Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #20 -- October 2001


1. Domestic Erotic Terrorism
2. Let's Never Forget--Before September 11
3. Osama bin Falwell
4. What's Obscene--The Porn or the Bust?
5. America Safer: Helms Retiring
6. Correspondence: The Clinton-Starr-bin Laden Connection
7. Book Review: "Not In Front of The Children"
8. Calendar--Marty Klein's Speaking Schedule

* * * * * * * * * * * *

1.  Domestic Erotic Terrorism

    The terror of September 11th is the most profound that many of us have ever lived through. Our trauma has now been described by everyone with a microphone or keyboard, and it comes down to this: the loss of innocence, the sense of violation, the rage and desire for revenge.

    Of course, the loss of life is terrible, as is the destruction of billions of dollars of property, along with the skyline and insouciance of the world's most vibrant city. That said, we should acknowledge a loss we fear even more: the American way of life. That's really what all the terror and rage is really about now: the threat to the American way of life.

    Our sexual freedoms would surely be among those the foreign terrorists would end. But when it comes to sexual expression today, the threat comes not from Afghanistan or Iraq or anyplace else beyond the sea. The terrorism that challenges the American way of life with regard to our eroticism is based in America, funded in America, and carried out every day by Americans.

    In these and many other ways, America's politicians and citizens are trying to destroy the American way of life. What can we do to fight erotic terrorism here in America? We don't need cruise missiles, calling out the reserves won't help, and covert operations are out of the question. So here's what we can do to strengthen our erotic homeland security:     This month's issue is devoted to the many forms of erotic terrorism throughout America.

2.  Let's Never Forget--Before September 11

    The world before September 11 now seems like some dreamlike, other lifetime. As we go about  healing ourselves and our nation, it's important to remember that world. Let's remember that we were getting ready to observe Banned Books Weeks. Why? Because last year there were almost 700 formal demands that one or more books be removed from America's school or public libraries. And because the government is trying to control which websites adults can access, both at home and in public. And because the FCC is threatening to kill the licenses of radio stations that talk honestly about sexual matters.

    When you walk down the street this week and see all the flags, when you watch TV this week and hear about us pulling together as a nation, remember that some of the most ardent flag-wavers and nation-builders want to deny your rights as an American. Remember that Mr. Bush, his cabinet, and their allies across the country want to control what pictures you can see, what medical procedures you can have, who you may have sex with, and what commerce you may engage in. And remember, above all, that they all justify their restrictions on your erotic liberties by talking about the greatness of America.

    Although everything has changed since September 11, some things haven't changed. Some Americans are still against the American way of life.

3.  Osama bin Falwell

    On September 13, on Pat Robertson's "The 700 Club" TV show, Jerry Falwell described the World Trade Center bombing this way: "God will not be mocked. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen." Pat Robertson replied, "Well, I totally concur."

    I have to agree with Mr. Falwell. We were attacked for exactly the reasons he says: our separation of church and state; the legal and cultural equality of women and men; the availability of contraception; the media's ongoing depiction of a variety of sexual lifestyles; and the right to privacy, which millions of people use to pursue sexual activities the majority condemns. I don't believe that God minds any of this, so I don't blame God. But the terrorists have explicitly stated that these are the features of our society that requires Holy War upon us.

    In this regard, Falwell is a terrorist fellow traveler. He, too, believes he is called to deliver Holy War upon America, and that he is required to recruit an army of believers. He, too, is repulsed by these features of American society, the sexual and gender freedom that he says he is committed to eliminating. Although he decries the secular nature of our government, he and his warriors have been terribly successful in undermining the American way of life.

    On September 17, after his prophesy was greeted with popular criticism, clergy condemnation, and Presidential distance, Falwell said, "I made a statement that I should not have made and which I sincerely regret." On his website, he said, "My mistake was doing this at the time I did it, on television, where a secular media and audience were also listening. In retrospect, I should have mentioned the national sins without mentioning the organizations and persons by name." Not only has Falwell not apologized, he says, in retrospect, he'd do it again.

    Falwell is not a stupid man, which makes him all the more dangerous.

    He cleverly exploits people's fear wherever he finds it. And in the wake of September 11, when people are shocked and regressed, and wanting a place to deposit their fear and anger, he is providing the opportunity--with treachery. He has done this consistently for years, undermining American values as he recruits Americans to his self-described "holy crusade."

    As a final note of hypocrisy, Falwell's website offers the following:
Do your part to save America. While they last, Dr. Falwell is offering a free "God Save America" sticker for anyone who will promise to post it proudly as a tesimony to the nation that God is the source of our strength and salvation. Click here to order yours.

