When Freaks was originally debuted in 1932, director Tod Browning’s career was effectively finished. The film has since become a cult classic, but at the time, Browning’s creation was considered so shockingly exploitative of its stars that it was banned in the United Kingdom for thirty years. Many critics were utterly revolted by the portrayals of what were referred to in the popular culture of the day as “freaks of nature.”
What was the shock and outrage about?
For one thing, the cast of Freaks uninhibitedly featured microcephalics, dwarves, midgets, armless and legless men and women and the sexually anomalous; people who generally were kept hidden out of sight in institutions for the disabled or whose lives were lived out within the narrow confines of what amounted to human amusement parks.
The human beings portrayed in Freaks were not presented as mere oddities to be gazed at in sideshows. Rather, they were shown as having meaningful stories—just like the rest of the human race. They were depicted as real people with deep feelings, including passionate love and hate.
The film critic for the New York Times summarized Freaks’ plot in his column, “The Circus Side Show:”
“The story is about a midget who falls in love with a trapeze performer. She discovers that he has a fortune of his own, and marries him despite her affair with another performer and the midget’s engagement to one of his kind. At the wedding feast she insults the “freaks,” and thus incurs their enmity. She starts to poison her new husband to gain his wealth. The “freaks” learn of the attempt, and on a rainy night when the circus is bogged along the road they kill the performer and chase the woman. She herself is changed into “one of us” as a result of her experiences.
He added, “Freaks is not a picture to be easily forgotten. The reason, of course, is the underlying sense of horror, the love of the macabre that fills the circus sideshows in the first place.
There it is: The “love of the macabre.” The love of the macabre was what allowed freak shows to make money. The love of looking at “others” who invited a sick feeling of revulsion; the love of gazing at human beings who afforded a feeling of relief that the onlookers were not at all like those “freaks.”
America doesn’t have traveling freak shows anymore, partly due to the rise of rights movements who lobby on behalf of people with mental and physical disabilities; and partly due to the eloquent personal testimonies of people like Frank Stephens, who has Down syndrome. He continually pleads for the right of mentally and physically disabled people to survive outside the womb.
No, circus barkers no longer invite ticket holders to gawk at the Fat Lady, Lobster Boy or the Bearded Woman.
Instead, America has advanced to the point at which freak shows are now televised for mass consumption.
Freaks fat lady Doris Bleu would now be the person who appears on “My 600-lb Life.” Minnie Woolsey, aka known as “Koo-Koo the bird girl” might appear on a show like “The Swan,” subjecting herself to tortuously extreme surgery in order to come up to what Hollywood regards as the standard of beauty. Schlitzie Surtees, the microcephalic who was also known as Simon Metz, might be the bill board star who warns against the dangers of Zika. Or, had he been located in Germany instead of in America during the early 1930’s, Schlitzie may have been given a fatal appearance in the propaganda film used to persuade Germans to write a law to euthanize freaks deemed “useless bread eaters.”
Yes, something morally horrible has grown in America since the production of Freaks. Something utterly and undeniably evil has profoundly twisted and polluted America’s conscience.
As the revulsion against the exploitation of the disabled was fast disappearing, America’s conscience began evolving to the point at which deliberate creation of freaks on reality television became a legitimate moneymaking endeavor.
A new kind of freak show is upon us, in which parents and the medical profession cooperate in actively promoting the deformation of once perfectly normal children and youth. Prolonged torture by medical professionals and abusive parents has gone mainstream, as is most clearly evidenced by “reality” show featuring “Jazz” Jennings, whose “transition” from boy to girl has been presented as entertainment for the avidly curious public.
Perhaps there isn’t much surprise the Jennings show is being brought to us live. Advocates for the ongoing sexual revolution continue to draw no distinct moral red line other than personal distaste when it comes to the exploitation and manipulation of children and youth.
For at least a generation, kids have been openly paraded as objects of sexual desire. As far back as 1995, little boys were featured in the film Chippendiddys, their obviously sexual gyrations promoted as cute kid stuff; while actually, the continued attraction of the film was and is not about kid’s having so-called fun, but about its ongoing appeal to pedophiles and pederasts.
Today there appears to be only sporadic outrage at the sight of an eleven-year-old boy dressed in drag and posturing in front of a naked drag queen. Few seem to be particularly outraged over parents taking children to a “gay pride” parade where simulation of anal sex is on display and little boys are encouraged to dance suggestively while grown men laugh and applaud. Frighteningly costumed drag queens are invited to tell stories to toddlers in public libraries.
There is, in short, not much organized resistance against the display and promotion of sexual freakery once known as perversion.
But the Jennings show takes the sexual exploitation of kids and youth to a whole new level. Episode by episode, the show films the slow and tortuous drugging and mutilation of a normal boy as he is persuaded to participate in his own destruction. Viewers watch a post birth sex selected abortion of a boy. They watch him endure castration. The show is the modern version of the Barnum and Bailey freak show. Step right up, folks! See reality star Jazz Jennings psychologically gaslit by his own family, drugged by sex hormones and castrated right before your very eyes!
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Fay Voshell