Eternal Youth


By William Van Meter

'Destroyer,' the controversial zine that objectified teen idols.

For the final issue of his biannual zine Destroyer in 2010, provocateur-in-chief Karl Andersson proudly ran a compendium of comments about the publication that had appeared in the media. Included among the litany were: “This is filth!”; “This magazine sexualizes children!”; “It is really, really disgusting!” But these attacks were not from right-wing politicosthey appeared in the gay press.

“The most controversial expression of homosexuality is when a man is attracted to an adolescent boy,” says Andersson. His magazine was billed as a “Journal of Apollonian Beauty and Dionysian Homosexuality,” when, really, it was a paean to the love of boys—young boys, not just the twinks of today’s homo-vernacular.

“The films that are called ‘barely legal’ feature men dressed as boys,” says Andersson, 36. “I find it quite uninteresting. It’s just drag. The models in Destroyer are well under 18.”

Started in 2006, each issue of Destroyer featured sexually suggestive shots of boys as young as 13 in various states of undress -- with an R-rating, rather than XXX. Many of the shoots took place in developing countries and sparked accusations of sexual tourism. In some images, it wasn’t clear if the boys knew they were being shot -- Andersson equates this work to photojournalism.

“Can you take a photo of a person who doesn’t know and publish it in a magazine?” he asks. “Legally, it is clear, but morally? Newspapers publish pictures of teenagers crying at a funeral when terrible crimes or accidents happen, and the photos are published on the front page. That’s the same thing. Why is this criticism coming for Destroyer and not the newspapers? This is based on homophobia -- it’s not OK for a man to find boys beautiful. Beauty is the strongest power that exists.”

Tags: Art & Books