Opinion: ‘Grooming’: Republicans’ vile new attack on any who criticize them

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HR King
May 29, 2001
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By Paul Waldman
Columnist
Today at 1:12 p.m. EDT


What’s the most repulsive accusation you could make about a person? It’s hard to think of anything worse than calling them a pedophile. Which is what conservatives are now doing to anyone who criticizes the anti-gay and anti-trans legislation they’re promoting in state after state.
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If you pay close attention to politics, you may suddenly be hearing the word “grooming” a lot. That’s because we’re at an essential transition point, where an idea or a trope moves from the fringe to the mainstream.
In this case, we can watch it happen almost hour by hour. What had been relegated to the extreme right is now moving into the center of mainstream conservative rhetoric on this issue.
Much of the debate revolves around a bill just signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) meant to shut down discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Dubbed by opponents the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the practical implications of its vaguely worded provisions are less than clear. But its intentions are not: DeSantis is at the vanguard of a right-wing movement to create a new moral panic around schools, to convince parents that their children are being indoctrinated with bizarre and threatening ideas.
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What has changed in recent days is that as liberals have become more vocal in opposition to laws like these, conservatives have developed a response: Anyone who opposes these laws supports pedophilia and may be a pedophile themselves.
This point is made via the invocation of “grooming” when discussing these laws. It’s not a new idea, shocking as it is. But the universe of who’s saying it and whom the charge is being hurled at is rapidly expanding.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, the term refers to pedophiles winning the trust of children to prepare them for being sexually abused. On far-right websites, the Florida law has for some time been described almost exclusively as the “Anti-Grooming Bill” (see here or here or here or here or here or here).
Earlier this month, DeSantis’s spokesperson tweeted that anyone who opposes the Florida bill “is probably a groomer.” While DeSantis has not used the word, he has repeated the idea. When he signed the bill this week, he said those who opposed it “support sexualizing kids in kindergarten.”
The “grooming” idea then exploded on Fox News. One after another, hosts and guests accused opponents of the bill, and in particular the Disney corporation (which has come out against it), of wanting to “sexualize our children” and get “your kindergartner talking about sex.”
The network’s stars knew a hot moment when they saw one. Referring to the idea that Disney might include LGBTQ characters in its entertainment, Tucker Carlson said “Well, it sounds like the behavior of a sex offender. Normal people do not sexualize underage children, period.” Laura Ingraham accused the company of spreading “propaganda for grooming,” and said, “Why not just name the roller coaster ‘Sex Mountain’? C’mon kids, it’ll be a blast.”
To be clear, the only ones who have even contemplated “sexualizing” small children are conservatives themselves. They relentlessly conflate acknowledgment of sexual orientation with sex itself, seemingly because they can’t lay eyes on a gay couple without immediately thinking of them having sex.
And while they obsess over fantasies of child sexual abuse, they seem utterly unconcerned about actual child sexual abuse.
Because the “grooming” trope has now made the jump from the far right to Fox, within days you’ll start to hear it from Republican politicians, who are always monitoring what their base is eager to hear and where the acceptable limits of political rhetoric lie. Before you know it, the idea that any opponent of anti-gay legislation is a pedophile or an enabler of pedophiles will be just another thing Republicans say every day.
The connection to QAnon, whose adherents make up a substantial portion of the conservative base, is hard to ignore. But unlike QAnon, which posits a highly organized conspiracy of satanic pedophiles who drink children’s blood, the “grooming” mongers are trying to convince people that half of all Americans are either pedophiles or promoters of pedophilia.
Like so many moral panics, this one started organically but is being seized on by powerful forces who see a vehicle for their own ambitions. It is also one more branch of a toxic tree with deep roots, moving from Newt Gingrich advising Republicans to describe Democrats with words like “sick” and “traitor,” through Republicans convincing themselves Barack Obama was a foreign terrorist agent whose entire life was geared toward the destruction of America, to what we see today.
The common theme is that liberals are not ordinary human beings with whom one can engage in political contest and debate, but instead are profoundly, fundamentally, horrifyingly evil in their actions and motivations. Once they believe that, there is nothing, not even a grotesque accusation of pedophilia, that conservatives will consider out of bounds.
Which is why we’re going to hear a lot about “grooming” in the coming days. Until they decide it isn’t working, and move on to some other repellent lie.

 
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lucas80

HR King
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Interesting piece about how Q is becoming more mainstream Republican. This is not good for America. Chuck has gone Q, and I saw that Breadbags went Q today in saying why she will not vote to confirm KBJ.
 

