Magazine article The New Yorker

WHY KNOW?; THE CULTURE WARS Series: 2/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

WHY KNOW?; THE CULTURE WARS Series: 2/5

Article excerpt

When Judith Reisman and Eunice Van Winkle Ray lectured together recently in Nashville, Mrs. Ray was introduced by her husband, Colonel Ronald Ray, who grabbed the audience's attention by announcing that the United States "lost the most important war of the twentieth century." He was referring not to Vietnam, where he served, but to the sexual revolution. "Many of us are casualties of the sexual revolution," he said cryptically. Mrs. Ray then took the lectern and presented an overview, complete with charts, of our current state of sexual degeneracy: the repeal of laws against abortion, adultery, fornication, and even sodomy. All of this they trace back to the work of one man: Alfred Kinsey.

The recent release of "Kinsey," a film about the famous mid-century sex researcher, has made this a busy time for the anti-Kinsey movement. Most Americans no longer give much thought to Kinsey as a societal force, but his detractors believe that his significance can hardly be overstated. A recent newsletter of the abstinence-education group Why know? compared the publication of "The Kinsey Report," in 1948, to the attacks of September 11th, and labelled Kinseyism "fifty years of cultural terrorism."

Judith Reisman is the founder of the modern anti-Kinsey movement. She spent a week in Washington, D.C., recently, talking to people on Capitol Hill about opening a congressional investigation into Kinsey's work. The new film, she said, is "deceptive and malevolently misleading, to say the least." A sixty-nine-year-old independent researcher with a Ph.D. in communications and a former songwriter for Captain Kangaroo, Reisman is the president of the Institute for Media Education and the lead author of "Kinsey, Sex and Fraud" and "Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences." In one article, Reisman describes Kinsey as "a scientific and moral fraud, a certifiable sexual psychopath as well as a sadomasochistic pornography addict and a sexually harassing bully." Though largely unknown outside social-conservative circles, Reisman has been influential within them. She has served as a consultant to the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and was given seven hundred and thirty-four thousand dollars by Ronald Reagan's Justice Department to study pornography. More recently, she has been active in the rise of abstinence-only education; in June, her colleagues gave her an Abstie Award for lifetime achievement. Last week, Reisman testified at a congressional hearing about the dangers of pornography addiction, saying that police should be required to collect evidence of pornography consumption at any crime scene.

"Dr. Kinsey's most egregious fraud is that he wasn't a scientist," Reisman said the other day. "He was an ideologue who was most importantly a sex offender at best, and, beyond being a sex offender, he was certainly a child sexual abuser and/or solicitor and guide in the perpetration of that abuse." At the root of this accusation is an interview that Kinsey conducted with a sexual predator who kept detailed records of his activities with hundreds of women, men, and children.

But it is not simply Kinsey's neutrality toward such people that upsets Reisman. She claims that Kinsey actively solicited pedophiles to molest children and report back to him. In fact, she said, "there is absolutely no reason to believe that Kinsey himself was not involved in the sexual abuse of these children. …

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