Do we really want to be in a political union with cretins like this?

A regulator in Germany has ruled that websites must only offer downloads of sexually explicit ebooks between 10pm and 6am.

Essentially, the euro nation’s Youth Protection Authority has said 2002-era rules on protecting kids from blue movies on TV now cover digital books, publishing trade mag Boersenblatt reports. Telly stations in Germany can only broadcast X-rated stuff between 10pm and 6am; that now applies to raunchy ebook downloads, too, weirdly enough.

No, no, we don’t, do we?

160 thoughts on “Do we really want to be in a political union with cretins like this?”

  1. Our own cretins are as bad, if not worse. Just look at Dave’s exciting new creation, ATVOD, who are tasked with basically firewalling all porn, everywhere, away from us.

    We can get rid of the puritans, or be ruled by cretins. Time to choose.

  2. The general point being that while leaving the EU is the right thing to do, nobody of a libertarian or liberal mind should be under any illusions that Britain would become a more free country as a consequence. As I have often pointed out, the driving ideologies of censoriousness are Anglosphere inventions (notably in this case, Feminism).

  3. It stems from a complaint that a risqué autobiography titled Schlauchgelüste (“Pantyhose Cravings”) was apparently all too easy for children to obtain.

    I believe the saying is: LOL.

    When I was a boy, the only pornography I had access to was rain-dampened copies of Razzle or Mayfair found discarded at the industrial estate.

    Never did me no harm.

    Mind you, I do think the abundance of web porn is unhealthy for kiddies who are growing up with that sort of thing on tap to their tablets and phones.

    But not many mucky teenage boys are going to be interested in dirty books. Maybe this is just the German government’s way of tricking them into reading.

  4. Mind you, I do think the abundance of web porn is unhealthy for kiddies who are growing up with that sort of thing on tap to their tablets and phones.

    I think most kids aren’t much interested: they see a naked body, giggle for a while, then go back to playing Minecraft. By the time they’re genuinely interested, they’re old enough.

  5. So Much for Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “By the time they’re genuinely interested, they’re old enough.”

    Growing up is not a switch. You don’t throw it from “child” to “adult” over night. It is a process. Children are interested a long time before they can even process what it is they are interested in. Or know what it is they are supposed to do. Intellectual maturity takes a lot longer than physical.

    It is not unreasonable to suggest that during that period between interest and understanding, children are not exposed to women being anally assaulted and then having sperm ejaculated all over their face.

    But hey, what would I know?

    In the meantime I don’t know what the objection to the law is. It may well not stop every piece of porn getting into the hands of every child. So what? It shows social disapproval of children watching such stuff. It makes parenting mildly easier. These seem worthy goals to me. Certainly it imposes no real penalty on anyone. So what is not to like?

  6. Bloke no longer in Austria

    Schlauchgeluste ?

    Schlauch is hosepipe, which actually is several times worse than a tights fetish.

    Anyway, it’s just the counter-intuitive way that the German bureaucratic mind works. They aren’t a rational race at all, just because they make nice cars doesn’t mean that they can think straight as a nation.

    My favourite was when I used to live in Munich.
    There was a bottle bank at the end of my street. A big sign said that the bottle bank could NOT be used :
    before 7am and after 6pm weekdays
    Saturdays after 1pm
    All day Sundays and Bank holidays
    fine 50 DM

    So basically the only times that you were able to use the damn thing, you wren’t allowed..

  7. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke no longer in Austria – “There was a bottle bank at the end of my street. A big sign said that the bottle bank could NOT be used : before 7am and after 6pm weekdays”

    So basically the bottle banks were run in order to make sure you were at home watching fetish porn rather than recycling?

    You know, that sounds rather well thought out.

  8. SMFS, actually in the UK we do have a switch to go from childhood to adult. Its called a birthday.
    There is norequirement for achieving certain things, of meeting a particular standard. Its simply age. At this age you can do this, at that age you have the right to vote.
    Have come across adult idiots, have come across mature children who are more responsible than most adults. Yet its an arbitary age that applies – click you turn 18 you have the same right to vote as a Mr Murphy, as a Mr Miliband, as a person who has their 18th birthday today no matter if they do act as a child.

  9. It is not unreasonable to suggest that during that period between interest and understanding, children are not exposed to women being anally assaulted and then having sperm ejaculated all over their face.

    If understanding things sexual is the criteria to allow them it, then the age of consent for men ought to be about 27.

  10. So Much for Subtlety

    Martin Davies – “actually in the UK we do have a switch to go from childhood to adult. Its called a birthday.”

    Yes but notice we don’t have one. We have several. All sorts of different ages for different things. With consenting to sex being pushed down. Even there we have a double standard – sex with someone who is mature is restricted much more than sex with someone who is not. A 15 year old will not be prosecuted for shagging a 15 year old. But a 25 year old will.

    It is a mess. But it does reflect fact that we don’t have a simple assumption about adulthood.

    Tim Newman – “If understanding things sexual is the criteria to allow them it, then the age of consent for men ought to be about 27.”

    If that. I am still working on it myself. I don’t even remember being 27.

  11. If they really want to keep teenage boys away from this, they should restrict access to between 7 am and about lunchtime.

  12. So, the difference between that and buying a copy of Fanny Hill in a bookshop is?

    The idea of censoring the web within fairly liberal societies is just nuts. I’d rather try my chances in a brawl with a bunch of drunken Celtic supporters than stopping teenage boys working out how to get smut.

    Even if you successfully blocked the tap on the internet, there’s enough out there on people’s machines that they’d just build collections on USB drives. Even over USB 2 you’re only talking about a few minutes to transfer an hour of video.

    If people were honest about it, they’d acknowledge that the real problem is that mothers find it embarrassing and don’t like it. A friend of mine at school got caught and his Dad was told to have a word with him about it. “Son, hide your nudie mags where your mother can’t find them” was what he told him.

  13. A friend of mine at school got caught and his Dad was told to have a word with him about it. “Son, hide your nudie mags where your mother can’t find them” was what he told him.

    Sensible chap.

  14. Don’t forget, it’s not long ago that Germany allowed shops to open on Saturdays. The retailers perennially complain that they have it tough against the internet (it will probably never change because the church and the unions make common cause about Sunday opening laws). So the answer is – rather than deregulate to let shops open when they like, increase regulation on some other party.

    Actually, it’s nothing to do with that and all to do with broadcasting/telecoms laws, but makes a nice, and very stereotypically German, story.

  15. Martin,

    > in the UK we do have a switch to go from childhood to adult. Its called a birthday.

    I have to ask, did you seriously think that was a good counterargument to this:

    > Growing up is not a switch. … It is a process.

    Because it wasn’t.

    In other news, no-one suddenly goes from knowing nothing about driving to being an excellent driver the moment they receive their licence. They just gain some legal rights. Learning to drive is still a process, even though the granting of those legal rights is sudden.

    > Yet its an arbitary age that applies – click you turn 18 you have the same right …

    This is bollocks too. If we lived in a society with no age limits or distinctions and then suddenly created and imposed them, then the new limits we created would be, for a while, arbitrary. But we don’t. We live in a society in which we are aware of the deadlines we face. If you know that you will be allowed to start driving at age 17, you start paying attention to driving when you’re 15, 16. If you knew that you would be allowed a provisional licence at age 15, you would start taking an interest earlier. Deadlines are not arbitrary when they shape our behaviour.

    This is why there is a difference between a person brought up in a society in which the age of consent is 16 having sex at 14 and a person brought up in a society in which the age of consent is 13 having sex at 14.

    Much as it pains me to type these words, I find myself agreeing with SMFS here. (Hey, stopped clocks.) What’s the objection? That the law won’t always work? That objection can be made to all laws. If we consider that laws are supposed to apply to everyone equally, and if we accept that a broadcaster may not send smut to people’s TVs at certain times, what’s the substantive difference in sending smut to people’s computers and why should the law not apply to people who do so? Yes, it’s easy to get round this by setting a timer of some sort to set your computer to download the material overnight, but the same is true — even truer, in fact — of modern on-demand television. So?

    Stig,

    > I’d rather try my chances in a brawl with a bunch of drunken Celtic supporters than stopping teenage boys working out how to get smut.

    Stupid though most politicians are, I honestly don’t think many of them believe that they can keep teenage boys away from porn. This is a straw man, as that’s not what watershed laws are for.

    The reason we don’t allow broadcasters to show graphic sex scenes at 3pm is not in case a teenage boy is watching; it is in case a small child is watching. The watershed is not there to stop viewers who know what the content is actively seeking it out; obviously it can’t. It is there to stop viewers who don’t know what the content is innocently stumbling across it. And it is actually very effective at that.

    The point isn’t to ban the book. The point is to allow a parent to give their eight-year-old a Kindle with an Amazon account and some credit and let them rip without having to look over their shoulder the whole time.

  16. “The point isn’t to ban the book. The point is to allow a parent to give their eight-year-old a Kindle with an Amazon account and some credit and let them rip without having to look over their shoulder the whole time.”

    Tough luck.

    If you don’t want the problems don’t have the kids. Your kids-your responsibility.

  17. Bloke no longer in Austria said:

    Anyway, it’s just the counter-intuitive way that the German bureaucratic mind works. They aren’t a rational race at all, just because they make nice cars doesn’t mean that they can think straight as a nation.

    Rational depends on your point of view. The bottle bank notice would stop the sound of smashing glass being a disturbance when people could expect some relative peace and quiet.

    Squander Two said:

    The point isn’t to ban the book. The point is to allow a parent to give their eight-year-old a Kindle with an Amazon account and some credit and let them rip without having to look over their shoulder the whole time.

    Surely that is more appropriately dealt with by apps on individual machines installed by parents than by regulation. It sounds like they are treating downloads as broadcasts rather than sales.

  18. S2,

    “If we consider that laws are supposed to apply to everyone equally, and if we accept that a broadcaster may not send smut to people’s TVs at certain times, what’s the substantive difference in sending smut to people’s computers and why should the law not apply to people who do so? ”

    The main difference is that TV is a pretty basic machine with no parental locks on it. I can stick a password on my PC, block my kids from going to certain sites. I can set up my Amazon sub to require a PIN for anything 15 or over, but I can’t block them seeing a channel on Freeview.

    If there’s a mechanism that stops kids seeing something, why should adults be denied their pleasures at what time suits them? If parents aren’t going to set up the codes, or install porn filters, that’s their problem, not mine. No-one suggests that we all need drinks cabinets installed that stop the booze from coming out before parents get home to protect kids from intoxication.

  19. Gareth,

    “Surely that is more appropriately dealt with by apps on individual machines installed by parents than by regulation. It sounds like they are treating downloads as broadcasts rather than sales.”

    Weirdly, Kindle has no filtering. I would know if my kids downloaded a book from Amazon, but I can’t stop them. Yet, Amazon Prime blocks movies.

    We do have a bit of a double-standard in this country. Movies are highly regulated, but a kid of any age can go into a bookshop and buy Fanny Hill or into a newsagent and buy a copy of Razzle.

  20. No we don’t.

    But not just because of this.

    Because at least if they are our cretins we can in theory boot them out.

    Ian B is mostly right – once we finally do get out the dear old country will not suddenly become a libertarian paradise. But that is not a reason for not wanting to govern ourselves.

  21. The Stigler: “Weirdly, Kindle has no filtering. I would know if my kids downloaded a book from Amazon, but I can’t stop them. “

    Really? Is that on the e-ink version? Because I know my Kidle Fire has a ‘parental controls’ option, since I accidentally activated it the other day!

  22. What if the server is in the US, say California. Does it block on Pacific time or CET? Does it have to work out the request came from Germany, work out the time there (not difficult) and then make the decision?

  23. Stig,

    > I can set up my Amazon sub to require a PIN for anything 15 or over
    > … If there’s a mechanism that stops kids seeing something …
    > … Kindle has no filtering.

    Well, which is it?

  24. Gareth,

    > Surely that is more appropriately dealt with by apps on individual machines installed by parents than by regulation.

    I’m not arguing. However, you can’t install apps on a Kindle, so settings at account level would perhaps make more sense. Which are currently impossible, since books aren’t age-rated — although it looks like they now will be in Germany in reaction to this judgement.

    But my point wasn’t that this is the best way of solving the problem — legislation never is. My point was that, given that the law already exists, I see no particular reason why sending content electronically from a central provider to an individual’s electronic device should be covered by it whilst sending content electronically from a central provider to an individual’s slightly different electronic device isn’t. Yes, there is quibbling to be done about that slight difference. But the argument that the two cases are essentially legally the same is not cretinous, as Tim claimed.

    > It sounds like they are treating downloads as broadcasts rather than sales.

    Since the advent of on-demand TV, it’s a pretty difficult difference to define. Can you?

    Anyone got access to an English translation of the actual German law in question? You know what legislators are like: I doubt it says “broadcasts”. It will have attempted to define what it covers, and it’s hardly far-fetched that it might have done so in a way that covers downloads.

