“The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” recently made it onto the blogosphere’s radar when it’s author Phillip R. Greaves, successfully listed it on Amazon.com. Most people, as expected, were outraged. And their first response was to flood Amazon’s comment section with demands to take the book down. I, on the other hand, immediately logged on to buy the book for the low, low price of $4.79. I briefly considered that my five dollars may be used to buy chips and salsa for a NAMBLA meeting. But in the end, my curiosity won out.
My fascination with the inner workings of the broken mind began around middle school. My mother, a psychiatrist, worked at one of the state’s mental hospitals. And one afternoon, while doing my homework in her office, I overheard her discussing the prescription needs of a patient – who thought that he was a box of orange juice.
The concept was arresting. I spent hours thinking about the number of points at which someone’s thought process would have to derail for them to draw the conclusion that they were an inanimate object. For starters, there’s the concrete evidence of the mirror. And the naturally occurring questions: Why do I have the capacity for thought? Why don’t I need refrigeration? Why haven’t I spoiled in the last ten years? Why do I have to go to the bathroom?
So it was in that spirit that I picked up the “The Pedophile’s Guide”. I mean here was a man not only afflicted with criminal urges, but so delusional that he believed that his book had a wide enough audience to be worth selling on Amazon.com – a place where, we can only assume, he thought it would be well received. Fascinating.
I imagine Phillip R. Greaves (the author of many other titles) as a small, slight man in his 40s; on edge, even conversationally. Always defensive, censoring every conversation, every action for signs of his secret; burdened with the fear of discovery and the knowledge that even his family members will become enemies if they get to know the real Phillip.
It is not hard to imagine that sort of constant self-monitoring and alienation as excruciating. So painful in fact that, in order to cope, the mind must make some adjustments: either succumb to the self-loathing that is the realization that you are deserving of scorn (perhaps an important step to healing), or protect your self-esteem and decide that it is not you, but everyone else that has the problem.
Mr. Graves has chosen the latter path.
From the outset – the first chapter is entitled “Facts and Fallacies” – Graves attempts to move the debate (he believes there is one) on the merits of pedophilia to an intellectual one. He swaps the term “pedophile” for “pedosexual” (his own invention as far as I can tell) to make what he sees as the similarities between pedophiles and homosexuals clear. In a pseudo-academic fashion, he uses word play to sway his audience: “molest” by definition, is simply to harmlessly bother someone. A “pedophile” is, by definition, simply someone who loves children. And “love” means only acting in the best interest of its object; which Graves believes that “true pedosexuals” only want to do (sex being a normal, natural manifestation of that).
His word play also functions to combat what he sees as “linguistic abuse”, a tool used to marginalize and persecute pedophiles. Just like Jews and other minorities, pedophiles too are victims of demonizing propaganda which the media wields with the same purpose as the Third Reich. In fact, sensationalized news reports of abuse against children (he makes it a point to complain that you never hear a news report of a pedophile behaving well) are the sole reason that pedophiles are driven to violence.
Because, of course, in the absence of this demonization, this media-created persecution, pedophiles are good at heart. In fact, they are pure beings. A pedophile, unlike any other human, has a close relationship with their inner child. And this purity and sensitivity gives pedophiles an exceptionally bright aura; which is the root of the pedophilic relationship. Children, pure beings themselves, are able to see the bright auras of pedophiles and are drawn to it; which is why every true pedophilic relationship features the child as the instigator.
Clinically interesting but creepy.
And it gets worse. I’ll spare you the details of the second portion of the tract. It suffices to say that it consists of two “90% factual” re-creations of what the author considers ideal pedophilic relationships. Intended to describe ‘pedophilia light’, it espouses his values of ‘gentle’ non-invasive, consensual pedophilia. And although clearly fictional, and much less explicit than they might have been, they are haunting.
Having said that, and having read the book, I can’t say that I agree with Amazon’s decision to discontinue their sale of the book. Print should never be censored no matter how distasteful its contents. Those that would have erased the works of Oscar Wilde or the Marquis de Sade would certainly have done humanity a disservice.
This sparse tract is by no means a guide, nothing as concrete as the Anarchist’s Cookbook, nothing that a pedophile would be able to use to commit a crime. Those who revile the book have clearly not read it. As its subject suggests, it is merely the rantings of a disturbed, possibly egomaniacal human being. It deserves pity and study and not the lionization that often results from disproportionate, poory-informed knee-jerk censorship.
Now, having said that, I think that Mr. Graves may benefit from some light police surveillance. And I say that as someone who has always been opposed to the increased intrusion of the state in personal lives and matters. And is aware of the dangers of the Orwellian world of thought crimes. But someone who is delusional enough to call his cohorts “O people of vision”, certainly warrants a little extra attention.
Hopefully there is a lot of inpatient, intensive therapy in Mr. Graves’ future.