So, we’re only a month or so into the Epstein Investigation/Scandal/Kiddie Raper Saga, and, according to Vice (, the dude had some really weird tastes.

Way, way back in my undergrad days, I took an economics course on the political economics of consumption (the act of buying stuff, not Tuberculosis). I forget the text we used, but the essential thesis of the course was that, in post-war America, the expanding middle class meant that everyone started getting their basic needs met without going completely bankrupt (my, how times have changed), which meant that life in the suburbs quickly became a competition of consumption (the “Keeping Up with the Joneses” phenomenon), which is unsustainable on a global level, and quickly expanded to emulating the upper classes. Which is why everyone now wants Italian sports cars and suits, Saudi citizenship, etc. And it’s why we don’t call people with those things “assholes who are benefiting from the extraction of conflict minerals and the continued exploitation of the working class.” Which is like tossing napalm into a kitchen fire; it’s not an ideal solution.

We talk a lot about how advanced the Scandinavian countries are, with good reason, What we never seem to mention — or grasp — is that being wealthy in those countries is, effectively, déclassé. What can I say? After years of being ruthlessly trammeled into the ground by rich, medieval nitwits, the peasants had enough and decided to add social stigma to needless wealth. Which is why Swedes driving Lamborghinis is something of a rarity.

What I’m getting at, here, is, if we want to get rid of pedophilia (and, based on the Epstein case, we have a huge, unspoken problem with it), we need to make everything associated with pedophiles disgusting. When I was in chemoradiation, my hair fell out along the path of my radiation treatments, so I had a really weird bald band that started at my right ear, and wrapped around the back of my head, and ended at my left ear. Hair around this weird “mange zone” was aplenty, so I could’ve gone for an extreme “High and tight” haircut. I didn’t; I went with a rather severe near-mohawk thing; not as impressive as Bill Paxton’s in Terminator, but not too far off. Why? Because Richard Spencer and the KKK-lite had already co-opted that look. Henry Rollins, on the other hand, remains awesome.

Similarly, I propose that we, as a society, start spitting on anyone with the classic, rich-pedophile tells. If they weren’t before, they sure as hell are, now.

  1. Private islands/land hoarding — Don’t get me wrong, I love islands, I love the tropics, I really love tropical islands, (I lived in the Caribbean for a year), there is no real benefit I know of that owning an island offers that simply going to a Club Med and booking a suite doesn’t. Actually, I do. At places like Club Med, there are cameras, extradition treaties, and you can’t actually hunt humans for sport (as far as I know). Even though we all need privacy and peace, I don’t think anyone needs several hundred-acres’-worth in the middle of the Atlantic. Come on, people, this is how you get Norman’s Cay, or Neverland Ranch (which, while not technically an island, was 4.2 square miles, and effectively functioned as a private reserve for the man to indulge his creepy tastes). Whenever someone tells you they own 40 acres in the Adirondacks and they aren’t a farmer or rancher, your next question should automatically be, “So, do you have meathooks on the premises, or are you more of a James Bond villain?”
  2. Self-portraits — I get the attraction of having family portraits or photos around; I do not have any photos or portraits of myself on my walls. Why? Because I can literally just walk to a mirror, and see what I look like, in real time. I get that this was an extreme honor in the 17th century, but I think that, like bubonic plague, crapping into a bucket, and decimating the Spanish fleet, it’s time to leave this one behind.
  3. Massive yachts — I’m talking about the kind with helipads and smaller, satellite yachts. And for the same reasons as personal islands — it’s just a smaller, more-mobile private murderland. Fortunately, we’ve made boat shoes without socks a social faux-pas (pay close attention to Guy Pearce’s footwear choices in Iron Man 3), surely we can make owning a fashion accessory that was made redundant with the development of the steam engine unfashionable.
  4. Erotic decor — Apparently, this was a big deal with J. Epstein, who had all sorts of weird erotic art pieces on display in his Manhattan townhouse. Short of having your Intenet browsing history professionally framed or answering the door naked (not advised, but it does keep Jehovah’s Witnesses away), I can’t think of a better way to shout to the world, “I’m a pervert!”

I’m sure there are many other items in Epstein’s possession that would be suspicious, and we should now include with Nazi haircuts as things that should automatically signal us to be wary, and I’ll try to keep you all informed as things get weirder (and they will, bet on that). Even though this is a light and fun piece, let’s not forget that we are glossing over the horrifying fact that a man used his wealth and connections to build an empire that enabled him to act on absolutely repulsive impulses. Are we really going to wait until the super-rich resort to cannibalism before we get mad? I’m not against wealth or profit, but I am against those things in such amounts that they literally enable people to get away with kidnapping and raping children. That’s several layers beyond greed or avarice; that is pure, shining evil. And we need to address it before it spreads.

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Science journalist, cancer survivor, biomedical consultant, the “Wednesday Addams of travel writers.”

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