  25. Ecks,

    > If you don’t want the problems don’t have the kids. Your kids-your responsibility.

    That is an argument against watershed laws. It is not an argument for having watershed laws and applying them to some services but not to other almost identical services.

  26. Maybe, but that is an argument for German politicians regarding changing the law. What’s being discussed here is a decision by a German court regarding the application of the existing law. And I’m not saying that the law is a good one; I’m saying that the court’s interpretation of the law is far from cretinous.

  27. Squander Two said:
    “The watershed is not there to stop viewers who know what the content is actively seeking it out; obviously it can’t. It is there to stop viewers who don’t know what the content is innocently stumbling across it.”

    Precisely.

    Which is why it seems odd to apply the watershed to Amazon downloads.

    We decided that TV was effectively an electronic public space so, as you say, we regulated it so that people could walk around it during the daytime and early evening without tripping over hookers. Fine.

    But to download an Amazon book you don’t just wander into a public space and see it; you have to search it out. Which is why the logic of download and watershed doesn’t seem applicable.

    (If the court had said they mustn’t put porn on the front-page except after the watershed, OK, that might have made sense)

  28. IanB

    “As I have often pointed out, the driving ideologies of censoriousness are Anglosphere inventions (notably in this case, Feminism).”

    A wild generalisation. Southern europe, or India, or Africa or South America – all are very censorious. And feminists in Germany, the Netherlands or Scandinavia are at least as censorious, if not more so, as the anglospheric variety.

  29. The real; danger of such censorship is it might drive the young away from sex and into politics.

  30. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “That’s because you’re 14.”

    You have had what? 24 years of education?

  31. So Much for Subtlety

    Richard – “But to download an Amazon book you don’t just wander into a public space and see it; you have to search it out. Which is why the logic of download and watershed doesn’t seem applicable.”

    I once bought a Japanese film on Amazon that starred an actress who had …. done other work. A lot of other work by the looks of it. It was years before Amazon stopped giving me all sorts of recommendations. Some of which may, perhaps, have produced some interest from the police.

    You don’t really have to search stuff out on Amazon.

  32. So Much for Subtlety

    The Stigler – “We do have a bit of a double-standard in this country. Movies are highly regulated, but a kid of any age can go into a bookshop and buy Fanny Hill or into a newsagent and buy a copy of Razzle.”

    There is a world of difference between pictures of some bint in her underwear and what you routinely get on line. Modern porn films have, by all accounts, become rather nasty. Lads Mags are still highly regulated and rather tame by and large.

    Also I doubt that young boys can easily go into a shop and buy either. For one not many shops would sell Fanny Hill. For another, the shame of buying is well known. The shop owner might tell your mother.

  33. Foolish laws breed more foolish laws. Squander’s “we have this previous foolish law, so that justifies this new foolish law” argument is not much use.

    Also not surprised to see SMFS peddling the Feminist line “not your Daddy’s porno” line, as if everything prior to the internet was soft core and the internet invented anal sex (which we were all saying was great a few years ago, for teh gheys, weren’t we?) , cumshots and whatever else offends the matrons.

    There is no need for any regulation. As with the war on drugs, it is all futile and absurd. Futile and absurd being the major talents of government, of course.

  34. “What’s the difference between art and pornography…? a government grant!”

    Peter Griffin, Family Guy

  35. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “as if everything prior to the internet was soft core and the internet invented anal sex (which we were all saying was great a few years ago, for teh gheys, weren’t we?) , cumshots and whatever else offends the matrons.”

    It takes a particularly blinkered view not to have noticed that porn has changed and has got more extreme. That was the point of Deep Throat. Oral sex was not common back then. We also know this because of Herpes. There is no point distinguishing oral and genital herpes these days because they are no longer mainly oral or not.

    More to the point, back before porn was legalised, the rape rate was low. It was also different. If you look at Stranger rape, what Whoopy Goldberg might call rape-rape, in the Sixties rape was virtually entirely vaginal. Now it is often oral, vaginal and anal.

    Porn has changed society.

    “There is no need for any regulation. As with the war on drugs, it is all futile and absurd. Futile and absurd being the major talents of government, of course.”

    Making a point, even if futile, is sometimes worth making.

  36. I once bought a Japanese film on Amazon that starred an actress who had …. done other work.

    There was that German chick of Turkish extraction who played a prominent role in Game of Thrones. Turned out she had also…done other work. Lots of it. Her new-found fame brought her background to the surface and her family disowned her.

  37. It takes a particularly blinkered view not to have noticed that porn has changed and has got more extreme.

    It hasn’t. Having spent vast swathes of my adult life trapped in a desert or on a rig, I’m no stranger to what porn constitutes now, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and from the earlier eras. If there is a marked difference in the nature of the acts being shown across the different eras, I’ve yet to see it. What has changed is you now get it in HD.

  38. SMFS: “If you look at Stranger rape, what Whoopy Goldberg might call rape-rape, in the Sixties rape was virtually entirely vaginal. “

    Where do you get this from? Link?

  39. Julia-

    Where do you get this from?

    The rectal database.

    Tim N-

    If there is a marked difference in the nature of the acts being shown across the different eras, I’ve yet to see it.

    Indeed. These claims are made by people with little actual knowledge of the medium. But they don’t care about the truth; saying “it’s much more extreme now” is a way of explaining away their claims in the 1970s that the availability of porn would lead to a rape pandemic that never happened.

  40. These claims are made by people with little actual knowledge of the medium.

    One of the other claims which show a commentator has little knowledge of the medium is “Oh, those women don’t even look real, they have huge plastic tits”. Not any more they don’t: most of the time they’re young women with natural tits from Hungary or the Czech Republic, and their American counterparts have largely followed suit. You don’t get much more normal looking than Sasha Grey, hence her popularity.

  41. @SMFS “That was the point of Deep Throat. Oral sex was not common back then.”

    Ha ha

    “every generation thinks it invented oral sex” – Oft repeated. Entirely true.

    There are scribblings on the walls of Pompeii extolling the virtues of certain girls’ oral skills.

  42. “There are scribblings on the walls of Pompeii extolling the virtues of certain girls’ oral skills.”

    But nothing in Rochester’s poems about it, despite plenty of other explicit detail. When the man has an entire poem about the delights of double penetration in a park, and another about the joys of a leather dildo, the absence is odd.

    Although clearly not invented in the 60s, it does seem to have disappeared from the repertoire for a few centuries beforehand.

  43. Richard-

    It might have not been present in the repertoire of many prim 1950s wives, but since prostitutes were advertising french polishing services, as the euphemism went, that suggests it wasn’t absent.

    Either a handful of pornographers were enormously imaginative and inventive in the late 1960s, or porn just reflected actual sexual behaviour rather than the previous official version of what is proper.

    Tim N-

    Indeed. This is really one of the most frustrating things with trying to discuss porn; the other side are just plain ignorant. It’s like trying to discuss opera with somebody whose entire knowledge of it consists of “fat ladies in horned helmets”. Not only do they have no idea, they have no idea that they have no idea.

  44. SMFS,

    “There is a world of difference between pictures of some bint in her underwear and what you routinely get on line. Modern porn films have, by all accounts, become rather nasty. Lads Mags are still highly regulated and rather tame by and large.

    Also I doubt that young boys can easily go into a shop and buy either. For one not many shops would sell Fanny Hill. For another, the shame of buying is well known. The shop owner might tell your mother.”

    To see films full of naked women, you have to be 18 to buy. Someone who sells you that if you are under 18 is breaking the law. Someone who sells you a copy of Razzle if you’re under 18 is not.

    Tim Newman,

    The big selling stuff is different from the stuff in the 1970s, but not by much. It’s also the case that there’s far more diversity in terms of what’s available.

  45. Ian B, my source was not a prim 50s housewife but a 17th century libertine.

    I would not doubt that oral sex was offered by prostitutes in the 1950s. Since it apparently became common amongst amateurs in the ’60s, that would not be surprising.

    But if Rochester didn’t mention it in the 1670s it seems fairly certain it wasn’t being done then, whether by professionals or amateurs, so the interesting question is when and how it was reintroduced.

    My suspicion is that it is one of those things that had become extinct in England and was re-introduced from America (Wallis Simpson?)

  46. Richard-

    Maybe, but it’s hard to draw such conclusions from what are basically rather scant sources. Rochester mentions for instance “buggeries” in St James Park, but not whether the buggerees are male or female. Is it an allusion to gheys, ladies taking it up the rump, or what? We don’t know. The absence of oral sex may be an omission, rather than a deliberate absence.

    What I’m trying to say here is that subjects that are not talked about by polite persons- or not considered important- don’t get much recorded historically. It’s only in the past few decades that we’ve had a mass media of sex at all.

    Which also ties into the thing that most historians and others whose writings are recorded have been members of the higher classes, so we don’t know much about mass popular behaviour other that what they chose to say about it, which often wasn’t much. History is full of holes.

  47. Ian,

    > Squander’s “we have this previous foolish law, so that justifies this new foolish law” argument

    Bollocks. There is no new law here.

    And besides, the watershed isn’t foolish.

    Furthermore, when it does come to changing existing law, the Germans have shown that they are willing to do so based on evidence of what’s happening in the real world. They repealed their antibestiality laws back in the 60s on the grounds that they were unnecessary because no-one was ever breaking them, then reintroduced them a few years ago because of the new growth industry in specialist holiday llama farms (no, really). There are many things to be said about that, but it doesn’t demonstrate a tunnel-visioned refusal to change with the times.

    Tim,

    > If there is a marked difference in the nature of the acts being shown across the different eras, I’ve yet to see it. What has changed is you now get it in HD.

    No, what has changed is ease of access. Pre-Web, the more extreme the porn, the more difficult it was to get hold of. The kind of videos that used to require going into a specialist establishment and at least doing a convincing job of faking being over eighteen and which cost money are now readily available to anyone with virtually no effort at a moment’s notice for free. It takes a quite extreme level of willful blindness not to see that that has had an effect on society.

    Richard,

    > But to download an Amazon book you don’t just wander into a public space and see it; you have to search it out.

    I do have to wonder whether you’ve ever used Amazon.

    As an experiment, I just went to their front page, and, counting only the books, got 21 recommendations of things I’ve not sought out, many of which I’ve never heard of. Plenty of writers out there have written both porn and non-porn. And books don’t have age ratings, so there’s currently no mechanism to filter those recommendations. Amazon will now have to build such a filter.

    I was a voracious reader as a child. Had I had a Kindle, I’d’ve clicked most of its recommendations and buzzed through them.

  48. Bollocks. There is no new law here.

    It’s an extension of a law into a new area; from the POV of an ebook website or purchaser, this is a new law. You’re splitting hairs.

    And besides, the watershed isn’t foolish.

    Oh, but it is.

    It takes a quite extreme level of willful blindness not to see that that has had an effect on society.

    Everything has an “effect on society”. The invention of oven chips had an effect on society. The question is why people keep panicking about sex; and the answer to that is the persistence of a Judeao-Christian terror of it, which also “had an effect on society”.

    The fact that some mass of people have a taboo or fear of something does not validate it. By definition taboos are shared value systems, which means that people are naturally going to be worried about perceived breakdowns of those taboos and try to shore them up, usually circularly using the argument that the weakening of the taboo is the justification for its strengthening (by the authorities).

    If we’d had the internet 50 years ago the same nutters would have been complaining about easy access to homosexual material and, “something must be done to protect the children” and the same bullshit.

    Porn is fine. It really is time we dropped the silly taboo system of Bronze Age Palestine. For heaven’s sake.

  49. Ian B, you may have missed some of Rochester’s poems; he is very clear about buggering women as well as boys. He also doesn’t seem to be constrained by class boundaries.

    The point of using him as a source is that there isn’t much sexually that he doesn’t mention, so the lack of oral sex is notable.

    But I agree that there are not many sources, although there were published guides to London whores over the next century, before the prodnoses had them shut down at the end of the 18th. One of the later ones, Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, has a possible mention of oral sex, although it is so euphemistic one cannot be sure, and that’s just one possible out of over a hundred.

    There’s a publishable PhD in this for someone, I should think.

  50. S2, I did say (before I got sidetracked):
    “(If the court had said they mustn’t put porn on the front-page except after the watershed, OK, that might have made sense)”

    But the court didn’t stop at that “public space” argument; they banned all relevant downloads even if you have to search them out.

  51. But if Rochester didn’t mention it in the 1670s it seems fairly certain it wasn’t being done then, whether by professionals or amateurs, so the interesting question is when and how it was reintroduced.

    Or it may have been so commonplace as to be not worth mentioning. Rochester set out to shock – what’s the point of mentioning an act that is not even slightly shocking?

    You are, however, probably correct: I’ve just consulted my copy of “17th Century Sex” (Mac Sween and Jones, Stuart Press 1992) which summarises known historical sources, and says: “Unfortunately there is no indication of oral sex.”

