Talk:Peter Lamborn Wilson

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Who?[edit]

While we're in the midst of something deep here... Who the blazes is Robert Anton Wilson ? Should we remember Peter Lamborn Wilson for his sake ? -—Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.193.180.172 (talkcontribs)

PL Wilson and "Boy Love"[edit]

I've just recently read Peter Lamborn Wilson's book T.A.Z. and found numerous unamigous endorsements of boy/child "love", to put the term lightly. Investigating this through the interview, I find that Mr. Wilson has also written a lot for NAMBLA and published poetry of this nature. It's quite strange to me that this is omitted from his page here on Wiki. I see that this has been discussed on here before, but given that it is published publicly in his OWN books, shouldn't this be included in the controversy/criticism part of his page here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.206.28.38 (talk) 20:26, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Edit: sorry that shouldn't say "interview", but "internet" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.206.28.38 (talk) 20:28, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

I should add, this author has been heavily criticised for this too. Look at book reviews on sites like Goodreads, or just general google searches, it seems like at least 50% of articles about this writer include some kind of disclaimer against his unorthodox endorsements. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.206.28.38 (talk) 20:30, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Unfortunately, every so often someone turns up who is less-interested, or completely un-interested in Wilson's theoretical work, or in a balanced encyclopaedic entry, than in engaging in what (as someone said up-thread) can appear a witchhunt – by bloating and distorting the article into a tabloid piece with additional single-topic material, which in essence merely repeats what has already been succinctly stated. The information has not been omitted. However, as it represents only a small fraction of Wilson's body of work, and is not in any way the most notable aspect of it, it warrants only the brief mention already given.Engleham (talk) 12:04, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
As the article currently stands, I'd say the matter hasn't been 'succinctly stated' so much as obscurely hinted at. The only mention in the body text that I can see is the phrase 'sacred pederasty in the Sufi tradition', which links to an article that itself has multiple issues.
I'd also take issue with a recent revert comment which states that defamatory material is 'not allowed'. I disagree with this comment for a couple of reasons:
  • Looking at the BLP guidelines, I can see only that such material 'should be treated with special care'. (I'm willing to be corrected on this point: please direct me to any relevant guidelines I may have overlooked.)
  • A defamatory statement is necessarily false, according to this article, which is linked to from the policy on libel.
I feel that the main hurdle to a franker outline of the controversy is the lack of reliable sources, as discussed by others above. Meticulo (talk) 01:29, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

I think the article does need to contain at least some coverage of this issue. If you are looking for a source, Michael Muhammad Knight discusses Wilson's history of "boy love" writings and Knight's own personal struggle in coming to terms with this aspect of Wilson in his book William S. Burroughs vs. The Qur'an. Knight's style is very informal and autobiographical, but he has personally met Wilson (including spending the night at his house), has extensively studied his works (both as a fan and also as part of an abortive plan to write Wilson's "official biography"–which fell through because Knight and Wilson had a falling due to this very issue) and it is a book published by a reputable publisher, so you could argue it is a reliable source. (As a source it is probably more sympathetic than hostile over all – Knight starting point is he likes Wilson and wants to like Wilson, but as he discovers this aspect of Wilson's views he just can't bring himself to accept it.) 180.181.102.164 (talk) 11:41, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

I've been bold and added a citation to a review of the Knight book, fully expecting this to be contested. It would be great if someone who has access to the Knight book itself could add a citation directly from it. Thanks - Meticulo (talk) 01:28, 14 March 2017 (UTC).
Here is a quote from Knight's book. You can verify it yourself with Google Books. We probably don't want to quote as much as I've quoted (two paragraphs worth), but I'm not sure exactly what to quote and what to leave out. Michael Knight (17 April 2012). William S. Burroughs vs. The Qur'an. Soft Skull Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-1-59376-415-9. He doesn't know that I've read the NAMBLA poems or Crowstone or that I would have a problem with it. I'm not a liar yet, because at least I'm trying to work this out for myself. But it doesn't look good. I try to see it as Sufi allegory, a hidden parable somewhere in all the porn, like Ibn 'Arabi's poems about Nizam or Rumi's donkey-sex story. Does anyone accuse Rumi of bestiality? Apart from the ugly zahir meaning, the surface-level interpretation, there could be a secret batin meaning, and the boys aren't really boys but personifications of Divine Names. It almost settles things for me, but writing for NAMBLA amounts to activism in real life. As Hakim Bey, Peter creates a child molester's liberation theology and then publishes it for an audience of potential offenders. [paragraph break] The historical settings that he uses for validation, whether Mediterranean pirates or medieval fringe Sufis, relate less to homosexuality than to prison rape: heterosexual males with physical and/or material power but no access to women, claiming whatever warm holes are available. What Hakim Bey calls "alternative sexuality" is in fact only old patriarchy–the man with the beard expressing his power through penetration. His supporters might dismiss "childhood" as a mere construction of the post-industrial age, but Hakim Bey forces me to consider that once in a while, I have to side with the awful modern world. 180.181.102.164 (talk) 00:43, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

We can also use this source: Sellars, Simon (2010). "Hakim Bey: Repopulating the Temporary Autonomous Zone". Journal for the Study of Radicalism. 4 (2): 83–108. doi:10.1353/jsr.2010.0007. ISSN 1930-1197.. I think this is a very fair source to use, since it quotes the criticism of Wilson/Bey while simultaneously defending him against it (whether or not you find the defence convincing.) I tried to insert some quotes, but the Wikipedia software says it is an "unconstructive edit", so I can't. But I was going to provide some quotes of the section Second backlash: “Opportunism, not good will”, on pages 99–101, which extensively discusses Robert Helms allegations (including quoting from him), and then provides a defence of Wilson/Bey (on the grounds that the criticism muddles the distinction between sexual attraction to children and sexual attraction to adolescents.) Anyway, if you read that paper, I'm sure the relevant section of it can be summarised into something that can go into the article, and meet the BLP sourcing requirements. 180.181.102.164 (talk) 03:07, 19 March 2017 (UTC)