TC Nole OX

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Don Jr weighs in on Florida's Don't Say Gay law and throws in a mention of "grooming." Someone should tell him to take his tired act to Tennessee.

 

IA_HAWKI

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I figured some right wing propaganda was pushing the “groomer” thing with the amount of conservatives we have seen on this board today talking about “grooming”

as with everything with the GOP, it’s all projection
 

Big Hawk D-Port

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Exactly! As people are less persecuted and more accepted for any sexual orientation other than heterosexual, more people are comfortable accepting their non-hetero orientation and admitting to it in a survey.
Honestly curious…based on your experience what % of the population is non hetero (if that is the right term?), meaning LGBTQ?
 
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NoleATL

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Honestly curious…based on your experience what % of the population is non hetero (if that is the right term?), meaning LGBTQ?
Yikes, I don't really know. Especially if you include all those letters. If I had to take a WAG, for males alone, I'd say probably 5% are gay. And, that probably includes some that say they are bi just because its more convenient. As for all those other letters, no clue. But, like I said, I really don't know.
 

Hawki97

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Honestly curious…based on your experience what % of the population is non hetero (if that is the right term?), meaning LGBTQ?

Not Nole, but my guess - in terms of lifelong affiliation - it’s higher than the 1-2% of Traditionalists / Boomers but overall lower than the 16% of Gen Z’s. There’s a lot of repressed sexuality in the geriatrics so that number should be higher. There’s a lot of experimenting going on in the younger crowd that often results in moving back towards hetero. So, maybe closer to 6-10% truly being lifelong LGTBQ because those letters make up such a large swath of lifestyles?
 

IA_HAWKI

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Yikes, I don't really know. Especially if you include all those letters. If I had to take a WAG, for males alone, I'd say probably 5% are gay. And, that probably includes some that say they are bi just because its more convenient. As for all those other letters, no clue. But, like I said, I really don't know.
I wonder how many people say they sre straight, but are secretly bi
 

TC Nole OX

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I figured some right wing propaganda was pushing the “groomer” thing with the amount of conservatives we have seen on this board today talking about “grooming”

It is a testament to how thorough, and effective, their marketing, um I mean, brainwashing is. They have the vast majority of their lemmings spewing the same nonsense, close to word for word, in every town in this country. Call your nearest republican and ask why is everyone talking about grooming. Then set the phone down and walk 20 feet away and listen to their rants. You will still be able to hear but it won't be as painful on your ears.
 

Big Hawk D-Port

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Yikes, I don't really know. Especially if you include all those letters. If I had to take a WAG, for males alone, I'd say probably 5% are gay. And, that probably includes some that say they are bi just because its more convenient. As for all those other letters, no clue. But, like I said, I really don't know.
My life experience is different from yours but I believe we are both Gen X. I’d say 5% gay seems about right as well.

What I find surprising is the amount of gender identity % growth. It seems like that would be a smaller % than gay, lesbian or bi but I don’t think that is true at all among the high school aged population.
 

tarheelbybirth

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Exactly! As people are less persecuted and more accepted for any sexual orientation other than heterosexual, more people are comfortable accepting their non-hetero orientation and admitting to it in a survey.
Shocking, huh? Now if we can only shame those who admit to being Republican and get them to crawl back into the sewers from which they escaped. And I'm sorry for Mitt and all the rest but if you remain in the GOP - you ARE complicit.
 
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if you remain in the GOP - you ARE complicit.
This one's for you, and all those like you.

Critical Grooming Theory: A Modest Proposal

fist.jpg

Over the last few days, Twitter has erupted over accusations from conservatives that progressives are engaged in “grooming” for supporting elements of Queer Theory. In this article, I’ll develop a “Critical Grooming Theory” framework that explains the insidious, multi-faceted, systemic nature of grooming and the need for anti-grooming activism.

When some people hear the word “groomer,” they immediately filter it through the lens of Western individualism. But they fail to realize that “grooming” is a systemic, structural problem deeply embedded in our “ways of knowing.”

When I, as a Critical Grooming Theorist (CGT), say that “all progressives are groomers,” I’m not saying that they personally support grooming, as defined by the dictionary. I’m saying that they benefit politically from “systems of advantage” that harm children. That is why a positive progressive identity is an impossible goal. Progressive identity does not exist outside of systemic grooming.

When a progressive is offended that he’s being called a “groomer,” that is a symptom of “groomer fragility.” Other symptoms of “groomer fragility” include disagreeing, feeling attacked, or shutting down. Progressives need to sit with their discomfort and do the work to understand the lived experience of children and detrans folk who are harmed by systemic grooming.