  52. Ian B,

    “Which also ties into the thing that most historians and others whose writings are recorded have been members of the higher classes, so we don’t know much about mass popular behaviour other that what they chose to say about it, which often wasn’t much. History is full of holes.”

    You can even see this with dramatisations of recent history. Punk rock is frequently portrayed as a big deal, but by any measure you can pick it really wasn’t. It was a short-lived, small-selling genre, and only because public schoolboys and Oxbridge types liked it have we seen so many movies about it.

  53. “More to the point, back before porn was legalised, the rape rate was low. ”

    I thought that it was the case that internet porn reduces rape rates? I’m sure our host has linked to studies showing exactly that. Now it may be the case that rape was lower in the 50s (or what ever mythical golden period of public morals one wishes to choose), but even then one suspects that much of what would now be reported as rape was brushed under the carpet – I doubt a date rape would ever have been reported in the 50s, the victim would have been too worried about being seen as a damaged woman or even that she would have been seen responsible for the assault – ‘You went up to see his etchings? What did you expect?’

    Edit: loads of links about the roll out of broadband reducing rape, here’s one:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2006/10/how_the_web_prevents_rape.html

  54. @Jim

    ‘Now it may be the case that rape was lower in the 50s (or what ever mythical golden period of public morals one wishes to choose)’

    I don’t know whether it was morals or the fear of discovery and punishment but crime was hugely lower in 1950.

    That year saw seven ‘violence against the person’ offences per 100,000 head of population, compared with 1054/100,000 in 2013.

    (There have been changes in recording and in offence categorisation, but that doesn’t explain all of the above by any means.)

  55. @Stigler

    Punk may have been short-lived and small selling, but it was very influential (though of course it was itself the product of its influences).

    Would The Jam have arisen without punk? I don’t know, but I guess not in the way that they did. They had four number ones, when you had to sell a few actual records to get to No1, and countless modern day imitators, as did The Clash and lots of others.

    (Mind you, it doesn’t matter – it’s only pop music.)

  56. What happened to the strip club in Frankfurt airport? Is that still there or has it been closed down?

    Rather a shock in my innocent teenage years to see that (and it didn’t need searching for either; definitely in the public space).

  57. Interested,

    “Punk may have been short-lived and small selling, but it was very influential ”

    True, but you could say the same about the influence of disco on 80s pop as Nile Rodgers produced about half the good stuff. All sorts of music is influential. But almost no other British music is dramatised. Meanwhile a load of state subsidy goes into films about Ian Dury or Ian Curtis.

  58. Richard,

    > “(If the court had said they mustn’t put porn on the front-page except after the watershed, OK, that might have made sense)”

    That would have been a new law, which the court doesn’t have the power to create. All they can rule on is the application of existing law.

    Ian,

    > Oh, but it is.

    Oh, go on, then: explain what’s foolish about the watershed. Bearing in mind that it is not intended to stop teenage boys finding porn, so the fact that it does not do so is a straw man.

    > Everything has an “effect on society”. The invention of oven chips had an effect on society. The question is why people keep panicking about sex; and the answer to that is the persistence of a Judeao-Christian terror of it, which also “had an effect on society”.

    Look, SMFS said:

    > Porn has changed society.

    and got ridiculed for it by, among others, you. You now admit that it was in fact true, but are for some reason ridiculing anyone who points it out even more.

    And who’s panicking about sex? Not me. Porn? Not me. I thought the recent BBFC rules were silly and pointless and they should just give up on the idea that they can regulate this stuff. I also think the prevalence and ease of access of more extreme porn has a bad effect on what teenage boys think is normal and therefore expect from real life, which in turn means I’m going to have to have some rather awkward but important conversations with my daughters, but hey, such is life. On the other hand, I won’t have to break it to them that they’re probably going to be incinerated in a nuclear holocaust when the Cold War gets hot. Every generation has its challenges.

    As for TV, well, personally, I’d prefer it if everyone still gathered round the piano of an evening, but that bird’s flown. TV is treated by almost everyone as a shared social experience. Families gather round the TV and watch it together. There is one in most living rooms. Asking that I can turn it on at 4pm when my kids are just back from school and not unexpectedly see someone being graphically beheaded or a women in a squirrel suit shitting into a man’s mouth seems quite reasonable. My kids love squirrels.

    I think what the “no censorship of any kind under any circumstances ever” extremists tend to miss is that it is things like the watershed and age ratings that enable things not to be censored. Get rid of age ratings on films, and what would happen? Anyone could go see anything at the cinema? No, loads of films would simply be banned instead.

    > The fact that some mass of people have a taboo or fear of something does not validate it. By definition taboos are shared value systems, which means that people are naturally going to be worried about perceived breakdowns of those taboos and try to shore them up, usually circularly using the argument that the weakening of the taboo is the justification for its strengthening (by the authorities).

    Whenever you start going on about taboos, you seem convinced that the very word “taboo” is so obviously ridiculous that pointing out that something is a taboo automatically shows how stupid it is. And yet it is the taboo against murder, not the law, that stops most people killing. Natalie Solent has argued convincingly that libertarians should want more taboos, not less, as the alternative to taboo is usually law.

    Anyway, I don’t have a taboo or fear of sex or porn. I just take the revolutionary view that humans take a while to grow up and need to be exposed to life a bit at a time. So it makes sense that certain things should be kept away from them until they’re ready. And, since our society contains children (no, really), it makes sense that society be constructed in such a way that it is possible to keep certain things away from them until they’re ready. But mention this and the hardcore libertarians who seem so keen on making sure that libertarianism will never ever be electable start screaming that their right to see hardcore porn broadcast on daytime TV is being infringed.

  59. @TS

    ‘True, but you could say the same about the influence of disco on 80s pop as Nile Rodgers produced about half the good stuff.’

    Yep, true. And Rodgers had his influences, and so on ad nauseam. I was really just making the (obvious I know) point that punk was (jnsofar as these things ever are, which is never, really) quite important.

    That said, if the New York Dolls hadn’t started up, someone else would, and if the Buzzcocks and Clash etc hadn’t started up, someone else would etc etc and it’s possible, even probable, that things would have gone the same way.

    Still, it’s very interesting (to me) to wonder counterfactually what the music of my youth would have been like without eg punk happening in the way it did.

  60. Philip Scott Thomas

    It takes a quite extreme level of willful blindness not to see that that has had an effect on society.

    And while you’re at it, define this thing you call “society”.

  61. On the original post, I’m sure someone has made the point but it’s surely entirely irrelevant what time a book is downloaded?

    It’s when and by whom it’s read that (in this theory) matters, isn’t it?

  62. I’m sorry, internet porn is just the latest technological invention that has parents worrying about the effect it has on their children. It used to be video nasties. Before that it was heavy metal: didn’t Pippa Gore see the devil on MTV, or something? Before that it was Elvis and Rock n Roll. And so on, back through time.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that any of these, including internet porn, has had a noticeable negative effect on society. I can see why guys like Squander who has kids might be worried, which is fine, it’s natural. But for those who don’t have kids, and can perhaps keep a clearer head on the issue, we are not about to see teenage boys demanding girls act and look like* porn stars when they go on a date: they’ll be as awkward and clueless as they have always been. Perhaps when they grow up a bit they’ll experiment a bit more but in my experience 1) that’s probably a good thing and 2) half the time it’s the women leading the charge.

    *Which, when it comes down to it, is basically boys asking whether girls should trim a bit down there. Which more and more of them are doing anyway, and I doubt it’s because porn-riddled boyfriends are demanding it.

  63. And also, why does this only run in one direction? Where is the fear that young girls will look at porn and demand all future boyfriends are hung like a horse, have questionable jewelry, and rarely show their faces?

  64. I’m pretty sure the availability of hardcore porn at the flick of a switch has had an effect on society, and I agree with S2 – it’s so obvious what that effect has been that it doesn’t require stating.

    The interesting (to me) questions are

    i) is it a bad thing

    ii) what’s to be done about it

    and in context of this post

    iii) is this one of those things, in the sense that it will hold back the tide?

    I think these are complex questions, which would lead to complex answers, apart from iii) to which the answer is No.

  65. What’s also funny is that the adults who try to shield kids from the world never, ever quite realise that they are 3 steps behind the kids. Case in point: friend of mine decided he would sit down and explain to his daughters aged 4 and 6 the concept of the internet. The oldest piped up that she already had her own YouTube account, they knew how to get on the internet because they’d played with his iPad and whatever silly device he’d put in place to lock them out of it, they’d circumvented.

    When adults have kids, they seem to forget how kids think. I grew up in a house of 4 kids, and between us we (independently) rummaged through absolutely everything bar nothing and found every single last document or object that our parents wanted hidden. By the time we were 12. This is why keeping guns in the house outside of a securely locked, combination safe (with the combination committed only to memory) is essential: kids will find a way in.

  66. I’m pretty sure the availability of hardcore porn at the flick of a switch has had an effect on society, and I agree with S2 – it’s so obvious what that effect has been that it doesn’t require stating.

    Well humour me and state it anyway, because I genuinely have no clue.

  67. This is why keeping guns in the house outside of a securely locked, combination safe (with the combination committed only to memory) is essential: kids will find a way in.

    Inside the safe, obviously.

  68. @Tim N

    ‘I’m sorry, internet porn is just the latest technological invention that has parents worrying about the effect it has on their children… There is no evidence whatsoever that any of these, including internet porn, has had a noticeable negative effect on society.’

    I take your point Tim, but I think a lot depends on your definition of negative. Kids today are different (in my opinion) in many ways to the kids of my youth.

    It seems clear to me that populations change, that culture (whether via education, or entertainment, or propaganda, or something else) can effect that change, and that technology can allow that change to happen more quickly.

    Also, just because nothing so far has had effect X, an effect that people are always warning of, doesn’t mean that some current development will not lead to effect X.

  69. Kids today are different (in my opinion) in many ways to the kids of my youth.

    That has been true since Adam noticed Cain was a bit different. It’s almost the definition of growing up and becoming a parent. But every generation turns out, by and large, to be all right with the weirdos and freaks very much the outliers.

  70. @TN

    ‘Well humour me and state it anyway, because I genuinely have no clue.’

    I seriously don’t see how you cannot think that kids of eight watching man bugger women and ejaculate on their faces doesn’t have some sort of an effect on those kids. But OK, maybe you do think this, and maybe you’re right. Maybe you think there’s an effect, but it’s a positive one. OK. I’m not sure we’ve had enough of this around for long enough to know for sure, maybe we should discuss it in thirty years’ time!

    That being said, just one humouring ‘thing’.

    When I was a kid I had girlfriends. They did not send me pictures of their vaginas which I could then show to the world once they broke up with me (I never got broken up with, but still), and those girls did not then suffer the feelings of shame and unhappiness that seem to result.

    Shame and unhappiness at the unwanted sharing of intimate pictures with strangers does seem to be a thing, for lots of girls, whether we think it makes sense or not.

    Now, you could argue that people haven’t changed – that girls would always have sent pictures of their vaginas to their boyfriends, but I just don’t think that is true.

    I think that is a relatively new thing, and that the ubiquity of online vagina pix may be involved. I may be wrong, but that’s my view.

    I think humans, particularly at the lower end of the intellectual spectrum, are herd animals. They are copyists. They are also quite short term in their thinking.

    It used to be that stuff you did that was embarrassing got forgotten. Now it need never be forgotten. I think that’s tough on kids (it’s also probably two things I guess).

    I’m not arguing for censorship, either, I think that cat is out of the bag and the stable door has been bolted. I’m just lamenting something that I think we have lost.

    I actually feel a bit sorry for the boys of today – they are basically being shown their Christmas presents early (and when they open them in the real world they’re probably quite likely to be disappointed!).

  71. @TIm N

    ‘That has been true since Adam noticed Cain was a bit different. It’s almost the definition of growing up and becoming a parent. But every generation turns out, by and large, to be all right with the weirdos and freaks very much the outliers.’

    I don’t agree with this. I think we reached a peak of civilisation in this country in the 1950s – albeit that there was lots of stuff that was shit about living in the 50s, especially if you were gay or black or an unmarried mum etc, and our material wealth has improved.

    You may not think (for instance) that the increase in unwed motherhood, and multliple absent father households, is a bad thing (because it has been accompanied by a concomitant decline in guilt and shame etc).

    OK.

    But the evidence in terms of the outcomes for the children from those relationships is otherwise.

  72. I seriously don’t see how you cannot think that kids of eight watching man bugger women and ejaculate on their faces doesn’t have some sort of an effect on those kids.

    Hang on: you previously said the effects are so obvious they don’t need stating. Now you just think there is “some sort” of effect?

    But OK, maybe you do think this, and maybe you’re right. Maybe you think there’s an effect, but it’s a positive one.

