Most taboos hide some valuable truth. Sometimes the truth hidden seems to have little connection with the taboo itself, but some of the best lies keep you too busy to notice obvious truth.
If I cared much about convention, this blog would not exist, so today I’m going to offer an example of reevaluating taboos by scratching away the big lie to see what’s underneath. The basic topic here is pedophilia. My broader review is here.
Today I’m picking at one particular aspect by pointing out what everyone wants to ignore regarding a certain scandalous novel, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Most of the time, stuffy progressive literati peg some novel as important only because it’s good writing craft (as they see it) which attacks genuine morality. They delight in destroying all social convention, good and bad alike. This novel has been analyzed to death, and I think most of it misses the point. So we have the irony of the goofy literati being right for picking the novel as important, and wrong for not understanding why it matters — the main character is one of them. About the only correct comment I’ve seen so far is that it’s a dark tragicomedy.
First of all, no part of this novel is pornographic, not even by my prudish standards. The subject matter is taboo, but the story is pitifully romantic, not graphic. It’s a badly damaged man taking advantage of what was then a modern teenybopper, with her own perverted sexual curiosities. He’s like the dreamy movie stars she idolizes. She’s typical, but not normal. He destroys her youth in one sense, but the perverse American culture would have been just about as destructive had she never met him. So he sells his soul, as it were, to maintain some weird addiction. She gains all the power over an adult male she never dreamed was possible, until he devises something he thinks will work. The cost of asserting some effective dominance guarantees she’ll never love him. It doesn’t work. It can’t.
That’s the whole point. What he fantasized about remains a fantasy, and it can never be reality. That’s the fundamental error of pedophilia. It seeks something which cannot ever be. Granted, most adults have serious neuroses about sex as it is, but little girls are simply not capable of offering a fulfilling sexual experience. It might fill the thrill on one level, but the likelihood any kid in our Western world could possess adult reactions to sex is so small, it’s functionally zero. These things take time, attention and a certain level of hormonal development. It’s more than just puberty, but several years in that post-pubescent body, and it would really help if there was some good solid social training to go with it. Let’s get one thing straight: In a wise social structure, a young bride can grow into her role as wife even if the wedding is in her youth. Ancient societies did just fine that way, for far longer than the whole of democratic Western society has existed so far.
The biggest fallacy of all is our cultural mythology about calendar age. It’s bad enough we assume girls and boys have to be age mates for things to work. That’s manifestly false. Girls develop, on average, no less than four years ahead of boys. Given the actual truth of human development without all the cultural crap, a fellow older by a decade is just about right. The other half of this is thinking girls can’t marry so young. It’s related to the paranoia which led to creating the false notion of adolescence in the first place. Most of that silly concept arose from unions trying to keep young people out of the labor market.
Unions exist to create an artificial labor shortage. Thus what was once advanced prep school as a privilege for upper class kids on their way to college became mandatory for all social classes, a total waste of time and expense for people who don’t need a degree. Think about how little they learn in high school, and how even most of that is forgotten in a short time, and irrelevant for college. And don’t get me started on how most college education is a joke itself. But Modern American society was utterly perverse on the question of when young people are ready for varying measures of adult living, largely because of a shallow understanding of what makes for lasting material progress, and Post-Modern America is no smarter.
Does no one understand pedophilia and child molestation has literally exploded precisely because of how our government handles it? This is the same damnable perversion which funds the Drug War, precisely so it remains profitable. That a few of the elite ruling class make huge profits from drug trade, regardless of other consequences, is precisely the same sort of two-faced corruption which makes the child pornography market so profitable. The issue of how it does or doesn’t harm the children involved never had anything to do with it. The only studies given any credit were from the likes of Kinsey, who we all know was the biggest criminal pervert. It’s the same propaganda schizophrenia of splitting the public attention between two false extremes to hide the truth in the middle.
So on the obvious level, the taboo over books like Lolita prevents folks understanding nothing in the book promotes pedophilia, but instead demonstrates what a loony idea it is. Less obvious is how keeping this taboo in place avoids digging into some really serious social perversion about human development as a whole. As fantasies go, pedophilia is pretty tame compared to the fundamental cultural mythology of the Post-Victorian Feminist West.