Archive for August, 2006

Opposition grows

Opposition to the proposed “violent porn” law continues to grow. Derek Cohen of the Spanner Trust:

There is a danger of not just criminalising people but putting a lot of fear into people who will be concerned that taking photographs of their own private sexual activities will send them to prison.

Other groups mobilising against the proposals are Ofwatch, Backlash, and Feminists Against Censorship.

The Home Office’s consultation paper can be seen here (not anymore!). It shows that the vast majority of individuals who responded to the question “Do you think the challenge posed by the Internet in this area requires the law to be strengthened?” answered “no”:


The organisations who support the legislation include 18 police forces and the usual suspects Mediawatch-UK, Mediamarch, and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship.

On pornography and violence

The government is planning to introduce oppressive and unworkable legislation to criminalise the possession of “violent pornography”. Yet not only is there no evidence of a correlation between the viewing of violent sexual images with actual real-life violence, but a recent research paper suggests that access to pornography actually reduces the incidence of sexual violence.

Anthony D’Amato of the Northwestern University School of Law (.pdf download of the paper) draws attention to a fact that is obvious when you think about it: if there was a correlation between the availability of pornography and the incidence of rape, then the massive increase of the former in this internet age would correspond with a similarly massive increase in the latter.

The opposite, in fact, is true. America has seen an 85% decrease in rape incidence in the last 25 years.

On why this should be the case, D’Amato offers his tentative opinion:

Correlations aside, could access to pornography actually reduce the incidence of rape as a matter of causation? In my article I mentioned one possibility: that some people watching pornography may get it out of their system and thus have no further desire to go out and actually try it. Another possibility might be labeled the Victorian effect: the more that people covered up their bodies with clothes in those days, the greater the mystery of what they looked like in the nude. The sight of a woman’s ankle was considered shocking and erotic. But today, internet porn has thoroughly de-mystified sex. Times have changed so much that some high school teachers of sex education are beginning to show triple-X porn movies to their students in order to depict techniques of satisfactory intercourse.

I am sure there will be other explanations forthcoming as to why access to pornography is the most important causal factor in the decline of rape. Once one accepts the observation that there is a precise negative correlation between the two, the rest can safely be left to the imagination.

The government’s proposed legislation is stupid and wrong.

(Thanks to The Pagan Prattle)

Beyer disappointed by new porn-ban proposals

Every cloud… . Smut campaigner John Beyer, director of the pro-censorship
group Mediawatch-UK, is very disappointed by the government’s proposals to
outlaw “violent pornography”. The don’t go far enough:

Despite acknowledging that many respondents felt
the proposals should go further, with tighter restrictions imposed
on all pornography the Home Office has shied away from this and
decided not to strengthen the weak and ineffective Obscene
Publications Act but to bring forward measures to deal only with
serious violence, sex with animals and corpses. It is a
great disappointment that hard-core pornographic material,
classified R18 by the British Board of Film Classification, has not
been considered.


These proposals will have no
impact at all on the deluge of pornography that is accessible on
television, on the Internet and on video and DVD. People are sick
and tired of being confronted with pornography and its false values
and would welcome a general clean up. The Government’s very limited
measures are simply not designed to achieve what the vast majority
of people want and this huge exploitative industry will be left
pretty much intact by New Labour.

There is an obvious piece of advice to offer someone who claims to be tired of pornography.

Interesting that, for once, Beyer is neglecting to link pornography and sexual violence. Could this just be an oversight on his part, or is he finally coming to realise the difference between correlation and cause? Or even better, that there is no evidence even for a correlation between the two?

Ban on violent porn imminent

Stupid, and dangerous.

Reading West MP Martin Salter:

This campaign has taken a huge amount of time and effort but it has struck a chord right across the country.

It is great news that the Government has not only listened but has responded to calls to outlaw access to sickening internet images, which can so easily send vulnerable people over the edge

Why should the government legislate on the basis of evidence, rather than emotion and vote-seeking opportunism?

For a thorough explanation of why this law is a terrible idea, read Kneejerking off over violent porn at Spiked.

No nudes is bad news for Birmingham art gallery

The Guardian reports that Syra Miah, a Bangladeshi-British photographer, is complaining that her work has been censored because of pressure from a Muslim arts group.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is hosting Miah’s exhibition of documentary photographs taken in Bangladesh. However, one of the photos contained the image of a semi-naked woman, which prompted a complaint from a member of the Muslim arts group Artists Circle. So, of course, they removed the offensive image immediately.

Miah is not pleased:

I felt that the whole message behind my show had been undermined by this censorship […] During the editing process the curators seemed to want images in the exhibition that portrayed Bangladesh as another colourful Asian country. Sadly, the removal of this image, the only image in the show that could be interpreted as gritty, confirmed my growing cynical view that the museum wanted to perpetuate a myth about Muslim societies: that nudity isn’t tolerated. In Bangladeshi society – at least the one I witnessed – it clearly is.
The partially dressed figure in the image was actually a mentally ill woman who had made a home of a bus shelter. She was looked after by locals who made sure she was out of danger and fed. I think this shows a compassionate view of Islamic society

Defending their decision, the museums head of projects said:

The complaint we received was taken very seriously and it was after much consideration that the decision to remove the work from the exhibition was taken with the full agreement of the artist.

Miah denies that she was consulted.

The Artists Circle is one of the museum’s main stakeholder groups.

