Paolo Roberto, 50, a native of Sweden (his father was an Italian), had made a name for himself: a well-known boxer, he had his own TV show, he appeared in many programmes; Swedish girls loved to dance with him in Dancing with the Stars; he also had a profitable business: he imported Italian olive oil and gastronomic products sold in the large Swedish supermarket chain CO-OP. All that glory vanished in a moment. Swedish police trapped him as he visited a girl of dubious character and then paid her for her services. It was a honey-trap. The policemen appeared from their hiding places and whisked Roberto off to the local precinct where he was booked and the nation alerted. He didn’t deny a thing; he expressed extreme remorse.
In Sweden, it is perfectly legal to be engaged in prostitution. Today no one in Sweden can tell a woman what to do with her own body, be it abortion, sex change or prostitution. Yet it is a crime for a man to pay a woman for sex.
It is not sane; it is as though selling crack were legal while buying crack is the only crime. Usually it is other way around, a casual user goes free while the pusher is arrested. But it does not matter; Sweden is not the only country in the world with such a strange law on her books.
Roberto was charged for this crime. It could be worse: Sweden has some extraordinary crimes in its law book, one of them is Rape by Misadventure or Careless Rape which is committed by a man who has sex with a woman who ostensibly agrees to or even solicits sex but inwardly she is not willing. She may be doing it for money, or boredom, but not for pleasure, and the man carelessly overlooked her conflicting emotions. It is Swedish Rape. Pity they never apply the same logic to working people; we often do even less pleasant things for money, to buy food or pay rent, but the landlord is not punished for raping his tenants.
This new definition of rape deserves Victor Hugo’s pen. It is Swedish Rape to have sex without a condom. It is Swedish Rape if the next day, or a few days later, the woman feels she may have been raped. Or cheated, or underpaid, or mistreated. For this ill-defined offence, Julian Assange has already spent ten years in various detention halls. If he would have killed the girl he would be free by now. Note that you may be guilty of Swedish Rape if you claim to be infertile and your partner becomes pregnant. Are you guilty of rape if you claim to be a Jew but aren’t? This is an Israeli contribution to the concept of rape. But I digress.
Paolo Roberto is charged with paying a woman for sex, the crime Judah, son of Jacob, committed with Tamar (Genesis 38). The 25-year-old girl consented, but that does not matter. She came from a rather poor South European country, so probably her consent doesn’t mean much. Or perhaps she consented just in order to entrap the guy and this is how Swedish justice works. Swedish prisons would be empty if police weren’t allowed to entice and entrap Swedes.
The consequences for Paolo were terrible: he hasn’t been tried yet; he hasn’t been found guilty; his likely punishment is little more than a fine; but he was dropped like a hot potato by Swedish TV, by Swedish sports, by the Swedish chain that marketed his olive oil. His company was bankrupted overnight. The man was crushed like a bug. It was not Swedish law that crushed him. In the eyes of Swedish law he is still innocent until proven guilty. Swedish law did not force the supermarkets to remove his olive oil (actually, a very good one, I used to buy it) from its shelves. Paolo was lynched by the New Puritan spirit that is part and parcel of the New Normal.
Once upon a time, Sweden was an extremely liberal and free country. Swedes were known, or even notorious for free sexual mores. Independent and brave Swedish girls weren’t shy, and they were comfortable with very unorthodox ‘family’ unions. But, while the US has always espoused its own brand of politically-correct Puritanism, the global media is now dragging along the other Western states in its wake. France and even Sweden participated in their own renditions of the American BLM protests, called for #MeToo, and seem eager to trade in their own cultures for the New Puritanism.
This rising Puritanism is a contrarian response to the personal freedom we enjoyed since the 1960’s, and a jaded weariness with the excessive commercial sexuality of the mass media. The media sells everything with a lot of sex. You cannot turn a TV on, daytime or night, without seeing an implied or explicit act of copulation. They sell cars, snacks and sneakers by displaying naked bodies. This flood of pornography is turning the public mood against sex. Who should we blame for this blatant exploitation of sex? Men.
The Old Puritanism was hard on women; the witches were burned, and the whores were evicted from their homes. The New Puritanism is hard on men. Men are being taught that hanky-panky can have serious consequences. On the site of one of their destroyed statues of Jefferson, the Americans should erect a statue of Andrea Dworkin, the obese lying feminist who famously said that every intercourse is rape, and Penetration is Violation. She is an icon of New Puritan America.
They could not outlaw sex per se, so they invent sordid stories of incestuous sex, of paedophilia, of abusing priests, each storyteller trying to outdo the last. The vast majority of these stories are sheer inventions, like the witchcraft stories of the 17th century in Old Puritan New England. We are in the midst of a global media campaign, and men are the targets. The Patriarchy will be diminished by the systematic demonization of boys and men.
In the current media frenzy I cannot trust any story, any accusation of a man involved in a sordid sexual crime: these media campaigns are too often employed to unseat a commercial competitor or destroy the popularity of a political rival. Often the man is not even accused of any crime, but only of frivolous behaviour: a touch, or an immodest proposal; natural acts celebrated in the days of my youth. Yes, my young readers, in the 1970’s you could touch a woman’s knee and suggest she accompany you on a passionate weekend at a seaside resort, and she would often agree. This libertine era is over completely. Even to me, it now seems mythical, like Atlantis. It is gone.
The US is the media’s inspirational model of the New Puritanism. Remember the women who lined up to claim that the future Supreme Court judge tried to kiss or even rape them when they were kids in college? The most credible of them would not even allege he behaved criminally; just immorally according to New Puritan standards. Now every relationship must be re-evaluated in the light of the New Puritanical historical revisionism. Women who pose for a picture with a presidential candidate now have a certain amount of power over him. During a media campaign the allegations come fast and furious, but upon investigation they turn out to be spurious and motivated by self-interest or politics.