    I think, on aggregate, it will have no effect whatsoever. Every adult frets about the country going to the dogs and the world their kids will grow up in, but funnily enough kids tend to be awfully resilient about this kind of thing. For example, what did your parents fret about you doing but you did it anyway? Are you paying for it still? My mother thought watching TV would rot my brain and I shouldn’t hang around in pubs when I was 15 and (probably) I shouldn’t look at Fiesta mags I found in a hedge in a layby. I did all of them, and seem to have come out reasonably okay. Today’s kids will be just fine. I’d be more worried about the economy, their job prospects, and the justice system than internet porn.

  73. I don’t agree with this. I think we reached a peak of civilisation in this country in the 1950s – albeit that there was lots of stuff that was shit about living in the 50s, especially if you were gay or black or an unmarried mum etc, and our material wealth has improved.

    I sometimes think like this, but and agree that people forget there was an awful lot of shit associated with that era and before – hence the 1960s revolution. Personally I think they threw the baby out with the bathwater, but the revolution did have to happen IMO. I think we look on that period with rose-tinted spectacles, but those who grew up in it seemed pretty determined to ensure they never went back.

    You may not think (for instance) that the increase in unwed motherhood, and multliple absent father households, is a bad thing (because it has been accompanied by a concomitant decline in guilt and shame etc).

    I do think this, but the 50s was no age of innocence where revolting stuff didn’t happen.

  74. Interested: “Now, you could argue that people haven’t changed – that girls would always have sent pictures of their vaginas to their boyfriends…”

    Well, when you had to get the film developed at Boots, it was a bit more tricky…

  75. “Look at the children of today. Wild and out of control, a generation unlike any before, disrespectful to their elders. You cannot even tell boy from girl by their clothing as they all wear the same”

    Marcus Portius Cato writing in the 2nd century BC.

  76. Besides, who is to say it’s bad?

    I’m told that girls think it’s usual to dress up as whores and think giving a virtual stranger a blow-job doesn’t mean anything and I’m thinking, “what’s bad about this exactly?”

  77. Interested,

    > I’m pretty sure the availability of hardcore porn at the flick of a switch has had an effect on society, and I agree with S2 – it’s so obvious what that effect has been that it doesn’t require stating.

    Certainly you’d think so, yes.

    > I’m sure someone has made the point but it’s surely entirely irrelevant what time a book is downloaded? It’s when and by whom it’s read that (in this theory) matters, isn’t it?

    Yes, but, to save you scrolling as this has got quite long: this story is not about politicians passing new legislation; it is about a court interpreting existing legislation. The law in question is a watershed. The court’s decision is that downloads (sending content from a central provider to a user’s electronic device) are legally the same as broadcasts (sending content from a central provider to a user’s electronic device). It’s arguable, but hardly insane.

    > is this one of those things, in the sense that it will hold back the tide? … to which the answer is No.

    Considering the fights currently going on in Germany about compulsory sex education — indluding fetishes — for the very young, this whole debate is frankly insane.

    Tim,

    > There is no evidence whatsoever that any of these, including internet porn, has had a noticeable negative effect on society.

    You’ve introduced the word “negative” there yourself. That’s a whole other argument.

    > And also, why does this only run in one direction?

    Again, you seem to have invented that yourself. Who here claimed that it does?

    > I can see why guys like Squander who has kids might be worried, which is fine, it’s natural. But for those who don’t have kids, and can perhaps keep a clearer head on the issue

    Claiming that people who don’t agree with you must be irrational is ten-year-old stuff, and you know it.

    > we are not about to see teenage boys demanding girls act and look like* porn stars

    Actually, that is exactly what we are seeing, and it’s a problem. Inexperienced boys tend not to understand the difference between uncomfortable or painful stuff that professionals do for the sake of camera angles and stuff that amateurs do because it actually feels good, and pressure girls accordingly.

    Anyway, it’s odd that you repeatedly point out that you who look at porn know more about it than people who don’t, yet are completely dismissive of the idea that people who have children might know a bit more about children than you do.

    > What’s also funny is that the adults who try to shield kids from the world never, ever quite realise that they are 3 steps behind the kids.

    Never, ever? That’s a very strong claim, again from someone who has no experience whatsoever. You have one second-hand anecdote about a Youtube account. Great. And that proves my four-year-old knows all about analingus, does it? I have no doubt that there will be some occasions when my kids find stuff out sooner than I expected. It doesn’t follow from that that you have a right to show them hardcore porn.

    Besides, you’re making the basic error of treating dependent events as independent. If parents decide to teach their kids something at age 10 and the kids find out at age 8, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the parents were wrong. It could well mean that, had the parents decided to teach them at age 8, they’d have found out at age 6. These parameters, all taken together, form an environment in which the child is raised. That individual parameters may not correlate exactly to children’s behaviour doesn’t mean that the aggregate effect is useless.

    > When adults have kids, they seem to forget how kids think.

    Quite the opposite. We learn all sorts of interesting new things about how kids think, and thus realise what our parents were up against.

    PST,

    > define this thing you call “society”.

    Why? Do you genuinely not understand the sentence “Our society contains children”?

  78. Squander-

    The watershed is foolish because it presumes that TV companies can’t decide for themselves what to broadcast.

    The point about “changed society” was that everything “changes society” because society is just the sum of what we all do. So raising this point is meaningless. Yes, things are different now to how they were twenty years ago. The same was also true twenty years ago. It’s a meaningless truism to say that society changes. The question is whether porn has driven some great and terrible “change” or whether it’s just a thing that exists. I think the balance of evidence is that it’s the latter; which is my main point. To those not subject to these silly taboos, it’s just no big deal. Like pop music, or oven chips.

    Which brings me to the taboo thing. Yes, taboos are generally stupid, and Solent’s view is one I regard as pretty stupid as well. It tends to be found on the Libertarian/Conservative axis, among people who want liberty for themselves but fear the liberty of others. They thus look for some other mechanism to keep in place the rules that libertarianism would not have the state enforce- usually either religion or fierce social shunning structures.

    In which case I tend to reply, “not much use getting rid of the State then, is there?”. Indeed, much con-lib thought seems in my estimation to be devoted to figuring out how civil society/the private sector can do all the stupid and bad things the State does now.

    Taboo is a non-rational thought mode. I suspect it evolved as a psychological mechanism when homo sapiens was not yet fully modern and capable of rational thought. It’s a way for chimp-man to enforce social conditioning when he couldn’t think things through very well. So the result is a powerful social conditioning instinct linked to the emotional centres; which is why taboo breakers (e.g. gays in the past, or promiscuous women in many cultures) tend to suffer violence. Taboos incite irrational levels of hate and violence. Because that worked for chimpy-man.

    Rational man can figure out what is sensible and what isn’t. You don’t need a taboo when you can do that. Which is why the actual taboo mechanisms these days are limited to a bunch of silly things, like sex (almost exclusively, in fact). People are far more rational about murder than sex. Because it isn’t taboo (hence, we watch murder for popular entertainment)- it’s illegal.

    So, we should consider whether taboo is a good way to make rules. My argument is that it is not. Its a very bad one. It just propagates itself. To use a favourite example; in at least two religions eating a bacon sandwich is an abomination. For heaven’s sake.

    Whatever merits sexual taboos may have had in previous societies, particularly those of the pastoral Levant, they do not apply today. What has “changed” society is a whole range of developments, particularly in medical and contraceptive technologies. The Sexual Revolution was a rational response to the ability- finally- for women to be promiscuous without the fear of pregnancy. That’s the cat that got out of the bag. It happened to coincide with the already overdue breakdown of the Victorian system (which had an Indian Summer due to the Depression and WWII).

    The forces determined to not let society naturally adapt to that have been struggling to put the old system back in place ever since by trying to deprecate sexuality. One tactic is segregation (special “sex shops”, censorship, etc). Another is guilting and shaming, as with the issue currently of erotic selfies mentioned by Interested. This phenomenon again is a natural change in “society” due to new technology. We are no longer reliant on box Brownies and expensive chemical film that needs sending away for developing. People these days take photos all the time of everything; it’s obvious sex is going to feature in that.

    So all they can do now- now that everyone is a publisher and old publisher-oriented laws can’t function- is to yell at girls that they ought to be ashamed of themselves, and punish Dwayne if he’s got a picture of Tracey legs akimbo on his phone. Of course, if they really cared about “shame”, they’d say there’s nothing to be ashamed of, as was the narrative regarding being gay.

    But by God, do they want people, particularly young women, to be ashamed.

    And more than naked vaginas, there is a real issue here in general. Because in a privatised panopticon, anything you do can appear on the internet. So either “society” decides to be liberal and accept that people have sex, or get drunk, or say silly things, and it’s no big deal, or we turn into a society where everyone’s too terrified to do anything at all in case it scuppers their life twenty years later.

    I know which I’d prefer.

  79. @Tim N

    ‘Hang on: you previously said the effects are so obvious they don’t need stating. Now you just think there is “some sort” of effect?’

    No, probably unlcear of me. I think the effect is obvious. I’m questioning how *you* don’t think there is some sort of effect.

  80. And to be brief for once in a comment, I’ll just add that the “when you have kids” argument seems to be primarily a manifestation of the “my little princess” thing. It’s not so much about whether girls want to do [whatever] as their parents not liking the idea of them doing it. Hence, the whole “boys forcing girls” narrative.

  81. > For example, what did your parents fret about you doing but you did it anyway?

    Children behave differently depending on their parents’ behaviour. A child may do something anyway that their parents fret about, but they pick up on the fretting and therefore regard the thing they are doing differently from how they would if their parents were not fretting. There is, for instance, a difference between using the word “fuck” and using the word “fuck” in front of your grandmother.

    The purpose of giving children boundaries is not that none of the boundaries may ever be breached. Pushing and bending and breaking boundaries is a valuable part of a child’s development and education, which cannot be done without boundaries.

    I find this is staggeringly obvious to most parents. But some have foolishly absorbed the ignorant advice of non-parents like yourself and decided to give their children no boundaries because they’d only break them anyway. Their children are why ASBOs were invented.

  82. @Ian

    ‘So all they can do now- now that everyone is a publisher and old publisher-oriented laws can’t function- is to yell at girls that they ought to be ashamed of themselves, and punish Dwayne if he’s got a picture of Tracey legs akimbo on his phone.’

    Ian, firstly, who’s yelling at girls that they ought to be ashamed of themselves? Mostly their mothers (girls are making a very good living doing that off the rest of us, for all your fears of the new puritans). OK, their mothers may be bitter old harridans, but equally – maybe they’re wise old birds. We have social conventions which have developed over a very long time, in some cases for good reasons. Maybe this is one of those occasions, I don’t know.

    Beyond that, I don’t think any ‘they’ will punish Dwayne for having a picture of Tracey’s vag on his phone if Tracey is over 18 and sent it to him?

    ‘there is a real issue here in general. Because in a privatised panopticon, anything you do can appear on the internet. So either “society” decides to be liberal and accept that people have sex, or get drunk, or say silly things, and it’s no big deal, or we turn into a society where everyone’s too terrified to do anything at all in case it scuppers their life twenty years later.’

    This is also a straw man. Society already accepts that people have sex. It also accepts that people need to shit. It doesn’t do the latter in public, and for a long time it didn’t tend to do the former. (I don’t compare the acitivities, I just say there have always been things best relegated to the private realm.)

    Re turning into a society where we’re all terrified twenty years later, I don’t like the sound of that but we don’t have to. As individuals, certainly, we don’t have to listen to the views of others, or care what they think – but that is a different society from the one I grew up in, which is sort of my point. Whether that’s for the best, who knows? It’s a personal opinion. I think it sounds rampantly egotistical, but I can see how others might think the precise opposite.

    I’m personally not against women in general sending me (or anyone else) filthy selfies. I wouldn’t want my daughters doing it, but who knows what they will do? I suspect they won’t, for the same reasons I am pretty sure that my mum, wife, sister and circle of female friends wouldn’t, and it’s not because they are frigid or asexual or weird, but because it isn’t the sort of thing people like us do. Simple as that, really.

    Maybe over time we’ll all become that sort of people, but if we are it will have been caused by something. In my view (if it happens) it’s likely to be the erosion of some (often self-imposed) barriers to certain exhibitionary behaviour caused by the idea that ‘everyone’s doing it’.

    (Maybe we’ll also build public loos with glass walls? I think it’s unlikely, because that seems to be a serious taboo, but who can say?)

    Maybe some people *will* want to sext other people, but regret it later. Who knows? People are hypocrites, or change their minds, and their beliefs, or are inconsistent, and don’t mind A having pix of their vag but object to B having one.

    All I’m saying is that taken en masse our attitudes are changing, and I think online porn is part of it.

    Whether it’s for the better or worse is a purely personal thing, and across the piece I am undecided. At the end of the day, a large number of women behaving in a given way will probably increase the marriage potential of other women who are not like that, which will probably be good for my girls!

  83. Also, regarding the use of the “extreme acts” argument, one must wonder then why there isn’t some category of 13-rated Porn that excludes these particular acts.

  84. Ian,

    > the “when you have kids” argument seems to be primarily a manifestation of the “my little princess” thing. It’s not so much about whether girls want to do [whatever] as their parents not liking the idea of them doing it.

