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Slowing Down

I'm slowing down work on my blog. I've started writing again. I've been inspired to revisit a Science Fiction idea that has been rattling around my head for years and I'm distracted by theories around quantum computing, dark energy, the discovery of new planets and exo-biology.

Addendum To The 5 Myths

One of my objections to the current moral panic over the sexualization of children is that it lacks historical perspective. It is in the nature of moral panic to exaggerate the extent and urgency of the problem and to demand immediate action. However, when one goes back and studies the advertising of the past, especially the era prior to the sexual and feminist revolutions, we see very clear evidence of the sexualization of children, young girls in particular. I think it is important to note that during this pre-feminist era the ideal woman was seen as child-like and naive, in [...]

Five Myths Of The Sexualization Debate

1. Sexualized images of children encourage men to see children as sexually available. This is the big fear. The first issue here is the definition of a sexualized image. As I have argued, this is often highly subjective. A conservative Christian is likely to see certain images as problematic that others may not. However, even with images that most people would accept are deliberately sexual, such as child pornography, there is no clear evidence that viewing such images causes otherwise normal men to offend against children.  In 2009 Frank Urbaniok from the Canton of Zurich Department of Justice reported in [...]

Labor, The Anti-discrimination Bill And The Illusion Of Religious Freedom

To be honest I’m not surprised. Indeed I’m somewhat amused that so many progressive secularists feel betrayed by the Labor party. After all, we are talking about the party that once harboured a number of conservative Catholics who eventually split to form the DLP. The simple fact is that many prominent members of the party have a dual allegiance: one to their electorate and the other to their faith, Christianity. The most prominent of these was the former PM Kevin Rudd. And even though the current PM, Julia Gillard says she is an atheist, her moral views are shaped by [...]

The History Of Nude Swimming In Schools

I came across this fascinating documentary about nude swimming in schools. I have been arguing that our modern aversion to images of the naked child is very recent. This documentary reveals that in many parts of America is was common for boys to swim naked up until the 60's and 70's. However, what I find even more fascinating is how quickly this piece of social history was forgotten. What this tells us is that people can choose to forget once common social customs when those customs have become sexualised, shameful or embarrassing - or deemed politically incorrect. The documentary is [...]

Lady With An Ermine

My major complaint with the modern sexualisation debate is that it lacks historical and cultural depth. I am reminded of this constantly. As I was researching the story of young adolescent groupies I watched a documentary on a newly discovered Da Vinci on the ABC Da Vinci: The Lost Treasure. What caught my attention was the suggestion that Lady with an ermine is every bit the masterpiece that the Mona Lisa is. I must admit that I had never really looked at the Lady with an ermine. When I did the first thing I noticed was that she was very [...]

My Childhood In The 60’s And 70’s

I was born in 55, that means I was 13 in 68, the year Led Zeppelin released Whole Lotta Love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB_DOA2AL7Q Of course I knew it was about sex. We all knew it was about sex, that he was mimicking the sounds of orgasm. That's why I find it so difficult to buy the argument that the sexualisation of children has somehow gotten worse. Are you kidding me? My adolescence was saturated with sexuality; in music, in the media and amongst my friends. If anything, times have become far more conservative in comparison. Yes, it is different today, but that [...]

A Day Trip To Bendigo Art Gallery

I'm on holidays. The perfect time to take day trips. This one has been on my wish list for some time. The Bendigo Art Gallery is perhaps Australia's best regional gallery and it's not too far from Melbourne (non-stop once you get on the Citylink freeway). Built during the time of the Victorian gold rush, it is home to an interesting collection of 19th century European and Australian art, but it also maintains a very good modern collection. Given the theme of the naked child in art there are two European works worth mentioning - although I cannot find any [...]

The Theology Of The Child And Adulthood

I think it's important to note that the theology of the child also makes a statement about the nature of adulthood. Rooted in the Puritan work ethic, the myth of childhood innocence necessarily includes a corresponding myth of adult 'responsibility'. If childhood is a time of play, then adulthood is serious and businesslike. In this world adults must work hard and deny themselves both play and pleasure. In fact we could propose a relationship: the more adults feel pressured by all the demands placed on them, the more they insist on childhood innocence. Interestingly, the most overworked and stressed people [...]

Groupies And Predatory Adolescents

In the past I've written extensively about 'rock chicks' because they transgress several boundaries. Just recently a friend sent me a link to a Huffington Post blog written by a former groupie from Australia, Nikki McWatters, provocatively titled Predatory Teenage Girls. Unsurprisingly she came in for the usual, cliched criticism that she was endorsing paedophilia and teenage rape. Bizarre. What she was doing was talking about an inconvenient truth, namely that adolescent girls develop crushes on older men and sometimes actively pursue a relationship. In certain circles this is taboo. The politically correct line is that until they reach an [...]