Taking Sides

"Never make judgments." That's what scientist Alfred Kinsey tells his research assistant very early in the new film about his life. Kinsey, as you know, was all about nonjudgmentalism. Throughout his career researching the sexual habits of Americans, his goal was to free society from the constraints of what the movie calls "morality disguised as fact." And like its subject, the film attempts to be nonjudgmental -- or, at least, that's the ploy. Three scenes exemplify the supposed nonjudgmentalism. In the first, Kinsey tells his wife, nicknamed "Mac," that he's had sex with one of his male researchers. Though she's devastated, he explains that it's only "social restraints" that prevent people from acting on their attractions. She retorts that maybe social restraints are necessary to keep people from getting hurt. It's a moment of rare honesty and insight -- which doesn't last long. The next thing we know, Kinsey is giving the same researcher permission to have sex with Mac, and this, apparently, makes everything okay. In the second scene, Kinsey and a colleague interview a man, Kenneth Braun, who has had sex with an astonishing number of partners of various genders, ages, and species. When he starts to discuss his pedophilic experiences, Kinsey's fellow researcher storms out. Braun says that he thought Kinsey's researchers would be impartial, to which Kinsey enigmatically replies, "Sometimes it's difficult." But he adds that "no one should ever be hurt" by sex, leading Braun to call him a "square." In the third scene, Kinsey is so distraught over a loss of research funding that he ends up in the bathroom mutilating himself. When Mac discovers him, he shows her letters from people who have written to beg him for help and laments that now he can't help them. For such a hard-boiled movie, the scene is surprisingly maudlin. And its message is clear: Kinsey is a martyr to the cause of truth and compassion. Now the facts: Kinsey, as his biographers report, had been mutilating himself for years as a result of a sexual appetite so voracious and uncontrollable that it led him into ever more bizarre practices. And the real Kinsey didn't seem to care who got hurt by his own activities or those of others. The prototype for Braun was a pedophile named Rex King, one of several pedophiles whose "research" Kinsey used. Kinsey's defenders rationalize that just because Kinsey used such data, it does not mean he condoned the activity. None of them that I know of have ever explained why Kinsey wrote to King, "I congratulate you on the research spirit which has led you to collect data over these many years." From this repulsive data was born the pervasive myth that children are sexual beings from infancy. (It's worth noting, as well, that Kinsey's research methods were flawed in many other ways, another fact that his supporters gloss over as much as possible.) This is the man that Hollywood has chosen to honor? And make no mistake, the film honors Kinsey. Now, I doubt many of you will be seeing the film -- good. But your neighbors and friends are seeing it and are discussing it. And you need to help set them straight. Kinsey does not deserve to be anyone's hero. For further reading and information: Note: Many of these articles contain graphic language and/or descriptions. Today's BreakPoint offer: Read "Serious Flaws in the Kinsey Research" by John Mueller of the Family Research Council. This paper reveals the flaws in Kinsey's so-called sex research: use of data procured from abuse of children; sampling error; volunteer errors; intimidation/coaching survey respondents; ideological bias. (Favorable reviews and articles) Joe McGovern, review of Kinsey,, November 2004. David Edelstein, "Pansexual Healing,", 11 November 2004. Ella Taylor, "The Other Dr. Strangelove," LA Weekly, 12-18 November 2004. Dinitia Smith, "Liam Neeson as Kinsey Loses His Private Self," New York Times, 9 November 2004. Reprinted by
  1. Hoberman, "The XXX Files," Village Voice, 8 November 2004.
Transcript of online discussion with director Bill CondonWashington Post, 22 October 2004. Marilyn Elias, "Kinsey, as timely as ever," USA Today, 10 November 2004. (Other articles) Mark Gauvreau Judge, "Kinsey on Film," BreakPoint Online, 12 November 2004. Frederica Mathewes-Green, "Kinsey Confusion," National Review Online, 22 November 2004. John Leo, "What Kinsey Wrought," Jewish World Review, 15 November 2004. Joseph Epstein, "The Secret Life of Alfred Kinsey," Commentary, January 1998. Reprinted by Salisbury University. Dr. Judith Reisman, "The Child Experiments," chapter 7 in Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (Hartline Marketing, 2003 edition). (Adobe Acrobat Reader required) Benedict Carey, "Long after Kinsey, Only the Brave Study Sex," New York Times, 9 November 2004. Reprinted by the Herald-Tribune (Fla.). J. Robert Parks, "Review of Kinsey," Looking Closer(follows review of Finding Neverland). Tom Neven, "Review of Kinsey," Plugged In, 29 November 2004. Art Moore, "Kinsey critic screened out of screening,", 15 October 2004. "Children of Table 34," video, Family Research Council. (Please note: This video is not suitable for children.) Concerned Women for America's website has a page called "The Truth about Alfred Kinsey" that features a number of articles about Kinsey. Michael Dirda, review of The Inner CircleWashington Post, 19 September 2004. T. C. Boyle has written an astonishingly honest novel about Kinsey and his associates, which is getting astonishingly good reviews, considering the way the media has responded to the movie. "Addiction to porn destroying lives, Senate told," San Francisco Chronicle, 18 November 2004.  


Chuck Colson



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