OK, so here is the whole quote I was going to paste – this is an extensive extract from pages pages 99–101, although I skipped some bits–I have to use some weird wiki syntax when transcribing the word "pedophile" because the edit filter blocks it:

Hakim Bey remains a deeply divisive figure, no less controversial now than he was then. Much of this recent resentment, highly visible online, arises from accusations leveled against Wilson’s private life, especially in Robert P. Helms’s widely circulated series of articles. Helms asserts that Wilson’s earliest writings appeared in publications released by NAMBLA and other “man-boy love” organizations (including, he claims, an early version of the TAZ). For Helms, “the pedophile writings of Hakim Bey indicate a general deceit in his philosophy, and are evidence that his concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone is inspired by opportunism, not by good will. He presents arguments for human freedom while actually wishing to create situations where he is free to put his deranged sexuality into practice.” This, in turn, has inspired a new backlash against the TAZ, in which it is claimed that Wilson’s version of anarchism serves to justify pedophilia. Much of the opprobrium directed toward him stems from a perception of pedophilia as solely concerned with the grooming of prepubescent children for sexual purposes, and even rape (also from a muddling of the distinction between pederasty and pedophilia)...
It is clearly farfetched to suggest that Wilson/Bey is advocating sex with prepubescent children, as there is nothing in the texts to suggest this. Regarding pederasty, and regardless of one’s own views on the moral legitimacy of such sexual desire, it should also be recognized that Bey is not the first high-profile writer to admit to a sexual attraction toward adolescent boys. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg made no secret of it, yet by and large their readers do not seem to have trouble separating this from their consumption of the work...
Thus, the reactions to Wilson’s supposed sexual attitudes seem more to do with institutionalized homophobia brought to a head by Bey’s satirical intervention than they are to do with reasoned objections to a taboo subject that, historically, by many accounts, has not always been so. This intervention raises an important implication, one that a purely academic discourse could not to the same degree: if the TAZ, and any kind of alternative politics, can serve to reassess questions of race, disability, nationhood, and gender, why can it not be used to reassess sexuality? Inevitably, the reactions of Helms and his supporters do not bode well for a movement seeking to overturn government and society on the grounds of historical irrelevance.

Anyway, the above is way too much to quote all of it in the article, but I am leaving this here in the hope that somebody can summarise the above quote into something which meets Wikipedia's WP:RS and BLP policies. In particular, to comply with BLP (and just general fairness), I think it is important that we included defences of Wilson/Bey against the allegations, and Sellars quotes above provide some useful material to cite in that regard. 180.181.102.164 (talk) 03:37, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

And I found another source. This is discussing Michael Muhammad Knight's relationship with Wilson/Bey: Fiscella, Anthony (2 October 2009). "Imagining an Islamic anarchism: a new field of study is ploughed". In Alexandre J. M. E. Christoyannopoulos. Religious Anarchism: New Perspectives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 301. ISBN 978-1-4438-1503-1. Though still indebted to Wilson for publishing The Taqwacores, Knight has disavowed his former mentor due to Wilson's advocacy of paedophilia/pederasty. While standing up for an Islam that embraces all sorts of heresies, Knight has felt compelled to draw boundaries of his own. This book is a serious academic work so it should be usable. 180.181.102.164 (talk) 04:27, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

And here is another cite. Greer criticises Knight's book (William S. Burroughs vs. The Qur'an), finding Knight's claims to have only come become aware of Wilson's sexuality part way through researching his book hard to believe – see Greer, Joseph Christian (2013). "Occult Origins: Hakim Bey's Ontological Post-Anarchism" (PDF). Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies. 2013 (2): 166–187. hdl:11245/1.409610. ISSN 1923-5615. Retrieved 2017-03-19. footnote 21 on page 182:

This article opened by citing an anecdote from Knight’s biography of Wilson. It bears mentioning that Knight’s text is far from authoritative or even fully reliable. Half way through the text Knight claims to have become suddenly aware that Wilson promoted and espoused man-boy- love as a viable sexuality and immediately lost interest in recording his subject’s life. Knight then proceeded to finish the text with autobiographical writings intermingled with fictitious episodes of an Islamic superhero. His description of realizing Wilson’s sexuality, though, rings particularly bogus on account of the fact that Wilson is quite open about his sexuality, even to the point of devoting numerous texts to intergenerational relationships. It seems certain that Knight would have been well aware of Wilson’s sexuality long before starting to write his biography, and simply used it as an excuse to present his own work as superseding that of his former guru.

So, I would summarise that this topic is actually discussed extensively by WP:RS, you just have to go looking. I don't want to edit this article myself but the cites and quotes I provide above should be a sufficient basis for a section discussing this topic that passes RS and BLP standards. 180.181.102.164 (talk) 06:01, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Another reference is this masters thesis. Abdou, Mohamed (8 September 2009), Anarca-Islam (thesis), hdl:1974/5139 |access-date= requires |url= (help). Although, my understanding was that masters theses (as opposed to PhD theses) generally aren't considered reliable sources. Anyway, it is kind of rather neither here nor there, because it doesn't actually have that much to say, just quoting Fiscella's article I've already quoted above, and also providing a ref to one of Bey's writings in the NAMBLA Bulletin. (See endnote xvii on pages 134–135.) But anyway, thought I'd just mention it for completeness. 180.181.102.164 (talk) 06:16, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

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