First there was the Dangerous Pictures Act, and then there was the Dangerous Cartoons Law. Now, courtesy of the Conservative Party, we could be in for new laws on "Dangerous Writings". If you thought Tories were not quite so censorious as New Labour, then this is a salutary reminder that they can be every bit as righteously …
One does have to ask, doesn't one.
"Baroness O'Cathain is widely regarded as being socially conservative..."
Is socially conservative a euphemism for being frigid?
Coming up next...
...criminally obscene thoughts. But only if they're realistic.
Photos, drawings, words. Next...
It's interesting that, historically, the right have been known as the party of excessive moralising and legislating against freedom of expression. The comment towards the top of the article shows how this perception has changed, probably due to the 'rise' of the libertarian right and New Labour's increasingly authoritarian shift.
Of course, the rest of the article demonstrates that the Tories are still just as prudish as ever.
Meet the new Boss
Just like the old Boss...
Get burning them books
"writings which portray life-threatening acts, acts likely to result in serious injury to anus, breasts or genitals, sexual interference with a human corpse" - well, that's my copy of Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho guilty on all counts. Repeatedly.
A question occurs
Given the government's reliance on cherry-picked research, along with the recent events with the chiropractors suing for libel a researcher who published evidence that rubbing someone's neck doesn't cure cancer, why aren't the bdsm community suing for libel those researchers the government is cherry-picking? Not only does it impede this legislation, it also makes money for whoever does it.
Ban the Bible then?
"would make it illegal to possess extreme pornographic literature. That means not pictures or cartoons, but words on a page."
Oh good - can we ban the Bible please? The King James version contains some very offensive passages with descriptions of vile sexual practices and explicit violence.
Paris, because there's not a dirty word in her mind ...
This is awful
it is 1984 - Thought Crime, Touch your Toes Mr Smith.
Fantasy - Reality two different things, I suppose if your Fantasy self got locked up in a Fantasy Jail, for some Fantasy writing, then it would work out, but somehow these 'law' makers seem to want to mix fantasy with reality.
See what happens when the pressure is taken off them, they plough on with their hypocrisy.
Media needs to jump on this more, and reveal the names of all the people who have contributed and presented the bill, then their conduct can be put under the microscope. No one is innocent in this country, there is always something, and someone willing to spill the beans.
Laws are not meant to be made up willy nilly, the 10 commandments pretty much covers it, and throw in the Golden Rule for good measure, we should be removing laws not making more. The only extra laws we need are those to be used to govern the government, they need less protection, more regulation, and stiffer penalties for any infraction.
Insults at risk
I'd tell the tories to go f*** themselves, only that may now fall foul of the proposed law.
"...make it a criminal offence to possess writings which portray life-threatening acts, acts likely to result in serious injury to anus, breasts or genitals..."
Better get the DIY books out of the pub quick, then: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5748855/Man-cuts-off-own-penis-during-drunk-DIY.html
It used to be that people could do as they liked and the state would step in only when it affected other parties.
Now we have a bunch of Mary Whitehouses in the Houses of Parliament desperate to ban everything.
There has to have been something fundamentally wrong with the past two generations worth of education (perhaps government policy?) when parliament finds itself in a position of having to legislate on things we used to call "Common Sense"
Perhaps the government could help the economic recovery along a bit by creating some new jobs on a committee and study group of 'Bloody Silly Legislation" or "Internal Department Investigation Of Terminal Stupidity"
Readers should contribute to the already overtaxed brains of Government acronym creators by coming up with some alternative names for this new and very necessary department ?
possible banned books
So that would include banning the booker prize winning The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma (I couldn't read that book myself but that's no reason why it should be banned or the issues raised be presented in public). And what about Lolita ?
I'll tell you what next - government legislation preventing everyone from even _thinking_ about a quickie at bedtime... The thought police will be everywhere very soon, you mark my words!
of for the love of...
... that would probably make me a "criminal sexual deviant" (rather than the normal run-of-the-mill sexual deviant) because I own some Clive Barker, Richard Laymon and other books by similar authors.
Three books that sprung to mind without even thinking about it:
When do we start burning all the books?
Mine is the Fireman's jacket
A book about a chainsaw waving maniac removing the breasts of your virgins is okay, just as long as he doesn't have wood.
Brilliant. Proof if it were ever needed, that the lunatic are running the asylum.
Can we have a "Will the last person to leave turn off the lights" icon?
Actually, BOTH extreme wings of the political spectrum have been historically associated with puritanism and a desire to control.
