Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the seduction of boys

A recent photo of a model exhibiting Curia red in Summer weight has unaccountably turned one's thoughts to the problem of the seduction of boys, or rather, of persons gendered eligibly as recruits of Church or State. Boys, then, may be adopted as a term of art in the mode of discussing a corps de ballet: a traditional, rather than a sentimental expression. This distinction, like that of the Oxford English Dictionary's acute line between aesthetic and erotic feeling, is central to our comprehension not merely of "pornography," but of the rest of art, as well. It seems it isn't nice to fool Mother Nature.

With what relief it must come to Church and State, then, that tradition grants them surrogacy for the succour of Mother Nature. A motion picture much adored for its verisimilitude - that euphemism for tolerable thrill in war movies - Restrepo is based on a text by that great journalist-adventurer, Sebastian Junger. Mr Junger has been quoted in Sue Halprin's paean in a recent issue of The New York Review of Books on the incomparable exhilaration to a boy of 19 to be operating a 50mm instrument of death under the delicious excitement of overweening combat. Here, you see, any cause for the pretense of aesthetics dissolves by virtue of right. The youth is excited, the military knows it, and the military counts on it. The same, need one say, is true of uniforms and their ornaments.

Here's an ornament to stir a boy. The trident, anchor and musket are the least of the toys these lads are invited, by immaculate dispensation, to manipulate for the nation's honour as SEALs. Their privileges are quite more than mythic.

A great and useful literature has grown up around this extraordinary "unit," and you may consult it at your leisure in any American supermarket, between the periodicals on domestic automatic weapons and superaspirated stock cars, amidst racks stuffed with texts exulting in carnage constrained by no law whatsoever.

But I stray. This is about contenting boys with themselves, that first of all pornograhic objectives, to inspire them to participate in conduct important to their seducer. To pursue the matter, we naturally return to the page whence this medallion was plucked, the Official U.S. Navy SEAL Information Website, a publication of the Naval Special Warfare Command.

There, the last veil of distinction between Church and State dissolves in the incantatory text of the SEAL Creed. It is aimed quite squarely at the slightest susceptibility of the figure shown right here: the Navy of the United States wants this lad for itself, and it has perfected its techniques of getting him, with all the inflammatory modes of conventional pornography, apotheosised in its Nietzschian Creed.

He is fellated as a "special breed," Aryan or not. He is "that man" who is so singular as to be "beyond reproach." He is thrilled to be "physically harder and mentally stronger." He craves "discipline," and he will be "swift and violent." The deaths of his forbears and the fear they induced are his constant pride.

Does a simple crying of "Foul" against an indecent intervention with boys compel one, then, to recite a loyalty oath against pederasty? Not on such a McCarthyite witness stand, it does not. I commend the attention of every honest swimming coach in this country to the existence of a profoundly cynical and predatory assault, upon the vulnerability of healthily competitive boys.

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