In times of universal deceit, telling
the truth is a revolutionary act.
         - George Orwell

Napoleon once observed that "history" is a set of lies agreed upon. In an era of ubiquitous fake news and information warfare, this has never been more true. The very concept of objective truth in history is fading out of our world. Pure propaganda and outright lies are passing into our history textbooks as unquestioned truth, condemning future generations to false views about historical reality. But the task of sifting through the lies and propaganda is overwhelming, limited by the ambition and time constraints of most observors. Only those who have dedicated their lives to sorting reality from falsehood are qualified to rewrite "consensus" history as a duty to humanity. The contributors to this site endeavor to do just that.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

"How could someone who seemed so right turn out to be so wrong?"

        That's the question being asked by "LeeAnna", a young woman who recently had the man of her dreams arrested and thrown in prison for ostensibly having done nothing wrong. The whole episode is of particular concern to me, Phoenix, as that man - "JP" - happens to be my best friend.
       What follows is a a hypothetical and imagined conversation between myself and LeeAnna covering the complex questions surrounding their relationship and his arrest.  But first a little background information:  JP was arrested for the first time in his life in 2010 following a police investigation into his selling of marijuana and his "party lifestyle" involving teenaged girls in his home.  Being an avid diary writer, and having several years worth of diaries seized and examined by police, JP was forced to plead guilty on a slew of charges because nearly all of his escapades were recorded in his own handwriting. Since then, he has been made the #1 scapegoat in his hometown, a target of hatred by those projecting their own inner demons on an all-too-convenient target.
        Topped by a concerted effort by key members of the police force to publicly crucify and make an example of him, JP was convicted of a number of offences - including two minor sex charges involving two fifteen year-old girls - and spent 16 months behind bars.  Having kept his nose clean ever since, JP has worked hard to rebuild his life and reputation during the more than seven years since that tragic episode in his life.  Yet recently, he was arrested again for allegedly "preying upon children in a park" - an allegation made by a vigilante justice warrior who called police and made up false claims after seeing JP with a pretty female near a park on a sunny Saturday afternoon - July 8th.  That pretty female happens to be LeeAnna (a mature adult), and the conversation which follows attempts to clarify the sordid mess each of them now finds themselves in.

Phoenix:  So I've basically known JP his whole life, and know his character like the back of my hand.  Why don't you explain how you met him and your role in all of this.

LeeAnna:  I met JP at the Tim Horton's in St Marys, where I work.  I wasn't working at the time, but was just doing art and reading when he approached me.  It was pretty obvious that he was attracted to me, as he was asking for my phone number in under ten minutes.  I asked him how old he was, and he said forty.  I was a bit surprised, because he seems much younger.  I asked how old he thought I was, and he said 20.  I've had much older boyfriends in the past, so this didn't bother me.  On this first encounter I was shy and withheld my number.  But I saw him again a week later and he once again made an effort to be friendly and to get my number.  I found him attractive, a bit intriguing, and definitely persistent, so as he was leaving I jotted down my phone number on napkin and gave it to him at his car.  An hour later I was in that car, going for an exploratory drive with him to see if we had anything in common.  Much to my surprise, he seemed really open and cool and interested in my story. And when he dropped me off and shook my hand, he gave my hand a small kiss which showed his interest.  And quite frankly, I was very interested too.

Phoenix:  So what happened next?

LeeAnna:  He texted me the next day, and we arranged to get together again in the evening.  He left it open as to what we do together - go for a drive, or a walk, or a coffee, or whatever.  I decided to bring him to my favourite chill spot, a spooky mausoleum in the cemetery! [laughter]  We broke the ice there, so to speak, and went for a long meander between the tombstones while holding pinky fingers together.  He seemed very charming, and I was hooked.  Best of all, he seemed hooked on me too, despite my sharing the details of two horrible break-ups I've had with older men in recent years.  He had his own parallel story to share, which involved younger girls.  He admitted that he got busted for weed and for having sex with a 15-year old, and that he spent 16 months of his life in jail.  I was OK with it because I can identify.  The sexual consent laws in this country don't take into account girls like me who are 'ready' for a mature relationship with a grown man long before the 16-year-old threshold set by the law.  In this sense, our stories were parallel, but from opposite ends of the spectrum.  Both our stories ended in heartbreak and disaster, but here we were - again with huge age differences between us - finding each other attractive and wanting to pursue a friendship, albeit with much greater caution.  This second meeting ended at sundown again, and after he left I texted him saying, "I haven't been this interested in someone in a long time."  The feeling was mutual.