The current crop of New Labour are social conservatives of the puritan variety - 100 years ago they'd have been crying down fire and brimstome on the morally lax of all classes; the tories are social conservatives of the royalist variety - 100 years ago they'd have been pouring contumely on the indolent unwashed lower classes. Both sides would of course have been privately engaging in all sorts of shenanigans. One law for those in power, another for the plebs...
It's only illegal....
....if it's considered pornographic...
Surely that's a bit subjective? ... all that would be required to overturn it would be to... er ...purge the daily mail readership. Pass the white sheets and the burning torches round.....plenty for everyone.
Thank you again, Mr Ozimek, for keeping us informed of such tyrannical legislation.
If this amendment is accepted and becomes law, the continued lawful possession of - how shall I put it? - indecent writings about children, would then seem anomalous. We would have all kinds of so-called child porn images being illegal to possess, along with extreme pornographic images and writings. But written child porn would still be legal to possess. It's not at all hard to imagine what parliament might decide to do about that "loophole".
So, we can expect huge numbers of normal, ordinary, healthy teenagers to be criminalised simply for writing (and thereby possessing) smutty fantasies about people their own age. The result is that the very children who are supposed to be protected end up being made criminals for basically being adolescents. What kind of society legislates in such ways as to make normal, young people ashamed of their own, emerging sexualities?
As a former child, with many years of experience of being under the age of eighteen, I can certainly say that such legislation would be totally unacceptable. It will be defied by many hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of ordinary, healthy teenagers - often unknowingly.
But what if that "loophole" isn't closed? What if this proposed amendment becomes law, so that possession of extreme pornographic writings is a crime, but indecent writings about children remain lawful to possess? What message would that send? (This government does like to send legislative messages, after all.) That sexual abuse of children isn't as bad as BDSM-themed fantasies involving only fully consenting adults? Surely, if this amendment becomes law, the subsequent "loophole" would have to be closed.
Please, for the sake of the children: STOP THIS LUNATIC LEGISLATION NOW!
You don't have to search far on t'internet to find literature portraying bodily mutilation - news / current affairs / history sites often have details accounts of real life experiences (just look at enforcement methods used by practically every dictatorship in history!) as well as the hyperactive imaginations of some pr0n authors. Someone needs a serious reality check here - just because someone's reading the literature (and if it's online, their computer will automatically download and save a copy in the cache - and even if privacy mode is turned on, your ISP will probably save a copy on your behalf, whether you like it or not...), it doesn't mean they'll be any more likely to recreate the plot in real life than anyone else.
It's just a rehash of the stupid video game violence theory (violent crime is on the increase, and more people are playing violent computer games, therefore violent computer games cause people to become violent )
I hope that Catholics..
Will be voting against the original clause as well as the amendment. Otherwise there'll be a lot of devotional works depicting Saint Agatha destroyed, and religious folk in jail for possessing them.
(I'm sorry to say I don't know who the patron saint of anuses is.)
I've said it before but why is it deemed perfectly fine to portray murder and violence but some kind of heinous evil to portray kinky sex between two consenting adults?
Is it only me that finds that a deeply unhealthy attitude?
So let's encourage people to be desensitised to violence and to be massively uptight about sexual expression. My feeling is, though INE, is that this isn't just storing up problems for the future but actively encouraging them!
Extreme Satiric Writings?
Is it time for some extreme satiric writings? Starring Baroness O'Cathain, Martin Salter, Maria Eagle, etc. And maybe set in Guatemala.
Better make sure the story includes a character daring to draw dirty pictures of children, just for good measure. (Imagine if it actually does end up becoming a crime, one day, to possess written descriptions of someone drawing and possessing cartoons of adults having sex in front of children. Isn't it sad that this isn't entirely implausible anymore?)
"Like that Act, this amendment would only apply if the writing was deemed to be pornographic"
of courts will have to decide if I was reading a work to be aroused or if I was reading it for "arts" sake?
so a picture of a naked person is pronagraphic if it is in a magiseen but not if it is in a frame in a garrley??
simmerley a story of peron being raped and murdered is porn if on asstr but not if it is in a slasher novle??
How soon until we know whether this will pass into law, will there even be a vote or a debate for it?
How likely is this to come into law and how soon will we know I guess is what I am asking.
Further amendments needed
The bill defines "extreme writing", but fails to even mention extreme ironing or extreme croquet.
".. he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel" -- Judges 19:29-30
"every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin." -- Genesis 17:10-11, 23-24
"Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death." -- Genesis 22:19
"The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines" 1 Samuel 18:25
What about sound recordings?
I'm pretty sure that a significant part of the work of death metal band Cannibal Corpse would be caught under this law, except that it doesn't seem to cover music, only writings and film. If this law passed, would I be allowed to own Cannibal Corpse albums and listen to songs like "F---ed With A Knife" and "Necropaedophile", so long as I threw away the lyric booklet?
