Friday, November 10, 2006

Come off it

It was a relief for me to read Boris Johnson's "Come off it, folks: how many paedophiles can there be?" in the Telegraph yesterday.

I'm not going to paraphrase his piece here - I recommend that you read it - but now that he has stuck his head above the parapet, I may as well wade in with my tuppence worth as well.

I first came to understand the unholy terror of the reflex stigmatisation of any adult male with an interest in children as some sort of weirdo when I realized that I had been brain washed by this tawdry conventional wisdom myself.

My own Damascene revelation was a profile I read years ago in Wired Magazine of Steve Wozniak , the co-founder of Apple computers. In the profile, I learned that "The Woz" - having made himself independently wealthy at an early age - turned his back on full time employment and "went into teaching (he taught fifth grade students) and charitable activities in the field of education".

The photograph that accompanied the article was - as I recall and I can't find it online - a group shot of Wozniak and a bunch of smiling kids with computers; kids he was teaching and computers provided to education by the Apple shilling.

I distinctly remember thinking - or perhaps more accurately- mentally sneering, "that's odd", but fortunately realised moments later that it was not odd at all. It was admirable and perhaps even selfless.

It was me who was ridiculous for reflexively traducing his motives.

We do it all the time nowadays, but - unfashionable as it may be - boys need guys to learn from, look up to, and emulate.

Lou Reed - of all people - nailed it in Coney Island Baby. (I do hope I won't find out that it was ironic.)

You know, man, when I was a young man in high school
You believe in or not I wanted to play football for the coach
And all those older guys
They said he was mean and cruel, but you know
Wanted to play football for the coach
They said I was to little too light weight to play line-backer
So I say Im playing right-end
Wanted to play football for the coach cause, you know some day, man
You gotta stand up straight unless youre gonna fall
Then youre gone to die
And the straightest dude
I ever knew was standing right for me all the time
So I had to play football for the coach
And I wanted to play football for the coach

When youre all alone and lonely
In your midnight hour
And you find that your soul
Its been up for sale

And you begin to think bout
All the things that you've done
And you begin to hate
Just 'bout everything

But remember the princess who lived on the hill
Who loved you even though she
knew you was wrong
And right now she just might come shining through

And the glory of love, glory of love
Glory of love, just might come through

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