Hollywood has long been a purveyor of cultural poison, and a magnet for individuals to whom shame is a foreign concept. The trap of letting the facts get in the way of the weaving of a yarn that serves their ends is one they have always dodged quite artfully, but never has the disconnect between image and reality been as acute as in one of their latest efforts, Kinsey.
Liam Neeson as Alfred Kinsey
The movie is based on the life and work of Alfred Kinsey, who wrote two volumes on human sexuality in the late 1940s and early 1950s: Sexual behavior in the Human Male and Sexual behavior in the Human Female. The film is directed by Bill Condon, and casts Kinsey as a conscientious but persecuted scientist whose only ambition was to push back the frontiers of ignorance. But the movie is a sanitization of Silkwood decontamination proportions, creating a character who is more reminiscent of a long-lost Kinsey good twin than of Kinsey himself. It is such rank propaganda that a variation on Josef Goebbels' well-known quotation is apropos: Promote a big liar often enough and people will start to believe him.
To call Kinsey a "famous sex researcher" is to attach a label to him that is mostly incongruous. For, infamy is his just deserts and to call him a researcher is to impugn the designation. The second word is the only fitting element in the description, as he was thoroughly consumed with sex. And since his work is credited with having been instrumental in the degradation of traditional sexual mores and consequent moral breakdown in society, a thorough exposition of it is in order.
Alfred Kinsey purported to show that aberrant sexual behaviors such as homosexuality, pedophilia, bestiality and incest were much more common than had been previously thought. In fact, Kinsey stated that 95% of the American male population regularly engaged in deviant sexual behavior, and that the only difference between the average man and a sex offender is that the latter got caught. He also said that sexual promiscuity was normal, children are sexual from birth and that rape is one of the most "forgettable" crimes against women. Now, some of those raised in our cynical, libertine, post-Kinsey world may smugly say that such information is common knowledge to all but red-state rubes. However, in the more sexually sane fifties [I won't say "repressed" like Kinseyites] it was a "revelation" that shook America to her core and shattered middle class "illusions."
Except, there was one minor detail that was overlooked, obscured by the desire to use this weapon of mass destruction in the first major campaign of the sexual revolution. This contention that America was more Caligula and Nero than Ozzie and Harriet was itself more Siegfried & Roy than Washington and Honest Abe. It could not accurately be said that Kinsey's scientific methods were flawed, because such a characterization holds that his methods were in fact scientific. Truth be known, they were so fraudulent that Kinsey could correctly be called one of the most successful snake oil salesmen in American history.
Kinsey's primary method of data collection was to administer surveys – consisting of about 350 very personal questions – about sexual behavior to as many willing participants as possible. After collecting the sexual histories of thousands of individuals, Kinsey painted a portrait of a carnal nation, a portrait that he said was based on an accurate cross-section of America. But as the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow [a friend of Kinsey's] pointed out, most people will not fill out a voluminous survey composed of intensely personal questions. Consequently, an inordinate percentage of such respondents will be people of easy virtue who engage in aberrant sexual behavior. This is an outcome-skewing factor that was even more significant fifty-five years ago, when people were much more reluctant to discuss these matters than they are today. What this means is that it was difficult to develop a clear picture of the average person's sexual behavior through such research, even when you tried.
But Kinsey didn't try.
Maslow offered to help him adjust for the aforementioned factor, but when Kinsey discovered that doing so would not yield the results he wanted, he refused and terminated his friendship with Maslow.
It gets even worse, though. While Kinsey made no effort to correct for incidentally skewed data, he purposely skewed data and made every effort to make it appear correct. Amazingly, outrageously, unbelievably, fourteen-hundred of Kinsey's male subjects were prison inmates and sexual offenders who he classified as normal. Why? Kinsey's rationalization was that the only difference between these reprobates and average men was that the former got caught. But this is what you could call a circular justification. He used an anomalous sample, extrapolated its characteristics to the population at large, and then labeled the sample as normal because it was reflective of the sample-based conception of the population at large.
Kinsey repeated this scientific fraud when he studied women, once again drawing conclusions from a sample of unrepresentative females, such as prostitutes. It's no wonder then, that Kinsey steadfastly refused to publish the data upon which his conclusions rested or reveal the questionnaire he used to compile that data. It's also not surprising that highly-esteemed contemporaries in the scientific community viewed Kinsey's work as invalid. One example would be the British Medical Journal, the Lancet, which wrote that Kinsey "questioned an unrepresentative proportion of prison inmates and sex offenders in a survey of normal sexual behavior." The fact is that Kinsey's methods were so shoddy, they prompted the 1999 Intercollegiate Review to rank Kinsey's book as the "third worst book of the century."
