Sid Lewis

It’s too bad about Sid Lewis. No matter how things shake out with the corporal injury and assault charges from 2013, this silly reckless-masturbation charge is likely to do him in professionally.

Lewis is apparently a great music teacher, and a lot of people really like him, although I expect that’ll change, because some people are obsessive about sex of any kind, especially if it has anything to do with children and even if it’s imaginary. I think laws about sex, including age restrictions, are automatically unnatural and give too much influence to the most neurotic and fearful among us. The goddamned Puritans are everywhere.

I can see how a 17-year-old girl would be alarmed at finding her employer looking at her while he masturbated, and one source says her reaction was to look away. Smooth move. She looked again, of course, and she says he was still at it. Sid apparently takes masturbation seriously, which I respect.

Actually, I don’t know if any of this is true. I read a couple of articles online, and one said that when the girl saw him she “walked away.” The Enterprise-Record site says she “looked away,” so who the hell knows the details? Not me.

There’s something wrong with a society where a man can’t jack off in his own home. Whether the girl walked away or looked away doesn’t matter. She was free to go. There’s no good reason for Butte County to be involved.

Lewis apparently has his full complement of demons, and now he’s looking at hard time. I feel for him. He and the girl have known each other for years. He surely knew the risk, and yet he trusted her enough to rub one out in front of her. I suspect he’s made other bone-headed decisions.

I also feel for the girl, and I’m glad she needn’t be damaged by all this. The damage has been done to conventional wisdom over many years by punk-assed, fear-mongering legislators. A heterosexual man who isn’t attracted to 17-year-old girls is unusual.

Rather than laughing at Lewis, which he totally deserved, or rolling her eyes and finishing her work, or asking her family to take care of it, or storming out in a huff, or any other way she could respond, these days it makes some kind of sense for a young woman in that situation to call in the government.

I’ve read that he didn’t touch her or try to coerce her, and her psychic burden is whatever she makes it out to be. She’s still in charge of her experience, and that’s good for her; for Lewis, not so much. We could just make him go to therapy and a shaman and maybe do some Reiki. It’d be cheaper than prison and might actually help him.

One comment so far

  1. Meagan Malachite says:

    I always enjoyed your articles Anthony and think we see many social issues similarly. However after this article I do not feel that you are someone I can ever feel safe or comfortable around again. You mistake the response to this situation as Puritanism; actually what Sid did is part of Puritanism–a system in which sex is publicly decried while privately, men can use their sexuality towards women in ways that are not consensual–and then the women are punished for it (the movie “The Magdalene Sisters” is an excellent representation of how this has played out historically).

    Liberating sexuality does not mean gaining the freedom to assault someone (which nonconsensual sexual display is a part of, it is psychological assault, sexuality-as-weapon), any more than there is a “freedom to murder someone” or “freedom to steal from someone.” To be truly liberated means respecting another’s autonomy and psychological well-being, and being able to USE YOUR WORDS, express your desires and ask if there is consensual interest.

    This isn’t just about age either, no there is no natural boundary at age 18 that makes someone a biological or emotional adult–clearly, or else Sid, well over that age, would have behaved much more maturely and considerately. It’s about consent. As far as traumatization goes, your article erases this girl’s existence and experience. I for one have been severely traumatized by violations similar to this one by older men as well as males my age, and if anything, this has had the opposite effect in terms of freeing myself from cultural messages about Puritanism and sex–sexual assault and coercive sexual experiences reinforce fear of sex and the sense that sex is dangerous and bad, rather than contributing to a culture where sex is the safe and enjoyable experience that it can be when dignity and equality across differences such as gender and age are respected.

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