Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Celibacy Considered Harmful

Kathy Sierra is massively freaked out. My initial response was, oh, it's just some jackoff posting bullshit, but having re-read the article and given it some thought, if I were her, I'd have a friend bring me a gun, and I'd get a few nice big dogs. Like Rottweillers, or German shepherds, or maybe just a trained bear. That's some scary fucking shit.

I've said obnoxious things on the Web -- to be provocative, to get attention, to piss people off, to deliberately push well past the boundaries of good taste. Usually I was either kidding or randomly grumpy because I hadn't had my morning coffee yet. Many people have done the same thing. That's part of the Internet. What's going on at Kathy's blog is way past that. The stuff posted is weird enough that you could definitely consider it utterly sick in the head and devoid of any sense of humor, and it looks as if it's a consistent pattern rather than a random outburst.

South by Southwest recently had a panel on "the rise of the blogebrity," the neologism of course meaning celebrity blogger, or blog celebrity, or whatever. If there's anything which validates that notion, it's the first blogger targeted by some weird-ass stalker.

Stalking is strange and terrifying. It appears to be a totally modern phenomenon, but if there's one thing I learned in high school, it's that any time you encounter what appears to be an entirely modern phenomenon, there usually exists some parallel in the literature of the Roman Empire or Ancient Greece. (If there are only two things I learned in high school, number one is that whole historical parallels thing, and number two is how to make a bong out of a plastic bottle and some tinfoil. I had a very broad education. Let's move on.)

What's weird to me is that there don't appear to be historical parallels, which makes me think that what's really different is that this society protects women from stalkers, whereas previous societies tolerated it.

At the risk of sounding totally insane, and because I am Giles Bowkett, and this is how I think, I'd like to suggest a solution to stalking. I believe, in fact, that I could eliminate this problem once and for all, throughout the entire world, forever.

Step one, legalize prostitution. Step two, make paying for sex not only legal -- but required by law. Make it illegal to go longer than a certain length of time without getting laid. (Have medical professionals determine what that length of time should be.)

Why will this end stalking once and forever? Simple. Stalking is usually driven by sexual obsession. Most stalkers are male; most victims of stalking are female. One of my favorite ideas is the idea that any pattern of dangerous behavior can be viewed as a public health problem. All men become more aggressive when they don't get laid. That's biological. But the difference between a man who turns into a stalker due to sexual repression and the man who just deals with it, that's a purely psychological component which must be extraordinarily difficult to predict. The long and the short of it is that sexual repression is a serious public health problem, one that leads to deranged and dangerous behavior, and the easiest way to cure sexual repression is to have sex a lot. So my solution is really just common sense. If going without sex for longer than X amount of time was illegal -- X being whichever minimum health professionals conclude is necessary -- then the courts could just sentence law-breaking celibates to mandatory court-ordered fucking at the hands of a professional, and the sexual frustration, repression, and obsession which would have made those men dangerous would never even happen. The world would be a safer place.

Your tax dollars, hard at work.

Of course, as usual, the opponents of this plan would be the same pack of lunatic assholes who stand in the way of anybody who wants to make the world a safer place. I refer, of course, to the Religious Right. But screw those guys. They're all snorting meth and boning gay hookers anyway. Seriously, it's time to make the world a better place. Legalize prostitution and criminalize celibacy. It's the only way to end stalking forever.


  1. It goes way beyond stalking mate - look how many suicide bombers have turned out to have been massively sexually repressed, for example.

  2. Women stalk each other too (usually over a guy).

    I know one guy who was stalked by a girl he went on a few dates with.

    I've a woman I was dating go through everything I've ever written on the Internet with a fine-toothed comb, taking it all out of context.

    So it's not that simple.

    I have seen articles that show that availability of pornography decreases the frequency of rapes.

  3. Women stalkers exist also, but that's a whole different subject. Women's bodies are more complicated than men's bodies, and the court-ordered sex would have to be changed to court-ordered oral sex, as it's the only way to be sure. If somehow the male prostitute employed by the court for these purposes was in fact capable of getting the job done, however, he would almost definitely be stalked. There's a definite catch-22 there, but I'm sure a solution can be found.

