Rejecting Apology II
Well, we just received two comments (click here and here) on this blog of a kind I’m sure is nauseatingly and yawningly familiar to everyone who runs a Lewis Carroll website. We all get them by the ton, and mostly we just trash them. But these two so perfectly exemplify everything Contrariwise has been saying about this subject recently that, queasy (and horrendously spelled) as they are, we’re not trashing them this time. We’re letting them stand. As a kind of monument. Or waymarker.
Because Mr Porlaverdad3 (don’t you just have to hope he isn’t really anyone’s dad?!) didn’t arrive at his ideas in an intellectual vacuum. He got there in the same way millions of others have, by reading what’s been written, and by assuming stuff from the silences where rebuttal should have been. His drooling and dishonest image of Lewis Carroll as the proud emblem of a whole fraternity of ‘child-lovers’ channeling their desire to have sex with kids into a beautiful expression of ‘love’ and enchantment is not really very far removed from the picture the Apologists have painted, and, sadly, continue, in some circles, to paint.
That’s really why Carroll’s sexuality matters so much. Because it’s been adopted as a symbol for a group of very dangerous and deluded people. And when we dodge the issues about him, when Derek Hudson squeamishly begged for understanding of the guy’s weaknesses, because he was a genius, and when other authors whine that ‘yes he was weird about little girls, but he can’t have done any harm because the kids all loved him too much’ (as if predatory pedophiles are never adored by their victims), we’re handing over the man’s reputation to these people.
We contend there is simply no evidence to show Lewis Carroll was pedophilic in desire or action, and that his relationship with children has been distorted and simplified by legend to appear a lot ‘weirder’ than it actually was. But if you think that’s not true. If you think Carroll ‘loved’ children even slightly inappropriately, then you can’t dodge what that means. You have to go with the corollary, that when he sought their unchaperoned company, photographed their naked bodies, he was behaving like a predatory and dangerous sexual pervert. Avoiding that obvious and stark choice, being coy and fluffy about it, using special pleading to argue he was somehow above such questions, sanctified by magic and joy, is something we can’t afford to do, because it plays straight into the hands of the too numerous people like Porlaverdad3, who want to believe they can be ‘innocent’ pedos, just like Mr Carroll, frolicking happily in a rainbow Eden with the children they ‘love’.
We think Lewis Carroll would probably have deplored being associated with such individuals, and deplored possibly even more, the false logic and queasy special pleading that puts him in such company.