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So I am reading the book and I come across this little gem:
"Alice in Lapland: Any undue interest in or physical contact with children will set off alarms. If you do not want your reader to think he is reading about a pedophile, dandling of children on knees should be kept to a minimum by fathers, and even more so by uncles. If your character is in any way associated with organized religion, whether he is a bishop, a minister, or the kindly old church caretaker with a twinkle in his eye, he should not even pull a child from a burning building."
I'm sorry, what? That last sentence makes no sense whatsoever to me.
"In a time when fetishes are becoming a must-have for the really hip, urban professional..."
Imagine if you replaced the above statement with:
"In a time when homosexuality is becoming a must-have for the really hip, urban professional..."
Doesn't that sound ridiculous?
Maybe there are people out there who pretend to have a fetish because they think it's cool, but if so that's not the same as actually having one. I don't know anyone like that. I do know plenty of people - through their pseudonyms at fetish-related forums - who, far from flaunting their sexuality, are discreet about it because they don't want to be stigmatized and ridiculed.
This particular stereotype is not as bad as some, but it's still annoying because it implies that fetishists are poseurs.
In the 1880s and 1890s in Paris, homosexuality was fashionable among the intelligentsia and aristocratic elite. You could probably say the same about inter-wars period public schools in United Kingdom.
Fictionalised in Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.
In context, that's not what they're saying. What they're saying is that, fifty years ago, having The Evil Nefaro whip out the handcuffs after the lights go out would be a perfectly treacherous thing for him to do. Nowadays, it's considered (in some circles) to be funky and cool. It's true that many people take up "kinky" sexual practices because they think it's the in thing to do. As a bisexual, I realize that it's the same type of thing. A bunch of people (particularly girls) use it as an excuse to get into non-serious relationships with members of their own gender specifically so they can turn guys on. The rest of us are facepalming and asking them why they're ruining our reputations by acting like that. Now everybody's convinced that if you really do swing both ways, you're just an attention whore. Which (obviously) isn't true. Same thing for fetishes. Bisexuality is an inborn trait, but it's also a trend. Same with fetishes. Is it sad? Yes. Does that mean we can't acknowledge it? No.
I think that's overanalyzing a bit; I think it's Mittelmark and Newman's characteristically postironic way of saying "some perfectly nice people have fetishes nowadays."
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