  4. More soberly, if it turns out it's more than one person, that really is a cogent argument in favor of dudes not getting laid being a threat to society. Because if it is more than one person, you know that not a single one of them has a girlfriend. Do the math. Kathy Sierra's smarter than they are, more successful than they are, **and** she's blonde and good-looking. It's jealousy plus serious mental illness caused by insufficient sexual activity. I was worried the stuff about prostitution might make my post seem sexist, but doesn't the nature of the situation make it an inherently bigger risk for successful, intelligent, independent women? Kathy's blog is one of the best out there, everybody knows that. Her being too scared to post anything or give talks at conferences, it's like psychological vandalism of a valuable community resource. Not to mention a horrible thing to happen to an innocent human being.

    The flipside of this is my own plan, which is that if I ever have daughters, I'm going to teach them kung fu. Not even for self-defense; for the simple awareness that they can defeat people. I've known women so fierce that if somebody stalked them, I would fear for the stalker's life, not the woman's. Obviously men have more muscle mass and significant advantages in a physical struggle, but it's not really the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog.

    But it's not Kathy Sierra's job to study kung fu, cultivate inner ferocity, and turn herself into some kind of warrior woman when all she wants to do is write about technology and talk about it at conferences. That's something the community should handle automatically. A tech conference should be a place where everyone feels safe.

    I should have made the title to this "Celibacy Considered Harmful," though. That's what I think the real problem is. It's like, should I turn into a violent psycho? Or should I just get laid? Maybe this post could be taken seriously. Maybe if some idiot really is too mental to choose Door #2 in that scenario, the courts really should just send him off to a court-ordered brothel to get his freak on whether he wants to or not.

  5. "celibacy considered harmful" is an excellent title.

    re: kung-fu


  6. I empathize with your statements about sexual repression, though I would say that it's not really repression, but depravation in the usual case.

    Guys are generally not actively preventing themselves from engaging in sex, but simply either can't or don't know how to go about getting any.

    I know from experience that this does generate a certain amount of frustration and aggressive behavior, but fucking a prostitute (particularly a "court-ordered" one) isn't going to help.

    Your idea is an interesting one, but I hope it's really a half-hearted joke.

  7. It's a whole-hearted joke. I never do anything half-heartedly.

    I do actually think it would work, though. The most honest moments in a man's life are the moments directly following orgasm from intercourse. Scientific fact. The logistics are ridiculous, court-ordered prostitution? Of course I'm kidding. But reducing aggression and increasing honesty across the board? Of course that would lower the overall number of stalkers. I'm absolutely certain that honest, gentle people are at a lower risk for becoming stalkers. That's practically tautological.

  8. Given the very specific (and inherent) focus of stalking, how would screwing a random prostitute sate someone's obsession with an entirely different person?

  9. @joe - the goal is not to cure stalkers but to prevent them from happening. an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. the idea is that not getting laid makes people crazy; not getting laid is therefore a dangerous thing to do which threatens the entire community, and should therefore be against the law.

    (I thought that was obvious.)

  10. Just want to add one more comment, in case people read this. It's satire. I don't actually think we should all pass laws requiring men to have sex with hookers. What I do think is that there's something twisted and wrong in a situation where it is considered socially acceptable to terrify innocent people with images and descriptions of themselves being subjected to sexual violence. Most bloggers sympathize with Kathy, but a lot of people who aren't posting are just like, well, hey, it's just the Internet. The thing is, in a different society with different values, you might look at paying for sex and say, well, hey, it's just sex. I think a society like that might actually be safer. People who are getting laid are safer to be around than people who are not. I mean the stuff about hookers is a joke and yet it's not a joke. What if it's true? It's just an exaggeration of the way sex and violence are in movies. You'll get an R rating much faster with a little sex than you will with a lot of violence, and parents who let their kids see R-rated violence routinely shit bricks if their kids even get close to porn. That set of values is exactly the opposite of what it should be. If it was the other way around, we'd probably have a safer world.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.