    It’s true: I don’t like the idea of my four-year-old daughter having sex. I think she should wait a few years yet. Ditto for her watching hardcore porn. If she was a boy, I’d think the same. And this makes me a figure of ridicule in your world? Really?

    > The watershed is foolish because it presumes that TV companies can’t decide for themselves what to broadcast.

    No, watershed legislation assumes that TV companies will decide for themselves what to broadcast.

  85. @Ian B

    ‘And to be brief for once in a comment, I’ll just add that the “when you have kids” argument seems to be primarily a manifestation of the “my little princess” thing. It’s not so much about whether girls want to do [whatever] as their parents not liking the idea of them doing it. Hence, the whole “boys forcing girls” narrative.’

    It is beyond obvious that men have to make most of the running in sex. Not all the running, just most. In some cases it’s not true, but across the piece.

    As for ‘my little princess’, what you seem to be saying is that parents treat female children differently to male. Why do you think that is? Could it be that it is because they are different?

    [That said, I expect my sons to treat women with respect and I would not want them getting mixed up with the kind of woman who text them pix of their vaginas (having started this them, I’ll continue with it).

    This is because in my experience such women are overly obsessed with their own physical appearance, and needy to the point of insanity in respect of craving male attention.

    If they are not already literally insane they are likely to become insane once their looks fade.

    They put all of their eggs (pun intended) into one basket and are in trouble once those eggs are gone.]

  86. Ian, firstly, who’s yelling at girls that they ought to be ashamed of themselves?

    The entire Establishment, feminist movement, etc, all screaming that if you do that it is shameful.

    Beyond that, I don’t think any ‘they’ will punish Dwayne for having a picture of Tracey’s vag on his phone if Tracey is over 18 and sent it to him?

    We’re talking about under 18s. Even if Dwayne and Tracey are married, absurdly having naked photos of 17 year old Tracey is child pornography. Harridan in chief Alison Saunders recently made it very clear that the CPS is keen to prosecute as many Dwaynes as ferociously as they can.

    And then we get back to the absurd failure of our Moral Guardians to accept that sexual interest and activity is quite normal well before the golden age of 18.

    It is worth rehearsing why we ended up here; back with the Victorian puritans, they hoped to construct a “chaste” society. A major plank of this was the belief that sexual desire is learned (nurture rather than nature) and thus that if young persons were not exposed either to the act or to media depicting it, they would not acquire this urge, and would become chaste, pure adults (who would only do the beastly thing occasionally for procreative purposes). This is where the whole mantra of “child protection from pornography” came from.

    Nobody (surely?) believes this claptrap any more; but as it was made taboo, the taboo remains, along with the slogan of “childhood innocence”.

  87. Why do you think that is? Could it be that it is because they are different?

    It could be. Or it could be because people want them to be different and up on a moral pedestal and think that “sluts” are letting the side down. Which seems to me to be the more logical explanation.

    Economically, women slut-shame in order to maintain a higher cartel price for sex. This is at least rational, if cynical. For men, it makes no sense at all, hence the traditional hypocrisy of the man who visits a slut to get the sex his nice, moral wife, won’t provide, while publicly denouncing sluts and fearing his daughter will be one.

  88. I’m a regular commenter here, but would prefer not to have this comment traceable to my real name – my googling my usual nick probably reveals who I am quite quickly

    I actually feel a bit sorry for the boys of today – they are basically being shown their Christmas presents early (and when they open them in the real world they’re probably quite likely to be disappointed!).

    Easily the most perceptive comment on this thread so far.

    I’m a little unlike most of those commenting above – I’m young enough that online porn was already a thing when I was a teenager.
    In some ways my generation was the one that overlapped – the first topless image I encountered was in a copy of the Sport that had been abandoned in a layby (I would have been about 12 – I was just old enough for my parents to let me out long distance cycling), but I’d discovered (initially by acident) internet porn videos by the time I was 14.

    Looking back, I’d much rather that genie had stayed in its bottle a good deal longer.
    Internet smutt can be very> dark, and as a 14 year old you have very little discretion as to what you might not want to see (or more relevantly to this thread read – interestingly, the preverlance of dial-up conections meant I read more smutt than I watched porn videos).

    As an internet meme has it “what has been seen cannot be unseen”.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not about to turn round and say porn ruined my life – but I’m definitely of the view that for me, in the long term it spoilt more than it informed or entertained.

    All this said – it’s no good trying to turn back the clock and un-invent the internet or phone camera even if we wanted to. This German court has as much chance of stopping kids finding porn (deliberately or by accident) as King Canute had of keeping the tide out.

    Tl:Dr
    Net porn isn’t good for kids, but there is sweet FA the government can do about it.

  89. Philip Scott Thomas

    S2 –

    …define this thing you call “society”.

    Why? Do you genuinely not understand the sentence “Our society contains children”?

    I’m not questioning my definition of “society”. I’m questioning yours. “Society” is one of those weasel words that means everything and anything the user of it wants to mean.

    For myself, I believe it is nothing more than a reification of something that doesn’t actually exist, and that those who use it as a justification for whatever point they’re trying to make are probably no-goodniks.

  90. ‘Ian B

    ‘We’re talking about under 18s. Even if Dwayne and Tracey are married, absurdly having naked photos of 17 year old Tracey is child pornography. ‘

    Ah – at that point I was talking more generally. (Though have there been any prosecutions of a married 17-year-old in those circs? Not aware of one, I’d be very surprised.)

    I don’t agree with your stuff about women on pedestals. I think most men just prefer to have exclusive access to a woman, and actually most women quite like being the woman in that equation.

    Not all, in either case, but most. Less in some societies, more in others. Ours being one of the ‘others’, and it’s worked pretty well for us over the years, in a most-successful-society ever, kind of way.

    Sure, hypocrisy, outliers, unhappy marriages yadda yadda. The world isn’t perfect, but (IMO) a society based on a majority of stable, married couples is just about the best we’re going to get.

    Now, when it turns out that ‘their’ women are shagging around, men don’t like it, and vice versa.

    Why? Jealousy, probably for very good evolutionary reasons.

    It’s got nothing to do with puritans, though I accept they exist. It’s just the way most people are.

    Mums know this (through life experience) and they don’t want their daughters to have unhappy lives where they either get left for another woman or enter into a succession of ultimately pointless relationships (the ultimate point of life being really to have children in as happy a way as possible) and end up unhappy and alone once their looks fade. So they warn them against shagging the first man they meet and then every man ever after. Dads, likewise.

    re dads – maybe it’s the circles I move in, but I don’t know a single man who would be happy that his son was shagging the village bike, either. All of the dads I know want their sons to settle down with a nice girl. There’s literally zero winking and nudging about this, it’s straightforward.

    I get your puritan argument and I find it interesting. But ultimately I think the real reason the leftist harridans *specifically* are against sex is because they are against *all* interpersonal relationships, on the divide and rule principle.

    They want our strongest relationship to be to the state.

    If they destroy families, great. If they turn kids against parents, great. If they turn men against women, great. If they turn neighbours against each other, great.

    (In my more paranoid moments, I wonder if the smoking ban was designed to close down pubs and create an atomised society where we all drink alone at home.)

    @AndyC

    ‘Marcus Portius Cato writing in the 2nd century BC.’

    Remind me what happened to Rome?

  91. ‘Easily the most perceptive comment on this thread so far. ‘

    Thanks – we can assume you’re not that fool Ironman, then…

  92. PST,

    > For myself, I believe it is nothing more than a reification of something that doesn’t actually exist, and that those who use it as a justification for whatever point they’re trying to make are probably no-goodniks.

    OK, brilliant. So if someone claims that, say, “There are some important differences between French society and German society,” you believe that the statement has literally no meaning, as it refers to differences between two things neither of which exist? Gosh, how clever.

    Society is a vague but useful descriptor for groups of people who live together. So let’s take society out of the equation, since you object to it so much. I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that groups of people exist and live together. If not, there really is no hope.

    Many of the various groups of humans we live in — nations, villages, streets, viewers, Internet users — contain children. Many of the spaces those groups use — whether geograpical, such as parks, or virtual, such as the collected living rooms reached by a given TV broadcast — are shared, and contain children. Many other shared spaces — such as the cinema audience of an 18-rated film — do not contain children. I suggest that observing a code of conduct regarding what may and what may not be done in the various spaces and maintaining boundaries between them is not unreasonable and makes it possible to bring up children.

  93. It’s hard to know what “Anon” considers from his comment since while he seems to think it would have been better to have not seen porn, he does not say why; that is in what way his life would have been better had he not. It seems to be just a paean to childhood innocence, as if blundering into one’s adult life in a state of woeful ignorance and naivete has some innate superiority to it. I can only say again that despite understanding well the cultural origins of this idea, I remain baffled that anyone still believes it.

    It’s also kind of sad that somebody in this day and age would be so shy about admitting seeing some internet smut when they were 14.

  94. A very entertaining thread to which I would just like to add that in days gone by, when most people lived in tiny hovels, the kids could watch and listen to mummy and daddy going at it all night and they were also well aware what the domesticated animals got up to.

    And not just the dog humping anything that moved including, when they couldn’t get near any bitches, other dogs or, if all else failed, the kids leg.

    So kids them days probably knew as much about sex as kids these days. Although when the dog spurted all over their leg it probably wasn’t called bukkake.

    So times change, and then they change again and then they change again

  95. @Ian B

    “It’s hard to know what “Anon” considers from his comment since while he seems to think it would have been better to have not seen porn, he does not say why; that is in what way his life would have been better had he not. It seems to be just a paean to childhood innocence, as if blundering into one’s adult life in a state of woeful ignorance and naivete has some innate superiority to it. I can only say again that despite understanding well the cultural origins of this idea, I remain baffled that anyone still believes it.”

    I don’t know whether “blundering into one’s adult life in a state of woeful ignorance and naivete has some innate superiority to it” or not – do you think it has innate inferiority?

    I can’t speak for anon, but I personally think it’s probably best for kids to start snogging other kids of around their age, move on to a bit of groping and finally some shagging once they’re old enough to deal with the intense emotion that sex and love brings.

    I think in that respect an age of consent of 16 is about right (though I appreciate you and BiS and others may think it’s too old).

    If you want the age of consent reduced, lobby for it. Meanwhile, hands off my daughters.

    (That’s only partly in jest – they are 14 and 6ft tall and look 20, but are into ponies and puppies and plaiting each other’s hair, and not the things that actual 20 year olds are into.)

    I think I am fairly clear that young kids watching adults thoroughly at it in the many and varied ways that the Internet offers is not an unalloyed good thing. I further think it’s up to the parents of minors to have some oversight of what their kids see if they can.

    We talk to our kids about sex – my wife explained to our twins what s blow job was when they were right (they asked) – but there’s a lifetime for them to be adults. Let them enjoy being kids!

    I’m baffled by anyone who thinks otherwise, so there’s that!

  96. “Let them enjoy being kids!”

    Well, quite. Two things that don’t feature in porn:

    1) The reality of the risk of disease.
    2) A sense of humour.

    Meanwhile, participation in sport is collapsing. I’m sure (?) this is a more worrying trend.

  97. I don’t know whether “blundering into one’s adult life in a state of woeful ignorance and naivete has some innate superiority to it” or not – do you think it has innate inferiority?

    Well, yes. There is no virtue to ignorance, is there?

    That’s only partly in jest – they are 14 and 6ft tall and look 20, but are into ponies and puppies and plaiting each other’s hair,

    Ah, the middle class. It’s not like they ought to be shagging around or making amateur nudie videos or something, but ponies and puppies isn’t going to last much longer, you know. Although this does raise an interesting factor I think I’ve mentioned before; if you compare the lower and upper classes there’s a consistent pattern of retardation or infantilisation, the higher up the class scale you go. The lower classes “grow up faster” than the upper- or at least, the “middle”, particularly the upper middle, and this reflects itself in “Progressive” values (which as I’ve said amounts to middle class matrons trying to impose their value system on the lower orders).

    You can look at this from a number of directions; differences in time preference might be the most useful here. The poorer you are, the more you live for the day. If you live in a value system where virginity is prized, there’s greater merit in preserving it to land a more valuable husband in the future, so you’re going to be off to a slower start. So, it comes back to that value system rather than something innate and universal.

    Which comes back to your earlier post; what you described there is your value system. It is shared by the consensus around you, so it’s natural to think it normal. Going back to what I said about taboos (whcih are the extreme end of the value system), you get a circular justification; everyone thinks this way so everyone should think this way. To use an example, a few decades ago most everyone shared the value that homosexuals are depraved perverts. They could have come out with a shopping list of why that’s the natural way to think, why society is better for thinking that way, even some evolutionary theory.

    Then that ceased being the shared value system- it inverted- and now thinking that way is considered a mental aberration and the most awful bigotry.

