The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Relationship’ as a Euphemism: What Does This Tell Us About the Culture?

Posted on | June 8, 2013 | 59 Comments

Kaitlyn Hunt’s family says she’s a victim of homophobia.

A week ago, Canadian lesbian Kristin Ireland wrote:

The Kaitlyn Hunt case haunts me. Never more than a few moments out of my mind. I read every word I can find on the subject. And I search for similar cases. How many of our young people are caught up a legal web of irrationality? . . .
[Critics of Hunt] claim to be “telling the truth” and “stating the facts.” They focus on days and months and birth dates. A few pages on the calendar flip and suddenly we should all be sharpening our pitch forks and cheering to see a young life destroyed. We all know it’s not that simple don’t we?

This was brought to my attention by a commenter:

She deleted my comment to her May 30 Kate post. I just politely pointed out that age-of-consent laws are inherently based on “a few flips of the calendar.”
If no law should be contingent on calendar dates, then all age-of-consent laws should be repealed.
I didn’t even add that such would be the dawning of paradise on earth for all pedophiles. I just pointed that out and she deleted it . . .

The title of Kristin Ireland’s May 30 post? “Kate Hunt, The Internet, and Rationality,” as if she were capable of recognizing “rationality.” People have asked me why I dug in so hard on this story, and I explain it’s the same reason I drove to Kentucky in 2009 to prove Andrew Sullivan wrong: The media do this kind of stuff routinely — grab hold of some story that seems conveniently to “prove” liberal beliefs and then blow it up into a national drama. But the minute the ugly facts emerge to contradict the narrative, the media move on to the next story that, by similar distortions, can be used to validate their worldview.

They act as if we’re too stupid to see what they’re doing, and always seem shocked when we catch them doing it.

So, yeah, I dug in on this one and, once I did, people kept tipping me to new facts of the story and, if you’ll just check Google News, you’ll see that the bogus “Free Kate” meme has been so thoroughly discredited that the national media won’t dare try to revive it. And I’d be walking away with the victor’s laurels on my brow were it not for monomaniacal fanatics like Kristin Ireland who just can’t let it go.

What Happened to Paige Johnson?

Readers will recall that we last encountered Kristin Ireland tearfully proclaiming that the story of convicted Pennsylvania sex offender Paige Johnson was “like a Lifetime movie,” and now she’s turned her interview with Paige’s mother Jackie into a long blog post:

Paige was an 18 year old competitive cheerleader being home schooled in Warren County, PA. In January of 2010 a 14 year old joined the team and the two became friends. As the girls got to know each other better their friendship turned to flirting and eventually into a relationship. Paige’s mother Jackie was unaware of the relationship but said that she later learned that the younger girl’s mother (who did not have custody of her daughter) had known and apparently told Paige “I don’t care if you date my daughter. At least you won’t get her pregnant. But hurt my daughter and I’ll make your life a living Hell.” If this was fiction you could call this foreshadowing. Sadly, it’s not fiction.
Like many young relationships it wasn’t to last forever. Paige ended the relationship and the younger girl then also had sex with Paige’s friend (also 18 and also on the cheer team)*. In April of 2010 the girls travelled to Maryland for a National cheerleading competition. Over the weekend Jackie noticed tension between the two girls but didn’t know until later that it was because Paige had ended the relationship and the other girl was angry.

Isn’t there something . . . weird about that story?

We’ll get back to that in a minute, but notice how Kristin Ireland uses “relationship” as a euphemism for “having sex.” We saw something similar with the Kaitlyn Hunt saga, with her father describing Kaitlyn’s involvement with a 14-year-old as a “high school romance” when, as the affidavit made clear, it wasn’t remotely romantic, unless you count having sex in a school toilet stall as “romance.”

A strange lack of curiosity seems to have afflicted some people. Perhaps they thought Florida had criminalized moonlight and poetry.

This willingness to accept euphemism — the girls had a relationship, and the younger girl’s parents objected to the relationship, so the 18-year-old faces jail for her relationship — may reflect an instinctive aversion to the unpleasant realities of our sexualized society. Kids are engaged in shockingly deviant behaviors at shockingly early ages (e.g., three 19-year-olds taking turns with a 13-year-old) and it’s easier to hide this from ourselves behind the gauzy vagueness of soft-focus language than to confront the sordid facts of the matter.

How is it that on the one hand, America seems to be raising a generation of polymorphous perverts, while on the other hand this neo-Victorian reign of euphemism requires us to pretend that these sick little freaks are engaged in nothing more than “relationships”?

On that night, the freshman ran away from home to spend the night in Kaitlyn’s bedroom where, to quote the affidavit by Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeremy Shepherd, the two girls “put their fingers inside of each other’s vaginas, put their mouths on each other’s vaginas, and both of them used a vibrator on each other to insert it in each other’s vaginas.”

