KINK OF POP

The New York Post
638085 All Editions
News
Published: 05/01/2005
Page: 024

PORNOGRAPHY is said to be in the eye of the beholder, and here at the Michael Jackson trial, prosecutors are not allowed to use the word. They have to call the stacks of X-rated magazines and books and movies they pulled out of Michael Jackson’s master bedroom “adult material.”
But exhibits No. 841 and 842, introduced in court on Friday, are more than that. They are two coffee-table-sized picture books with the provocative titles: “Boys Will Be Boys” and “The Boy: A Photographic Essay.”
Senior Assistant District Attorney Ron Zonen presented the two picture books with a bland description, “One book is 90 percent nude boys and the other is about 10 percent.”
Zonen didn’t project any of the pictures up onto the courtroom’s big screen, and I noticed as he carried the books to and from the witness box, the jury strained to get a glimpse.
I learned of the books several months ago. One is out of print but I was able to buy a 40-year-old copy of “The Boy: A Photographic Essay” on the Internet for $250. This rare, 40-year-old book was described as a “classic of homo-erotica.”
From the witness box, Detective Rosibel Ferrfurfino-Smith described to the jury how she seized the books from a locked filing cabinet in Jackson’s bedroom closet in the 1993 raid on Neverland.
“They feature young boys,” the detective said to the jury in a clipped tone. “Some are clothed, some are nude, they are in various positions – swimming, jumping, playing.”
What an understatement!
I’m a mother, and when I flipped through the more than 200 pages of the book I bought, I was shocked.
Nestled in between the pages of “normal” photographs of young males, there are photographs of naked prepubescent boys stretched out in erotic poses on rocks near a stream. A frightened-looking pre-teen, wearing nothing but tennis shoes, is seen from below, precariously climbing a gnarled tree.
There are what some might call “art” photographs of nude young boys bathed in dramatic lighting – one highlighting the torso of a boy with glistening beads of water on his chest. Four different boys are featured on one page, each with something in his mouth – a banana, a hot dog, bottles of soda.
Joe Gelfand, a retired NYPD child sex crimes detective, looked at the book with me. He studied it with an experienced eye.
“I’ve made many arrests in my day, and many times we’ve seen photographs like this in the homes of pedophiles. It’s not sexually explicit, but it is erotica.”
The boys in the book were photographed in all different environments. Boys are seen posed in the forest, the playground and the bedroom. There are dozens of pictures of unclothed boys frolicking in water.
Michael Jackson’s defense attorney made it clear in court that it is not illegal to own these types of books. When Detective Ferrfurfino-Smith agreed, he instructed her to read aloud what Jackson inscribed inside the “Boys Will Be Boys” book.
“Look at the true spirit of happiness and joy in these boys’ faces. This is the spirit of boyhood. A life I’ve never had and will always dream of. This is the life I want for my children.”
It’s clear from that inscription that Michael Jackson studied the faces of the boys inside. They touched him in ways we cannot understand, made him pine for his lost childhood.
Gelfand said when he looked at the faces in the book, he saw something very different. “There was someone behind that camera deliberately posing these boys like this,” he said. “I see them as victims.”

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