    So I think my general point here is this; if some value system is natural, it should be self-sustaining. But the interesting thing is that all the historical evidence and current social evidence is that as soon as you take off the social pressure- as happened in the 1960s- this value system breaks down. Most men, and most women, break it. Even porn can help us here. If men like “good” girls, why do they fantasise about “bad” girls. If women want to be “good” girls, why do they sleep around and why do they need a bunch of matrons screaming at them not to do it? Why does it seem there is no power on Earth that can stop them posting naked selfies on the internet as soon as they get past the ponies-and-puppies stage? And indeed (and this question always raises amusing mental contortions on the Manosphere) if women are just looking to reluctantly trade their virginity for the highest status male, why do they enjoy sex at all? (The answer there is often, hilariously, “they don’t”).

    I just don’t think the “is” matches the “ought”.

  98. Inexperienced boys tend not to understand the difference between uncomfortable or painful stuff that professionals do for the sake of camera angles and stuff that amateurs do because it actually feels good, and pressure girls accordingly.

    Sorry, but what’s your evidence for this?

  99. My thanks to Machiavelli for the very interesting link. Note there’s lots about cunnilingus in Donne and Carew (and the readings do look right), but the only reference to blowjobs is from a 16th century Jesuit, who says it’s basically okay, if it’s between man and wife, and so long as the husband ejaculates in her vagina. Ditto buggery, and rubbing and fondling of all sorts. Not always the right conclusion, the Jesuits, but always clever, and their hearts are usually in the right place.

  100. No, probably unlcear of me. I think the effect is obvious. I’m questioning how *you* don’t think there is some sort of effect.

    Then how about you answer my question and state what these obvious effects are?

  101. The purpose of giving children boundaries is not that none of the boundaries may ever be breached. Pushing and bending and breaking boundaries is a valuable part of a child’s development and education, which cannot be done without boundaries.

    Who is claiming otherwise? Not I.

  102. Never, ever? That’s a very strong claim, again from someone who has no experience whatsoever.

    Oh, here we go! It’s the “you’re not a parent so you couldn’t possibly understand”.

    On what basis have you concluded I have no experience with kids? Because I don’t have any of my own?

    I made that remark precisely because parents, when it comes to their own kids, often don’t think objectively (hence the term “its different when it’s your kid” is accurate). I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen a toddler totally manipulate its parent, who is completely oblivious to the fact. Believe it or not, your kid isn’t special. It’s just a kid.

  103. It’s a strange thing; “children” is one of very few issues where having a personal self-interest is taken to improve one’s objectivity.

  104. I’m going back a huge number of posts here, but one thing people are tripping over is the courts findings regarding laws. Courts find nothing about laws, they find how to implement them. If the court thinks a law is cretinous it will, paradoxically, enforce it with wild abandon. The purpose being to either nudge parliament into repealing said cretinous law, or at least wording it better, bringing it into the 21st (sometimes 19th) century, and so on. Alternatively to make someone appeal it to the top, ultimately to the constitutional courts, European courts and so on, where it eventually gets kicked out.

    Judges in lower courts simply don’t have the discretion to declare a law cretinous. Administrative laws like the telecommunications stuff is particularly likely to get judgements that deliberately run counter to “common sense”, to draw attention to their cretinousness (cretinality? cretinitude?).

  105. Beyond that, I don’t think any ‘they’ will punish Dwayne for having a picture of Tracey’s vag on his phone if Tracey is over 18 and sent it to him?

    We’re talking about under 18s. Even if Dwayne and Tracey are married, absurdly having naked photos of 17 year old Tracey is child pornography. Harridan in chief Alison Saunders recently made it very clear that the CPS is keen to prosecute as many Dwaynes as ferociously as they can.

    Yes. We have police sternly warning 16-17 year olds that if they take photos of themselves they could be prosecuted for making indecent images of children, if they send it to their girlfriend or boyfriend they are distributing child pornography, and they could be put on the Sexual Offenders Register. But don’t worry about it, they also say, because you probably won’t be prosecuted as it’s not in the interest of the child or the public interest to give you a criminal record and put you on the Sexual Offenders Register. But don’t do it anyway, just in case.

    IIRC a female under 18 was recently investigated by police because she took a photo of herself topless and sent it to her boyfriend, but ultimately she wasn’t prosecuted.

    And the age of consent is 16, so the 16 year old is permitted to do anything with their consenting sexual partner, vanilla or that kinky, shocking, taboo-breaking stuff they’ve seen online, except take a photograph of themselves or their partner naked, and send it to them.

    Some people think it’s fine to use the criminal law to send messages and there’s no real downside. Yeah, really clear messaging going on there and I’m sure that girl investigated for taking a photo of herself topless is grateful that the police and society took such an interest.

  106. @ IanB

    Apologies if my original comment wasn’t clear – trying to express oneself via a mobile phone keypad during a short teabreak is an activity given to frustration!

    I think I’ve three main points to make:

    “It seems to be just a paean to childhood innocence, as if blundering into one’s adult life in a state of woeful ignorance and naivete has some innate superiority to it. ”

    Massive difference between ignorance and perhaps a little too much information.
    I’d a pretty good idea of the “mechanics” of bonking before I’d encountered any porn. Having seen it happen in detail from every angle imaginable before getting close to having any for real doesn’t really aid and abet – it just spoils some of the excitement and pleasure that occurs the first times it does happen for real.

    If there is no pleasure in anticipation, or a big reveal, why don’t we read the just last chapter of most novels, rather than the whole book?

    Secondly – as I alluded to earlier – parts of the internet can be very dark places, and 14 year old boys can be rather lacking in discrimination and common sense (this part of this comment is largely why I’ve posted as Anon – I was going to say more on this in my previous comment, but ran out of time). I suspect I’ve seen some things you may not have (both because you’d probably find them distasteful, and also because they might well have got you locked up). I’ve also read stuff including rape and torture fantasies, incest, nasty bits of (written) pedophilia etc etc. (IanB can probably guess which (AFAIK still perfectly freely available) site I found a lot of this stuff on when I was still a horny teenager – I’m not going to link!)

    Ian might argue that all this sort of stuff is wholesome, normal and exactly what 14year old kids have looked at through the ages, but I have my doubts.

    I make the point again – you can’t forget at will what you’ve seen and read – just writing this post is stiring up memories of all sort of things I’d rather not have seen or read about (ever tbh, never mind when I was a kid). Like it or not, you can twist your mind in some ways.

    Thirdly – Porn is bloody addictive. I made a conscious decision years ago I didn’t want to watch any more – and it took me forever to get myself “un-hooked” and I’m the sort of person who would be generally regarded is self controlled and strong willed even with myself. Passing out heavily addictive stuff to teenagers more or less uncontrolled seems unwise at best.

    I’m not going to be silly and say porn ruined my life or anything like that – but I’d much rather it hadn’t been around. (And these days, some of the stuff I’ve read probably could get you a knock on the door from PC shiney buttons – which would ruin your your life – getting nicked for those sort of offences as a teenager doesn’t bare thinking about!).

    But – as I observed in a previous comment – there is sweet FA one can do about the existence of this stuff (lets face it, the authorities haven’t managed to kill The Pirate Bay yet, after years of trying, and that’s one website hosted in a known location).

    It’s down to parents to try and police and educate their kids – I know there will be specific things I’d do with mine if I ever have any that my parents didn’t with me (not least because they didn’t have the technological know-how).

  107. @Richard,

    Not that it’s my scene, I don’t think there has ever been a strip club at Frankfurt airport – are you thinking of Munich or Amsterdam? There was a “hooters” in one of the more desolate corners of airside until a few years ago, which hardly counts.

  108. @IanB

    ‘Well, yes. There is no virtue to ignorance, is there?’

    It would be helpful if people didn’t try to defend things that even they don’t believe. The answer to this question is, ‘Yes, sometimes, and it’s subjective.’

    Unless you propose forcing all people of all ages to watch everything – ISIS beheading videos for six year olds? – then you, too, believe the old saw that sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    ‘Ah, the middle class.’

    I don’t regard class as a useful indicator.

    Even so, you don’t know to which ‘class’ I belong.

    And, even if you did, you would are employing this phrase as some sort of mild-insult-cum-argument-winner, when it’s nothing of the sort.

    ‘It’s not like they ought to be shagging around or making amateur nudie videos or something’

    Thanks. I wholeheartedly agree.

    But on your terms, why not?

    ‘but ponies and puppies isn’t going to last much longer, you know.’

    I know plenty of women whose chief interests (next to their families) remain dogs and horses.

    Nice women they are, too – they won’t selfie you pictures of their arses, but I find that part of their charm.

    It takes all sorts, I suppose.

    ‘Although this does raise an interesting factor I think I’ve mentioned before; if you compare the lower and upper classes there’s a consistent pattern of retardation or infantilisation, the higher up the class scale you go.’

    Evidence?

    But to accept your proposition, which I don’t, the retarded and infantilised do seem to make a pretty good fist of keeping hold of the levers of power.

    ‘The lower classes “grow up faster” than the upper- or at least, the “middle”, particularly the upper middle,’

    Evidence?

    Even if true, why is that a bad thing?

    I don’t like 12-year-olds having babies – is that the difference between us?

    That’s a serious question, because I assume you have boundaries, and I’d like to know what they are?

    Is it your contention that if a 12-year-old is physically able to have a child and expresses the desire to have one, that is fine?

    If not, why not?

    ‘and this reflects itself in “Progressive” values’

    Evidence?

    ‘(which as I’ve said’

    Your ‘having said’ something doesn’t make it so.

    ‘amounts to middle class matrons trying to impose their value system on the lower orders).’

    Evidence?

    I know lots of people (of all classes).

    A few of them are bossy lunatics; most of them couldn’t give a shit what other people do, as long as they do it quietly.

    ‘The poorer you are, the more you live for the day.’

    The first clearly true thing you’ve said.

    ‘If you live in a value system where virginity is prized,’

    As once we all did, from the poorest upwards.

    Of course, going back far enough, we probably lived in a culture that didn’t prize it – but we became civilised.

    ‘there’s greater merit in preserving it to land a more valuable husband in the future,’

    So poor women should set their sights low? OK…

    Or poor men don’t care if their prospective wives have had thirty sexual partners before them? Not my experience: jealousy does seem to be here to stay.

    Or something else?

    ‘So, it comes back to that value system’

    Human civilisation is all about ‘value systems’.

    ‘rather than something innate and universal.’

    Procreative sex is innate and universal.

    Recreational sex – of which I am a huge fan – is a different thing, and is always viewed differently.

    All I say is that we are maybe getting our view of it out of kilter.

    Yes, that’s a ‘value system’.

    ‘Which comes back to your earlier post; what you described there is your value system.’

    Statement of the obvious – all you’re doing is describing your value system.

    ‘It is shared by the consensus around you, so it’s natural to think it normal.’

    My basic value system used to be shared by pretty much everyone, so it effectively was normal.

    It’s the change in values that I am discussing.

    But sure, people within a population can survive and thrive in a multitude of ways.

    All I say is that there is an ideal, often specific to a given culture, and that if British society generally is to thrive then a greater number of people suscribing to the traditional cultural norm is the best way forward.

    Yes, polygamy is another cultural norm – societies which practise it have not succeeded like ours.

    ‘Going back to what I said about taboos (whcih are the extreme end of the value system), you get a circular justification; everyone thinks this way so everyone should think this way.’

    This applies to you, too.

    But the evidence seems to be that a traditional mid-20th century British approach to family life, including sexuality, produces the best (not perfect, just best yet discovered) societal results.

    We’re in the process of testing that theory.

    I don’t see it turning out well, but will be happy (genuinely) to be proven wrong.

    I say genuinely because unlike men without children – and this is what others, eg Tim Newman seem to have difficulty with – all I am really bothered about is my kids, and I take a vastly greater interest in their welfare than any non-father can ever imagine.

    I used to be one, so I can testify to this.

    It also means that I have seen them develop at closer hand than any non-father can ever see children develop.

    I have been around more children of the same ages of my children, in candid moments, than any non-parent can ever be (kids say things to their friends’ parents that they don’t say to teachers; they discuss things at home that [they say] they don’t discuss at school).

    If it turns out that bashing yourself silly to online porn and selfying your arse to all and sundry will verifiably make you more happy and successful, I’ll be advising my kids to proceed accordingly.

    I just don’t – in good faith – believe that this is the way to gain success and happiness. It’s nothing to do with puritanism, I am the antithesis of a puritan.

    ‘To use an example, a few decades ago most everyone shared the value that homosexuals are depraved perverts.’

    I still think that homosexuality is a perversion, if by ‘perversion’ you mean a deviation from the norm. Sorry, but no amount of people telling me otherwise will change that, because it’s obviously true.

    But I never have and never would abuse gays for their gayness, and I am glad it’s no longer illegal: it’s a matter for homosexuals to do as they wish (in privacy, as it should be for heterosexuals).

    ‘Then that ceased being the shared value system- it inverted- and now thinking that way is considered a mental aberration and the most awful bigotry.