As shameful as the scientific fraud is, it pales in comparison to Kinsey's blatantly immoral and criminal behavior with respect to children. Kinsey conducted research that supposedly demonstrated that young boys – as young as two months of age – could experience multiple orgasms. He claimed that the maximum number observed in a twenty-four hour period was 26 climaxes . . . in a thirteen-year-old and a four-year-old. Now, to again quote the Intercollegiate Review, "So mesmerized were Americans by the authority of science, with a capital S, that it took forty years for anyone to wonder how data is collected on the sexual responses of children as young as five."
You don't have to wonder for long, however. Dr. Judith Reisman, who has been a longtime Kinsey critic, received the answer from an actual member of the Kinsey team. This accessory, named Paul Gebhard, stated that Kinsey's men used "manual and oral techniques" to produce the desired effect.
In the same sordid vein, Kinsey relied on consultants – in the form of pedophiles – to gather added information on the sexual responses of children. One of these men was a notorious child-molester named Rex King, who was responsible for the rape of over eight-hundred children. This predator related to Kinsey numerous stories about his child rape in graphic detail, information that Kinsey considered to be merely "scientific research."
Another one of these men was Dr. Fritz Von Balluseck, a Nazi pedophile who contributed to Kinsey's research between 1936 and 1956. While on trial in a case that involved the murder of ten-year-old Loiselotte Has, it was revealed that Von Balluseck was regularly sending Kinsey details of his experiences with children. The court even discovered letters that Kinsey mailed to the Nazi encouraging him to continue his "research." In fact, so enthusiastic was Kinsey's correspondence with the child molester and so egregious his indifference to the plight of the man's victims, that the presiding judge, Dr. Henrich Berger, frequently expressed outrage at Kinsey for not reporting Von Balluseck to the authorities.
But reporting was not what Kinsey was about. In fact, right and wrong, the moral imperative of thwarting evil, and protecting the innocent and vulnerable didn't seem to occupy any part of the coldly relativistic pseudo-scientist's priority list. As James H. Jones, a pro-Kinsey biographer wrote, "Kinsey wanted his staff to know that as scientists, they are not bound by bourgeois morality."
Or any kind of morality, it would appear.
Indeed, Kinsey seemed to believe that the exercise of any kind of moral judgement would be an impediment to his scientific endeavors. A little sidenote here: I hasten to point out that this is a perspective that has bred some of the most serious transgressions against human dignity and science itself. For, the idea that scientists should not be bound by morality is a pernicious lie. The acceptance of perversion doesn't yield unbiased science, it yields perverse science. It is a philosophy of which the Nazi Dr. Mengele was an adherent.
Now, to ascribe to Kinsey Nazi sentiments is not a stretch that would render one guilty of hyperbole or specious analysis. Not only did the correspondence between Kinsey and Von Balluseck bear witness to the fact that the latter's Naziism seemed no more disturbing to Kinsey than his pedophilia, but Kinsey also was an avowed atheist who refused to hire Jews, blacks or committed Christians [Hitler was anti-Christian as well] throughout his career. Moreover, like the Nazis, Kinsey was a proponent of eugenics, which is the science of improving the human race through selective breeding.
However, Kinsey's quasi-fascist ideology doesn't fully explain his preoccupation with eroding America's firewall against depravity. For such insight you must delve into Kinsey's personal life and sexual inclinations, but you needn't delve too deeply. This is because when you scratch the surface, you uncover a life-story that smacks more of the bathhouse than the laboratory.
Kinsey's perversion started early. He became a scoutmaster at the age of seventeen, and in 1921, in a letter he wrote to a fellow YMCA counselor, boasted of a "nature library" that he possessed. This collection comprised nudist magazines that contained pictures and drawings of nude men and boys, and Kinsey would show them to his young male charges in his tent – alone – late at night.
This was a pattern that would continue and become more acute as Kinsey aged, as he definitely seemed to tend toward boys and young men in the sexual arena. As a professor at the University of Indiana, he took long camping trips with young male students. During these excursions Kinsey would parade around nude in front of the young men, bath with them and, according to the wife of one of the students, take advantage of them during group masturbation sessions.
Belying this sordid behavior was the facade of normalcy that Kinsey so adroitly erected and maintained, with the help of allies in academia and the media. He even managed to marry a woman, Clara Bracken McMillan, who was willing to be party to his deviance, thereby providing him with extra cover. She not only tolerated his homosexual escapades with his students, but she actually participated in such activities as wife-swapping and the creation of sex films with Kinsey's staff in the attic of their home. Additionally, Kinsey maintained a collection of "gorgeous" homosexual male photographs, and forced members of his staff to engage in various forms of sexual activity, ostensibly for the purposes of breaking down moral barriers against such behavior. Now, the above is not a comprehensive list of Kinsey's sexual transgressions, for they are legion. But suffice it to say that the more you study the man, the more you realize that he was not a scientist but the Marquis de Sade with a research team.
