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Perverts Are Not Peepers, Erin Andrews

October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Public Opinion, The Big Top

Erin Andrews, as you’ll recall, is the bodaciously fine ESPN personality who was stalked, surreptitiously filmed while nude in a hotel room, and mortified when this footage was splashed all over the net by the stalker/film maker. News coverage has focused on Ms. Andrews’ perspective as a woman who was “peeped” and her desire to exact legal consequence. This focus on Andrews misses the whole story in the typical one-sided-out-of-context-he-said-she-said reporting style that serious readers of news and opinion have come to reject (as falling newspaper circulation attests). What every news report and Ms. Andrews are trying to convey in the court of public opinion, is that the “peeper’ is a pervert. He is not, as history and legal precedent will show.

First, know thy terms! A pervert is “one given to unnatural sexual acts.” A Peeping Tom, or peeper, is “one who observes others, most notably women, from a point of concealment, for the purpose of curiosity or gratification.” Now, the historical or formal term derives from the “tailor who was the only person to look at Lady Godiva as she rode naked through Coventry, for which, according to legend, he was struck blind.” So, Tom peeped at a naked woman and got his eyes spanked.

Now, this little tale of Lady Godiva is most illuminating in several ways. Most notably, it fits into the Old Testament precept/punishment circle-spank that is; if you do this, that’ll happen. But this perverts the major sexual dynamics of the story of Lady Godiva. Is it believable to think that a naked woman is riding down the street and out of a whole town of men only one guy takes a look? (Remember too, that all paintings of Lady Godiva show her as being hot-Erin Andrews hot)! That is unnatural. The only man to act in accordance with “natural inclination” is punished by having his peepers popped out. Why didn’t the other men look at this hot ass naked woman parading before them? Could this suggest that among the other men were male attracted/sexual inverts? By Old Testament standards these men would be judged perverts and their punishments wouldn’t be any simple eye-plucking. So we now can see that both Old Testament moral judgments and 11th century English legend fail to distinguish properly between peepers and perverts.

The Supreme Court sought to address some specifics of this issue in Beelace vs. Smithwick, 1916. In this case a Ms. Beelance, a young woman of great beauty and alluring figure, (the Erin Andrews of her time) was a by all accounts a woman of punctuality and habit. Every night at 7:00 in the late spring and summer months, she would take her ablutions in her second floor bathroom with the window open. Unbeknownst to her, Alfred Smithwick would climb the tree overlooking Ms. Beelace’s house and observe her naked night after night. Ms. Beelace never knew of his presence and Mr. Smithwick told no one.

One of the Justices in the case wrote the following: “Ms. Beelace, in seeking Court redress, believes herself victimized by the actions of Mr. Smithwick. She further believes that Mr. Smithwick acted ‘unnaturally’ toward her. The Court, although not conferring unfettered approbation on Mr. Smithwick, rejects Ms. Beelaces’s contentions that Mr. Smithwick’s actions were ‘unnatural’ or victimized Ms. Beelace. It is frequently expressed by those in the psychological profession, and is commonly understood by those who spend time among groups of men, that the wish or act of viewing women unclothed is by no means an “unnatural inclination”, but rather, the most” natural inclination” common to men.

“The belief that one is victimized by an unknown observer fails to take into account two important criteria: if the subject of the “peeping’ is at all times unaware of being “peeped,” where then, is the harm? Further, if the “peeper” in no way informs any other persons or parties of said “peeping,” where then, is the victimization?

The Court believes that, since two of the aforementioned criteria were met in this case, in that Mr. Smithwick acted only upon “natural inclinations” and did not tell any party or persons of his actions, he did nothing more than contractually “peep.” That is, a contractual state of affairs existed between “peeper’ and “peeped” wherein the actions of both parties remain exclusively between both parties and are therefore, inherently consensual. Thus the Court is moved to believe that the circumspect expressions of “natural inclinations” are to be tolerated. The Court must also recognize and reconcile the competing rights at play in this case. The Court hence concludes that the right to privacy is equal with and complementary to, the right to ‘peep.’”

This court ruling was very enlightened and forward thinking in that it recognized that “peepers,” unlike perverts, should be accorded a type of “expectant method” latitude to “peep.” Also, if the “peeper” and “peeped” do not exceed the private sphere in which they mutually operate, let it be.

Now, the problem in the Erin Andrews case is that she is trying to paint her “peeper’ with the pervert’s brush. This is a false and wrong depiction of her “peeper.” This is no street corner wiener wager, no laundromat panty sniffer, no sheep humper. This was a “peeper” who went to extraordinary lengths to “observe unobserved” the naked Erin Andrews. Don’t refer to him as a stalker. Celebrity stalkers are a uniformly pathetic crew both incompetent and predictable: fixate on celebrity, stalk celebrity, make presence known to celebrity, step over privacy line with untoward contact of celebrity, get restraining order, violate conditions of restraining order, undergo court ordered psych eval and receive supervised restrictions on freedom. No, Erin Andrews “peeper” methodically positioned himself over time for the best peeping coign of vantage possible. This was a dedicated, disciplined, ingenious “peeper’ whose exercise of his “natural inclinations,” coupled with the best of American-can-doism and use of high-tech surveillance technology, ranks him as the “peeper’s peeper.”

Now the Court must revisit the rights of the “peeper.” The Erin Andrews’ case will have to assay the use of technology: both the acquiring and transmitting of “peep” footage by the “peeper,” or secondary parties who have acquired footage directly or indirectly outside the “consensual contract” provisions of Beelace vs Smithwick. The Court must now rule on the following: is it incumbent upon the “peeped” to take greater precautionary measures against contemporary methods of “peeping” so as not to, by any means even inadvertent, abridge the “natural inclination” rights of peepers?

Perhaps Erin Andrews should look in the mirror (naked and with the window open and a live video stream) and ask herself that question.

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