We talked to that guy who compared necrophilia to abortion on Twitter, and it got very weird
He then went on to compare necrophilia to gay marriage!
Sometimes you see a take so blistering, so bizarre and base-level abhorrent that it makes you stop and wonder if everyone should be allowed to post things online (spoiler: nobody should).
This week, that take was from Justin Murphy, a 31-year-old academic (?) and blogger based in the U.K. who shock-and-awed Twitter with a tweet, and then more defensive tweets, comparing necrophilia and abortion.
We talked to Justin on the phone to get a better idea about what's good with him, and why he wants to make the internet reconsider corpse sex.
The question of necrophilia does raise some interesting and useful challenges to many comfortably held positions today. For instance, if you're pro-choice in the abortion debate, I find it very difficult to see how you could possibly have ethical objections to necrophilia.
— Justin Murphy (@jmrphy) May 14, 2018
Can you tell me how you drew the parallel between necrophilia and abortion? Because obviously, at face value, it's kinda nuts.
So I have a friend on Twitter who's queer, she's a trans woman, and she's also interested in radical theoretical political ideas and a few days ago, she was going on about necrophilia, referring to her interest in necrophilia and kind of making fun of people who were not down with it. It made me think about, 'y'know, you could actually justify necrophilia on grounds of queer politics or even more mainstream feminist politics.'
Could you flesh that out a little bit more for me?
If you support a woman's right to choose what she does with her body then there's no reason why you wouldn't support a woman's right to choose if she wants a cold, hard piece of an inanimate dead body inside of her body. If you wanna tell a woman that she can't have sex with a dead corpse, that seems like you're telling her what she's allowed to do with her own body. And I think if you support a woman's right to choose what she does with her body, you're gonna be inclined to support her necrophilic enjoyment.
What do you think about that, Katie?
What do I think about that. Um. Well, we don't really support a woman's right to steal a car with her body, you know? You can't really just do crimes.
Is this a real thing that you think, or is this just a thought experiment?
Oh, I don't actually have very strong viewpoints about abortion or necrophilia, to be perfectly honest. I'm kind of unsure what I ultimately think about both of them, in part because of this tension.
So nobody needs to have sex with a corpse for medical reasons, but there is sometimes the medical necessity for an abortion. Does that sway anything for you?
No, that's it. There's medical justification for the existence of abortion, but no one's gonna die because they don't get to have sex with a dead body.
So that is, on the face of it, a very reasonable and plausible thought. I would say in many cases, that's perfectly appropriate. In cases of rape and in cases of really vital, urgent, fatal risk from pregnancy complications, things like that does raise unique situations in which a woman might choose to abort in a way that could potentially be justified. I think that in the large class of cases, where abortion could be justified on grounds that even a normal pregnancy is highly demanding on women, and does present risks to women, no doubt. The difficult thing about that justification or exception to my analogy is that it…you could actually imagine cases in which necrophilia could be justified on the same grounds, I think, actually.
Could you tell me about a parallel scenario you could imagine where someone's need to have sex with a dead body is equivalent to a woman's medical need to get an abortion?
Uh. Yeah, let me think. Well, it all depends on how severe you see the risks of pregnancy. So, for instance — and, by the way, I'm just in thought experiment mode — I don't actually have very firm opinions about all of these things.
Yeah, for sure.
So long as people are able to point to any magnitude of risk as the type of risk that justifies doing it, you could imagine any number of crazy people saying they have the right to fuck a dead body because if they don't, then some X, Y, or Z risk is going to happen to them. I mean, you could easily imagine people making those claims.
What could they claim would happen to them if they didn't have sex with a dead body?
Um, severe emotional stress, maybe? Maybe if you have a very deep sexual or romantic attraction to a corpse, and you're not allowed to have union with it, you could very well argue that it's inflicting emotional pain and suffering on you that's equivalent to some married couple not being allowed to be together, or something like that.
For instance, when gay people were not allowed to get married, I think a lot of people made very reasonable arguments that that's fucked up because people are gay, they love each other, and they should enjoy their life together. To not let them do that is a serious violation of their rights. I think necrophilic people could very well say the same thing about not being able to have union with dead bodies.
But doesn't that endow the dead body with more humanity than the abortion argument really allows for?
I'm not sure I follow what you mean.
Like if you're saying that the corpse is not alive, it doesn't count as a real person, then I don't really think you can also draw parallels between the act of having sex with a corpse and gay sex.
Yeah, that's a good point, I can see that.
Did you expect the sort of magnitude of response that you ended up getting?
No, of course not. Unless you're some sort of provocateur, you'd never really expect that to happen.
You wouldn't consider yourself a provocateur?
No. Not at all.
So you didn't think that comparing getting an abortion to necrophilia was going to be a provocative opinion?
Alright, fair enough. Do you think you're making the world a better place? Do you think you're making the dialogue better?
I certainly don't think that any particular edgy tweet has any effect on the world's course, no. I don't make anything that I make on any kind of stupid idea that some particular culture product I put into the world is gonna like, change people's minds in a good way. I think whenever an individual says exactly what they think… or puts out into the world whatever questions they personally find interesting… in the long run it's always a good thing for society at large.
Alright, I do have to ask you this: would you have sex with a dead body?
Hmm. Well, Katie, I'm a happily married man, so having sex with a dead body is out of the question for me.
Gotcha, that makes sense. Alright, thank you Justin.
I was so caught up in the interview, which has been condensed and edited for clarity, I forgot to ask Justin about how he'd answer to anyone who found the whole analogy baseline offensive, because it kinda fucking is. He responded by linking me to a feminist theory he says supports his stance and telling me " the analogy is not between corpses and women. The analogy is between corpses and embryos."
If you wanna wade into that, it's all yours.
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