Posted at 22:56 on 9 Oct 2006 by Pandora / Blake
Today parliament returns after their summer break, enabling consultation to continue on the proposed legislation of the possession of extreme pornographic material. Denny over at UK Fetish Info wrote a post drawing my attention to Blogging for Backlash, which encourages bloggers to unite in posting about the proposals today, as a way of raising awareness.
My friend Casby wrote two excellent articles outlining his response to the initial consultation, back in December '05, which you can read here and here. Casby worked in the control of pornographic material for Her Majesty's Export and Customs, as well as being the creator of some very pretty and edgy fetish art, so his opinion is about as well-informed as any I've read. I don't think I have anything to say that he hasn't covered. More excellent blog articles are listed at the central Blogging for Backlash day post.
The question currently concerning me is how the reason an individual looks at violent images is decided. As Andrew Rilstone has pointed out, the relevant point is the intention with which the material was created, not the intention with which it is viewed (or the reaction with which it is viewed). I used to be fascinated with serial killers, cannibalism and vampirism when I was about 11, and several of the books I read on the subject had photos/illustrations. I'm not sure that I can claim my fascination was entirely wholesome, but despite my perverse enjoyment of them, the books were written as factual, so looking at them was, according to the proposed legislation, fine. But if someone puts the same material on a website called "hornyhorrorfantasy.com", looking at them could land you in jail. I'm not at all comfortable with the idea of intention rather than action being legislated, particularly since it's so impossible to prove or measure.
Which leads, of course, to the question of written material. Whether you're talking about Poppy Z Brite's Exquisite Corpse, spanking blogs or hardcore BDSM fantasy material, you can't help but wonder whether words are next.