If you ever get to be a politician, you’ll find there’s more than a few paths to epic failure. Somewhere at the top of the list would have to be public hypocrisy and being self-serving to the point of corruption. The Right Rev Freddy Nile has pulled a few boners in his time (largely without help, I suspect), but this would have to be the mother of all his fuckups.
Conservative MP Fred Nile says he wants topless bathing banned in NSW to protect Sydney’s Muslim and Asian communities.
The Reverend Nile has rejected allegations that prudishness is behind a bill he has prepared to ban nudity, including topless sunbathing, on the state’s most popular beaches.
Australia’s reputation as a conservative but culturally inclusive sociery was at risk of erosion by more liberal overseas visitors, he said.
“Our beaches should be a place where no one is offended, whether it’s their religious or cultural views,” he said.
“If they’ve come from a Middle Eastern or Asian country where women never go topless – in fact they usually wear a lot of clothing – I think it’s important to respect all the different cultures that make up Australia.”[...]
But it was a very different sensibility being protected by The Rev in the SMH a year ago…
THE Christian Democratic Party is behind a mysterious group called the Committee for Public Affairs Education that organised a large meeting this week to protest against a proposed 1200-student Muslim school in Camden.
In the guise of a local residents’ action group, the CDP organised the meeting, which has been accused of inflaming anti-Muslim feeling.
The CDP leader, the Reverend Fred Nile, and Robert Balzola, a Christian lawyer and lobbyist, were key speakers on the night.
Police had to calm about 100 people outside Camden Civic Centre who could not get into the packed hall, some of whom issued threats against people of Muslim heritage.
Mr Nile told the crowd he opposed the school because Islam opposed Christianity. [...]
Well played, Rev.
It does disturb me that Freddo thinks our memories are so short. The Rev’s attempt to blame the sensibilities of Muslims for his complaint is a flat-out stand-up howler.
However, seeing as how the vast majority of Australians couldn’t give a shit about religion, about all Fred’s going to get out of this is a bit more laughter and derision than usual. Mind, if Amy Winehouse starts hanging out her baps at Bondi, my opinion might change… but regardless, free-range boobies will still roam Aussie beaches, no matter what Nile, Muslims or I might think.
Internet users are much more informed than the nonwired. Political campaigns are much more effective when organisers and rank and file are connected. Connectivity helped get Kevin07 over the line and was pivotal in Obama’s landslide. That same wired power can turn and bite, too.
Genie’s out of the bottle, guv. Mandatory filtering, even if it could be utterly transparent to 99.44% of users, is repugnant to the free exchange of information as now exists.
Labor will implement Conroy’s deeply flawed and wildly unpopular scheme at their political peril. We’re now talking about votes in significant numbers, not just a few indignant cyber-liberties activists.
While at the Beijing Olympics, Rudd berated China for their draconian internet censorship. However, if this half-baked, easily circumventable mandatory filtering scheme goes ahead, Australia will have exactly the same thing, making right fools of us on the international stage. Says JOLT, the Harvard Journal of Science and Technology:
By enacting such far-reaching, mandatory Internet censorship, Australia joins more repressive governments including those in China, Cuba, Iran and North Korea. China is by far the biggest offender when it comes to Internet censorship – the nation’s Internet filtration policy is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world.
The good Senator’s problem is that he knows sweet FA about computers and networking. His filter will only affect those incapable of finding a workaround, which is approximately nobody with an IQ above room temperature in Celsius.
I’ve received Conroy’s four page proforma response to complainants regarding the filtering scam. Scanned and posted here, PDF format.
Conroy has signed us up to use the UK based ‘Internet Watch Foundation’ (IWF) banlist. IWF are the mob who banned access for UK users to a controversial Wikipedia entry last week but then backed down at approximately Mach III. Bear in mind that under UK law, Bill Henson’s photos would have attracted a ban, while they were rated PG in Australia.
Here’s a scan of a fresh, crisp $50 note, courtesy of the gubmint’s $1400 economic stimulus bonus to disabled pensioners, of which I’m one, thanks to complications of injuries sustained by being dashed off a motorbike by a stupidly drunk woman who ran a red light in front of me.
Prime Minister Kevin ‘holy crap, the banks are about to crash on my watch’ Rudd will be happy to know I’m TRYING to spend this pineapple, though I haven’t yet, doubtless assuring the death of all Aussie businesses until I do.
Senator Stephen ‘we’re the gubmint, we can do anything we want, whether it’s technically possible or not’ (a.k.a. ‘Dodger‘) Conroy and Family First’s Senator Steve ‘unrepresentative swill‘ Fielding- go ahead, ban a porny website- or any website. Let me know the URL you’ve banned. If I can’t show you the contents of that site in under 1 minute (plus 87% gubmint filter-induced lag time), this $50 is yours. If I can show you said banned website contents, you cats get to give me one of your ‘stimulus’ fifties.
