Thursday, September 21, 2006

Of human perversions

"I was with this girl the other night and from the way she was responding to my skillful caresses, you would have sworn that she was conscious from the top of her head to the tag on her toes."

Emo Philips

If you understood that, then you are among the urban group who have grown up on a steady diet of American books and understand a lot about western society. Any other Indian on the other hand would not understand this joke, because necrophilia is unknown to him. In the US where everything and anything is possible, jokes like these are laughed off. In India it would be treated with shock. And therein lies a tale that is spine chilling and very disquieting.

I got a forward recently sent to me by my cousin in UK. He is a father of two young boys aged 3 and 7. The email was a petition against leniency to two teenage boys who tortured and then killed a five year old by pushing him under a train. The boy was tortured for hours before he found reprieve in death. During the ordeal he cried for his mother. He was apparently picked up from a store when his mom looked away for an instant.

I followed a link in the mail and was soon confronted with sites, which chronicled crime in the West. What I read was horrifying. Apparently crime in the West is not as straightforward as it is in India. In the West you have people taking perverse pleasure in inflicting harm on another human being, sadism and torture of human beings and creative killing and people who take intense pleasure in these acts. Even babies are not spared. Sophisticated weaponry also makes sure that the victims have no chance to put up a fight. The type of the crimes are mind boggling, scary and very very perverse.

I wonder how or what makes people do such things? It cannot be just manic behavior because most of these criminals were educated people who were as sane as you and me. A friend and senior in college, who is a Clinical Psychologist tells me that childhood abuse, violence and neglect is what makes criminals like these. In which case a parent or a guardian who has mistreated a kid should have also, logically been mistreated as a kid! Which raises the question, as to where it all began.

My cousins in US tell me that so many kids go missing in the US and are never traced. Many of them are abused and killed and their bodies disposed off. In fact there was a movie or a book that tried to get to the bottom of missing children.

Why does a society turn against it’s young, it’s very foundation? It is against all natural logic. And if the young were treated thus, then it wouldn’t be too far fetched to surmise that the West maybe, is a nation of troubled adults…would it?

( I am listening to Your Tenderness by Naveen J Anthraper , the rocker from Kochi who is making waves worldwide. This song is an all time favorite of mine. Please wait for the video to load.)


Immigrant in Canada said...

Not just in the west. When I worked in Bangalore, I treated a rape victim. She was 4.. The person who raped her, iflicted so much pain in that child, it took us 12 surgeries to make her human again..
I remember the story of a brother and sister killed by a 2 pshychos in Delhi..
India isn't safe for kids.. It is just that, unlike the west, children don't grab the headlines in india. We have been failing our children.. whereesle would you find little kids working in carpet/firecracker..etc industry?

Immigrant in Canada said... spelling!

Alexis Leon said...

I agree with Sarah. It is not just the West, it is happening everywhere. In Kerala, everyday the newspapers carry at least a few such incidents.

I think childhood abuse, neglect and the availability and use of drugs and so on are some of the causes of these atrocities. When you see the culprits, you will find it very hard to believe that those kids are capable of such cruelty.

May be if we give more attention to our children and took the time and effort to find out what they are doing, who they are interacting with, and so on, and love and correct them before it is too late, may be we could at least save the new (next) generation.

silverine said...

Sarah: I guess as a doc you must have come accross many such crimes. I agree it happens everyhwere. I was talkin of the crimes that takes place in the West which are much more heinous.

Alexis: True, we too have crime, but if you go thru the crime sites of the US for example you will feel very scared.

Dhanush said...

Well Crime as this much henious and brutal, may be u can see only there in West. Atleast in India this type of crimes are very uncommon, may be once in a while or so. That is even reflected in some of their books. Forget those, if you walk around in the Chicago Downtown area, you can see those big tall black guys posing as beggars abusing us as "****ing Indians" and PophAbhi and Another friend of mine have a threatening experience with these guys. I think "Abuse" is in their blood, be it human or a corpse

emmanuel said...

i've read somewhere that many of these adult perverts might have had disturbed childhood, as you have already said. they grow up with such a hatred towards society that they try inflicting pain on others and enjoy that. so the children who survive all these move against the society.

but why is children at the receiving end??? what pleasure do they get when they see little children suffer in front of their eyes, with their own hands???
everywhere in the world children suffer a lot.....hunger, malnutrition, sexual abuse, child labour.....this world is so dangerous for children than any other section of the society.....but these are always unnoticed and not can we claim to be developed and civilised when we see such things around us????

nice topic and nicely written......u try always to b and makes me out of comfort zone......

btw, the song is really nice....lyrics is very good....but i had to try hard to move aong with the song's pace......too slow for me.....

silverine said...