This was “healthy and normal,” says Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother, and the ACLU blandly assures us that 18-year-old Kaitlyn and her 14-year-old girlfriend were just “engaging in behavior that is both fairly innocuous and extremely common.”

OK, just how “common” is this? Are 14-year-old freshmen girls nowadays routinely getting dildoed by their senior basketball teammates?

My guess is, probably not, but perhaps I’m being naïve, and this behavior — “fairly innocuous”! — has become so utterly commonplace that it is now more or less expected of ninth-graders.

Happy 14th Birthday! (Batteries not included.) But I digress . . .

A Strange and Unexplained Craving

Didn’t I say there was something weird about the Paige Johnson story? Description from the “Justice for Paige” Facebook group:

Paige had finished 12th grade, homeschooled with 4 college credits under her belt. She was going into her 5th year as an All-Star competition cheerleader. Though she had dated boys through her teen years, she was now currently in a relationship with a girl. She met another girl January 2010, when she was 18. The other girl was 2 months shy of her 15th birthday. They dated for two months and broke up, and Paige got back together with her ex-girlfriend. That was the catalyst for the girl’s mother to go to the police and file charges against Paige. She has been fighting for 4 long years now, and is currently incarcerated in the county jail for a purported probation violation. The civil rights violations and legal atrocities she has been subjected to would make anyone give up, but not her! She plans to attend college to become a vet tech and she wants to rejoin her competition cheer team in September after her release. We need to not only change the laws concerning peer-peer relationships, we need to take a good hard look at the injustices that are served to people like Paige on a daily basis in our court system.

Are we to assume that when Paige Johnson’s supporters say she “dated boys,” that the word “dated” signifies the same as “relationship”? Doesn’t this very much resemble what Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother said about her daughter’s sexual history?

At the beginning of this school year, she started dating a fellow student, who happened to be another female. . . .
This was unusual for Kate, she has always dated boys, but being the kind of mother I am, I didn’t want to make it a big deal.

Both Kate and Page had participated in competitive cheerleading. Both had previously dated only boys (at least so we are told by the mothers in both cases) and then — boom! — they turn 18 and suddenly they’re lesbians with an insatiable craving for 14-year-old girlflesh.

These very similar stories involve girls who lived thousands of miles from each other — one in Warren, Pennsylvania, the other in Sebastian, Florida — but the eerie parallels don’t end there. Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother says “being the kind of mother I am, I didn’t want to make it a big deal,” whereas “Paige’s mother Jackie was unaware of the relationship but said that she later learned that the younger girl’s mother (who did not have custody of her daughter) had known.” Whether clueless or indifferent, neither Jackie’s mother nor Kaitlyn’s mother seems to have shown any concern: “Hey, why is my 18-year-old daughter hanging around this 14-year-old? Why isn’t she socializing with people her own age?”

The Paige Johnson story doesn’t make sense in pretty much the same way the Kaitlyn Hunt story didn’t make sense. And I’m willing to  bet that S.J. Reidhead is getting the heeby-jeebies about Paige Johnson in much the same way she did with Kaitlyn Hunt.

Both of these stories involve 18-year-old girls acting out in ways that are certainly not “fairly innocuous,” nor “healthy and normal,” and any sane person can’t help but wonder why. Notice something else from Kristin Ireland’s telling of the Paige Johnson story:

Paige ended the relationship and the younger girl then also had sex with Paige’s friend (also 18 and also on the cheer team)*

We skip down to the footnote:

*Paige’s friend was also prosecuted and received 6-12 months in local jail.

Whoa! What’s going on here? This cheerleading team has not one, but two 18-year-old lesbians with a craving for 14-year-old girlflesh?

Certainly, by now, readers have got to be wondering exactly what the hell is going on here. Is it possible that some psychologist could interview these girls and try to find a common denominator? Is it a history of being molested? Exposure to pornography? Abusive boyfriends? Why or how has this phenomenon — Sudden Onset Lesbian Jailbait Syndrome — become seemingly pandemic?

‘Peer’ or Predator? Or Maybe Both?

Whereas we have an affidavit in the Hunt case, and a TV interview with the 14-year-old’s parents to balance that story, we have no such  detail or counter-narrative in the Paige Johnson story, and therefore must hear it as told by Paige’s mother Jackie to Kristin Ireland:

In court things went from bad to worse. Because Paige had accepted a plea she was not given the opportunity to tell her side of the story. The DA, on the other hand, painted Paige as a dangerous child molester in need of serious rehabilitation. . . .
The judge then asked Paige if she had read the victim impact statement written by the younger girl’s mother. When Paige said that she hadn’t, the judge passed her the letter to read aloud in the court (thereby entering it into the official record). In her statement the mother wrote that Paige had been a certified cheer coach who had viciously pursued her daughter. Paige’s anger built as she read this because it simply was not true. However, when she tried to refute the statement to the judge she was silenced. It now looked like Paige was an older predatory lesbian in a position of power who exploited a young girl in her care. A far different story from two peers, four years apart in age, on the same team who had feelings for one another.