Senator Nick ‘No Pokies‘ Xenophon will be brassed off about me promoting gambling on the internet.
Senator Bob ‘fruit with wild hickory nuts by vegetable-fat candlelight’ Brown will be miffed that I’m thoughtlessly attempting to circulate a currency note, which in Australia are made from plastic, ultimately sourced from crude oil and printed on coal-fired electricity powered lithograph presses.
Any number of pensioner and welfare-recipient-hating far-right loonbags will demand that I have no business gambling with my pension payment, which I shouldn’t have anyway, in their minds. I’m apparently supposed to have dropped dead when I lost the ability to work. I’m working on dropping dead, but the way things are going, with my moderate weight, absence of alcohol consumption and good diet, much from my low-food-miles backyard veggie patch, I expect I’ll be a burden on society for another 40-50 years or so.
So, you pair of Steves- show me the freakin’ money- and let’s get busy quibbling about whose political priorites will trump whose when Conroy gets his mandatory filtering in place.
(image: art by evil child abuse depicter Matt Groening,
hosted on my machinegunkeyboard.com website)
In what could be a pair of the most stupidly outrageous abuses of police and judicial powers in Australia, a man has been convicted in NSW of possessing child pornography for having some pornographic Simpsons cartoon spoofs on his PC and a 60-year-old man from Maroochydore, Queensland, Chris Illingworth, has been charged by Queensland Police for reposting on LiveLeak a viral video of a baby being swung by the arms in circles by an adult male.
The video has since been deleted by Illingworth from LiveLeak, but Australian WIN news has this vision:
The original video has been reposted on break.com.
The baby is obviously not hurt nor distressed about the rambunctious roughhousing, as the video ends with the baby laughing and smiling.
Queensland Police are not only unapologetic about charging Illingworth but have now issued the following threat to net users:
Queensland Police say it is a crime for anyone to even watch a viral video of a man swinging a baby around a room.
The baby-swinging video was originally reported as ‘illegal content’ to British based self-styled anti-child pornography campaigners, which relayed information to Interpol.
Coincidentally, the ‘Internet Watch Foundation’ (IWF) humilatingly backflipped yesterday on a block applied to Wikipedia due to Wikimedia’s refusal to remove an image of the cover of The Scorpions’ 1976 album Virgin Killer, which features a nude prepubescent girl. The block prevented UK users from editing Wikipedia. IWF gave reasons for the climbdown that the image had been in the public domain for more than 30 years but had never been ruled to be ‘illegal’ in any jurisdiction. Funnily enough, those reasons existed before IWF blocked UK users from Wikipedia.
Down here in New South Wales last February, one Alan John McEwan was convicted in Parramatta Local Court of possessing child pornography and using his computer to access child pornography after police discovered his computer contained pornographic spoofs of Simpsons cartoons. A magistrate ruled that these satirical cartoons were “depictions of persons within the meaning of the definitions in the laws,” thus meriting a conviction under child abuse/pornography laws. The case was appealed to the NSW Supreme Court in which Justice Michael Adams refused on 8 December 2008 to overturn the magistrate’s ruling.
Consequently, I’d like to take this opportunity to turn myself in to police for republishing an image of child abuse. ‘Real person’ Homer Simpson is depicted above violently assaulting his son, ‘real person’ Bart Simpson, in a way which could not be described as ‘playful roughhousing.’ Bart does not appear to be smiling, rather appears highly distressed, if not near death, as Homer angrily crushes the boy’s windpipe.
This depiction of wanton child abuse was committed by Matt Groening, who has a 21-year history of depictions of this evil nature. This image has been republished by me on my web hosting facilities, which should make me guilty of use of computing facilities to retransmit images of child abuse.
Furthermore, let me draw your attention to this scary bit of child endangerment, captured on video:
I’d like to invite any and all self-styled child protection advocates to report these obvious violations of law to the NSW Police and/or Australian Federal Police. Make sure they don’t take your report with their ‘invisible typewriter.’
An internet cartoon showing characters modelled on Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson engaging in sex acts, is child pornography, a judge has ruled in a landmark case.
In February at Sydney’s Parramatta Local Court, Alan John McEwan was convicted of possessing child pornography and using his computer to access such material.
He was fined $3,000 and required to enter a two-year good behaviour bond in relation to each offence.