(Not that I would want to own a Cannibal Corpse album, but the point needs to be made.)
What this Lady fails to realise
is that the enterprising mind can find sexual stimulation and gratification in any material, regardless of the original intent of its creator.
For instance, I am now looking at a selection of pictures of Baroness O'Cathain and having some rude thoughts about her. It's not easy, but I'm sufficiently bloodyminded to want to prove the point.
Emigration. Has to be the only real option and choice any of us actually have anymore.
This country is circling the drain before the flush.
What about cannibalism?
If someone finds cannibalism erotic, then a story about cannibalism might be pornographic to that person. But most people simply wouldn't recognise such stories as erotic at all. Are such writings to remain entirely legal to own?
I wonder what Baroness O'Cathain would make of that? Would she understand that eroticism and obscenity only really exist in the mind of the reader?
What about extreme furniture porn?...
So writing about having babies would be illegal?
It's a sexual act that often wrecks a womans genitals (at least for a while).
OK, I actually get the whole animation thing, after all animation/CGI is now so realistic, while there isn't a victim the viewer won't know this, in future if you had kiddie porn and claimed it wasn't real regardless of how realistic it was it's not a defense (fair enough, the price we pay might have to be artistic restriction) but extending this into fake snuff or written porn is not drawing a line that needs to be drawn.
Four Hundred Fifty One
Degrees Fahrenheit that is. Sorry, don't what it is in Celsius off the top of my head.
Hey Reg, we need a Guy Fawkes icon damn it!!
"anus, breasts or genitals"
"an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals"
I've just realised what the significance of that "anus, breasts or genitals" phrase is. It's because the people who write these laws are criminalising only what they themselves think would be erotic. Amusingly, whoever originally came up with the "anus, breasts or genitals" significantly omitted buttocks. They obviously don't regard buttocks as erotic, yet do regard the anus as erotic - they're into anal sex, but don't get turned on by having their bum groped.
What's really striking is what this must mean for the rest of such legislation. It means they find bestiality and necrophilia erotic, but not cannibalism. It means they find life threatening activity erotic, too, but not mere sexual assault.
This kind of interpretation of such legislation - that the legislation tells us what the legislators themselves find erotic - could be useful in prising their minds open a bit. Assuming they're going to deny finding, say, necrophilia erotic themselves, they'll have to aggree that there are some things that some people do find erotic that they themselves don't. Cannibalism is a good example to then give them.
Once they've accepted that, for some people, cannibalism is itself an erotic activity, they can be introduced to more and more examples of seemingly non-sexual activity that is nevertheless erotic to those with such kinks and fetishes. Then ask them how a jury of mostly normal people are supposed to recognise such stuff as "pornographic". They'll find it harder and harder to make the "pornographic" part of such legislation do an adequate job.
A key thing for them to then recognise is that the definition of "pornographic" in such legislation essentially limits the proscribed material to that material that most people would recognise as being "pornographic". That limits how extreme and unusual it could be. The most extreme, most unusual stuff - such as cannibalism - would still remain legal to possess - potentially driving the Graham Couttses of this world to even greater extremes. I mean, just imagine if he'd actually eaten Jane Longhurst instead of just storing her body!
Might this be a way to prize their minds open, even if just a bit?
Re: What this Lady fails to realise
"For instance, I am now looking at a selection of pictures of Baroness O'Cathain and having some rude thoughts about her. It's not easy, but I'm sufficiently bloodyminded to want to prove the point."
She's about to star in some sadistic lesbian fanfic. With Paris.
Thanks for the idea, AC.
At an Ann Summers party recently, the hostess didn't let me have a penis point for the word "perpendicular". She said no-one could find geometry sexy. Oh how wrong she was.
@Anonymous Coward "Cover up those table legs, Mother, you're inflaming my sexual ardour" (c/o Bill Bailey)
Don't panic quite yet
Instead note the comment in the article that "this amendment has little chance of progressing through parliament".
Quicker than I though...
I reckoned that by the end of the next decade, the UK would be a police state worse that East Germany ever was. Boy, was I wrong... I didn't think you guys would make it that quickly.
Ah, BTW, wouldn't that law make most of your newspapers illegal?
Re: "anus, breasts or genitals"
Looks like bagpiping's okay as well. Happy days
re:Re: What this Lady fails to realise
""For instance, I am now looking at a selection of pictures of Baroness O'Cathain and having some rude thoughts about her. It's not easy, but I'm sufficiently bloodyminded to want to prove the point."
She's about to star in some sadistic lesbian fanfic. With Paris.
Thanks for the idea, AC.""
we all apreacate the horrors you face in the name of freedom *shudder*
you sirs are heros!!