    By whom?

    It’s (IMO) not ‘bigoted’ to think that homosexual sex is odd; the question is, how do the majority of non homosexuals exercise their group power over the homosexuals.

    Personally, I vote for letting them get on with it and treating them civilly.

    ‘So I think my general point here is this; if some value system is natural, it should be self-sustaining. But the interesting thing is that all the historical evidence and current social evidence is that as soon as you take off the social pressure- as happened in the 1960s- this value system breaks down.’

    Perhaps most people would steal if the ‘value system breaks down’?

    Perhaps larger men would club to death the partners of attractive women and carry them off?

    You seem to think value systems arise because of unthinking hatred or bigotry.

    I think they arise from a cold hard look at human nature.

    ‘Most men, and most women, break it. Even porn can help us here. If men like “good” girls, why do they fantasise about “bad” girls.’

    What, all men?

    But anyway, men fantasise about unobtainable things; it was ever thus. Cars, houses, tarts, it’s all fantasy.

    ‘If women want to be “good” girls, why do they sleep around ‘

    Define ‘sleep around’, then give evidence that they (‘women’) meet your definition.

    ‘and why do they need a bunch of matrons’

    Non-existent matrons, basically. Or name some who actually matter to most young kids.

    Don’t say Harriet Harman, because you could walk out of your door and stop a hundred teenagers before you found one who could pick her out in a line-up.

    ‘Why does it seem there is no power on Earth that can stop them posting naked selfies on the internet’

    Self-restraint will. The feeling that it’s not really what we do – because, see above, it’s not the way to success and happiness – will. Nothing can actually stop me from doing a bunch of things that I don’t do because I feel that they’re wrong. Sure, values. But you have them too.

    ‘as soon as they get past the ponies-and-puppies stage?’

    See above, many women never get past this stage…

    ‘And indeed (and this question always raises amusing mental contortions on the Manosphere)’

    I have no idea what the Manosphere is, but this is typical of your style of argument.

    Anything you think is carefully considered, anyone who disagrees with you is performing ‘amusing mental contortions’ which make no sense.

    Allied to pulling random alleged quotes out of your internet arse to support your position… viz:

    ‘if women are just looking to reluctantly trade their virginity for the highest status male, why do they enjoy sex at all?’

    You do love a black and white dichotomy and I can see why you might find a ‘vigins vs sluts’ kind of thing amusing, because it’s incoherent (though in my experience most women enjoy sex most with a man whom they think is highly committed to them).

    Anyway, trying to clinch an argument by raising an incoherent and unverifiable question which you allege has been raised in some corner of the internet by some vague and unidentifiable (and possibly non-existent) person or persons who is or are not involved in this discussion is poor argumentation.

    Note: it’s poor argumentation even if these people exist and you can point to them – no different, in essence, to me suggesting that you only argue the way you do by noting that there are men who argue your way who have a history of sex with underage girls and who are desperately worried that the police will one day be knocking on their door, and trying to link you to those men because you are making a similar argument (which you’re not actually making).

    ‘(The answer there is often, hilariously, “they don’t”).’

    I don’t know any woman who doesn’t absolutely love sex, and I don’t know any men who don’t think they do.

    I can’t really help it if you can locate random people on the internet who perhaps haven’t had much luck with women and who put it down to something other than a failing in themselves.

    ‘I just don’t think the “is” matches the “ought”.’

    We have to have a collective ‘is’ and we individually have ‘oughts’.

    They probably don’t always match, for any definition. it’s human life – get used to it!

  109. @Tim Newman

    ‘Then how about you answer my question and state what these obvious effects are?’

    I’ve already done that.

    ‘Oh, here we go! It’s the “you’re not a parent so you couldn’t possibly understand”. ‘

    This wasn’t a response to me, but I’ll answer it.

    It doesn’t seem crazy to assume that people with zero experience of a thing would have less understanding of that thing than people with experience of that thing, does it?

    We were all children, so we have some experience. Many of us have nephews or nieces, so there’s that.

    My wife and I have lived with our kids for eighteen years now. During that time, we have hosted literally hundreds of their friends for parties, sleepovers and so on. They have come away on holiday with us. You observe them and listen to them. They become close to you and they tell you stuff in confidence on ten-hour car journeys to France (say) that they don’t tell many other adults. Probably their own parents and close relatives are the only people they talk to in the same way. Maybe – depending on the parents – not even then.

    I accept that my knowledge is imperfect, and that I am dealing only with my own kids and the other kids I know, but based on the above, it is likely – in my opinion – that I have a better understanding of the way children’s minds work than someone who (say) has nephews and nieces whom he sees occasionally.

  110. I’ve already done that.

    No, you haven’t.

    Recap:

    Squander said:

    It takes a quite extreme level of willful blindness not to see that that has had an effect on society.

    You then said:

    I’m pretty sure the availability of hardcore porn at the flick of a switch has had an effect on society, and I agree with S2 – it’s so obvious what that effect has been that it doesn’t require stating.

    And then I asked:

    Well humour me and state it anyway, because I genuinely have no clue.

    and your response was:

    I seriously don’t see how you cannot think that kids of eight watching man bugger women and ejaculate on their faces doesn’t have some sort of an effect on those kids. But OK, maybe you do think this, and maybe you’re right. Maybe you think there’s an effect, but it’s a positive one.

    Which doesn’t answer the question. So please, once again: what is this effect that is so obvious it doesn’t need stating?

  111. It doesn’t seem crazy to assume that people with zero experience of a thing would have less understanding of that thing than people with experience of that thing, does it?

    Yes, but it’s the basis on which the “zero experience” was made that was complete bollocks.

    I accept that my knowledge is imperfect, and that I am dealing only with my own kids and the other kids I know, but based on the above, it is likely – in my opinion – that I have a better understanding of the way children’s minds work than someone who (say) has nephews and nieces whom he sees occasionally.

    A better understanding, but not a *complete* understanding. The bits you are lacking would be immediately obvious to an outsider, e.g. your darling kid is in fact a spoiled brat whose behaviour is only going to get worse. Parents are always telling me how deviously clever their kids are, but in fact they usually are not: they simply take advantage of the enormous blind spot parents have for their own kids.

    I say genuinely because unlike men without children – and this is what others, eg Tim Newman seem to have difficulty with – all I am really bothered about is my kids, and I take a vastly greater interest in their welfare than any non-father can ever imagine.

    I have no problem with this. But if somebody is going to claim there is some effect on society which they want their kids to be shielded from (often at the expense of my own liberty), I generally would like to know what that effect is and not have the question dismissed because I am not a father.

  112. @Tim Newman

    ‘and your response was:’

    That was not the entirety of my response. Read on.

    And it’s not just me. FFS, there’s a guy (‘anon’) telling you he saw things that distressed him. Kids are distressed and weirded out by things they don’t understand.

    You know this.

    Or – do you leave your laptop or telly on showing porn involving (I dunno) anal penetration and gagging/slapping when your nephew and niece walk in the door? Aged, I dunno, six?

    If not, why not?

    ‘A better understanding, but not a *complete* understanding.’

    I didn’t say I (or anyone else) had a complete understanding, so this is a total straw man.

    I think better is better, that’s all.

    ‘I have no problem with this. But if somebody is going to claim there is some effect on society which they want their kids to be shielded from (often at the expense of my own liberty),’

    My kids are shielded from lots of things at the expense of the liberty of others – as are you, me and everyone else.

    The question is what things are worth shielding kids from?

    I haven’t (as far as I know) argued for anything other than voluntary restraint, but I can’t see how my saying that in a perfect world certain things should only be viewed by adults is a restriction on *your* liberty??

    You’re an adult, aren’t you?

    Unless you’re saying you particularly value your liberty to show to my kids things that I don’t want them to see?

    In which case, we’d have to disagree that your freedom is important.

    One day you might have a young son and daughter.

    Would you like people to lob hardcore magazines into your garden, so that your son and daughter find them in the morning? Maybe featuring women being half choked out and vomiting during sex? Or some other odd shit?

    Maybe you’ll say you’d be cool with that, but I think the honest response is: not really, and I’d probably pick them up and bin them before the kids see them. Which is a perfectly normal human response, and one which frankly 99% of us once agreed on.

    ‘I generally would like to know what that effect is and not have the question dismissed because I am not a father.’

    I didn’t dismiss you (and certainly not because of that), I just pointed out that your experience is less.

    The effect is (as above) very obvious. Admittedly, it’s hard to quantify and different people will have different subjective views and be affect in different ways. Much like pain, actually. I seem to have a very high pain threshold. But no-one says we shouldn’t concern ourselves with physical pain because I don’t feel it as others do. Not in any sort of civilised society, anyway.

    And if it isn’t obvious, explain why you don’t leave your laptop open with porn on it when your young relatives walk in? Surely there would be no effect on them?

    If you do, ok, and I assume you have asked your sister/brother if they’re OK with it too?

    If they’re not, why not?

    Surely you argue that there’s no effect on their kids?

  113. Tim,

    > Oh, here we go! It’s the “you’re not a parent so you couldn’t possibly understand”.

    Actually, no. I am perfectly happy to believe that non-parents know stuff about kids. But it is you who have repeatedly ridiculed anyone who pontificates about porn when they obviously aren’t users of it (“One of the other claims which show a commentator has little knowledge of the medium…”). Your argument, not mine. Then you start telling parents how clueless they are about raising children. Have some self-awareness, please.

    > On what basis have you concluded I have no experience with kids? Because I don’t have any of my own?

    I haven’t concluded you have no experience of kids. I have concluded you have no experience of full-time parenting.

    > Sorry, but what’s your evidence for this?

    Well, firstly, I was responding to these claims of yours:

    > we are not about to see teenage boys demanding girls act and look like* porn stars
    > on aggregate, it will have no effect whatsoever.

    As far as I can see, you have provided no evidence for them, so why should I have to when I disagree?

    Secondly, this may come as a shock to you, but parents look into these things. We talk to each other, we talk to the parents of older children to find out what’s coming up, we read up on the subject. In my wife’s case, she worked for a charity that dealt with families with problems, so had access to a lot of information about child-abuse and other problems. And, much as you may prefer to stick your head in the sand, the effect of modern porn is something that is being quite thoroughly studied, and the results of that research are out there and easily found. The ready accessibility of modern porn has had a marked effect on the behaviour and expectations of teenage boys and young men. Now, I don’t find this stuff out in order to win an argument on the Web; I find it out in order to be a parent; so I don’t have a list of links to peer-reviewed studies to hand. But then neither do you. You’re demanding evidence while your own opinion is based on gut feeling, ignorance, and hope.

    > Who is claiming otherwise? Not I.

    We’re talking about providing boundaries for children. You’ve brought up several examples of children breaching boundaries, and claimed that this shows the parents are clueless for trying to enforce the boundaries in the first place. If you accept that boundaries are valuable even when breached, what’s your point?

    > I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen a toddler totally manipulate its parent, who is completely oblivious to the fact.

    Me too. And?

    Ian,

    > It’s a strange thing; “children” is one of very few issues where having a personal self-interest is taken to improve one’s objectivity.

    No, it improves one’s knowledge of parenting. Obviously. Which is a lot less strange than non-parents who are convinced they’re experts on parenting.

    Interested,

    > it is likely – in my opinion – that I have a better understanding of the way children’s minds work than someone who (say) has nephews and nieces whom he sees occasionally.

    Quite. The ability to hand a child back makes all the difference in the world.

    > I don’t like 12-year-olds having babies – is that the difference between us? That’s a serious question, because I assume you have boundaries, and I’d like to know what they are? Is it your contention that if a 12-year-old is physically able to have a child and expresses the desire to have one, that is fine?

    Ian B has repeatedly stated very clearly that the boundary is the onset of puberty. He says that any later boundary is a taboo. And we know what he thinks about taboos.

    > Human civilisation is all about ‘value systems’.

    Exactly.

  114. BIG,

    > If the court thinks a law is cretinous it will, paradoxically, enforce it with wild abandon. The purpose being to either nudge parliament into repealing said cretinous law, or at least wording it better

    Quite. We’ve been sidetracked on other things, but back at the start, my argument was with Tim’s suggestion that we don’t want to be ruled by these cretins. But the pro/anti-EU arguments are about being ruled by politicians and the laws they pass. In this particular example, the difference between Germany’s watershed law and the UK’s is one hour. That’s hardly the difference between wisdom and stupidity. And, for all we know, the law will be rewritten in the light of this court judgement, which, as you say, is something that happens all the time. And, for all we know, it will be rewritten sensibly. Or it might not. But we can’t draw conclusions about the politicians themselves at this stage of the process.

    Way way back, I did ask if anyone could define the difference between a broadcast and a download, and no-one answered. I know I could ten years ago, but on-demand TV has changed that. In legally significant terms, what’s the difference?