As for Kinsey's legacy, I'm not sure that I would credit him with almost singlehandedly sparking of the sexual revolution like some of his critics have. But there is no doubt that he has been one of its Caesars. Kinsey's portrayal of 1950's America as a land rife with perversion served to loosen her people's sexual mores, and provided a justification for anyone and everyone to act upon his deepest, darkest, basest desires. After all, if everyone else is doing it, it must be normal. So, why should I take great pains to suppress the behavior in myself?
However, Kinsey's influence reached well beyond the long-term social effect of attitudinal change and extended to the immediate effect of governmental policy change. You see, around the time that Kinsey's faulty data was being disseminated, a document containing the nation's sex-crime statutes, called the "Model Penal Code" [MPC], was being developed. And, based on Kinsey's research, the code recommended reducing the punishment for its 52 major sex-crimes. Said Morris Ploscowe, a respected magistrate who was one of the principle authors of the MPC, "when a total clean-up of sex offenders is demanded, it is in effect a proposal to put 95 percent of the male population in jail . . ." Ploscowe went on to say, "One of the conclusions of the Kinsey report is that the sex-offender is not a monster . . . but an individual who is not very different from others in his social group, and that his behavior is similar to theirs. The only difference is that others in the offender's social group have not been apprehended. This recognition that there is nothing very shocking or abnormal in the sex offender's behavior should lead to other changes in sex legislation . . . . In the first place, it should lead to a downward revision of the penalties presently imposed on sex offenders."
Sadly, Ploscowe is not alone in his deadly embrace of Kinsey propaganda. A study of law review articles that were published between 1982 and 2000 found over 650 citations to Alfred Kinsey. What this means is that part of the blame for the kid gloves treatment that criminals so long received and the consequent rise in crime can be laid squarely at Kinsey's doorstep. It was true folly, for, basing sexual offense laws on Kinsey's work is much like basing laws pertaining to theft on the prescriptions of a committed thief.
Not surprisingly, Kinsey's malevolent spirit even permeated the lowest levels of academia. You see, the Kinsey institute was the progenitor of all the organizations that provide sexual education curricula in our country. Is it any wonder then, that this curricula is imbued with Kinsey's ideas about early childhood sexual development, the prevalence of homosexual behavior, and the recategorizing of perversion as normal behavioral variation? No, it's no wonder at all that our ideas about sex-education are so twisted. For, regarding Kinsey's book to be an authoritative source on human sexuality is much like regarding Mein Kampf to be an authoritative source on social policy and governance.
It's not easy writing an article such as this. Aside from the tedium of investigation, it also occurs to one that relating the magnitude of Kinsey's depravity, scientific fraud and negative impact upon society through one article is an almost insurmountable task. Consequently, I will tell you that if you would like a to read a comprehensive expose of Kinsey, I recommend that you log on to Dr. Judith Reisman's website, or buy her book, Kinsey: Crimes & Consequences. No one has done more than Dr. Reisman to expose Alfred Kinsey for the complete fraud that he was.
Kinsey is without a doubt one of the most vile, destructive and perverted individuals I have ever had the displeasure of studying. It's quite obvious to me that his misbegotten pseudo-scientific endeavors were simply a vehicle through which he could indulge his perversion, make money, and work to destroy the traditional standard of morality that condemned the dark sins for which he had developed such an affinity. And to buttress this point I'll quote the Intercollegiate Review one last time: "[this was] a pervert's attempt to demonstrate that perversion is statistically ‘normal.'"
And Kinsey, aided and abetted by willing accomplices in academia, the media and Hollywood, was immensely successful in this regard. We now live in the age of Loveline and Howard Stern, in which everything is grist for public consumption and nothing is sacred. The closet has been stripped bare, but it occurs to me that closets exist for a reason. A closet is the rightful place for things that should not enter the public square, things that infect minds and corrupt judgement when they see the light of day. The great philosopher and fantasy writer C.S. Lewis understood this when he said, "Sex is not messed up because it was put in the closet; it was put in the closet because it was messed up."
There is a transgression I would call cinematic malpractice, and it is something of which the creators of Kinsey are guilty. Those who conceal the truth about this man are complicit in what could very fairly be called crimes against humanity. It is absolutely unconscionable that useful idiots, perverts and social-engineers would perpetuate one of the most pernicious lies ever foisted on the American public. To create any kind of work about the life of Alfred Kinsey and not place his deviance, criminality and wickedness front and center is akin to making a movie about Hitler and omitting mention of the Holocaust. There is a story to be told here, but it's not about an unfairly maligned man who suffered persecution at the hands of puritans. It's a sordid tale of a miscreant who lived a lie, gave birth to a lie, and a civilization that, tragically and perhaps irrevocably, became that lie.
Selwyn Duke lives in Westchester County, New York. He is a tennis professional, internet entrepreneur, and writer whose works have appeared on various sites on the Internet, including Intellectual Conservative and Mensnet. A large number of his works can be found at his site www.SelwynDuke.com.