    The hypocrisy isn't religion. Falwell's hypocrisy is the call for blessings on the treasure he is working so hard to destroy.

* * *
    Recently, The Walt Disney Company began negotiations to purchase the Fox Family Channel. The Family Channel is contractually obligated to carry Pat Robertson's "700 Club." Disney CEO Michael Eisner should make the end of that contract a condition in his negotiations for the channel. Disney has commitments to dissociate itself from hate speech, clearly a staple of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

    Here's your chance to challenge the corporate power of the Religious Right's media empire. Simply write, fax, or phone Michael Eisner at:

    500 South Buena Vista Street
    Burbank, CA 91521-1010
    Phone: 818/560-1000
    Fax 818/560-1000

4.  What's Obscene--The Porn or the Bust?

    Fort Worth, TX vice officers arrested the owners of a new gay-oriented gift shop last month for marketing obscene material. They also seized 500 erotic videos. The raid followed two visits by undercover officers who went to the store after receiving a tip. "We purchased a couple [of tapes] and took them to a judge," police Lt. Steve Baker said. The judge "assured us they were pornographic."

    According to police, the videos violate a state obscenity law that prohibits the sale of patently offensive movies as defined by community standards. The crime is punishable by a year in jail. A year in jail--for selling films of happy people making love, which people buy and use in their homes to make them happy.

    It's time for a refresher course on the law. "Pornography" and "hard-core" are popular, rather than legal, terms. "Obscenity" is a legal term, a category of sexual material that lacks "redeeming social value." Thus, the law states that sexual images are bad, and dangerous unless redeemed by artistic, political, or scientific merit. This finding must be determined by the standards of the community where the bust was made--which, of course, sincere people can disagree about until eternity. To summarize, American local, state, and federal governments reserve the right to prevent adults from seeing or hearing about sexuality if the depictions lack "social value." Sexual imagery is legally dangerous unless proven of value, itself an unpredictable enterprise fraught with emotion.

    This is what's obscene. The question isn't whether a given film or magazine is obscene. The real question is why obscenity is illegal in America.

    Choosing to inflame your own eroticism, whether someone else finds the material tasteful or disgusting, isn't bad or dangerous--it's a fundamental right of Americans. It's a right that foreign terrorists want to take away from us by force. And here we are, giving it away. America's vice squads roam the country, investigating possible eroticism, tracking it down and eliminating it.

    Store owners Angela Faye Bazzell and Christopher Hightower will probably be faced with a choice: tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and the possibility of jail time, or cop a plea that probably includes 3 years of registered probation, and requires that they close their business and promise never to operate an adult business--even a legal one--ever again. The erotic vigilantes will then move on to the next business that caters to people's desires to mind their own business and play in the privacy of their own home.

    The Taliban would be pleased.

5.  America Safer: Helms Retiring

    After 30 years of public "service," Jesse Helms (R-NC) has finally made his first positive contribution to America: he plans to retire in 15 months.

    One of America's most powerful conservatives, Helms' retirement would deprive the Senate of one of its most ardent champions of school prayer, and fiercest opponents of pornography. He has, almost single-handedly, destroyed federal financing for art that has any sexual content. And, of course, he has mandated dangerously unhealthy pregnancies, low-birthweight babies, and the destruction of millions of teenage lives by preventing easy access to abortion. He is known as "Senator No" for his stubborn rigidity in opposing contraceptive funding, affirmative action, and gay rights.

    This man has been extraordinarily effective in undermining as many American freedoms as he could get his hands on. While claiming his determination to keep government out of people's lives, he has unapologetically eliminated as many of our erotic rights as possible, injecting the government into as many of our sexual activities as he could.

    Helms should get no more credit for his sincerity and good intentions than any other self-righteous fanatic on a mission. The people of North Carolina should be ashamed that he has represented them; we should all be ashamed that he has claimed the same citizenship as we.

    Upon retiring, Helms will receive the traditional blizzard of acclaim. Plan now to write a letter to your local paper that week, challenging the mythology of Helms as a Great American. Then celebrate his departure by expressing your freedom as an American: do something sexual that would worry or disgust him.

