Thursday, 10 March 2011

An Hour Of Life Wasted

Well, to be absolutely correct, it wasn't an hour but 54 minutes and 36 seconds, each and every one of those painful on many levels... Since you probably can't guess what it was I'm going to enlighten you so you can avoid the same painful experience: former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith found it advisable - and got BBC, i.e. you and me, to pay for it - to produce and talk us through (well, not you, if you follow my advice and steer clear) a breathless hour (almost) of wide eyed (if it weren't on radio) consternation by...

Wait for it... Pornography! Wanna hear more?

As people in the UK (should) know, BBC is required to provide balanced view on any - and I repeat: any - topic it covers. This was not it, even if there were token attempts to provide something that "moral majority" can try and hide behind. Sadly, that the king was naked was plain as daylight and for all to see. What began with an open admission that the author(esse) was shocked, horrified, against, and most importantly absolutely convinced that pornography can only and (for)ever be bad for all involved, and possibly even for those not involved, too, what began like that sank only deeper in self-righteous and self-centered loathing.

The only excuse I can find for poor Jacqui is that she does have a very good personal reason to hate pornography. The problem is - it has nothing to do with pornography per se. As most people in the UK (should) know, Jacqui Smith was dragged through the parliamentary expenses inquiry after it came to light that her husband used her expenses account to watch a couple of pay-per-view X-rated films. Poor Jacqui indeed. Only somehow, I do not feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for you and me, because our freedom of speech and choice of viewing material - and occupation, for that matter - is again and again and again being endangered by someone who freely admits never to have seen porn before doing the show - including before she brought in the (decent, by the way, IMHO) law against violent porn. The excuse? She never tried drugs either. But what a fallacy! We condemn drugs for what they do to those who use them. Nobody has ever been able to prove that watching pornography ever hurt anyone, and producing it is harmful only if people are forced into it. But we already have laws against forced and slave labour, don't we? Why would we need a special one for pornography? And why vilify it without presenting a single valid - or at least proven - argument. And believe me, in all 54 minutes and 36 seconds there was literally none. Not one. Just personal disgust and judgement.

Why should I care Jacqui Smith is sickened by anal sex? She has all the right to be. I won't even try to suggest she needs try it before deciding it's not for her. But then, there's surprisingly many people who don't find any sex of any interest (see under asexual). Does that mean if we end up with just such a politician that all sex on screen (and elsewhere should be banned). Not to mention the small fact that anal sex is enjoyed by a significant percentage of (straight) couples behind their own closed doors. Why make it more difficult for them to view a film of the activity they enjoy? After all, art lovers, architecture lovers, antique lovers, police car chase with crashes lovers for crying out loud can see their topics covered on TV, and before watershed, too!

But as you well know, this is not really about pornography, and especially not about anal sex (or car chases). This is about an attempt to ostracise a perfectly legal activity and make it unnecessarily difficult for those who'd like to partake (as viewers or producers alike) and in the process also make them expose their very personal and intimate tastes for (too) many to see (but thankfully not all, but that wouldn't surprise me coming soon, too). Yes, it is about a deceivingly simple choice between opt-in and opt-out. Do you get to have your Internet wide open and free as it should be with an option to politely ask to be shielded from the content you don't want (in case you're too lazy or unable to protect yourself), or do you get to have your Internet turned into a happy-go-lucky Disney-like prim and proper place, and then if you do have a desire for some dirt in your life - and the legal kind, too - then you have to go and plead with your ISP to let you have it, handily also placing yourself on some database of perverts just like yourself. If you think this is a fair set-up in a purportedly fair and free country you need to think again, and seriously. Maybe you'd also prefer Colonel Qaddafi to David Cameron - not that I like the latter very much either.

In the meantime, Jacqui, would it be a chore for you to somehow give me my hour of life back? I might have used it better watching some porn, you know. Whether it involves anal sex, I'm afraid, is no business of yours...

For a bit more breathless coverage of this same issue, you could go worse than reading this.

You should also take this post as a replacement for my usual Thursday politics entry.