Dhanush; Remember Hurricane Katrina, it's devastation was used by the people to loot, rape and kill other victims. That sort of gives you a window into the type of mentality of the poeple. Mumbaikars on the other hand helped each other and coped with the deluge with dignity.

emmanual: Thank you. Actualy this is one of the few slow music tracks I like :)

Reg the crimes and the criminals, it is indeed quite saddening to see kids becoming victims of all sorts of perversions. Mebe they are easy targets or perhaps kids are just expendable commodities. But the whole situation is very scary and sad.

Anonymous said...

My brother was talking about exactly this over the phone...his point was that the American mainstream culture of TV/movies/literature/news has absorbed and incorporated so much of such perversions that they have come to be regarded as "regular deviants" - like one out of 10 cars is a lemon, one out of 10 men is a pervert...and everything from movies to books contain and promote stories of serial killers who hunt down women, of little boys who kill their friends, of violent men who get punished by superheroes...not very unlike a bunch of vandals destroying a mosque because it was built on an alleged temple...but worser in terms of the impact on the individual...I guess every society pays the price for the way it chooses to be...for the freedom and choice that 10 Americans love, there is one jerk who thinks he is right to abuse it...we too have our Indian nightmares but thankfully not as bad as America...makes it scary...what will our children grow up to be if they were to be in America...what would they think is black and white and grey...

This is the song that you listen on New Year night after mass with 12 candles lit in a dark living room with a long stemmed glass of wine by your side...

- GT

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that to surmise the West is a nation of troubled adults is a bit of a generalised view? Anyway - your cousin simply forwarded something that is simply now counted as an urban myth. (Run urban myths+bulger in Google)

The incident really did happen in 1993, the offenders have since then been granted anonymity & released from state punishment.
But there is no petiton ongoing.

Society turning against its young... - what about female infanticide?
You cannot generalise 'the West' when all you are aware of is the pop culture that the cable networks willingly pander.


Anonymous said...

@ R...Each country has a set of cultural values...while not applicable to the entire population, these are largely representative of the general population...these values come across through vehicles of mainstream expression like mass media, movies, internet,literature etc...

The point is that this kind of crime,the prominence given to it and its easy acceptance as part of culture is what is do, we in India, come to know about America? We know about America from its movies, its novels and its TV serials...and I dont think that that there is too large a disconnect between these and reality...if it is "the pop culture that cable networks pander", finally they are American networks and thats the image about America that they have & want to project...right? No one had a problem whem pop networks pandered to us with Pam in Baywatch, SMG in Buffy the Vampire Slayer...."but hey...these boys who shoot their teachers and these guys who want young kids in Thailand...thats not us!"-give me a break...Now you will ask me what does an Indian cable TV channel tell us about Indian society...the soaps talk about the Indian obsession with family life...albeit with a certainly high degree of drama...mainstream Indian movies talk about the hero vs the villain, an ethos passed on by 2000 year old myths of Ram & Ravan,good vs evil...while not entirely accurate or necessary, they do sum up in a large measure what Indians think about themselves...

And although an argument cannot be turned on its back and justified by saying "you do it too", as someone who comes from the heart of "female infanticide" land, this equally despicable act is done for purely economic reasons when the projected cost of marrying off a woman> the means of the family...and in terms of motives, is a far cry from the crimes of hedonistic individuals aka vermin who take personal pleasure in maiming and killing...

We all have our cultural shades and occassionaly should have the courage to take them off and look at ourselves from the lenses of others...that is an outstanding quality that America once had that made it great...and a quality that it is losing with a growing solipsistic attitude...

And if you think it is me and the sick cable networks that I watch, do check out results are largely the same since then.

Thats about America...Time was when the Mayflower sailed out of England...these days a whole lot of American "couture" apparently flows back into Britain.

@silv-sorry about the long rant on your page...

- GT

silverine said...

GT: Absolutley no problem in long comments. Be my guest :) That was one hell of an analysis. Absolutley agree with you.

R: Female foeticide versus a young girl being kidnapped, raped, tortured, mutilated and finally killed... there is a hell of a lot of difference here and the two cannot be compared. This is what I mentioned in the post. Killing in India except the rarest cases is straightforward.

"A society turning against the young" that I meant an abused child would grow up to be a traumatised adult and in turn will become an abuser. Female foeticide is horrible and the perpretartors should be put to death, but my point Mr R is about the kind of perversion that exist before a victim is killed in the West.

I think GT has replied to you befittingly.

Anonymous said...

@GT: American networks? I thought that the cable networks that beamed into South East Asia had its hub in India or Singapore or Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. Networks respond to the demand of 24 hour entertainment - and they fill in what their demographic experts advise on what people like to watch. Its money.

You mentioned 'easy acceptance' - which is incorrect. It is not 'easy acceptance'. There is no acceptance or tolerance for such, in your words, hedonistic individuals. Which is why, in the real life example of the death of James Bulger, the defendants were granted anonymity & released into society. To understand why they were granted anonymity, you would need to simply absorb all the facts of the case. Maybe you would still be unable to understand.. but you would then know everything related to this disturbing event.

