The 'OK, Groomer' Crowd Is Not Acting In Good Faith. Neither Are Those Insisting They Are.

The 'OK, Groomer' Crowd Is Not Acting In Good Faith. Neither Are Those Insisting They Are.

This weekend, The Washington Post's David Weigel chastised the Left for chalking up the Right's new obsession with calling people "groomers" as "being obsessed with pedophilia," instead of understanding the particular nuances of why they are calling people "groomers" -- a term meant, in this particular circumstance, to insinuate that one is "grooming" a child for the purpose of molesting them.

Referring to a segment on Friday night's "Real Time with Bill Maher," Weigel tweeted, "This is such a weird, bad segment, ostensibly about 'why Republicans are obsessed with pedophilia.' Nobody seems to be aware of the politics behind the "call them groomers" campaign, they just say it's crazy and go on tangents."

He was not entirely wrong about the clip, though not for the reasons he stated. Nancy MacLean and David Leonhardt were fine. (We assume they are the ones he was referring to in his comment.) Bill Maher? Not so much. Rather, he tried to find the ways in which, perhaps, those going around accusing people of "grooming" and child molestation had a point, because Jeffrey Epstein. He also pointed out, in his usual way, that it used to be liberals who wanted people to understand that child molestation was a serious and rampant issue, and then laid out such a bizarre and factually incorrect timeline of events that it is hard to even know where to begin in terms of critiquing it.

He said:

MAHER: [L]et’s not forget, this idea about raising the issue of pedophilia and saying it’s rampant in America was, for a long time, a liberal cause. And they weren’t wrong. I remember the first person to do it was Roseanne, in the ‘90s, was talking about pedophilia and — I remember [people], including myself, were like “Oh really? It’s that widespread?” and then we all got the hint. And then the movie Dolores Claiborne came out. And then we got “Oh yeah, you know, this is kind of rampant in America."

Now, how it migrated to a conspiracy is a different story. I think it’s because people were like “You know what? It can’t be just my stepdad. It has to be George Mitchell.”

Suggesting that the Left no longer cares about child molestation and abuse because we are not raging against imaginary child molestation is like saying someone doesn't care if people get murdered because they don't want to see someone executed for a murder they did not commit. It matters if things are true.

That would be why I'm gonna need to point out that Roseanne might not be the person to cite here, being that she later discovered that her "repressed memories" about being sexually abused by her parents never actually happened. Also, while Dolores Claiborne is a great book/movie, I'm gonna say that pretty much all non-Bill Maher people were aware that child molestation was a problem prior to the year 1995. Heck, even the "Diff'rent Strokes" episode about it came out in 1983. There were even a few conspiracy theories.

Now, it is difficult to top Maher here, but — perhaps ironically — Weigel actually ended up going to the exact same well of pretending those who claim teaching kids that LGBTQ people exist is "grooming" are acting in good faith and have a legitimate argument. Sharing an article from The Claremont Institute, he tweeted, "You can click and read the 'ok groomer' folks in a couple of minutes. Their argument isn't complicated - you can ignore it or argue with it." Then he added, ever so smugly, "tl;dr you don't have to agree with a cause to ask and then understand what it's about."

We all understand what it is about. They are so desperate to have their children grow up to be bigots that they are smearing teachers discussing the existence of LGBTQ issues as "pedophile groomers." It's not that hard. But let's look at the article he shared as an example of the very simple and understandable argument these people are making.

It is from an article titled "True Anon," from The Claremont Institute publication The American Mind, by one Spencer Klavan. Boy, is it ever a ride:

I can imagine that chatting about home and family might be part of a normal day in Kindergarten. But what I cannot imagine is that it is impossible to educate small children without telling them about your love life and outlining prospects for theirs. The really damning thing about the reaction to Florida’s bill is not that some teachers think it’s appropriate to mention their after-school activities in class. It’s that LGBT maximalists think it’s mandatory for all children to know about and endorse every possible variety of sexual pursuit, parental attitudes notwithstanding.

This entitlement to other people’s kids is what convinces Disney executives that they not only can but must trans [sic] children’s psyches everywhere. Their aspiration is not simply that a small minority of adults should be able to make private choices in peace. It is that no person, anywhere, should be allowed to harbor reservations about any other person’s sexual habits, however unusual. So children must imagine and long for a world which is more gender-fluid even than the one we currently occupy. Hence the urgency of piping colorful fantasies of a sexualized future into television sets around the country.

This is not an understandable argument, and not just because at least one of those sentences is not in fact a sentence. It is not understandable because the thing it is arguing against — that anyone is asking any child to endorse any "sexual pursuit" — is not real. Teachers are not taking children on field trips to BDSM clubs or discussing clown porn with them. Telling children that "some people like boys and some people like girls" or that trans people exist doesn't have anything more to do with sex than acknowledging the existence of heterosexual couples.

Additionally, there is literally no reason for anyone to "harbor reservations about any other person's sexual habits" if those sexual habits do not involve them or hurt anyone (nonconsensually), or at least that those reservations should dictate anyone's behavior but their own. I harbor reservations about mayonnaise, but I do not demand it be banned from school cafeterias.

The fact is, this is not an argument at all. It is some twisted up, bad faith nonsense that these people came up with after the fact to justify supporting this unjustifiable bill, and subsequently to justify calling people child molesters. The reason they like calling people "groomers" is because they think they are "fighting fire with fire," because the Left calls them racist when they say and do racist things. They say it over and over again, and they even said it in the comments below Weigel's tweets.

The very premise of Klavan's very "understandable" article is that the QAnon people are actually right, even though they are wrong, because they "sense" things are wrong, and are just making up stories to explain the things they "sense" are wrong.

People who fall for Q sense that they are being purposefully denied crucial information by power brokers who deem them unworthy of making informed choices about the most important aspects of their lives. They are exactly right about that. But until recently, they had no power to rectify the situation, no way of exposing the truth. It would be enough to drive anyone mad. So they made up a false story to express their true sense of what was going on.

Now it turns out that children are in fact being catechized into a monstrous doctrine of confusion and self-mutilation. When parents resist, they are both patronized and villainized. If Q really is a problem, it’s because wealthy groomers really are coming for your kids. But we don’t need conspiracy theories to tell that story anymore. The groomers are telling it themselves.

Absolutely none of this any more true or real than pizza-based sex cults where they drink children's blood to get high. And I am pretty sure that "So they made up a false story to express their true sense of what was going on" is one of the most disturbing sentences I have ever read in my life. Unless one is writing fiction, that is not a thing. That is called "lying."

The thing that is truly striking about all of these takes is the absolute generosity being extended to people who are incredibly full of shit, by people who are themselves also completely full of shit — and how simultaneously ungenerous they are towards those who are not.

It matters who is judged to be worthy of that that kind of graciousness, who gets to be "understandable," who gets the presumption that they are acting in good faith regardless of how disingenuous they are being, who gets the privilege of being taken "figuratively, not literally."

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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