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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
Letters From A Crackpot

In mid-1998 I received unsolicited email from a person who told me he was sore aggrieved by sexually explicit material in my web pages. He was full of illogical bluster and intended threats. We had a brief email exchange about it. You can judge that for yourself, as our exchange appears below, with his identity removed.

I easily discovered his name and that he lives in here in Madison, but it wasn't until I was preparing the information for use here that I noticed, after all his twaddle about pedophilia (he seems unclear on what that actually is), that he had copied the last of his emails to another person at our university with the same initial and last name as his own (I take it to be a son). It seems that the "child" he refers to, if he means his own, is not exactly too young to hear talk about sex: a graduate student, no less! "Let them remain children for as long as possible," my eye!

His emails and my responses
The complete, unexpurgated text of the emails I got is presented here, reformatted for easier reading, his messages marked with a + sign. My email rejoinders are interspersed, as are some comments intended for present readers.

I will confess feeling a fairly strong contempt for this person. He tries to manipulate me, using completely bogus arguments to shield his obvious biases. He is entirely wrong on the matters of law he refers to. There is nothing whatever in my web pages that is even remotely connected with pedophilia; there isn't a single instance of intergenerational sex to be found here anywhere.

Prejudice is a kind of emotional violence perpetrated on young minds by bigoted adults, a completely contemptible but all too common form of mental illness that then spreads like an infectious disease among those children whose parents fail -- on account of their own hangups, doubtless -- to inform their kids honestly about love, sex, and sexuality at a level appropriate to their ability to comprehend. That ability is, I firmly believe, the single most underestimated thing on the planet.

+ Subject: I love your website
+ Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 20:50:25 -0500

+ What an awesome website! However, your links to
+ sexually explicit material is [sic] not needed and
+ probably illegal.  Remove it or I will take steps to
+ see that it is.  I have children which I would love to
+ have visit your home page, but SHOULD NOT be subjected
+ to your sexually explicit material.  What an incredible
+ perversion of what would otherwise be a wonderful
+ website.  By the way, sexual orientation has absolutely
+ nothing to do with this.

Note that last statement well; in the next message he seems pretty intense about sexual orientation. Some people just can't help expressing their prejudices. This may be a good thing, actually. He goes on:

+                           Adults can pursue what they
+ desire and reap whatever reward they have coming to
+ them.  Children on the other hand deserve to be
+ protected from this. Let them remain children for as
+ long as possible!

Subject: Re: I love your website
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 21:30:37 -0500

Dear Mr. [name]:

Since a person under 18 cannot access sexually explicit
material from my personal autobiography without telling
a lie, the simple remedy is to teach your children the
value of honesty; this will probably serve them well in
other ways too.  Needless to say, the access is, as the
warning notice clearly says, logged.

The warning message, which is in big type on a bright yellow background, says:

[Bright red graphic an inch high]

[black boldface type] This document collection contains sexually explicit language. It also discusses homosexuality and homosexual sex. If such language or such topics are illegal where you live, or if you object to such things [blue boldface, underscored] on any grounds whatever, [black boldface] or if you are a minor in your local jurisdiction (even with your parents' permission),

[Bright red graphic an inch high]
DO NOT read past this point!

[blue boldface] If you click the ADULT button, you will be making a record of your assertion that you are an adult and do not object in any way whatever to sexually explicit language or to homosexuality.

[red boldface] Doing so is the only way to proceed to the remainder of these documents. [blue boldface] Otherwise, click on HOME.

(Followed by the two buttons HOME and ADULT.)

+ Subject: Re: I love your website
+ Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 20:28:49 -0500

+ Mr. Anderson:

+ You leave me no choice but to report you to University
+ officials.  I cannot believe that someone of your
+ obvious intelligence could make such a naive
+ statement.  A child may not understand the
+ ramifications of thinking they are an adult (or wishing
+ they were) when they clearly are not.  Your answer is
+ juvenile, unbelievably contrived and a shame to the
+ homosexual community.

Sure looks to me like he was a bit more focused on homosexuality than he said at first! He goes on:

+                        If you wish to continue the
+ stereotype of the gay male as a predator of children,
+ you go right ahead for now.

Look who's holding that stereotype! As I say, people have a way of speaking the truth about themselves, even when they don't intend to. He goes on:

+                              Just as you say it is
+ logged who checks into your sight [sic], the same can
+ be said for you.  As well as the time of day, and what
+ content.

+ I give you this last warning.  Remove the link, or you
+ will be very sorry.

Subject: Re: I love your website
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 21:38:53 -0500

Mr. [name]:

Clearly you have some mistaken impressions, for my web
site has nothing whatever to do with the University. 
There is nothing on my site that, to use your language,
is in any way involved in "the stereotype of the gay
male as a predator of children".  If you think there
is, perhaps you could give more detail than you have so
far.  When you say "remove *the* link" (emphasis
added), what link are you referring to?

I believe it would be better for you to desist from
threats, by the way.

+ Subject: Re: I love your website
+ Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 22:51:22 -0500

+ Mr. Anderson:

+ I do not know why you need this spelled out.  Your web
+ site is very interesting, to both grownups and
+ especially children.

It seems to me an enormous stretch to claim that my web site would appeal to children, still less especially so, other than the relatively small sections that have to do with outer space or (if the kid were militaristically inclined) to nuclear warships. In any case, a child old enough to comprehend any of that should long since have had some decent sex education and not be at all shocked by what comes later, especially if they've been raised to be decently tolerant, which one can imagine might not be the case here. He goes on:

+                       Therefore, when you include a
+ link directly from your web page to adult, sexually
+ explicit material, I interpret this as child
+ enticement.  Surely you can understand quite easily the
+ connection.  This is a direct quote from your
+ hyperlink:

+ "This document collection contains sexually explicit
+  language. It also discusses homosexuality and
+  homosexual sex. If such language or such topics are
+  illegal where you live, or if you object to such things
+  on any grounds whatever, or if you are a minor in your
+  local jurisdiction (even with your parents'
+  permission),"

Interesting where he breaks it off, maybe because he wants to minimize the issue of parental responsibility for a child's preparedness to meet the world as the world is. He goes on:

+ I'm sorry but you are enticing children, plain and
+ simple.  If a pedophile were to establish a website
+ with sexually explicit material involving children,
+ this is considered illegal.  If the pedophile were to
+ include a disclaimer equivalent to yours, it doesn't
+ make the activity any less illegal.  There are many
+ other ways to establish links to your homosexual page
+ on your web site without providing it in an area where
+ children have easy access.  You state below [a reference
+ to my email preceding] that you have technical abilities,
+ why don't you use them to that you can benefit in a
+ positive way humanity.

At that point I saw nothing further to be gained by engaging him or providing him with further reasons to pollute my mailbox.

After the fact, I suppose this fellow is really talking about his grandchildren, possibly the children of the apparent son. One has to wonder what his approach to young minds might be if he resorts to threats and emotional blackmail with adults he doesn't even know and over whom he holds no position of advantage.

One final point: if you happen to agree with this guy, don't waste your time or mine telling me. You're free to say what you want, but there's nothing that says I have to pay attention to you.

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