“Don’t Touch My Nuts!” Yells Kid When Actor in Children’s Play Asks, “What’s Your Name?”

Readers asfhisssny
— I hope that this is the story of just one over-coached kid. But…maybe not. This is a piece from SpikedOnline by the inimitable Josie Appleton who runs the Manifesto Club in Britain, which is like Free-Range Kids mixed with Reason.com.  A “panto” is the age-old, slapstick, audience-participatory Christmas pantomime show (not silent!) that has delighted Brits for hundreds of years.

Until now.

Turning All Adults into Panto Villains, by Josie Appleton

It is a tragic fact that today’s child-protection culture and related laws often have the perverse consequence of leading decent adults to withdraw from interacting with children.

Examples abound: people say they would not stop to help a child in trouble for fear of being labelled an abuser; hobby clubs close their doors to under-18s; and volunteers, be they at sports clubs or youth clubs, say that they will no longer put themselves ‘at risk’ by working with children.

Now the veteran British entertainer Lionel Blair has retired from kids’ pantos, describing how everything from hugging a child to saying hello becomes the object of suspicion. He recounted one recent instance during his run in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. ‘There was this one little boy who used to come up to me every night to give me a hug and in the end I had to say to the matron, “I love him but will you please stop him doing that?”’ After all, Blair continued, ‘It only takes one stagehand to say “Lionel Blair is touching the kids backstage” and that’s your career over. So I had to stop it. It’s awful, so sad, because I adore children.’

Another time, when Blair asked a seven-year-old boy his name at a Stockport panto, the boy replied: ‘If you touch my nuts, you’re dead.’ What this shows is that the current narrative about abuse and child protection is not actually about abuse. Instead, it represents the contamination of ordinary affection or friendliness between adults and children: that is, adults and children enjoying each other’s company – for example, enjoying a show together.

The ‘don’t touch my nuts’ boy captured the way in which a friendly introduction becomes a potential act of grooming. It was not just something his parents have said to him: in fact, the boy expressed perfectly the equation made in child-protection policy between the closeness of a relationship (‘frequent’ or ‘intensive contact’) and the ‘risk of abuse’.

Read the rest here. Sigh. L. 

It's "pantomime," not "pants-off mime."

It’s “pantomime,” not “pants-off mime.”

 

 

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14 Responses to “Don’t Touch My Nuts!” Yells Kid When Actor in Children’s Play Asks, “What’s Your Name?”

  1. J.T. Wenting December 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    And in the UK the situation is made worse by schools and other government institutions (schools are almost universally government run there) requiring police background checks of anyone (including parents) volunteering for anything ‘to prevent pedophiles’.
    It’s led to most people simply no longer bothering, which in turn of course leads to the total demise of almost all extra-curricular activity. Things like class trips, camping weekends for the kids, school plays, sports days, all rely on volunteers, volunteers who’re now treated like they’re applying for a job requiring a top secret security clearance and they’re entering for the job interview wearing prison clothes…
    Parents aren’t even allowed to take photographs of their children during what few events still exist “because a pedophile could get the pictures”.

    Of course at the same time the whole “safety” nuttery has lead to other excesses, like the removal of all fruit bearing trees from in and around school yards.
    Because, you know, something could fall out and hurt a child (ever been hit by a chestnut falling from a tree? I have, many times, and it won’t even bruise).

  2. Earth.W December 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    I have a friend in England who lost his job as a teacher when they found he and his family are naturists. The school even brought the Police in to investigate him. The Police found nothing but a happy naturist family but he lost his job as a teacher.

  3. A December 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    The damnedest thing of all is that what these idiots think they are protecting kids from doesn’t seem to be all that harmful anyway. A meta-analysis in 1998, independently verified in 2005, found that there was little to no long term harm from sexual contact between adults and children (absent force, of course). Pretty much all the harm comes from the moral crusaders themselves.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rind_et_al._controversy

  4. Jenny Islander December 11, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    @A: Hey, non-forcefully sexually contacted former child here.

    I don’t often cuss, so listen carefully:

    Shut. The fuck. Up.

  5. Jill December 11, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    It’s sad seeing Panto, a proud British tradition, being pulled into this kind of paranoid insanity.
    If I had been that kid’s mother, I would have made him apologize to Mr. Blair and given him a stern lecture on being rude to adults once we got home. Not knowing the details, I like to think that the child was mentally disturbed in some way. A seven-year-old boy using a word like “nuts” seems odd to me. He may have heard it somewhere and thought he was being cheeky, but it was really inappropriate given the situation.

  6. Dhewco December 11, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    I get where this guy is coming from. I love hanging out with kids, but I’ve never been blessed with any. I find kids often a source of amusement. Also, it’s more fun to play video games with kids, lol. I have serious trust issues with women (I am attracted to women, very much so, but I’ve been burned so much that I don’t even try anymore.)

    The ultra-suspicion in this world is really depressing.

  7. Buffy December 11, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    But Jill, don’t you think his parents were the ones that taught him to say that? I can’t think how else a 7-year-old would come up with that statement when approached by an adult male in a non-threatening setting.

  8. pentamom December 11, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    He probably learned the paranoid principle from his parents, and the language from the other 2nd graders.

  9. Vicky December 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    If a child said this to me, call me crazy but I would ask him why he said that. Personally I would think either someone had touched his nuts or someone taught him to fear that every adult might want to. Either way it’s a horrible idea sitting in a child’s mind. We can teach a child to keep their private parts private without putting such an extreme fear in their psyche.

  10. John December 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    I’m guessing that a 7-year-old kid who said, “If you touch my nuts, you’re dead” to an adult probably learned that kind of language from the older kids at school, probably the 12-year-olds.

  11. hineata December 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Are we sure this child wasn’t just overly attached to the packet of snack food he was holding in his hand? 🙂

  12. hineata December 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Because, frankly, the other interpretation just sounds unbalanced. Even in today’s environment.

    It’s probably difficult for British actors at the moment though not to take crazies seriously, after the recent rash of court cases following the Jimmy Saville thing. Hopefully it calms down eventually, and they can get back to treating kids normally.

  13. Chuck99 December 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    The thing is, have you ever read a description of ‘grooming’? Basically, I couldn’t tell a single difference between ‘grooming’ and ‘making friends’ until you reached the pay off.

    I worked for years with kids, and I was friends with many of them. Some of them were friends with my son, but some were friends of mine in our own rights. I’m scared to think of what that might be like now.

  14. oncefallendotcom December 20, 2014 at 3:51 am #

    I don’t like people touching my nuts, either. They always pick out the cashews and Brazil nuts and leave the peanuts behind. That’s why I stopped sharing my nuts with people. What a bunch of selfish A-holes!