Beyer out of his depth at The Guardian


This debate between John Beyer of Mediawatch-UK and Julian Petley from Index on Censorship on what to do with the obscenity laws was always going to be a one-sided affair. It says a lot about Beyer that he felt capable of taking on the challenge. Petley is very patient in the face Beyer’s incoherent non-arguments, and it is not until the end that he realises where the smut-campaigner is coming from:

In our exchanges, I’ve sensed your desire to broach the “effects” debate, and equally you may have sensed my desire to avoid it!
In my view, there are two major difficulties with drawing direct causal links between media images and forms of social behaviour. The first is that they’re unprovable (which results in people falling back on unhelpful appeals to “common sense”, and ignoring that correlation is not the same thing as causality). The second is that making such links draws attention away from the real causal factors of the behaviour in question, factors whose roots lie deep in the socialisation process (or lack of it) and which raise uncomfortable questions about the kind of society in which we live.

Yes, it’s Beyer’s perpetual, and apparently incurable, confusion of correlation and cause which informs his every word on the matter. It is the fallacy upon which he has built his life’s work.

We don’t pay much attention to Mediawatch-UK these days, even though this blog was named after them. Beyer is a censorious minnow in a big pond increasingly full of sharks. It is mildly annoying but ultimately irrelevant that he is the go-to rent-a-quote for Daily Mail journalists looking for a “decency” angle from Middle England. But reading that Guardian debate did remind us what a contemptible fool he is. That a man of such limited intellect, morally retarded by religiosity and a deeply ingrained priggishness, should claim for himself the authority to decide what an adult may or may not view private speaks of an arrogance that is quite breathtaking.

Beyer’s tragic flaw is unjustified self-confidence. We hope against hope that this helps.

4 Responses to “Beyer out of his depth at The Guardian

  1. Dan Factor says:

    Why doesn’t Beyer do us all a favour and admit he just wants porn banned because he finds the very idea of people looking at sex in the privacy of their own homes repulsive and wants them stopped from doing it!

  2. Neil Hoskins says:

    Spooky. I came here straight after xkcd. Correlation or coincidence? Or something wrong with my browser?

  3. barriejohn says:

    Thanks for bringing xkcd to our attention Neil – I`ve never visited that site before, and it`s brilliant!! Obviously not coincidence, but “The Lord`s Hand” guiding you there – He certainly does work in mysterious ways. Do you ever visit “My Creative Year” – a daily blog @ ? If you like xkcd and despise religiosity you`ll love it!!!

  4. Netcensor says:

    Yes thank you Neil!