McEwan appealed against the conviction, but it was dismissed in the NSW Supreme Court, with Justice Michael Adams concluding a fictional cartoon character is a “person” within the meaning of Commonwealth and NSW laws.
“The alleged pornography comprised a series of cartoons depicting figures modelled on members of the television animated series The Simpson,” the judge said.
“Sexual acts are depicted as being performed, in particular, by the “children” of the family.
“The male figures have genitalia which is evidently human, as do the mother and the girl.”
He noted the figures made no pretence of imitating any actual, or fictional human beings.
“In particular, the hands bear only four digits and the faces have eyes, a nose and mouth markedly and deliberately different to those of any possible human being,” he said.
The magistrate had rejected a submission that cartoon depictions or representations of fictional characters such as The Simpsons were not of “persons”.
Justice Adams said the legislation’s main purpose was to combat the direct sexual exploitation and abuse of children that occurs where offensive images of real children are made.
But, he said, it was also calculated to deter production of other material, including cartoons, which “can fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children”.
He upheld the magistrate’s conclusion that the figures in the cartoons were depictions of persons within the meaning of the definitions in the laws.
Justice Adams ordered each party to pay its own costs, as it was the first case dealing with the “difficult” issue.
As long as there have been cartoons, there’s been pornographic spoofs of them, notably the early 20th century ‘Tijuana Bible‘ genre, which included popular cartoon characters of the day like Mutt & Jeff, The Katzenjammer Kids and Little Orphan Annie, crims like John Dillinger and also Hollywood actors. The modern equivalents run the gamut from Japanese hentai to Kim Possible.
There’s absolutely no excuse to be made for some of the content of these spoofs- some unquestionably depict scenarios of child sexual abuse as well as sexism and racism, amongst other perversions and misdemeanors. I’m merely making note that these things not only exist but have been around for a very long time. Doesn’t make them defensible- just means they exist. The NSW case is indeed a landmark because most legislators and jurists in western nations have had the good common sense to deem them to be satires, instead of trying to give cartoons a legal status as ‘people.’
Due to their nearly worldwide familiarity, The Simpsons naturally are a target for satire. Homer and Bart are anti-heroes, with their exploits taken far past the logical extremes by Groening, which is core to their comic shtick. It’s only natural for a satirist to exaggerate the faults of a mark to generate a measure of outrage in the reader. To satirise Bart, you make him even more bratty, self-serving and inappropriate than Matt Groening ever intended. Marge’s and Lisa’s straight-laced conformity and moral sensibilities are discarded and they are caricatured as wanton libertines.
This decision by the NSW Supreme Court opens Ye Olde Canne of Wurmes. The judge himself admits that his verdict, while Bart Simpson et. al. are certainly not real people nor depicted as such, meaning there is no victim to this particular ‘crime,’ was intended to prevent the development in paedophiles of a taste for materials which do victimise children. Sorry, Your Honor, but that taste is already there and has been as long as there have been sociopaths with screwed-up sexual identities.
Since the Simpsons have now been legally adjudicated in Australia to be “depictions of persons within the meaning of the definitions in the laws,” it stands to reason that someone should be able to collect Family Tax Benefits or other payments based upon the existence of depictions of a fictitious person. If a cartoon character is a ‘person,’ deleting an image of one should by rights be classed as murder. Said cartoons should also be able to obtain tax file numbers, sue for defamation and violation of human rights, including privacy, by the publication of pornographic spoofs of them. There’s a cascade of serious, unintended legal problems for the government if the NSW Supreme Court’s ruling is allowed to stand.
As foul and distasteful as these pornographic satires are, they’re still merely satires. Child protection advocates are defeating their own purpose by having a cow over these Simpsons spoofs. To treat these tasteless cartoons as child pornography risks diminution of the truly criminal nature of actual child pornography and rejection of self-styled child protection advocates as mere nutbags.
While we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater, over-the-top UK child protection advocates have successfully lobbied UK telecom authorities to block access to a Wikipedia entry which shows an image of the cover of rock band ‘The Scorpions’ 1976 album Virgin Killer. The cover does depict a nude prepubescent girl, but in no more sexualised a pose than you find in any Bill Henson or Pollixeni Papapetrou photograph. This manoevre has inadvertently increased the ‘trafficking of child pornography’ (if indeed the image is pornographic) as British Wikipedia users and millions of others worldwide who previously had no idea of the existence of the cover hit Google to find out what all the fuss is about.
To sum, censorship doesn’t work on the internet. Sometimes we have to grin and bear it while Bart grins and bares it.
If you’re in Melbourne, there’s a community rally on Monday 8 December you should attend to show your support for the abolition of the ABCC and the halt of all WorkChoices prosecutions of trade unionists.