As usual with anti-sex laws, this brings the administration of justice into disrepute
"acts likely to result in serious injury to anus, breasts or genitals, sexual interference with a human corpse"
What's so special about the anus, breasts, and genitals? Why is serious injury to truly important organs like the fingers, eyes, ears, heart, and brain not also verboten? Why are injuries of the "naughty bits" apparently okay if they aren't "serious"? What about acts that may cause such serious injuries, but aren't likely to (i.e. serious injury is by mischance)? Is non-sexual interference with a human corpse okay? Are moobs covered, or are "breasts" only a female phenomenon in the minds of those drafting this crap legislation?
If someone gets the lining of their anal canal tattooed with, say, a fresco of Labour's ladies (Hazel, Jackie, Harriet, et al), some questions: Is that part of the anus, or is it a distinct organ? Is injury likely? If so, is it *serious* injury? And what about the minor detail that it was done with the full consent of the tattooee?
Is the application of lipstick to a human corpse by an mortician *sexual* interference? After all, lipstick is almost entirely intended to send a sexual signal.
A Philadelphia lawyer could run circles around the prosecution in such cases and in the process demonstrate that, as usual, the law is an ass.
Much, much more seriously: Prudish prohibitions like this always make me think that somebody, somewhere, has serious sexual hangups. Is it right that the psycho-sexual maladjustments of the few should be the basis for public policy affecting all?
Icon for the burning of books...
... so that's every copy of the works of the Marquis De Sade, Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch, The Story of O by Pauline Reage...
How long before the British Taliban decide that even more stuff must be banned to protect our Moral Purity...?
"Crash" by J G Ballard
I think this, as well as "Naked Lunch" by Burroughs would be banned. Great works of literature banned by these Tory barbarians - sometimes I wonder who is really defending civilisation. It turns out it is us lot, the liberal-minded who mostly inhabit the Labour party, it seems.
We're doomed to hell in a hand basket.
"Like that Act, this amendment would only apply if the writing was deemed to be pornographic – so any number of slasher novels would remain OK, whilst similar writings with sexual overtones could instantly condemn their possessor to a criminal record."
The problematic word in that quote is "pornographic". It's too subjective and personal. You'll find a lot of people who think a thong or a g-string, or a woman going topless, is pornographic. I've heard people decry that the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar is pornographic. Additionally, there are some people who become aroused by dangerous situations. As such, even slasher novels aren't guaranteed protections from such an idiotic law.
One of my biggest questions is whether or not they define "mutilate", and if so, what the definition is. There are many people, especially in the medical and mental health professions, who consider body piercings to be mutilation. Given the prevalence of nipple and hood piercings, almost always done to enhance sexual pleasure from what I'm told, I imagine much writing would immediately be considered pornographic and extreme because of the mention of such piercings, and would thus be illegal. Of course, so are all pictures and videos depicting people with such piercings.
Since the world seems to be so gung-ho about dedicating every single day to any number of causes, I vote that we create a "Pre-1984 Day". On that day, we can all wax nostalgic about how life was back when actions were illegal and thoughts were acceptable (you may be demented and a psychopath or sociopath, but you were still entitled to your thoughts), back when you could do whatever you wanted in the privacy of your own bedroom (as long as you weren't hurting someone without their consent), back when sex was considered a good thing. Nowadays, with porn more popular than ever (and the quantity of it more than ever), with society's attitudes towards sex and the human body so much more open, the vocal minority and the government are doing everything they can to make sure sex is kept within rigidly-defined lines (missionary position only, five minutes, once per month, with the lights out, for the sole purpose of procreation, not enjoyment), that sex is never spoken of, and that the human body is fully clothed at all times (and yet, for some reason, nude art and sculptures from centuries past is somehow acceptable).
$deity help us when they do finally legislate ThoughtCrime. Ever thought about killing someone? Well, then it's off to the clink for you because you are obviously a danger to society. However, if you work for a "defense contractor", and you dream of new and exciting ways to maim, torture, and murder people, then you're a good citizen doing his/her best to protect your country. It's only those people who have no intention of actually killing someone that are dangerous.
@ AC 15:12
You haven't been paying attention for the last 12 years, I take it. You do know the government, whose populist claptrap this legislation is, is a Labour one?
Baroness O'Cathain can stick this ridiculous amendment up her a*se.
Writings about "acts likely to result in serious injury to anus" ...
What have I done???
"sexual interference with a human corpse" - presumably including vampires. So that rules out the Twilight saga and everything by Anne Rice.
You can take that as good or bad, I guess.
First book to be banned is ...
1 Samuel 18:27
"Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins"
Sounds pretty damamging to the genitals to me.