Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stephen Conroy, ACMA, Web links, and saving Oz from smut, filth and perversion oi oi oi

Thanks to Senator Stephen Conroy, I'm now the proud possessor of thousands of links to illegal porn sites, which I've never visited and never will visit. 

Pourquoi? you ask, and there's only one response necessary: Pourquoi pas?

It's a bit like the days when they banned Ulysses, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Portnoy's Complaint, Lolita, and any of hundreds of allegedly pornographic works. Somehow, you see, intelligent, capable, able censors could read this utter filth and depravity, and emerge unscathed, but my feeble mind couldn't cope. I couldn't be adult enough to make up my own mind, decide what was fitting for me, and leave stuff alone or embrace it if that was how I felt.

As a result, I was wildly titillated.

When I actually did get to read Lady Chatterley's Lover, I was astonished something so silly and so boring could get people so agitated. At least Lolita had the virtue of being intelligent and well written, and not just a ho hum display of the writer's neuroses, a la Lawrence.

Young possums don't remember those bizarre days, and they have little understanding of the censorial urge or the desire to bowderlize life.

They probably don't care about the news that ACMA (the Australian Communications and Media Authority) has said it will fine people who hyperlink to sites on its blacklist, which has been expanded to include several pages on the anonymous whistleblower site Wikileaks, which released a secret Internet censorship list for Denmark, which gave me the links I didn't need and didn't want, and actually didn't know or care about, until someone said they'd been banned.

That's how banning works. Intrigue, black markets, corruption, salaciousness, slobbering tabloid yellow press gutter journalism, and tits on page three suddenly spring to life as soft score alternatives to the deep, dark, sordid, banned stuff. (Until you get to read the Marquis de Sade, and realise not only was he barking mad, much worse, he was a very indifferent writer). And of course nothing really gets banned, it just gets driven underground, where those in the know can find it, and those who prefer  the real thing join the church so they can molest altar boys.

Now here's the funny thing - you're not allowed to know what's on the Oz black list, but you can cop a fine for linking to sites on the black list. Come on down George Orwell and 1984.

ACMA's already had a go at Whirlpool, an online geek forum (okay wide ranging broadband discussion group) by threatening an 11k a day fine over a link leading back to a page blacklisted by ACMA - an anti-abortion website.

Now I'm as strong and as solid as the next ratbag in my fierce hostility to anti-abortionists. Whenever I see the bussed-in Christian weirdos picketing our local abortion clinic, I wind down the window and shout obscenities at them. Poor dears don't know how to respond in a Christian manner, but there you go.

But banning an anti-abortion website because it's got strong, repulsive images? The Wikileaks site has also published Thailand's internet censorship blacklist and alleges that the sites covered by the blacklist have expanded from child porn to material which includes political discussions. 

Guess if you published material dissing the royal family in Thailand, you could end up in deep doo dah.

Of the 1370 sites on the Australian blacklist, some involve R18+ and X18+, legal to view, but due to be blocked thanks to Conroy, who has a dream of expanding the blacklist to ten thousand sites or more.

So now we come to the nub of it, and it's not about internet speeds, or the safety of the children, or the safety of teenagers, or the safety or rights of adults. It's about banning things, and it's about Stephen Conroy and his ACMA lackeys acting as newborn, neo-Mary Whitehouses for every Australian, whether those hapless Australians like it or not. 

Opt in, opt out? What's that, some kind of new dance craze?

And while it's supposedly about child porn now, Conroy has already talked about all the other naughty stuff he can ban, like sites depicting crime, cruelty and violence, not to mention drug use. Or piracy? Or political opinions the prevailing government doesn't like? 

What happens the next time a bunch of Danish cartoonists draw up some feeble jokes, and Islamics start rioting around the world? Ban them? Blacklist them?

Already that noble warrior Jim Wallace, SAS man turned fearless leader of the Australian Christian Lobby, has said he hopes the sex industry will go broke courtesy of the censorship scheme. I've no doubt he's got a little list - second thoughts, make that a bloody long list.

Next I guess we'll be hearing that the leadership in North Korea has extended the warm hand of friendship, proposing a coalition of black ban site censors that would bring together Vatican City, assorted Islamic fundie states, and the few remaining hardline communist states able to control their peasantry, with guns, fear and black bans.

And here's another catch. While the Greens now oppose Conroy's scheme, and even Nick Xenophon has realised his idea of having online gambling sites added to the blacklist is a step down a very slippery slope, and even the conservative opposition has found the stomach to stand up to the government, Conroy has explored the option of getting his scheme into action without benefit of legislation.

And you know what's even funnier? Labor kept up all this nonsense as a way of staying in good with Senator Steve Fielding, the Family First dude dedicated to my moral reform and salvation. And they couldn't even get him to join them in taxing alcopops. Sure it puts Fielding in a strange, hypocritical place, which his blather did nothing to disguise, but where does it leave Conroy's lickspittle behaviour? Desperate, futile and self-defeating.

Well it looks like Labor will go down in Queensland, and when at long last they front the voters in New South Wales, they'll be going down there, and if Conroy keeps up with his nonsense, it'll be just another reason the Ruddster is well down the path to becoming a one hit wonder as PM. I just wished I lived in an electorate where my vote could help make that happen.

Oh and as for the cartoon above? Scatology not to your taste? Me neither. Nor The New Yorker editors. They put it in their reject list of 'could have been cartoons' that didn't make it. But here's the funny thing. They put their rejects - a few in the M+ category - up online. With a label. You can browse as you like, as an adult, or you can click the mouse three times and disappear up the yellow brick road to Kansas. You know, opt in, opt out, that crazy new dance.

Yep, it's The Wizard of Oz time, a smutty tale of a child running away from home, consorting with strange creatures dressed in gay-style drag, and battling evil creatures, not least the wicked witch. The show is much loved by gays and pedophiles (who are of course one and the same thing, in the same way as priest rhymes with perversion), and I look forward to it being banned under Conroy's neo-regime! I wonder if this is Conroy's favorite song from the show?

If I were King of the Forest, Not queen, not duke, not prince.
My regal robes of the forest, would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.
I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl.
With a woof and a woof and a royal growl - woof.
As I'd click my heel, all the trees would kneel.
And the mountains bow and the bulls kowtow.
And the sparrow would take wing - If I - If I - were King!
Each rabbit would show respect to me.
The chipmunks genuflect to me.
Though my tail would lash, I would show compash
For every underling!
And yes, I'd ban every bloody thing
I hated, because it grated on me,
Or my appointed righteous delegatees.
If I - If I - were King!
Just King!


Ilago said...

I was so disappointed when I finally got my hands on a copy of Lady Chatterley. What moron banned something so utterly tedious. Methinks I'm showing my age which I usually list as "dignified".

dorothy parker said...

Well dignified is way better than Conroy trying to be super nanny to all Australia, and at his age too (not that I've got anything against ordinary nannies or nice nannies like Julie Andrews). Maybe matured? Like a nice rich red wine after a few years in the bottle? That's how I think of myself, but maybe it's from being on the bottle way too long.