Thursday, May 29, 2008

Illegal Nipples

UPDATE : I've been advised to remove the uncensored Bill Henson image, sourced from The Age newspaper website. So it's gone. Also I referred to federal police raiding the gallery, it was actually the NSW police.

According to professional idiot Andrew Bolt, the controversial Bill Henson photograph at the centre of a cultural and moral storm is pornography.

(Uncensored image now removed)

Bolt : "Fact is, Henson’s photographs are soft porn."

Really? How disturbing. What kind of pornography does Bolt normally view if he thinks that's soft porn?

But this duplicate, and purposely darkened (you know, to make it more sinister) image is part of a gallery of images featured on various Rupert Murdoch News Limited websites, including Andrew Bolt's own The Herald Sun.

If the first photograph is a "soft porn" image of, according to Bolt, a "stripped 13 year old", and the second photograph is acceptable enough to be featured (without any warnings of nudity) on Bolt's own newspaper website, in a censored form, the entire question of whether or not this is an illegal image seems to come down to the revealing of two nipples. Or the fact that it is a photograph and not a painting or sketch or sculpture.

Now it's 'art', not 'soft porn' :

If Bolt is confused over what is or isn't "soft porn", he can always ask his boss, a renowned pornographer.

The girl in the above images has been identified by police, but has refused to speak to police investigators :
It is understood police have been contacted by a lawyer acting for the girl - believed to be from Victoria - and she wants no part in the inquiry.

It not known how old she is now.

Police had hoped to speak to her and her parents to determine what level of parental permission was granted when she posed for the shoot.

Smart girl, or woman now. Regardless of whether or not a crime has been committed - and so far charges have not even been laid - if her name is revealed, the media will hound her remorselessly, and her parents will cop no end of grief, from the likes of Bolt, for allowing her to be photographed by Henson. Her parents might also face charges, depending on how long ago the photographs were taken, and what kind of consent they gave Henson to photograph their daughter.

The next leader of the Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, refused to label the Henson photographs as "revolting", as PM Rudd did:

"We have a culture of great artistic freedom in this country and I don't believe the vice squad's role is to go into art galleries..."

Here's the relevant laws under which federal police will supposedly lay charges against Henson :

Children not to be used for pornographic purposes
(1) Any person who:
(a) uses a child who is under the age of 14 years for pornographic purposes, or
(b) causes or procures a child of that age to be so used, or
(c) having the care of a child of that age, consents to the child being so used or allows the child to be so used,
is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 14 years.
(2) Any person who:
(a) uses a child who is of or above the age of 14 years for pornographic purposes, or
(b) causes or procures a child of that age to be so used, or
(c) having the care of a child of that age, consents to the child being so used or allows the child to be so used,
is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 10 years.
(3) For the purposes of this section, a child is used by a person for pornographic purposes if:
(a) the child is engaged in sexual activity, or
(b) the child is placed in a sexual context, or
(c) the child is subjected to torture, cruelty or physical abuse (whether or not in a sexual context),
for the purposes of the production of pornographic material by that person.
(4) For the purposes of this section, a person may have the care of a child without necessarily being entitled by law to have the custody of the child.
(5) Where on the trial of a person for an offence under subsection (1) the jury is not satisfied that the accused is guilty of the offence charged, but is satisfied on the evidence that the accused is guilty of an offence under subsection (2), it may find the accused not guilty of the offence charged but guilty of the latter offence, and the accused is liable to punishment accordingly.
It sounds like, according to the law, it will all come down to whether or not the 13 year old girl was photographed in "a sexual context".

In all likelihood, Bill Henson will not be charged with anything, and neither will the owners of the Sydney gallery the police raided or the parents of his teenage models. Of course, his art will now sell for even more than it currently does, now he has become the most famous artist in Australia.

But if Henson is not charged, will such controversial images be allowed to be displayed in Australian art galleries again?

Presumably, if this scandal results in no charges being laid, it will require a change in law for such a prohibition to take place.

Would Kevin Rudd have the guts to push for a law change like that?


Tony Abbott has some questions about whether he can now have this kind of "pornography" on his computer :

"If I had on my computer the kind of images that were in that gallery I'd be interviewed by the police, quite possibly face charges."

"If it's pornography on my computer, why isn't it pornography in the gallery? That's the question that I ask.

"And if it's not pornography in the gallery, it's not pornography on my computer.''

Tony Abbott, the moronic twit, hasn't seen the images for himself. He has, however, heard they are "pretty confronting."
"Shocking people is all very well but I don't think we need to be shocked by everything, I think some things are off limits.''
Not off limits for Tony Abbott is bombing the fuck out of 13 year old children in Iraq, a corpse-soaked war of occupation he has enthusiastically supported. As has Andrew Bolt. Curiously, most of those in the media who are kicking up most of the fuss are also active supporters of the Iraq War, including the Sydney Morning Herald's Miranda Devine.

Non-sexualised images of naked children? Pure evil. Children blown to pieces by American Hellfire missiles? Perfectly acceptable.

Now there's a double standard that drips blood.

Note : The first image (now removed - ed) was sourced from the website of the Melbourne Age newspaper, where it remains archived as of this posting.