A REVIEW OF THE MAN THEY CALLED A MONSTER BY PAUL WILSON
The Man They Called a Monster, by Dr. Paul R. Wilson was published by Cassell Australia in 1981. There were many misprints and obscurities in the original review, which has here been slightly edited for clarity.
On September 29, 1979, an Australian newspaper called Truth carried the headline: SEX MONSTER’S 2,000 BOY VICTIMS. The “sex monster” they were talking about was Clarence Osborne, 52, and the 2,000 boy “victims” (later increased to more than 2,500!) were boys Osborne hand loved in his lifetime, but were, in no sense “victims”, but rather boys who had enjoyed sex and interpersonal relationships with Osborne, and frequently came back for more sex, help, advice and affection, all of which Clarence Osborne was more than ready to give.
Tragically, knowing the police were closing in on him, and what his fate would be in the boylove-hating courts, jails and prisons of Australia, Clarence Osborne committed suicide by gassing himself in his car.
His life was not given in vain, for, his monument lives on, in this brand-new book (released February, 1982) by one of Australia’s best-known and most-respected social scientists, who is on the faculty of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and who brings some American perspective to this book by having been a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of California, Irvine, in 1974/1975.
Step by step, Dr. Wilson takes us through Clarence Osborne’s life. We learn how he initiated new contacts with boys, how he was able very rapidly to establish rapport with them, and how very naturally he was able to introduce sex into the conversation, and proceed from that. We find out that many of these boys wanted to continue these relationships because they found Osborne a willing and sympathetic ear for their recitals of troubles in growing up, getting along with parents, developing sexuality, and a great deal more.
We can know so much about him become Clarence Osborne was a compulsive and methodical keeper of records on his more than 2,500 boys.
Most important of all, is that Wilson was able to interview confidentially a number of grown men who had been, in their youth, among “Osborne’s boys.” These included successful businessmen, doctors, lawyers, etc. Without exception, these men said that they had enjoyed their relationship with Osborne, including sex, felt they had not been harmed by it, on the contrary, they had benefited from the relationship in many ways.
Here is what one of them said: “He was a really nice man and I looked forward to seeing him every time I went.” “He was, I guess, the nearest thing I had to a father, and sometimes I thought a mother, and here he was being described in the paper as though he was some sort of crazy man raping young boys. It wasn’t like that at all; I went to see him, and he didn’t have to drag me there.”
With the dispassionate approach of the social scientist and psychologist that he is (he holds degrees in both). Dr. Wilson gives us the facts of Osborne’s life and a careful analysis from many points of view, sociological, sexual, psychological, Greek love, medical and legal. He delves into irrational hatred and fear felt by the average man-in-the-street for boy-love, people who would, and did, dub Clarence Osborne a “monster.” He explains how a vengeful and frightened society and a sensationalist press combine to create “folk devils” to act as focal points for society’s unwillingness to acknowledge children’s powerful sexuality, and guilty feelings with regard to the attractiveness of children.
Gradually. Dr. Wilson builds a case for believing that perhaps it was not Osborne that was sick, but society. Despite the fact that the sexual activity was by definition homosexual, not one of them maintained that Osborne had changed their sexual orientation, and in fact most of his ex-boys are today heterosexual men. So much for the constant charge by society against boy-lovers that they turn boys “queer.” As Wilson further says “Any subsequent distress that occurs is far more likely to arise from the shock of discovery by other people and the ensuing criminal justice machine that is propelled into action. Police enquiries, family recriminations, court appearances, are all situations that lead to considerable anxiety in the children.”
Wilson, although a legitimate and recognized “straight” professional scientist, and the author of a previously-published book on heterosexual love (entitled “Intimacy”, Cassell, 1979), comes out fearlessly endorsing repeal of all age-of-consent laws, enactment of a “Bill of Children’s Rights” including the right to sexual freedom, and retaining only a law that sexual enjoyment must not take place by the use of force, fraud or trickery.
There is valuable material that there is no space to mention in a review. […] It is the most readable and cogent presentation of “The Case for Boy-love” ever written, and although it has a full scholarly apparatus (extensive footnotes, bibliography, and index) it is eminently readable without the impenetrable jargon of social science writing.
One sole fault: the cover is sensationalized art, cheap and misleading. Let us hope that the American publishers will have better taste and judgement. The importance of this book […] cannot be overstated. It should receive the widest possible circulation. Judicious use of it may well influence the course of the persecution and prosecution of boy-lovers now and in the years to come. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Roger Webster in the March-April 1982 issue of the NAMBLA Bulletin (Vol. III, No. 2/3) pp. 8 and 10.
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In presenting this review of the very few that exist of such an immensely important book, I must express my regret that the reviewer failed to mention Osborne's most telling revelation. Asked to explain the strategy he used if he wanted a boy to stop calling at his house, he said:
"Whenever I want to stop a boy coming around I just let him into the house and talk to him and don't give him any sex at all. This is the way I stop most boys from coming again if I don't want them to."