The world is changing very rapidly. India is fast catching up, and in this day & age, economic deprivation has given way to psycological & sociological deprivation. If there isnt already, there will be a rise of psychosocial problems in children, eventually working its way to full on adjustment problems in adulthood. If you argue on the basis of what little media & literature you have experienced, then you are guilty of not having all the facts.

To hold a negative opinion on the US, right now is very popular. (which is what I gathered from the article, which by the way - was good reading - thank you GT)

@Silv: My point is that its not just the West, it happens everywhere - open your eyes. Listen.
I have taken up space on your page, I apologise if I have caused distress, but you are the owner of the blog and maybe you can delete my comment if it offends or upsets? Since you have allowed GT to express his views, I have taken the liberty of refuting. And, might I also add - you are going to have to grow up - someday.

silverine said...

R: Absolutely no problme with your comment as it is part of the discussion here. But I have to say that you are being blind to the obvious or being too defensive of the West. I am not saying that crimes do not exist in India, it does and maybe with us aping the US in everyway we may inherit their problems too...or maybe not. But there is a lot of difference in crimes in India and US. Do not forget New Orleans and Mumbai. A classic example of how the East and West behaves in times of extreme human distress. I think it is you who will have accept and grow up - soon.


How you doing ? Nice blog have read almost all the work here, Poomanam of course, I read as soon as it is posted. I am in Bangalore today, let's meet up.

Anonymous said...

@silv: lets agree to disagree. I hit below the belt with my comment of 'grow up'; so I probably deserve the barb.

silverine said...

R: Agree to disagree :) And yes, it was hitting below the belt :p Look forward to your views here in the future.

Bobby: It was great meeting up with you !!!! Please do this more often..i.e surprising us with your visits :)

Jagan said...

proper follow up to "leaders in thought and action" ??

silverine said...

Jagan: Yes :p You approve I presume?! ;)

Pradeep said...

I was recently reading how such human perversions are nothing new, how they have existed from time immemorial. Only because of better communication facilities we tend to get to hear more of them and also discuss.

I have no scientific explanation, though there could be. A philosophical one is that the world is a mixture of the good and bad. And probably this is one in the basket of the bad.

To think of a world rid of all the bad is to dream of Utopia, is it not?

silverine said...

Pradeep: Very true...history abounds with such instances, but I think comparitively, we Indians do not indulge in sadism and masochism. But there are lesser evils and greater evils too don't you think? Yes, it would indeed by Utopian to think of a world rid of all evils :)

jaganpathra said...

yes ..i approve in the lines - we are leaders in thoughts and they are leaders in actions ..

Llohr said...

The pop culture inundation of such perversions, in the movies, on tv, or in books are designed to SHOCK those who watch.

They catch people's attention, engender feelings of outrage and horror; they form a strong connection between the script and the viewer or reader. It's sad that people need to be shocked in order to pay attention to something. But that is exactly what such things are designed to do.

This is not acceptance. If you're shocked by something you are not, by definition, accepting it as 'business-as-usual.'

Believing there is a concrete correlation between fiction and reality is - I apologize - but naive. Writers pick up on any event that catches public attention and recycle it, over and over again, as long as it turns heads and gets people to tune in.

These days even the connection between events and their portrayal in the media is tenuous at best, not due to government propaganda as is expected culprit for media alteration, but due sales and ratings. Everything is dramatized as far as it can be stretched and poured thickly over the dumb masses
from as many stations as there are minutes in the day.

In short, you can never really know what it's like in a foreign country without spending enough time there for it to become home. I live in America, and I can tell you I've personally never stood witness or been victim to a robbery, mugging, assault, rape, or other act displaying such a lack of respect for one's fellow man, and I personally do not know anyone who has.

I've also found that suspicion and mistrust, even of my friends from the East, near or far, is quickly wiped away by a friendly smile and a cheerful demeanor. A hard course to hold in the face of hostility yes, but it's a good course none the less, whether you're well liked or not.

Sadly all the drama people here are exposed to leads to suspicion of any 'outsider.' Such suspicion is encouraged by our government at every turn it seems; whether it's "you don't know where he's been" as the old tagline went to convince everyone to use prophylactics when having sex - regardless of the length of the relationship or how well one knows their chosen mate - to avoid contracting AIDS or other venereal diseases, or "anyone can be a terrorist" as the media has been telling us since 9/11. It doesn't seem right, but many people seem hostile toward strangers because they are genuinely concerned about their fellow man, they're trying to protect everyone around them. If you can keep this in mind and maintain courtesy and composure, you'll find that it evaporates soon enough.

There are certainly problems in the West, but I don't think you have touched on them yet.

Sorry about the long post, I'm really really trying hard to cut it short and it wounds me to think of all that I did not say. I sincerely hope I haven't offended anyone.

silverine said...

Llohr: Thanks for your comment abd the spirit behind the same.I was talking about the real crimes and not what is depicted in movies.