UPDATE: The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery replied to an email inquiry from a MWW reader (see comments below). They insist that the photo was removed with Miah’s approval:

The gallery discussed the matter with Syra Miah, and the photograph was removed on 18 July with her full agreement. Our understanding following these discussions was that Syra Miah said that she understood the reasons for the removal and accepted the decision. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery had not heard from the artist about this matter since the time the work was removed 7 weeks ago in July.

Stephen Green, Test Match hero

Stephen “Dog Shit” Green, the national director of the fundamentalist Bible-believing organisation Christian Voice (just search for “bigots” on Google), has all-but claimed responsibility for England’s Test victory over Pakistan.

Green was of the opinion that Pakistan were attempting to promote Islam during the 1st match, so he decided to have a word with God to see if he could pass a bit of judgement on them (‘Lord, may it please thee to judge these men for their arrogance in this land dedicated to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,’ he said). God, being on such close terms with the charity-blackmailing bibliolater, willingly obliged.

Pakistan promptly lost the 2nd and 3rd Test Matches, and were disqualified in the all-important 4th for their reaction to ball-tampering accusations.

Says, Green:

It is a sad day for cricket, to be sure, but the collective madness which gripped the Oval yesterday should encourage Christians that God can always be relied upon to do the unexpected. The way in which Pakistan were giving it large about Islam was always asking for trouble from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord, for answering my prayer in such a dramatic fashion.

“Giving it large”?

England’s victory was due largely to the efforts of a Muslim and a Sikh.

Doesn’t Stephen Green’s mind work in mysterious ways?

BBC bans radio Mo-toons

BBC Radio Scotland has pulled a series by Glasgow comedy group The Franz Kafka Big Band because it portrays Rolf Harris drawing cartoons of Mohammed. Executives explained it was due to “anxieties over taste and decency”.

This was the comedy group’s second series for BBC Scotland, but the sketch entitled “Rolf’s Blasphemous Cartoon Time” proved too much for BBC officials, who decided the pulling the plug was the safest option.

The MCB, to their credit, did not applaud the decision:

It sounds like they’re making fun of the situation and possibly Rolf Harris here. The issue with the cartoons was linking the prophet to terrorism – that is what people objected to

said Osama Saeed.

A fine example of hyper-sensitive, soft-racist self-censorship from the BBC.

No zombie/priest chases on Scuzz

The UK rock TV channel Scuzz has refused to show the video of Deicide’s “Homage For Satan” because it is too “derogatory”.

A spokesman for Scuzz declared:

The lyrical content is religiously offensive, derogatory, and can be read as improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of the audience

In fact, as you can hear for yourself, the lyrics are completely incomprehensible.

Regarding the content of the video, the spokesman added:

[…]the inclusion of a priest or religious figure in any belief system is always a very touchy subject, but the possession of one such person, and the disparaging respect for the Christian Bible is in direct conflict with Ofcom regulations

Disparaging respect?

The cheaply-produced video depicts a number of zombies, one of whom chases a Bible-carrying priest through the streets. Eventually, the black-clad sky pilot is cornered, attacked, and becomes a zombie himself.

The most offensive thing about this preposterous video is that, as any fool knows, zombies cannot run. They can only shuffle.

(Thanks to the Melon Farmers, via Dan Factor)

Go home, Bill Bailey

The comedian Bill Bailey nailed his colours to the wrong mast last night when he told an audience at the Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality that Jerry Springer: The Opera had “overstepped the mark” and that the Jyllands-Posten Mo-toons were “amateurish, heavy handed, and shoddy”, and shouldn’t have been published.


I can see why people would be offended, given the subject matter and how it deals with Christianity. The question is “is the end result valid?”. Is it worth all the offence it’s going to cause? And in that, I think Jerry Springer did overstep the mark.

Now, instead of being seen as a work on its own merit, its notoriety has scuppered its own intentions

Bailey neglected to note that the show had a long and successful run in the West End before the controversy was stirred up. Nor did he mention that the JS:TO controversy was stirred up, just like the Mo-toons, by self-appointed, self-aggrandising “religious leaders” whose primary aim was to increase their own public profile.

Regarding his Mo-toons remarks, the tired old claim that the cartoons we somehow of poor quality suggests that he hasn’t actually seen them. At least two, the paranoid cartoonist at his drawing board, and the “we’ve run out of virgins”, could be considered genuinely funny, a couple were aimed at the Jylands-Posten itself, and several others were neutral portrayals of Mohammed. The only one of the original twelve that caused offence – the turban bomb – could be said to be making a valid satirical point about the connection between Islamism and terrorism. Which is why the Danish imams felt obliged to add three more, far less subtle, portrayals of Mohammed in order to stir up the kind of response they were looking for.

Silly Bill Bailey fails to put the blame where the blame lies.

Bloody Bible ad investigation to go ahead

gpa ad
Detective Chief Inspector Gerry Campbell, head of the domestic violence and hate crime unit, has revealed in a letter to Anne Widdecombe that a criminal investigation has been started into the Gay Police Association “bloody Bible” ad.

The original advertisement has been recorded as a religiously aggravated hate crime incident following a crime allegation by a member of the public.

This crime is now the subject of a proportionate effective and objective criminal investigation. The police senior investigating officer is in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service. Any decision to prosecute is the sole decision of the CPS.

It seems the GPA are getting cold feet, judging from the words of Bernard McEldowney, deputy chairman of the association:

In hindsight maybe we should not have used the Bible but we wanted to highlight serious homophobic incidents on the grounds and justification of religious belief.