformed opinions, via a striking demonstration of precisely that phenomenon, since you offer us absolutely no documentation nor do you even bother to prove up your own statement by some ID of your own background,from which to draw such arrogant conclusions. First step for evaluation of ANY "opinion" is to KNOW the SOURCE, to establish that most essential characteristic: real credibility. Second step is ALWAYS then to check on background,which unavoidably also shapes not only thrust of the "opinion" but also its possible value from special experience even beyond general credibility. Yours thus reduces itself to simplistic expression of your personal feeling rather than a true trusty "opinion", what most of us here designate as only a belly-button/but because "everone has one, they are all about the same" -quote from former Oregon Gov.Sprague when faced with similar silly situatiion.

Anonymous April 9, 2010 6:18 pm (Pacific time)

Value systems are different in all cultures, and they also have similar beliefs that transcend these different cultures, in most cases. To understand the mores, values and folkways of different societies for comparative purposes is something I'm sure Margaret Mead and most cultural anthropologists would refrain from attempting to take on. But there are always plenty of individuals out there who have no background in the cultural social sciences who will demonstrate just what they don't know so as to think some people really care about their uninformed opinions.

You have such a meandering statement with no conclusion--i.e., a predicate connected to a subject, that I really don't know what you're trying to say (who are you referring to in your last sentence?) If you're saying that intercultural comparisons are difficult and should be made with care, then I agree with you.

But I will make a comparison to Canada. The political history of the U.S. just over the last few decades is replete with sex scandals at all levels. In the same period in Canada there are no significant sex scandals that I can recall. This is not to conclude that Canadian politicians are a more moral lot, far from it. I think it's because Canadians, overall, are less Puritanical and self-righteous and just want their politicians to be politicians.

Natalie April 9, 2010 12:55 pm (Pacific time)

I'm not a big fan of reposting, but I don't see anything on the waiting list. Extra marital affairs should be of nobody's interest except the involved parties. The more people know, the more devastating the results. But politics is a dirty game with no rules. Everything can be used against the player. Politicians should know better. Re its affect-aren't usually the affairs kept in secret from the wives? Why? Because there's a feeling of guilt. Feels guilty because he/she realizes deep down that it's wrong and not fair to the spouse. That translates to constant lies and worries. The state of mind changes. Another side-what guys claim to be just a temporary meaningless fun is actually a deep psychological wound for women. Women even cheat first on the emotional level. When the kids find out, they think THEY did something wrong to deserve it. Do you remember what happened to David Letterman? Wasn't his job affected by his affair? Why? His job is to make fun of people, including those having affairs. As a result, he is seen as a hypocrite. It's like critisizing someone's spelling while misspelling very common names. In my opinion, women stand by their cheating husbands only for 2 reasons-either to have a male figure for their minor kids, or because of their dependency (finances/power etc.)

Natalie April 8, 2010 8:35 pm (Pacific time)

Oh, come on, D.J., if Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, John Edwards were not married, nobody in Puritan America would care. Ultimately, it became the question of betrayal and trust. If they betrayed and hurt the closest ones, how can one trust them with the country? And this argument was used by the opponents to bring them down politically, not to mention the pain caused on the personal/family level.

With all due respect, Natalie, I disagree. That makes the assumption that a sexual peccadillo translates into other areas of life activity. Trust and betrayal were, in my view, rationalizations to enforce the Puritan ethic: Someone, somewhere, is having a good time and it must be stopped. These sexual issues, I think, were not about sex, but about power. Part of it is the man has power and exercises it. The other part is about women wanting to have relationships with men who are powerful or perceived to be powerful. Similar to the groupies that follow the rock bands around the country and around the world. I'm not condoning their actions but I think there are male/female ways of looking at these issues. My opinion, anyway and I'm not dogmatic about it.

Anonymous April 8, 2010 2:49 pm (Pacific time)

lets just hope sex isnt going away daniel...
but as in the words of the prophetic musical band, Pink Floyd "teachers, leave those kids alone'... :-)

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