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Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting
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Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting [Format Kindle]

James Kincaid

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Présentation de l'éditeur

In Erotic Innocence James R. Kincaid explores contemporary America’s preoccupation with stories about the sexual abuse of children. Claiming that our culture has yet to come to terms with the bungled legacy of Victorian sexuality, Kincaid examines how children and images of youth are idealized, fetishized, and eroticized in everyday culture. Evoking the cyclic elements of Gothic narrative, he thoughtfully and convincingly concludes that the only way to break this cycle is to acknowledge—and confront—not only the sensuality of children but the eroticism loaded onto them.
Drawing on a number of wide-ranging and well-publicized cases as well as scandals involving such celebrities as Michael Jackson and Woody Allen, Kincaid looks at issues surrounding children’s testimonies, accusations against priests and day-care centers, and the horrifying yet persistently intriguing rumors of satanic cults and “kiddie porn” rings. In analyzing the particular form of popularity shared by such child stars such Shirley Temple and Macaulay Culkin, he exposes the strategies we have devised to deny our own role in the sexualization of children. Finally, Kincaid reminds us how other forms of abuse inflicted on children—neglect, abandonment, inadequate nutrition, poor education—are often overlooked in favor of the sensationalized sexual abuse coverage in the news, on daytime TV talk shows, and in the elevators and cafeterias of America each day.
This bold and critically enlightened book will interest readers across a wide range of disciplines as well as a larger general audience interested in American culture.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2063 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 369 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0822321939
  • Editeur : Duke University Press Books (1 août 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.4 étoiles sur 5  16 commentaires
66 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Startling Thesis, Flawed Book 10 avril 2003
Par Christopher Schmitz - Publié sur
Back in the 1950s, Leslie Fiedler stunned America with his thesis that the great American novels were homoerotic love stories: Huck and Jim in "Huckleberry Finn," Ishmael and Queequeg in "Moby Dick," etc. He seemed correct as well as sensational, and American writing since Fiedler's magnum opus "Love and Death in the America Novel" and his jarring essay "Come Back to the Raft again Huck Honey" has only buttressed his point.
James Kinkaid has made an even bolder claim a half-century later, that pedophile fantasy can be found at the heart of our most revered movies like "The Good Ship Lollipop" or "Home Alone." "Our culture has enthusiastically sexualized the child while denying just as enthusiatically that it was doing any such thing," he writes, capsulizing his argument. I think this claim in intuitively true. A lot of films show kids in their underwear gratuitously and use the ambivalence of art to insinuate what taboo dictates cannot be directly stated. Macaulay Culkin in the "Home Alone" movies is a beautiful blonde with unnatural cherry-red lips like Harlowe or Monroe!
But the conclusions Kinkaid draws from his observations aren't as forceful and eloquent as the debunking observations themselves. If he is right, what does this mean? His answer seems to be kind of vague. He suggests we rewrite the Gothic script and stop overrating innocence and panicking about the burgeoning sexuality of the young. His pervasive humor throughout the book suggests a kind a campy scholarship. I am all for humor, but I think Kinkaid needs to write another book about how our society can get out of the quandary of its sexual hypocrisy. It's a larger and more complex subject than he seems to think. Also, he chooses his pictures poorly, and I think they're essential to making his points about the eroticized child.
I hope these misgivings don't steer you away from "Erotic Innocence" though. Its a totally fresh perspective, and how many books deliver that anymore? Read it as the opening slavo of what I'm predicting will be a long 21st century battle between the prigs and the libertarians.
36 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book attempts to resolve a terrible dilemma. 22 février 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Kincaid begins from the premise that our culture's stories are flexible, and reflect our underlying cosmologies. He demonstrates convincingly that myths about childhood innocence and concurrent vulnerability arose historically as we created a separate cultural identity for children. This stoked a quasi-erotic love of children as innocents, and a hatred of those who act out that eroticism. There is a widespread obsession with children, and an obsession with those who act on that societally generated eroticism. Those who are inclined to hate have fostered a bitter hatred of those who are trapped by the wrong kind of love of children. Dahmers and Gacys are rare and twisted individuals, but they are held up by these haters as representatives of all who break the rules for touching and loving children. Kincaid shows, though, that society dotes on cute, eroticized children, as long as appropriate hypocrisies are maintained. He suggests that the frenzied hatred of child-abusers is fed by this same hypocritical eroticism. Up to this point, Kincaid is bold and persuasive. Children themselves become damaged by the myth, being taught that be be desired or contacted erotically by an adult is to become the most damaged of society's victims, and even potential abusers themselves, and that any love expressed in these relationships, perhaps by the only adult who has shown them love, is absolutely thereby discounted. The truth is that "hard-core" sexual contact with children is a harmful and abusive practice, and only the most blind or self-serving can deny this. Kincaid does not attempt to deny this, although he questions its frequency. Kincaid challenges all of us to find ways to reconcile the awareness of this cold harm with our "warm" behaviors in the unmapped areas of love. The book fails however in developing effective and compelling alternative stories. The tortuous paradigm he describes throughout the book exists, besides serving a "pleasure-principle motive", as a societal adaptation to prevent a shift into the wholesale abuse of children. The current and hypocritical arrangement kills and imprisons some relativey innocent adults as a means of controlling and containing erotic impulsivity towards children, but much of life seems to work this way. We may need new stories if we are to act in a more wholesome and communally suportive fashion, but Dr. Kincaid does not succeed in outlining them. Thus the pain and hurt (and titillation) will go on. Maybe there are no better stories. Still, the gauntlet has been flung.
32 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 We have met the enemy, and he is us.... 3 février 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Aside from the lurid title, Mr. Kinkaid's book on the "glorification" of child sexuality is a harsh study on America's fascination with all manner of things erotic. Born in Europe, I can say with some knowledge that Americans do seem to have a bizarre need to know all the details of molestation cases...almost as if they were suffering from the same desires as the perpetrators. Mr. Kinkaid's points are well presented, although to the point of monotony. After several pages devoted to Shirley Temple, I will never be able to view "Heidi" in the same way again. The dichotomy of writing a book of this sort is that Mr. Kinkaid becomes almost as guilty of the very activities of which he accuses Americans. Yes, some ideas and subjects must be broached in a manner that borders on exploitation, but still....a little less detail of certain elements would have sufficed. All in all, Mr. Kinkaid has written a very disturbing, yet highly important work. Perhaps the next time a mother or father decides to dress a nine-year-old girl up in a skimpy bikini, they will think twice before doing so. Cute? Maybe...But what message are we sending, anyway, when we show as much young flesh as we tend to do? Remember Jon-Benet Ramsey?
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Of Babes and Monsters 18 octobre 2008
Par southpaw68 - Publié sur
Kincaid takes on a droll tone throughout this book that urges us to examine our relationship to children. Kincaid wishes to get rid of the paranoia and hysteria around the threat of child molesting and provides some evidence that adults are somewhat sexually attracted to children, but loath to admit it. If we admitted the attraction and stopped treating it like a sick perversion we could live in a saner, less fearful environment. Our culture also celebrates the childlike features as sexual, but we condemn those who get too turned on by them. Beauty contests for children are given as an example of our making children sexy. Kincaid suggests that we stop looking for monsters and sinister purposes in others, thinking that they are potential child molesters. We should stop passing draconian laws that give godlike powers to the police. And we should not accuse others of being child molesters for advocating a lighter approach to child molesting problems.

