In the Dark

Puritan Pervert

Produced by American Zoetrope
Written and directed by Bill Condon
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Pervert.  Although the word has been drummed out of polite conversation in recent years, pervert comes inevitably to mind when discussing Alfred C. Kinsey, the sex statistician and subject of Bill Condon’s new film, KinseyPervert perfectly applies to the man who spent his life trying to erase this word from our vocabulary.  Etymologically, it comes from the Latin per (thoroughly) and vert (turn).  To be perverted, then, means to turn or be turned thoroughly away from the normal.  This was Kinsey, a man who turned away from the normal in sexual relations and succeeded in turning his wife, his colleagues, and, eventually, a significant portion of America with him.  He did so by claiming to demonstrate that there was no basis for classifying any sexual activity as abnormal, including but hardly limited to wife-sharing, hetero and homo group sex, voyeurism, sadomasochism, pedophilia, and—one of his own favorite pastimes—masturbating by means of urethral insertion, preferably using a toothbrush, bristle-end first.

Initially, Kinsey’s turning was not something he freely chose.  It was forced upon him by his unusually contentious upbringing.  Whatever else...

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