Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Klein Affair

I think I was 14. I'd just read Anne Frank's diary for the first time, and was sitting in my grandmother's kitchen being self-righteous as only a 14-year old can be.

And she rounded on me.

Not physically, of course: that wasn't her way. But she slapped me down verbally, and she slapped me down good.

“You have drawn the wrong conclusion from this,” she told me. “The conclusion here is not 'Oh, the Holocaust,' or 'Oh, the Jews,' or 'Oh, the Germans.' The correct conclusion here is: this is what human beings are capable of. Anyone could do this: I could do it, you could do it. We need to look to our own behavior first, and then do what needs to be done.”

Community tragedies of this sort—and let's be frank, this is a tragedy for our community—must of necessity become times of self-examination.

It certainly sounds as if wrong has been done here, grievous wrong. And if it has been, then let us roundly condemn it.

But Grandma was right: Before we do what needs to be done, let us first each one of us look to our own behavior.

And then let us proceed.

 

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.

Comments

  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Sunday, 30 March 2014

    The level of hate I saw on some forums yesterday was thoroughly disgusting. It is said that porn of one kind and another is the majority of Internet traffic and most of the reason for its existence. There are legions of on-line whores, pimps, pornographers, and just lonely young females sending selfies who prey on lonely men all the time. As your grandmother's wisdom would advise, those who have never viewed erotic materials on some Internet channel may be saints, but they either don't exist or just haven't gotten around to it yet. Lets have more compassion and far less hate.

  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy Monday, 31 March 2014

    Please tell me you made this comment ironically or something, cos frankly, I find the sentiment revolting.

  • Mariah
    Mariah Tuesday, 01 April 2014

    Compassion for who? The victims or the victimizer? Don't give me this "everybody does it" crap, I don't care if adults watch/look at adult porn (I don't but I don't consider myself morally superior) or do among themselves consensually- but this is children we are talking about.

  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    While it's true there's be an unsavory level of vitriol directed towards Kenny Klein (especially since he has not been convicted yet), there's a pretty important distinction to be made between adult and child pornography. A distinction which I believe it would be useful for you to keep in mind.

  • Kenaz Filan
    Kenaz Filan Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Given that Klein has apparently confessed to the possession and distribution of child pornography, I'd call it "righteous outrage" rather than vitriol. And when I see whimpering about "lonely young females sending selfies who prey on lonely men all the time" I can only answer with my friend Clare Emmett's thoughts on the situation:

    Were I part of those commenters' communities, I would be keeping a close eye on their conduct hereafter. Misty-eyed defence of an abuser* can be indicative of mere cluelessness. The older I get and the more of this bullshit I see play out, the more reliable this kind of whiny "but he didn't doooooo anything!" hairsplitting seems to be as an indicator of who the predators are.

    *which if he consumed kiddy pr0n, he sodding well is; and it seems he did rather more than that.

  • jen z
    jen z Sunday, 30 March 2014

    I was sad to see this site decided to remove kenny's old blog. censoring someone like that is wrong. Yes he did wrong, but to remove things that were done before is also wrong. I have seen the nasty bashing , and it makes me cry watching people turn judge and jury and get vicious. I will not be on this site, as censorship in the Pagan community is wrong.

  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy Monday, 31 March 2014

    People are getting nasty because "poor Kenny" was involved in a child porn ring. Do you know anyone who was a victim of sexual abuse --or worse, *child sexual abuse*? Do you at least watch Law & Order: SVU? Why is a child pornographer and sexual abuser somehow more deserving of some people's sympathies than his victims? You're not supposed to smoke that frankincense, you're just supposed to burn it.

  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Removing Kenny's blogs has been a precautionary measure and one we are prepared to reverse should he be found not guilty (and assuming he still desires to work with us).

    However, we cannot in good conscience continue to publish his writings or receive ad revenue from them until such a time. To do otherwise would be immoral and disrespectful of those harmed by sex offenders.

  • Kenaz Filan
    Kenaz Filan Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    PaganSquare owns the servers. PaganSquare pays for the bandwidth. PaganSquare handles site upkeep and maintenance. Hence, PaganSquare gets to decide what content goes up and what content stays up. They're not engaging in "censorship" by removing Klein's blog any more than I am engaging in "religious discrimination" when I slam my door on the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    As for your tears about "nasty bashing" and the "vicious" community who is outraged by kiddy-diddlers, see Clare Emmett's comment.