Phoenix:  Moving closer to the day of disaster - July 8th - what happened next that you two grew so close so quickly?

LeeAnna:  We got together for a third day in a row, meeting at the same place again - the cemetery.  He gave me a gift - a really cool book of quotations about life, about everything, called The Treasure Chest.  He even wrote a little message inside.  He also had with him a yoga mat, which was curious.  I asked, "What's that for?", and he said, "a game". Rolling it out and asking me to sit down, he said, "This is the touching game.  The rules are simple:  keep your eyes closed, and no touching boobs or genitals!"  The purpose of the game, he explained, is to grow comfortable with each other on the physical plane - to get to know each other's bodies without diving right in to sex.  That seemed reasonable, so that's what we did.

Phoenix:  And how was it?

LeeAnna:  It was amazing. It started so slow and so soft, but there was just this incredible here-and-now presence about it all, this energy. We embraced, and kissed, and just held each other closely.  Alone in the cemetery at my favourite chill spot, it just felt so magical.

Phoenix:  Did you talk?

LeeAnna:  Of course.  I wondered about his necklace medallion.  He asked about my scars. He liked to comment on my eyes, my lips, and even the sound of my voice.  It was all very soft and loving, and we managed to stick to the rules of keeping our clothes on, even though he took his shirt off.  He's a very attractive man, you know!  He takes really good care of his body.

Phoenix:  What happened next?

LeeAnna:  We drove to Stratford, and he took me for a tour of all the important places in his life:  the house where he grew up, the building he lived in and renovated for 25 years, the bridge to the island in the river, and the war memorial statue where he meditates and does yoga.  And then he drove me back - again, before dark!  Getting out of the car was difficult - I didn't want to leave!  We were clearly both hooked on each other.  And as I walked away I felt so high.  I guess that's what they call "love".

Phoenix:  And then?

LeeAnna:  We spent a couple of hours sexting each other from bed that night - no pictures or anything, just clear messages that we were enamored with each other.  We both knew that the next time we saw each other we would be having sex.

Phoenix:  And did that happen?

LeeAnna:  We never had a chance!  A few days later he came to St Marys in his motorhome, and we got together as planned.  We weren't together for even five minutes when some guy driving past us rolled down his window and yelled out to me, "Be careful!  He's dangerous!"  Well that sure put a shiver up my spine!  The guy turned around and did it again, and any desire I had to get in JP's motorhome was zapped.  What was I getting myself into?  Did he know something I didn't?  I asked JP whether he found all this disturbing, and he kinda shrugged it off, saying he gets that every once in a while.  He said he knows who HE (himself) is, and doesn't let "assholes" like that rain on his parade.  We wandered down to the river's edge a hundred metres away and talked about it.  Suddenly all the drama and heartache I have felt over the past five years having older men I was seeing ripped out of my life came back.  I told JP that I think about my last boyfriend every single day, because the causes of our break-up were external to us and totally unfair.  I'm just so sick of all the pressures of trying to please friends and family and society - everybody else - when I just want to be with the person I have chosen.  I'm not some little girl.  I can make up my own mind.

Phoenix:  This is all on the Saturday he got arrested.  How did that happen?

LeeAnna:  I respect how he handled the man who drove by and yelled at us.  He didn't try to hide it or change the subject.  Sitting at the water's edge for what felt like an hour, we actually had a really good talk.  We talked about all the difficulties we are going to face in pursuing a relationship together.  The whole world is going to be against it, for one simple reason:  age difference.  That man's disturbing comments were just a microcosm of all that we're bound to face if we try to go public with our fledgling relationship.  JP seemed to understand, and granted me space.  I said I needed more time to think about things, and he was cool with that.  He gave my back a little rub and left gracefully, saying if he didn't hear from me in an hour he'd go home.  Well apparently he didn't get very far because I didn't hear from him again until Monday.  Apparently he got arrested right after leaving me at the picnic table.  I don't understand why, since he didn't do anything wrong.  He said in a text on Monday that the man who drove by called the police and made up a bunch of BS.  JP never asked me to, but I went in to the police station later that Monday and told them he was with me the whole time, and that I'm of age.  They recorded everything and seemed keen on trying to paint him out to be some kind of dangerous character.  That's not been my experience, but then again, how long have I known him?  I still don't know what to think of it all.

Phoenix:  Have you been in contact since?