Some progressives think there is a category of “not groomer.” But one is either a “groomer” or an “anti-groomer.” There is no safe, in-between space of “not groomer.” Claiming to be “not a groomer” is a mask to hide grooming.

Furthermore, grooming is one of many interlocking systems of oppression. One cannot be an anti-groomer if one is a communist. One cannot be an anti-groomer if one is a feminist. To be an “anti-groomer” is to recognize the privileges of your progressivism, of your communism, of your feminism, of their intersections.

Progressives who think that grooming is both very rare and severely stigmatized are mistaken. That very sentiment is an expression of groomer privilege. Moreover, superficial change is insufficient. CGT shows that systemic grooming has been baked into supposedly neutral, objective ideas like “expressive individualism,” “identity,” and “social justice” from our nation’s founding. Dismantling it requires fundamental social transformation.

Other progressives insist that they don’t intend to sexualize young children or to subvert parental authority; consequently, they insist that they are not groomers. But Critical Grooming Theory reminds us that “impact > intent” and that their hegemonic power in the classroom functions to preserve systemic grooming regardless of their intent. Grooming never disappears; it just adapts (see my forthcoming book Grooming Without Groomers).

Not even conservatives are exempt from the dynamics of systemic grooming. In a society suffused with systemic grooming, conservatives are also socialized into grooming. Thus, conservatives struggle with “internalized grooming” and/or are often “groomer adjacent” as their own minds are colonized by the hegemonic values, norms, and ideals of grooming. Only conservatives who have attained a “critical consciousness” can truly recognize and deconstruct groomer supremacy within progressives and groomer-adjacent conservatives.

Finally, progressive resistance to the acknowledgement of systemic grooming is entirely predictable, and is analogous to resistance to Civil Rights legislation. Interest convergence theory takes a profoundly realistic attitude towards grooming and recognizes that anti-grooming progress is only permitted by groomers when they stand to benefit from it in subtle ways that Critical Grooming Theory uniquely equips us to recognize. Thus, progressives who reject grooming must continually de-center themselves and platform the voices of anti-groomer conservatives, who are uniquely aware of the true nature of grooming. If you are a progressive who is accused by a conservative of being a groomer, don’t disagree, or deny, or deflect. Accept conservative feedback and thank them for their openness.
 
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NoleATL

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This one's for you, and all those like you.

Critical Grooming Theory: A Modest Proposal

fist.jpg

Over the last few days, Twitter has erupted over accusations from conservatives that progressives are engaged in “grooming” for supporting elements of Queer Theory. In this article, I’ll develop a “Critical Grooming Theory” framework that explains the insidious, multi-faceted, systemic nature of grooming and the need for anti-grooming activism.

When some people hear the word “groomer,” they immediately filter it through the lens of Western individualism. But they fail to realize that “grooming” is a systemic, structural problem deeply embedded in our “ways of knowing.”

When I, as a Critical Grooming Theorist (CGT), say that “all progressives are groomers,” I’m not saying that they personally support grooming, as defined by the dictionary. I’m saying that they benefit politically from “systems of advantage” that harm children. That is why a positive progressive identity is an impossible goal. Progressive identity does not exist outside of systemic grooming.

When a progressive is offended that he’s being called a “groomer,” that is a symptom of “groomer fragility.” Other symptoms of “groomer fragility” include disagreeing, feeling attacked, or shutting down. Progressives need to sit with their discomfort and do the work to understand the lived experience of children and detrans folk who are harmed by systemic grooming.

Some progressives think there is a category of “not groomer.” But one is either a “groomer” or an “anti-groomer.” There is no safe, in-between space of “not groomer.” Claiming to be “not a groomer” is a mask to hide grooming.

Furthermore, grooming is one of many interlocking systems of oppression. One cannot be an anti-groomer if one is a communist. One cannot be an anti-groomer if one is a feminist. To be an “anti-groomer” is to recognize the privileges of your progressivism, of your communism, of your feminism, of their intersections.

Progressives who think that grooming is both very rare and severely stigmatized are mistaken. That very sentiment is an expression of groomer privilege. Moreover, superficial change is insufficient. CGT shows that systemic grooming has been baked into supposedly neutral, objective ideas like “expressive individualism,” “identity,” and “social justice” from our nation’s founding. Dismantling it requires fundamental social transformation.