  • Gabriel Moore
    Gabriel Moore Monday, 31 March 2014

    I am going to say this and I am not going to be nice or PC about it. The authorities don't just show up at your house one day and say "O gee let me look at your computer and see if there are any naked 8 year olds on it". These investigations go on for looooooong periods of time in order in bring down groups and networks of perverts, not just one. Yes thats right.... perverts! Kenny Klein was not some lonely poor old guy. He was in a band, elder in a tradition and married to a woman much younger then he. And even if he wasn't SO WHAT! I don't care how "lonely" or "desparate" you self loathe yourself into being, it does not give you the right to participate in the explotation of the innocent. No one forces you to do those things, you willingly partake of those disgusting aspects of the internet. I'm glad they took down Kennys blog. You don't just wake up one morning and become a sicko, that is something that happens over time. It seems the Pagan community could use a little more accountablility and vetting not only of it's "clergy" and "elders" but of it's members as well. We should all hold people publicly accountable when we see them acting and speaking inappropriately. Not allowing them to hide behind their computer screens and titles to work their perversions on us and our children. Greybeard, I don't know what point your trying to make but it ain't sounding good. As someone who has been abused in the past I will not allow you or others to get away with weak apoligetics like what you have used here and in a couple other posts I have seen of yours on the same topic in other blogs. I will not "be nice" over a topic that has NO GREY AREAS! Call a spade a spade. Stand up for our children!

  • Mariah
    Mariah Tuesday, 01 April 2014

    This is child porn and sexual abuse, not writing a bad check. It's true that we're all capable of doing terrible things- no group of people is immune to this. I myself will confess that I've at times put up with while not full-blown abusive behavior- harassing, inappropriate and unethical behavior among Pagans and sometimes written it off "well, what do you expect they're pagans" No more, I expect better.
    http://paganleft.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/whose-community-whose-reputation/

  • Effy
    Effy Tuesday, 01 April 2014

    As a survivour of sexual abuse who was also used in and exposed to child pornography, I have been watching and taking note of which purveyours of information and community space holders remove Kenny Klein from their websites and rosters. Those that do get my trust. Those that don't, get my 'see ya'. I lived what Kenny profited from and collected. I stand for the children found on his computer hard drive.

    That being said, I feel empathy for Kenny and his family. Sexual attraction to children is a deeply rooted SICKNESS that has been demonized and vilified to the point where treatments are nearly impossible to find. If there were more education about this, and then quick intervention, people like Kenny may have been given some kind of treatment, which might have helped him to curb what is widely considered to be an addictive behaviour.

    The behaviour is abhorrent, but the people doing it are not demons or boogeymen or the minions of the devil. They are *human beings* with a horrible illness. Should they be left alone to do as they please? No. Should they be promoted anywhere for any reason? No. Should they be given a platform from which they may teach or preach? No. But they should not be demonized. If we don't accept that this is a *human* problem, we will never find a way to treat it.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Thanks, Effy, you've stated my own position more clearly than I did myself.

  • Kenaz Filan
    Kenaz Filan Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Actually, what Mr. Posch said was "But Grandma was right: Before we do what needs to be done, let us first each one of us look to our own behavior. And then let us proceed."

    I have no child pornography on my computer. I have never distributed child pornography nor have I actively sought it out. Mr. Klein was found with child pornography on his computer and confessed to seeking and distributing it. So while I must offer apologies in advance for hurting your tender fee-fees, please do forgive me for claiming the moral high ground here.

    And yes, I've viewed "erotic materials" on the Internet. (Hell, I'm pushing 50 -- I've viewed erotic materials in magazines and on VHS tapes too!) Let's not muddy the waters here. One can be a sex-positive porn-lover who's into just about anything consenting adults can do and still react to child molestation with horror and disgust. And that's what you're seeing in the Pagan community. It's not "hate" (the HORROR), but nausea at Klein's actions and *ahem* compassion for those who were victimized by his actions.

  • Kenaz Filan
    Kenaz Filan Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Quick note: I was replying to Greybeard, not Steven Posch. Dunno why my comment threaded like it did, but them's the breaks.

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