The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, January 13, 2003
PRETEEN WASTELAND: Pete! Oh, Pete! We didn't care much about Gary Glitter to begin with, so it didn't unravel our minds to learn about his predilections. Jerry Lee Lewis hailed from the hills; we could write off his taste for cousinly young'uns as a bit of local culture. But you, Pete ... well, this is a bit much coming from you.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about: Pete Townshend has been
arrested for viewing child pornography online. He has confessed to the deed but not to the presumed intent: He was researching the sexual exploitation of children, he says, not participating in it. As a longtime Who fan, I hope he's telling the truth -- hope his explanations for his behavior sound so defensive and so curiously repetitious because he's upset anyone would accuse him of pedophilia, not because he's desperately trying to weasel out of a tight spot. It's true that Townshend has been speaking out against kiddie porn for a while now, a fact which supports his version of events. Of course, it's also true that, a couple decades ago, he was simultaneously an anti-drug crusader and a junkie.

Even if he was looking at the stuff as a disgusted investigator and not as a lusty boy-lover, that doesn't mean he'll be spared a jail term. I don't know what the law is in England, but here in America journalists have been imprisoned for doing exactly what Townshend claims he was doing.

Meanwhile, the whole Who catalog suddenly seems a bit ... dirty. You can make your own foul jokes about the phrases "before I get old" and "the kids are alright." Me, I feel grimy enough for titling this item "Preteen Wasteland."


posted by Jesse 6:24 PM
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