Oprah hates ambiguity. She likes things to be clear, love them, hate them, or they are invisible. I think this is one thing people love about the Oprahland she invites people into — there, ambiguity is resolved, and passion is the play, the passions of excitement & joy or compassion & titilation or loathing & fear, nice and clear.
Oprah has decided that she was born to stop those who have sex with children. She has contextualized her own experience of abuse as a primer for this crusade. She’s putting lots of cash and lots of energy into this quest.
This fits the mood in the country today, of course. We have no communists to fear, so we fear terrorists and “sexual preditors.” I don’t think you are allowed to do a local newscast without some story about sexual preditors, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a rehash of old news, if it’s from a long way away, or even if it’s just people talking about about how much they fear these people.
I think forcing someone to have sex without their consent is wrong, and I think that kids under puberty don’t have the capacity to offer informed consent to sexual relations. I think kids over puberty need to be protected from those who would coerce them, especially where there is a big power inequality (like a female teacher getting it on with a student). I think everyone needs to be protected against preditors who use violence or drugs to make people have sex against their will.
But what I don’t think is that anyone who does initiate this kind of relation is not human, is less than human, is a monster or an alien. Sexuality is hard stuff, and from what I understand, most sexual abusers have had some kind of abuse in their own lives. These are broken and ambiguious people who need to be stopped from hurting others, but also need to be helped to negotiate their own desires.
I watch the police try to understand and explain these people. They need to seem to be on top of the problem, and so they need to fill in the gaps in their understanding, fill them in a way that others can understand.
This is where the Frog DNA comes in. In Jurassic Park, they had to fill in the gaps to build dinosaurs, so they used frog DNA. Of course, this was just a construct that allowed the dinos to change sex and breed, but it was where everything came a cropper.
I watched this when law enforcement people talked about Michael Jackson. They wanted to dismiss him as “just another pedophile” so they attributed the characteristics of the generic model pedophile to him.
Problem was, he isn’t some generic textbook model. He is Michael Jackson, huge pop star.
Problem is, though, that nobody is some generic textbook model. We are all indviduals. And when people try to eliminate ambiguity and reduce anyone to a sterotype by filling in the unknown gaps with Frog DNA, things come a cropper.
Does Oprah understand this? Does she understand how her quest to purge ambiguity is a contradiction to her spiritual principles to value every human, to acknowledge her connection?
Oprah knows what people want. She knows what people like, knows what people come to her for. People come for entertainment and certainty, for solutions and salvation. They want their fears titlated and redeemed.
And if that takes filling in the gaps with Frog DNA in a way that she would loathe if done to her, well, I’m sure she believes that some people have given up their right to be treated as humans by doing something she considers heinous, or one of the many other adjectives she uses to characterize both the behaviour of these humans and the humans themselves.
Sexual abuse of others is wrong. It should be stopped.
But as long as we think it’s evil, and anyone who does it is evil, seeing them only though our stereotypes, we never get to figure out how to release the pressure on these people before they hurt others. If their desires continue to be beyond the pale, they will have no choice but to submurge them and act out rather than finding ways to engage that desire in ways that don’t hurt, injure and damage others.
All this fear, all this fear. No “internet preditor” has ever seen someone who didn’t make the choice to reveal themselves and meet their chat buddy. The engaging and encouraging kids that adults play to lure these internet trollers are kids who don’t know when to shut off the messenger, kids who have desires and issues.
Do people want to engage their children’s desires? No, much easier to fear the people and things that might fulfill them, the things they can chase freely once they are 18.
The only way to make the world unambigous is to fill the gaps and twists with something that explains it in a way we understand; in other words, to fill it with Frog DNA.
And, as anyone who ever watched Jurassic Park can tell you, all that does is make your troubles multiply.