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Keep it Covered!

By Alexander Cockburn

The control of sex and pornography is a major part of promulgating a prudish, puritanical political culture without ever imposing an overt political censorship regime.

Debates about so-called "political correctness", whether in the race, gender, or ethnicity conflicts can only be explained by the culture of prudery which prevails in American political discourse of all sorts. Like the 'sexual crimes' mania in the media.

It's useful and important this as part of maintaining this rigorously prudish, puritanical political culture the surface of which was barely scratched by the Sixties.

Sexual crimes stand for the violation of the established order based on supposed personal deviance and not on any actual material challenge.

They have the benefit of being immensely trivial and yet due to the absolutely poor to non-existent transmission of the ‘standards’ for acceptable sexual conduct, esp. occlusion from public instruction, remain ultimately "fantasy crimes".

People can imagine the most heinous punishments for this behavior because it is impossible for them to conceive of a sex crime in the same way as bribery of public officials or assassinations performed by agencies disguised as armies or cultural aid missions.

This impossibility goes back to the terror used by parents and teachers to threaten children for violations of their will by creating nonsensical consequences for trivial acts.

A perfect example of this is the story of the man in Fairfax County Virginia, who got up early on Monday morning, October 19, walked naked into his own kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee?

The next significant thing that happened to 29-year-old Eric Williamson is the local cops arriving to charge him with indecent exposure.

It turns out that while he was brewing the coffee, a mother was taking her 7-year-old son along a path beside Williamson’s house, espied the naked Williamson and called the local precinct, or more likely her husband, who turns out to be a cop.

“Yes, I wasn’t wearing any clothes,” Williamson said later, “but I was alone, in my own home and just got out of bed. It was dark and I had no idea anyone was outside looking in at me.”

The story ended up on TV, starting with Fox, and in the opening rounds the newscasters and network blogs had \ merciless sport with the Fairfax police for their absurd behavior.

Hasn’t a man the right to walk around his own home (or in this case rented accommodations) dressed according to his fancy? Answer, obvious to anyone familiar with relevant case law, absolutely not.

Peeved by public ridicule the Fairfax cops turned up the heat. The cop’s wife started to maintain that first she saw Williamson by a glass kitchen door, then through the kitchen window.

Mary Ann Jennings, a Fair-fax County Police spokesperson, stirred the pot of innuendo:” We’ve heard there may have been other people who had a similar incident.”

The cops are asking anyone who may have seen an unclothed Williamson through his windows to come forward, even if it was at a different time.

They’ve also been papering the neighborhood with fliers, asking for reports on any other questionable activities by anyone resembling Williamson—a white guy who’s a former diver, and who has a 5-year old daughter, not living with him.

I’d say that if the cops keep it up, and some prosecutor scents opportunity Williamson will be pretty lucky if they don’t throw some cobbled-up indictment at him.

Toss in a jailhouse snitch making his own plea deal, a faked police line-up, maybe an artist’s impression of the Fairfax Flasher, and Eric could end up losing his visitation rights and, worst comes to worst, getting ten years plus posted for life on some sex offender site.

You think we’re living in the twenty-first century, in the clinical fantasy world of CSI? Wrong. So far as forensic evidence is concerned, we remain planted in the seventeenth century with trial by ordeal such as when they killed women as witches if they floated when thrown into a pond.

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