I know that if I were running an Education Department that got the most attention it ever received for having one of its senior academics arrested on charges of producing child pornography just a couple of months ago, I'd think twice about holding a symposium with a keynote speaker whose work demonstrates an obsession with a supposed "erotic appeal" of children.
But this is the University of Toronto we're talking about and its major education faculty, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), is a place where just about any preposterous, moronic, self-indulgent diatribe can qualify a person for an advanced degree.
OISE's Centre for Urban Schooling is presenting, along with York University and U of Toronto's Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, a symposium called "BODIES AT PLAY: Sexuality, childhood and classroom life."
Some of it is comparatively benign, if comically idiotic New Age drivel of the sort an author like John Mortimer or Martin Amis might have invented to parody the self-indulgent vapidity of posturing academics. These people, who want to wear ostensible enlightenment on their sleeves, have a hodgepodge of fatuous buzz-words that routinely surface in everything they say or do. See how many you can spot in the biographical description of one of the presenters:
Louise Azzarello, B.A., B.Ed., M.A. is a media educator working from an interdisciplinary and equity framework. Her M.A. thesis, Spectacle & Discipline: Regulating Female Bodies through Dance explored the notions of body regulation in Western Theatrical Dance from a feminist social and political perspective. She has taught in a number of tdsb schools working with marginalized/racilaized youth and designing curriculum that embeds issues of equity and social justice.However, the tone takes a more disturbing turn when looking at the works of the keynote speaker, James R. Kincaid.
As summed up by the author Mark Spilka, Kincaid's work, Child Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture, is a mission to "persuade us that erotic child-loving is after all okay, as long as it involves other people's children and is never consummated."
It could be the reactionary prude in me, but that's really not the attitude I would like to see fostered in people entrusted with the care of innocent young children. Were I to attend the symposium, no doubt I'd learn my concerns are silly overreactions since, according to Professor Kincaid, that whole "childhood innocence" thing is just an artificial construct developed by Victorians.
Indeed, in another of his books, Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting, Kincaid notes ''the subject of the child's sexuality and erotic appeal, along with our evasion of what we have done by bestowing those gifts, now structures our culture.''
Maybe that's true if your culture is centered at places like OISE, but not necessarily for the rest of us.
If all this is upsetting to you, undoubtedly Professor Kincaid could explain that this is all a way of stimulating your own sexual tantalization.
The fear that sex might corrupt them is sexually exciting for us. ''We denounce it all loudly but never have done with it,'' he writes. ''Indignation comes to seem almost like pleasure.''OISE is a faculty whose graduates were instrumental in formulating the extremely controversial curriculum that was widely condemned for exposing highly sexualized content to young children. An attempt to introduce that curriculum by OISE professor and accused child pornographer Ben Levin, when he was Ontario's Deputy Education Minister, was withdrawn by then-Premier Dalton McGuinty following the outcry from outraged parents across the province.
That setback clearly hasn't dissuaded OISE from pursuing its deplorable agenda. They could be counting on the public having a short attention span. They may have calculated that when it comes to the way children are educated, the public really isn't paying that much attention at all.
Sadly, as we can see from their ongoing travesties that continue with impunity, on that final point, they could be right.
UPDATE: The following brief excerpt is from Professor Kincaid's book, Erotic Innocence:
We might try to manage without stark essentialist ideas of sexuality and sexual behavior, see what might be done by positing a range of erotic feelings with and toward children. Rather than assuming that such feelings exist in only two forms - not at all or out of control - perhaps we could learn something of their differences, manner of expression and effects, allowing them a complex and dynamic relativity.(from pgs 24-25)
It's important to be plain about this and not try to counter erotic attraction to children with nothing stronger than nostalgia and talk about how sweet children are. For one thing, nostalgia and sweetness are not antidotes to eroticism but ingredients of it; for another, they are trifles. I believe most adults in our culture feel some measure of erotic attraction to children and the childlike; I do not know how it could be otherwise.
What the hell is happening in Toronto? Reading this article it seems that the foxes are in control of the henhouse.
Well, I see nothing wrong here that couldn't be fixed with a few drums of tar and a half ton of feathers.
They can't even spell their buzzwords properly.. "racilaized" ? (that is in the original)
And here people say UofT is great for research.
It appears the blogger has used his editorial license to select inflammatory phrases (not inflammatory on their own, but raised to that level by his removing them from context and sensationalizing them with his uninformed sarcasm and buzz word grammar. If he prefers to isolate children and their parents by not informing them what actually goes on in the real world, he might be on the right track. The danger is that he might just succeed!
You should actually read Kincaid's work...and not this idiotic reading of it and you will find the man is deeply concerned about the abuse of children. You are clearly uninformed.
To the last two comments, and I can appreciate why anyone who would write those would want to stay anonymous, are you saying that Kincaid doesn't postulate that children are "sensual" beings who have eroticism loaded on to them?
I don't consider them to be that and the type of people who do are not the ones I am comfortable having around children.
I am most certainly not asserting that Kincaid is a pedophile, but his works are of the type that create a more tolerant environment for them. For U of T and OISE to be promoting anything associated with that to be infused into public schools is reprehensible, but tragically, not surprising.
I'd be -fascinated- to know where those last two anonymous comments came from James. I speculate maybe the IP would indicate OISE or the Toronto Bored of Ed.
Kincaid is so concerned about the abuse of children he keeps pictures of the abuse. Behold the genius that is the modern unionized teacher.
Frankly, most teachers creep me out. They have that pushy authoritarian apparatchik vibe going on.
The University of Toronto is an institution just like any other, designed to create a bubble in which other human beings are conditioned and manipulated to bend to the wishes of the ruling classes.
It is not surprising at all that such an institution will pioneer the absolute sexualization of society.
It is just the beginning. Soon, those who have emotional and sexual attachment to their pets are going to be surfacing and publishing books written and hidden in their attics about how to "love your pet."
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