I just found this brilliant little piece at Ace’s place:
Suppose you have a kid your age who finds that he has the urge to fuck a toaster. In the past, he’d either keep it to himself and learn to live with it, or, if he mentioned it to someone else, they’d tell him he was crazy and pretty much the same thing would happen. Now, he goes online and finds that there’s a whole community dedicated to toaster-fucking. Hell, there’s an entire Reddit about it (I have no idea if there is actually a toaster-fucking Reddit). So he starts talking online to toaster-fuckers world wide, and they tell him that it’s a wonderful hobby, and completely normal, and that anyone who opposes him is oppressing him. This ability to connect can be a wonderful tool for people who are actually facing oppression, but it also magnifies the fringe, and the deviant and the dangerous. Couple this with a media that wants to celebrate anything that is against traditional Western mores and common sense, and pretty soon you have Congressmen introducing bills that toaster-fuckers are a Constitutionally protected class, and anyone who dares say ‘Uh, dude, you shouldn’t do that” is ostracized. And so the kid winds up burning his dick off.
You see the problem, don’t you? Alfred Kinsey, whatever you may think of him, had the same one. He described various sexual behaviors as “normal” at a time when they were deemed beyond the pale of discussion. It turned out that some of them, at least, were more common than was generally supposed. All the same, tagging them as “normal” was an outrage to the mores of the time.
It was also inaccurate, at least colloquially. To the average English speaker, “normal” means approximately that “everybody does it.” But the behaviors Kinsey characterized thus were not “normal” in that sense. They were simply a bit more common than the average person might suppose. For example, homosexual conduct, rather than being a rare, one-in-a-thousand phenomenon as was thought when Kinsey’s studies were presented to the public, can be found among perhaps three percent of the population.
Mischaracterizing a deviant behavior as “normal” can have catastrophic social effects, especially when the young and impressionable take it to mean “harmless.”
While it is “normal” for researchers to want to know the frequency of various deviant behaviors, whether sexual or otherwise, it is vital that they watch how they represent those deviances, and their findings about them, to the general public. Sadly, the hunger for fame – more often, notoriety – all too often cross-cuts that caution.
- Homosexuality is not “normal.”
- Sadomasochism is not “normal.”
- Transgenderism is not “normal.”
- Self-mutilation is not “normal.”
- And need I say anything about toaster-fucking?
And no, your mileage won’t vary. Regaling people with your fetishes about mackerel, or Mack trucks, or Mac Davis won’t contribute positively to the general discourse. So whatever weirdness you might be into, you should probably keep it to yourself. (You should definitely keep it away from Congress. Don’t give the taxpayer-fuckers any new ideas. Besides, we have enough “protected” groups already.)