Monday 23 October 2017

Eilis O'Hanlon: There's an ugly, dark side to Little Miss Sunshine

How can mums enter their children into pageants that are magnets for perverts

Eilis O'Hanlon

It was summer, in the days when there used to be summers, and he was walking along by the side of the open-air pool, filming the children as they splashed about in the water. He was in his sixties, at a guess, so he might've simply been a doting grandfather, except he was filming all the children indiscriminately, and didn't seem to be attached to any particular family group. It was one of those awkward moments. Should we say something? Confront him? Point him out to someone in authority?

How horrible if his reason for being there was entirely innocent. Then again, should the prospect of potential embarrassment stop you from doing what might be the right thing? In the end, awkwardness won out. No one did anything. Just glared at him, hoping the force of collective disapproval would drive him away. Finally he left. Alone. Camcorder full.

This was years ago. Nowadays, of course, he wouldn't have to lurk around public swimming baths, attracting attention. He could stay at home, downloading far worse images over the internet. You're only ever a few clicks of the mouse away from a world of sordid perversion undreamt of by previous generations of degenerates. Or else he could switch on satellite TV and watch Toddlers & Tiaras instead.

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