Kincaid thinks that we are trapped in a never-ending gothic story of a monster that comes after our children and violates their innocence .We then do a lot of porn babbling about the events as if to say, "It is an awful unspeakable story. Please tell it to me in every detail again." The child molesting stories serve prurient interests in adults, sexually titillating them.

Kincaid goes over films and books and pulls out the sexual overtones of child characters in entertainment such as Shirley Temple with her flirtations and kids in their underwear for half of the movie. When a child star reaches adolescence people often forget them since they are no longer cute, but are gangly, awkward looking teenagers. Adult movie goers often make these kiddy films big hits, especially if they produce nostalgia or images of the perfect adorable child along with butt and penis jokes. This also says something about the people producing the films, I must say. I have also noticed on junk TV talk shows, they will have sexy problem children sexually act out by doing a dance, for instance, before they get down to business of trying to cure the child or teen's precociousness. This has a way of arousing the audience and then condemning the sexiness afterwards. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

People are also indifferent to the many physically abused and neglected kids who are not so cute or adorable. There are a lot of runaway and throwaway kids, but people focus on child abduction and molesting cases rather than deal with the larger and mundane problems of child neglect.

Kincaid encourages us to "change the story" about child molesting so that we can look at the problems another way and quit producing a culture that produces child molesting, monsters, hypocrites, paranoia, and violent vigilante reactions. We seem unwilling to understand ourselves fully.

We should question the innocence of children, which comes from romantic notions of the child. Kincaid asserts that children can be sexy naturally and are not that innocent; it is our romantic notions that make them seem innocent. We should question the veracity of children's testimony and recovered memories from hypnotized adults. He goes over some of the more dubious accusations of child molesting such as the McMartin daycare case which started with a phone call from a paranoid schizophrenic. Child testimony can also be tainted if questions are leading. Often in our culture, if someone is accused of child molesting the public already wants to believe that the accused is guilty and they tend to overlook any contradictions in the testimony against the accused. False accusations of child molesting ruin people's lives.

Kincaid makes light of a usually grave topic, perhaps too much so from time to time. But he does show that some of the brouhaha around child molestation is due to paranoia and hysteria. I think that there is more serious side to it that he does not address.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Poorly-supported thesis 31 janvier 2013
Par Robyn - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
While Kincaid makes a number of interesting points on the way Western culture venerates The Child (and includes some insightful historical and literary evidence), the book falls apart after the introductory chapters. Since this book was written some decades ago, the work is unfortunately outdated and fails to take a critical eye to class and race in the analysis. I wonder what this book would be if it were written within the last 5 years.
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