OK, understand that to Kristin Ireland this is a story about an abusive criminal justice system, and she’s so sympathetic to the victim (i.e., the convicted sex offender) that she envisions this as a Lifetime movie scenario. Keep that understanding in mind. But now it’s time to ask ourselves a question: What don’t we know?

It’s obvious to me that something is missing from this story, but I don’t know what it is that is missing. If this was all a harmless situation about two teenagers “who had feelings for one another,” why would the district attorney portray Paige Johnson “as a dangerous child molester in need of serious rehabilitation”? Leaving aside the question of whether Paige was a “certified cheer coach,” what did the younger girl’s mother say in that victim impact statement, and why did the judge ask Paige’s mother to read it aloud? Why, if the girls were “two peers,” were these people — the district attorney, the judge, the younger girl’s mother — so determined to portray Paige as “an older predatory lesbian in a position of power who exploited a young girl in her care”?

Something is wrong with this story, I say — there are facts missing, facts which must explain what otherwise seems inexplicable.

Perhaps there are those who will insist (without proof) that this is explained by homophobia, plain and simple. OK, maybe so. On the other hand, when people were acting completely astonished by the Kaitlyn Hunt prosecution, I pointed out the aggravating circumstances, which seemed to demystify matters a good bit.

There is something going on here, however, that goes beyond the unexplained difference between how Kristin Ireland and Paige Johnson’s mom see this (“two peers . . . who had feelings for one another”) and the “predatory lesbian” view of the prosecution. What really must be explained are the apparent trends, the patterns, whereby girls who were allegedly hitherto heterosexual mysteriously develop lesbian desires at age 18, desires that for some reason are focused on girls so much younger than themselves. And why are the mothers of these girls so blithely approving (or blissfully ignorant) of the types of “relationships” their daughters are pursuing?

Is there some kind of cultural script involved here? Are these girls getting cues from movies or TV shows or the school curriculum? Is there some new rite of passage developing, some teen fad? Is lesbianism to this decade what disco was to the ’70s? Are today’s parents too busy to bother paying attention to what their kids are involved in?

Is this really the new “high school romance”? (Batteries not included.)

Hey, it’s just “relationships,” right?




59 Responses to “‘Relationship’ as a Euphemism: What Does This Tell Us About the Culture?”

  1. K-Bob
    June 8th, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

    That’s because the union molester takes fifteen-minute breaks, like clockwork.

  2. VerminMcCann
    June 8th, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

    I’m curious: Are there any examples of journalists who took a pass on covering Gosnell on the grounds that it was a “local crime story” writing about this case?

  3. rmnixondeceased
    June 8th, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

    It seems that she wants to enjoy the freedoms of an adult, but have the responsibilities of a child. This is the entire thrust of modern society, perpetual toddlerhood with adult benefits.

  4. She Blinded Me With Pseudo-Science : The Other McCain
    June 9th, 2013 @ 12:21 am

    […] June 8: ‘Relationship’ as a Euphemism: What Does This Tell Us About the Culture? […]

  5. Adjoran
    June 9th, 2013 @ 2:02 am

    I know what Mom says. I just think Mom is a liar. Mothers tend to lie to cover for their kids, which is why if Mom is your only alibi, you don’t have one.

    But this “contact” wasn’t in the context of cheerleading, it came after Paige was out and under parole restrictions. It wouldn’t make any sense to prohibit incidental conversational “contact” with an individual unless there are facts about that situation of which we haven’t been informed. Or unless the “contact” wasn’t purely verbal.

  6. Adjoran
    June 9th, 2013 @ 2:03 am

    Yeah – pretty much all of them did exactly that until the story could no longer be ignored.

  7. Verlin Martin
    June 9th, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    “Though she had dated boys through her teen years, she was now currently in a relationship with a girl.
    She met another girl January 2010, when she was 18. The other girl was 2
    months shy of her 15th birthday. They dated for two months and broke
    up, and Paige got back together with her ex-girlfriend.”

    So she dated boys, but got back with her ex-girlfriend? Just one of many ‘thoughts’ on this case that don’t add up.

  8. Gary Herndon
    June 13th, 2013 @ 5:08 pm
  9. Raping the English Language | Something Fishy
    June 14th, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

    […] The reason this abusive lingual choice – and any words set off in quote marks are definitely chosen specifically, not just the typing equivalent of a slip of the tongue – caught my attention was that there’s been a similar misuse of the word “romance” to mean “sexual activity” in my blog-feed lately. RSM has been documenting the Free Kate scam, wherein the family of an eighteen-year-old girl who engaged in activities that constitute statutory rape of a fourteen-year-old are defending their hellion daughter by claiming it was a “romantic relationship.” […]