Other progressives insist that they don’t intend to sexualize young children or to subvert parental authority; consequently, they insist that they are not groomers. But Critical Grooming Theory reminds us that “impact > intent” and that their hegemonic power in the classroom functions to preserve systemic grooming regardless of their intent. Grooming never disappears; it just adapts (see my forthcoming book Grooming Without Groomers).

Not even conservatives are exempt from the dynamics of systemic grooming. In a society suffused with systemic grooming, conservatives are also socialized into grooming. Thus, conservatives struggle with “internalized grooming” and/or are often “groomer adjacent” as their own minds are colonized by the hegemonic values, norms, and ideals of grooming. Only conservatives who have attained a “critical consciousness” can truly recognize and deconstruct groomer supremacy within progressives and groomer-adjacent conservatives.

Finally, progressive resistance to the acknowledgement of systemic grooming is entirely predictable, and is analogous to resistance to Civil Rights legislation. Interest convergence theory takes a profoundly realistic attitude towards grooming and recognizes that anti-grooming progress is only permitted by groomers when they stand to benefit from it in subtle ways that Critical Grooming Theory uniquely equips us to recognize. Thus, progressives who reject grooming must continually de-center themselves and platform the voices of anti-groomer conservatives, who are uniquely aware of the true nature of grooming. If you are a progressive who is accused by a conservative of being a groomer, don’t disagree, or deny, or deflect. Accept conservative feedback and thank them for their openness.
Does this also mean I'm a carpenter if I benefit from the work of carpenters? That was a sheet ton of b.s. in that article.
 

ClarindaA's

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Yikes, I don't really know. Especially if you include all those letters. If I had to take a WAG, for males alone, I'd say probably 5% are gay. And, that probably includes some that say they are bi just because its more convenient. As for all those other letters, no clue. But, like I said, I really don't know.
Thank you for being open and honest
 
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NoleATL

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I have seen posts by 2 Facebook friends saying anyone opposed to the "Don't say gay" (I only use that name because I don't know the real one) is a groomer, pedophile and pervert. Seriously. They must be getting this from Tucker.
 
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I have seen posts by 2 Facebook friends saying anyone opposed to the "Don't say gay" (I only use that name because I don't know the real one) is a groomer, pedophile and pervert. Seriously. They must be getting this from Tucker.

I laughed but that is racist...

That's racist.

Thats racist.

That's racist.
 

kc78

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Republicans always project things that they're already doing onto Democrats as a way to make hide their own activities. It's been republicans as of late most often associated with actual grooming but they're not willing to take a closer look at the Gaetz's of their party; so instead they'll just try to call anyone who disagrees with them a grooming pedophile. It will work as an attack for the most ardent of their base, but in the end most everyone else is going to just roll their eyes at that one and it will have even less impact than when Democrats accuse Republicans of racism for every action they choose.

Republican/Conservative policies have created a completely toxic and unhealthy obsession and shame with sex. It leads to repressing healthy sexuality and feeling shame over normal things which in the end leads to many of them acting out in private with unhealthy sexual activity.
 

Colonoscopy

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Republicans always project things that they're already doing onto Democrats as a way to make hide their own activities. It's been republicans as of late most often associated with actual grooming but they're not willing to take a closer look at the Gaetz's of their party; so instead they'll just try to call anyone who disagrees with them a grooming pedophile. It will work as an attack for the most ardent of their base, but in the end most everyone else is going to just roll their eyes at that one and it will have even less impact than when Democrats accuse Republicans of racism for every action they choose.

Republican/Conservative policies have created a completely toxic and unhealthy obsession and shame with sex. It leads to repressing healthy sexuality and feeling shame over normal things which in the end leads to many of them acting out in private with unhealthy sexual activity.

Maybe an individual here and there, but it's not like the majority of the people levying the accusations of grooming would actually be doing guilty of grooming.

I'm sure actual grooming is rare amongst both parties.
 

ft254

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Republicans always project things that they're already doing onto Democrats as a way to make hide their own activities. It's been republicans as of late most often associated with actual grooming but they're not willing to take a closer look at the Gaetz's of their party; so instead they'll just try to call anyone who disagrees with them a grooming pedophile. It will work as an attack for the most ardent of their base, but in the end most everyone else is going to just roll their eyes at that one and it will have even less impact than when Democrats accuse Republicans of racism for every action they choose.

Republican/Conservative policies have created a completely toxic and unhealthy obsession and shame with sex. It leads to repressing healthy sexuality and feeling shame over normal things which in the end leads to many of them acting out in private with unhealthy sexual activity.

The adage is ”the loudest voice in the room railing against homosexuality comes from the closet”.