Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 2:29 pm | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

Bizarre Behavior & Culture-Bound Syndromes: Crush Fetish

Supreme Court agrees to decide whether law tramples free-speech rights

The Ventura County Star recently reported the discovery by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office of the pleasure some people had when crushing insects and animals that “led to a federal law that is now the subject of a legal battle that involves questions about animal cruelty, free speech and the specter of censorship.”

Neil Rocklin
Neil Rocklin

We explained this bizarre paraphilia or sexual fetish, in our blog on Aug. 26. G.A. Pearson, writing in the online journal Cultural Entomology, describes people whose fetish consists of watching insects being squashed.

These people get turned on by watching people (mostly women) squashing bugs. The more frightened the women and the larger the feet doing the squashing, the better. According to Pearson, who is an entomologist, there is even an entire publication devoted to promoting this fetish, The American Journal of The Crush Freaks, which has 500 or so subscribers. This ‘journal’ is the brainchild of filmmaker Jeff Vilencia, who makes films (like Smush) in the “crush” genre.

According to Vilencia, the crush fetishist fantasizes that they are the bug getting squashed. Vilencia had to close his production company after a federal anti-animal cruelty law criminalized his filmmaking in 1999. This law was in response to the depiction of live small animals being crushed or stomped on, and was sponsored by Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley. We have to consider if this is a fetish per se or anti-social (psychopathic) behavior, especially since cruelty to animals is one of the warning signs in children destined to become psychopaths. One of the leading proponents of the crushing of live animals, Bryan Loudermilk, was himself crushed to death in a scenario where he had himself penned under a vehicle that had driven on to his abdomen — “karma neh?”

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments regarding the law’s potential violation of free speech. “We were very careful with the bill to ensure that it doesn’t affect constitutionally protected free speech,” Gallegly told the Star. As a result of this law and other efforts, the Humane Society of the United States honored Gallegly in 2003 with a Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2009 with its Humane Law Enforcement Award.

Limits to bizarre acts of sexual satisfaction now become illegal and rightly so when animal and human lives lie in the balance. But we are left in awe of the power of a biological instinctual drive that compels people to such behavioral extremes. Perhaps a faulty brain circuit occurs during development that rewires the instinctual drive for species’ survival or a catastrophic environmental trauma one suffers results in the same brain disruption? Only with research will we have a better explanation and a way to treat this bizarre and dangerous behavior, but until then a law must suffice.

— Licensed clinical psychologist Neil Rocklin is a psychology lecturer at CSU Channel Islands. For the past 30 years, he has treated children, teens and adults with a host of psychological disorders, and currently teaches college students about personality development, abnormal behavior and criminal behavior. He writes the Bizarre Behaviors & Culture-Bound Syndromes blog with CSUCI colleague Kevin Volkan.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.