Sunday, September 03, 2006

Porn and Censorship.....


A good piece from Carol Sarler on the proposed ban on violent internet porn. Mrs Longhurst's passion, is, she points out, understandable. But it seems highly doubtful such a ban
would have saved her daughter Jane from the violent death she met at the hands of a man she believed to have been her friend (see here) .

I have long been of the opionion that material does not drive people to violence - it is those inclined that way already who will be drawn towards such material. Or simply people who are a tad perverse. It is quite conceivable that people will find material stimulating that I, for one, would find abhorrent. Yet this doesn't mean they will act on it with a non consenting party. Many people may view all kinds of strange material and not act on it full stop. Thus is the nature of voyeurism. Ordinary People have all kinds of bizarre fetishes. None of which are the concern of the State unless there is the nature of non consent.

And where does this stop? Much material is violent. Boxing is violent and it is real, not acted. I don't get off on it. The men who participate in the sport are mainly working class and poor when they start out, as are many women involved in the sex industry. Yet I don't call to ban it.

I recall the scare about snuff movies, when it turned out that much, if not 100%, of the material involved actors feigning death. In which case it is not really all that different from most Hollywood 'action' blockbusters. As to why some people get kicks out of watching similuated death - it's one of the mysteries of the human condition. Better consult Freud and his musings on the relation between sex and death. The Hollywood movie 'Crash' (the earlier one involving a couple getting off on road accidents) also springs to my mind.

There is no evidence to correlate the viewing of imagery with real sexual violence on the part of individuals, despite the views of the anti porn campaigners. Even Mrs Longhurst concedes that she 'can never know 100%'.

Regarding censorship per se - Sarler is 100% right to point out that the consumers of any imagery should not be treated the same as the producers. I would include child porn in this. Those who produce such imagery should be prosecuted as children are not in the position of consenting to the making of it. But prosecuting the viewers will not stop the producers, nor will it address the fundamental issue of child abuse. And it does raise the issue of privacy and the policing of the internet. It really should be none of the State's business what people view online. Nobody likes the idea of a third party knowing their internet whereabouts. Measures should simply be taken to prosecute those who do make imagery of children, or sell and purchase them for sex.

Naturally it is a different matter with adults. They can consent. It is infantalising to suggest that the participants (at least the female ones) are unable to consent. When there is a matter of non consent and force the perpertrators should be prosecuted for kidnap and rape. Not for the distribution of obscene or violent imagery. Assault, rape, murder etc are the most important crimes. Filming of oneself commiting such atrocities is secondary to this.

It is fair enough that material be labelled and warnings attached if it contains scenes of graphic sex and violence. But it is not right for a nanny State to shield material from the public. Ultimately censorship will not stop sexual violence, and it is an authoritarian measure besides, giving the State power over what we can and cannot see. As Sarler States, government ministers should get out of our bedrooms and not keep promoting illiberal and populist measures designed to appease the constuency of the 'Daily Mail' (never mind the 'radical feminists' who have an unhealthy obsession with porn).

1 comment:

damiano said...

as gore vidal said the only bad thing about porn is it might encourage you to look at more. between consenting adults all's fair and the state should keep its nose out.