6.  Correspondence:
The Clinton-Starr-bin Laden Connection

    "Bombing the World Trade Center is a big story. What's not a big story is Bill Clinton's sex life.
    The GOP and popular media spent seven years rooting around behind Clinton's zipper for the big story, calling it "a constitutional crisis." More FBI personnel chased Clinton's sex life than investigated TWA Flight 800 and the Oklahoma City massacre combined, using tax dollars and trained agents who could've been looking into Osama bin Laden's activities instead. Meanwhile, terrorists were burrowing into our society.
    What if all that time and money had been spent investigating terrorism? What if the media had spent the last two years informing the public about terrorism instead of politicians' sex lives?
    When Clinton attacked bin Laden, the Republican Party criticized him bitterly, calling it Wagging the Dog. The media complained that Clinton was trying to distract us from their zipper hunt.
    While bin Laden was recruiting and training his pilots, the GOP and FBI continued obsessing about sex. While Orrin Hatch, Dan Burton, Henry Hyde, John Ashcroft, and Newt Gingrich were authorizing almost one hundred million dollars investigating what they said were crucial details about Bill and Monica, bin Laden was busy renting flight simulators and making plane reservations.
    Consider the price we have all paid for the GOP's, the media's, and our own fascination with Bill Clinton's sex life.
                                --An Anonymous Reader, forwarded by W. Henkin

7.  Book Review: "Not In Front of The Children"

    Marjorie Heins is a project director at the National Coalition Against Censorship. Her wonderful new book is Not In Front of The Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth.

    Combining scholarly detail with an engaging style, Heins examines the long history of "protecting" children from "indecency," from Plato through the Victorians down to the Internet. She presents a history of the idea that young people need special protection from sexual imagery, as distinct from sexual activity itself. She exposes the complete lack of any evidence that such imagery actually harms young people, as well as the ways in which American society has meticulously ignored this lack of evidence.

    Western countries have, periodically, singled out various groups that require protection from their own ignorance or vulnerability: women, blacks, working-class people ("Would you want your servants to read this?" thundered one prosecutor to a jury). Minors are the group most commonly treated this way today, and Heins clearly documents the enormous problems this approach brings. And she reminds us that American law makes virtually no distinction between six-year-olds and 16-year-olds.

    There are two basic problems with the social project of shielding minors from sexual words, ideas, and pictures. First, it "protects" young people who may not need protection, and it obstructs parents' traditional rights to raise their children as they see fit.

    Second, it reduces the level of what adults have access to, and the decisions they are allowed to make, to the level of children. If naturist beaches are prohibited so that children can't see nudity, adults can't choose to patronize one. If children are protected from hearing about birth control on the radio, so are adults. If pornography is to be kept from minors' eyes when they are surfing the Web, adults cannot access it either.

    This, ultimately, is how political conservatism is implemented: it envisions which decisions citizens cannot be trusted to make on their own, and enforces this morality by restricting the choices available to people. For three centuries, conservative politicians and pressure groups have been committed to narrowing adults' rights regarding what they can read, hear, see, do with their own bodies, and the kinds of intimate relationships they may have. The justification for controlling children's lives--that they have to be protected from themselves--is also explicitly used to justify controlling adult decision-making.

    One might think that adults would grumble about paying such a high price for protecting children, but adults rarely do. Perhaps this betrays a sense of guilt about the difficult world we've created for kids; perhaps it expresses our own yearning for the simpler times of our own youth; perhaps we're simply scared for young people, and value anything that makes our fear go away, even if it actually protects no one.

    Heins' book shows how the fate of minors and the fate of adults are today inevitably intertwined. Just as straight people need to support gay rights, and middle-aged people need to support the rights of the elderly, this book shows that adults need to support the rights of minors--lest our own rights be undermined along with the kids'.

    In recent years, the rights of young people have come under siege from both the left and right. Their civil liberties have been systematically eroded in the name of public safety and the so-called best interests of the minors themselves. Heins' book shows we have served neither our children nor ourselves by imagining them as pure, by seeing sexuality as dangerous, and by thinking ourselves perfect crusaders who can serve the pure by sequestering them from what is, ultimately, themselves.

8.  Calendar--Marty Klein's Speaking Schedule

    October 25, 2001
    San Diego
    Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexual Issues
    Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

    October 27, 2001
    San Diego
    Sexuality in the Age of Technology: Has Anything Really Changed?
    Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

    November 15-16, 2001
    San Francisco
    Human Sexuality
    (satisfies CA licensing requirements)
    National Association of Social Workers

    February 22-23, 2002
    Millbrae, CA
    Human Sexuality
    (satisfies CA licensing requirements)
    National Association of Social Workers

    March 15-16, 2002
    Emeryville, CA
    Human Sexuality
    (satisfies CA licensing requirements)
    National Association of Social Workers

    April 5, 2002
    Manhattan Beach, CA
    What are Sexology's Assumptions?
    Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

    April 27, 2002
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Existential Issues in Psychotherapy & Couples Counseling
    Family Service Agency

    May 17-18, 2002
    Concord, CA
    Human Sexuality
    (satisfies CA licensing requirements)
    National Association of Social Workers

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