LeeAnna:  He seemed to be an emotional wreck that Monday, texting me a lot about how shaken he was and about how unjust his treatment was.  Then he basically said "goodbye", saying he cared about me too much to drag me through what he calls an "unanticipated shit-storm".  The next day he sent me a message saying he's got a good lawyer and can get out of this mess, but I don't know.  The whole thing is just too much to deal with.  I basically just met the guy, and here he is being arrested as some kind of predatory pedophile on the very day we were planning on being intimate.  I don't need this kind of shit - pardon my french - in my life.  He's a nice guy and all, but I don't need the drama.  I've already been through enough stuff like this.

Phoenix:  So are you giving up on him?  Is it over?

LeeAnna:  Again, I don't know.  If he can get the charge dropped, whatever it is, then maybe.  But did you read the news?  Did you see all the headlines and hoopla surrounding his arrest?  His reputation is destroyed. How can I have a relationship with a man like that, even if he's proven innocent?  They're not going to print front-page headlines saying "Sex Offender Exonerated". They're just not.  And given our age difference, I can't see anything but an uphill battle trying to get accepted by everyone around us - our friends, our family, society.  Sure, we really hit it off and he seems like an amazing man, and I can give him the benefit of the doubt that he's no t some crazed pedophile monster, but I'm not ready to go through this all again.  It's not worth it.

Phoenix:  What do you like about JP?

LeeAnna:  Almost everything!  He's handsome, he's charming, he's mature.  He's well-educated and has written several books that blow my mind.  He seems to have money.  He takes good care of himself.  He doesn't do drugs or drink or smoke or anything like that.  And his personality is amazing.  He just seems so on top of his game.  But then this happens.  What am I supposed to think?  How could someone who seemed so right turn out to be so wrong?

Phoenix:  Has it crossed your mind that he was targetted not IN SPITE OF all these wonderful characteristics you just described, but BECAUSE OF them?  Is it possible that his good looks, his charm, his vast knowledge, his money, his seductive power, is precisely that which people fear?  Do you think people - including the police - are jealous, and treat him like this because he's seen as the role model of the competition?

LeeAnna:  I never thought of it like that.

Phoenix:  Can I give you some advice?

LeeAnna:  Sure. What?

Phoenix:  I know JP well, and I'm actually intimately familiar with what he's thinking right now about all this, and about you.  Thank you for sharing how you feel - I know it's not easy.  But here's the reality as I see it, based on everything I know.  You and JP really hit it off in a hurry.  There's clearly some strong chemistry there.  We don't need to point to astrological charts or rave sublime about soul mates and predestiny and all that jazz to suggest that you two were meant for each other.  You've got parallel stories of past relationships gone sour because of outside forces that don't understand the love you feel and are intent on imposing their morality and puritanical laws upon you.  The most important thing is to "keep your eyes on the prize" - love.  Do you remember what JP said about love?  It's not just wanting the other person.  Nor is it just wanting the other person to want you.  You've got to want each other to want each other.  Now when you look at maturity, and character, and interests, and outlook on life, you two are a perfect match.  Heck, you read the same books!  Despite your age difference, you have so much in common - it's a "match made in heaven", they say.  The only obstacle revolves around this charge he now faces and the public perceptions about his guilt or innocence.  Whether or not he gets front-page coverage, does his exoneration matter to you?  If the charge is thrown out, or he's found innocent in a trial, will that change your mind about all this?  Do you have faith that he can overcome the stigma and negative attention, and prove himself the better man?

That seems to be the question here.  You were perfectly prepared before this most recent groundless arrest to throw yourself headlong into a relationship with him.  Why?  Because you felt that connection.  Because you felt it could work, despite all the obstacles.  You sensed his good nature, and know him to be a good man.  Does it matter what the world thinks?  If he's truly the man you think he is, won't he be able to convince your friends and family that he is worthy of your heart?  And when you leave the little fish bowl which is Stratford and St Marys, aren't you confident that you can both enjoy life to the fullest, without anyone passing judgment?  You've got to think outside the box - outside the fish bowl.  This is all just small potatoes.  His current legal hurdles are just a drop in the bucket.  What you need to focus on is LOVE.  Remember what that is?  Yeah, well you felt it with him for the first time in a long time.  And I know he felt the same about you.  So do yourself a favour:  take a break from thinking about all these heavy issues all you like, but when he comes walking back into your life, with a big smile and open heart asking for forgiveness that you had to deal with all this, try giving him some space too.  Offer to pick up where you left off, if only slowly, and I guarantee you one thing:  JP will prove to you he is every bit the man you thought he was during your first few dates with him, and more... He may even end up being your partner for life. That's not an outcome written in the stars, as Shakespeare would say, but in ourselves.  If your heart of hearts tells you he's the One, give him a second chance.
An excellent YouTube video that compliments this discussion is:

The Consequences of "Trading Up" - by Lauren Southern

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