  115. Tim,

    > if somebody is going to claim there is some effect on society which they want their kids to be shielded from (often at the expense of my own liberty)

    To recap, this is a discussion about watersheds and shielding children from things that aren’t suitable for them. I’m not going to reread the whole thread, but I’m pretty sure not one person has called for a ban of anything. Certainly I haven’t. So what liberty are you talking about? The freedom to show hardcore porn to six-year-olds? The freedom to watch porn that is being broadcast on ITV at midday instead of off a DVD? The freedom to not have to wait till the evening to download a new pornographic novel when you’re in Germany and not have to resort to using the completely legal and non-banned porn that you already own to tide you over those few hours?

  116. @S2

    ‘So what liberty are you talking about? The freedom to show hardcore porn to six-year-olds?’

    Nutshell located.

  117. That was not the entirety of my response. Read on.

    I did. Still no answer.

    Would you like people to lob hardcore magazines into your garden, so that your son and daughter find them in the morning? Maybe featuring women being half choked out and vomiting during sex? Or some other odd shit?

    What were you saying about straw men?

    So, are you going to tell us what these effects are that are too obvious to state? I guess not. Bit cowardly, that.

  118. Then you start telling parents how clueless they are about raising children.

    I haven’t, and you know it.

    As far as I can see, you have provided no evidence for them

    Oh, so I’m supposed to provide evidence of there being no effect? Funny, normally the one claiming there *is* an effect is supposed to provide evidence for it.

    You’ve brought up several examples of children breaching boundaries, and claimed that this shows the parents are clueless for trying to enforce the boundaries in the first place.

    Nope. Clueless is your word, not mine.

    If you accept that boundaries are valuable even when breached, what’s your point?

    That breaking the boundaries that parents set rarely does any harm, because the parents tend to worry too much and err on the side of caution. Hence you have worried your little head off that your darling little princess might be exposed to porn in this dangerous new age of the internet, whereas she will probably turn out just fine.

  119. Oh, and in case you forgot, I asked you to provide some evidence for this statement:

    Inexperienced boys tend not to understand the difference between uncomfortable or painful stuff that professionals do for the sake of camera angles and stuff that amateurs do because it actually feels good, and pressure girls accordingly.

    Or will that go the way of the “effects too obvious to state”?

  120. In my wife’s case, she worked for a charity that dealt with families with problems, so had access to a lot of information about child-abuse and other problems.

    I’ll bet you a pound to a pinch of shit that porn simply featured in these deeply troubled families, and likely added to the problems, but was not in anyway a cause of the problems. In other words, the availability of porn is not a problem unless you are a deeply troubled family. But yes, let’s all worry about the porn.

    And, much as you may prefer to stick your head in the sand, the effect of modern porn is something that is being quite thoroughly studied, and the results of that research are out there and easily found. The ready accessibility of modern porn has had a marked effect on the behaviour and expectations of teenage boys and young men.

    So what is this “marked effect”? Sorry, this is the type of woolly guff that drives every generation’s moral panic about the next. But I’ve already said that, haven’t I: in the 1980s it was video nasties, the 1990s it was violent video games, the 1950s it was Elvis. Worry your little head off all you like fella, but don’t expect others to share your concerns: at least without evidence more

  121. And if it isn’t obvious, explain why you don’t leave your laptop open with porn on it when your young relatives walk in? Surely there would be no effect on them?

    Nobody is saying young children should be exposed to porn. I am saying that fears that the availability of porn on the internet is having a noticeable effect on society are completely overblown.

  122. @Tim Newman

    ‘I did. Still no answer.’

    It’s in the very post you just read.

    And the porn mag thing isn’t a ‘straw man’, it’s asking you – if you think porn has no effect on kids – whether you’d clear away porn mags from your garden before your (putative) kids or actual niece and nephew saw them.

    It’s utterly on point.

    I can’t quite see how anything I have said is ‘cowardly’, but I will leave the insults to you and exit this pointless conversation now.

  123. I can’t quite see how anything I have said is ‘cowardly’.

    Because you supported a claim that the effects on society of porn being available are too obvious to be worth stating. I asked you time and again to state them, and each time you say “I have” or “I already did” or “they’re in the post you just read”. Each time I said “No, I can’t find it, please post it again so we’re clear” but each time – rather than posting it so we can be clear – you just said “I’ve already done it”. I’ve been arguing on the internet long enough to know people who have genuinely written what is being asked for simply copy and paste it: it would have taken 5 seconds. That you didn’t – and the fact that actually reading the thread proves it
    – means you’ve been caught making a claim you cannot support and rather than manning up and admitting it, you have attempted to slither out of it. I know this behaviour well, and it is possibly the most despicable, cowardly behaviour one encounters online.

    I will leave the insults to you and exit this pointless conversation now.

    As I said: cowardly.

  124. Bloke in North Dorset

    At risk of being drawn in to some of the circular arguments that have been going on….

    The watershed isn’t to protect children. Its to allow parents to leave little Johnny watching TV without a fear of walking back it to the room and finding him watching Debbie Does Dallas.

    If the parent is happy with Johnny watching Debby Does Dallas nobody is stopping them showing it or leaving him in front of the telly after 9pm.

  125. And the porn mag thing isn’t a ‘straw man’, it’s asking you – if you think porn has no effect on kids – whether you’d clear away porn mags from your garden before your (putative) kids or actual niece and nephew saw them.

    Yes, I would clear porn mags out of my garden, kids or not.

    What has this got to do with the allegedly terrible effects of internet porn on society again? Oh, that’s right: nothing. Hence, strawman.

  126. Tim,

    > I did. Still no answer.

    I can read, even if you can’t.

    Interested said:

    > When I was a kid I had girlfriends. They did not send me pictures of their vaginas

    That seems to me like a pretty clear difference between life thirty years ago and life now. Perhaps you think that happened thirty years ago, or perhaps you think it’s not really happening now. Either way, you could make that argument rather than claiming that Interested never gave the example in the first place.

    >> Then you start telling parents how clueless they are about raising children.
    > I haven’t, and you know it.

    Yeah you have:

    > The bits you are lacking would be immediately obvious to an outsider, e.g. your darling kid is in fact a spoiled brat whose behaviour is only going to get worse. Parents are always telling me how deviously clever their kids are, but in fact they usually are not: they simply take advantage of the enormous blind spot parents have for their own kids.

    > Nope. Clueless is your word, not mine.

    OK, fine, but the word isn’t important, so I’ll reword:

    You’ve brought up several examples of children breaching boundaries, and claimed that this shows the parents are misguided/wrong/incorrect for trying to enforce the boundaries in the first place.

    >> If you accept that boundaries are valuable even when breached, what’s your point?
    > That breaking the boundaries that parents set rarely does any harm, because the parents tend to worry too much and err on the side of caution.

    You’re going in circles here. The point I made was that when and how a child breaches a boundary depends on where that boundary is. The boundaries teach the children about the world, even — perhaps especially — when they breach them. And I also pointed out that we don’t put a boundary at (say) age 16 to make sure that our child won’t do whatever-it-is till age 16. We know that kids might push boundaries by a year or two, so set boundaries accordingly. And you said you agreed with all that. But now you’re back to claiming that breaching boundaries is fine because the boundaries are wrong because parents are wrong.

    As an aside, I’ll say that it is generally recognised that the reason for a 40mph speed limit is to stop people doing 46 constantly, not 42 for a few seconds. And hence disgust and outrage are directed at those police forces who fail to understand that. The correct response to this problem is to explain to the literal-minded the difference between the law’s letter and its spirit, not to change the limit to 46.

    > Oh, so I’m supposed to provide evidence of there being no effect?

    No. You’re the one demanding evidence (again, and again, and again), not me. I take the revolutionary position that it is possible to have a conversation without producing signed affidavits. If I have to prove a case in court or get the backing of Parliament or something, I’ll gather evidence. When I’m having a conversation with someone, I think demanding that they produce solid evidence is a bit rude and bizarre. People have memories and know stuff. You have told me many interesting things about the oil industry over the years, and I have never once refused to believe you unless you prove it. I suppose I could start doing so, but quite frankly that would make me an arsehole.

  127. BIND,

    > The watershed isn’t to protect children. Its to allow parents to leave little Johnny watching TV without a fear of walking back it to the room and finding him watching Debbie Does Dallas. If the parent is happy with Johnny watching Debby Does Dallas nobody is stopping them showing it or leaving him in front of the telly after 9pm.

    Exactly. Which is why there is no infringement of any precious freedoms here.

  128. > Nobody is saying young children should be exposed to porn. I am saying that fears that the availability of porn on the internet is having a noticeable effect on society are completely overblown.

    The availability of porn on the Internet exposes young children to porn.

  129. Interested,

    > I will leave the insults to you and exit this pointless conversation now.

    Think I’ll join you.

    Tim,

    > As I said: cowardly.

    Oh, grow the fuck up. I’m here for my own entertainment. There is nothing cowardly about choosing to do something nicer.

    I demand that you go to Comment Is Free and have a two-day argument about the gender pay gap right now. What? You won’t? COWARD!

  130. That seems to me like a pretty clear difference between life thirty years ago and life now.

    That isn’t internet porn. That’s people sending each other pictures *of each other* using smartphones. Now I agree that this is probably a problem, as is the rise of “revenge porn” sites, but this is different from the general availability of internet porn having a noticeable effect on society. Even the naked pics sent across iPhones won’t have a noticeable effect, it’ll just upset a tiny minority. Not nice if it’s your kid, but let’s not pretend it will change society.

    You’ve brought up several examples of children breaching boundaries, and claimed that this shows the parents are misguided/wrong/incorrect for trying to enforce the boundaries in the first place.

    Nope. Wrong. I said there is no point in parents fretting themselves to death and claiming there is some society-changing effect of their kids breaching boundaries.

    As an aside, I’ll say that it is generally recognised that the reason for a 40mph speed limit is to stop people doing 46 constantly, not 42 for a few seconds. And hence disgust and outrage are directed at those police forces who fail to understand that. The correct response to this problem is to explain to the literal-minded the difference between the law’s letter and its spirit, not to change the limit to 46.

    Yes, but here we have you wringing your hands saying that kids of a previous generation didn’t speed. They did, they always did, and they will again. We don’t need any hand-wringing.

    No. You’re the one demanding evidence (again, and again, and again), not me.

    Yes, because you’re claiming there is an effect. If you don’t want me to ask for evidence of something, don’t make the claim.

    When I’m having a conversation with someone, I think demanding that they produce solid evidence is a bit rude and bizarre.

    The difference is what you claimed is contentious and obviously bollocks.

  131. Oh, grow the fuck up.

    Rarely do I use insults on here. That I have done so on this occasion might be due to something other than immaturity. Next time you start blubbering about Ritchie not being prepared to back up his bullshit claims, I’ll remind you of this.

  132. The availability of porn on the Internet exposes young children to porn.

    Whose children? Your own? If not, then whose?

    Because I have watched kids on the internet: they’re interested in Frozen dolls, Hello Kitty, and Minecraft. There is a world of difference between:

    1) Leaving a porn magazine in the garden of a child
    2) Leaving a laptop open with porn on it in the presence of a child
    3) Showing a child porn on TV

    with

    1) Porn being available on the internet.

    With the first set, a child’s curiosity would lead them to the porn and they would look at it until something else would distract them. With the internet, the kids would either have to search it out – which “young children” simply do not do – or they stumble across it. Firstly, stumbling across internet porn is harder than the hand-wringers make out; and secondly, when a young child stumbles across porn (as we used to stumble across porn mags in the hedges) it would be something to giggle at through complete incomprehension for a few minutes before quickly moving onto whatever they really want to be looking at on the internet: Hello Kitty, Frozen, etc.

    The idea that “young children” will actively watch internet porn to the extent that the effects on society will be noticeable is laughable. Now I might have a bit more sympathy with the argument that perhaps teenage boys shouldn’t watch too much internet porn, but the notion that their doing so makes them demand their girlfriends do anal (I’m assuming that’s what you meant by painful acts) sounds more like the hand-wringing of old maids than anything based in fact.

  133. Because I have watched kids on the internet

    That doesn’t come across so well. I have watched kids use the internet, and have checked the surfing logs as a favour to concerned but technically limited parents.

  134. > Next time you start blubbering about Ritchie not being prepared to back up his bullshit claims

    Next time? As far as I’m aware, there wasn’t even a last time.

    > I’ll remind you of this.

    And next time you make any claim at all, I’ll demand evidence.

  135. Here’s a bunch of sources suggest porn affects kids. There’s loads more, just google.

    I anticipate the responses ‘Oh they’re biased’ or ‘They’re puritans!’ or ‘Can you read them for me?’ but I can only try.

    Reading this thread, I’m just glad some of you don’t have children…

    🙂

    Zillmann / Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography / Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations / Zillman and Bryant (1989)

    Marshall / Use of Sexually Explicit Stimuli by Rapists, Child Molesters, and Nonoffenders / Journal of Sex Research (May 1988)

    Eysenck / of Experimental Support for the General Theory of Desensitization / Malamuth and Donnerstein, Pornography and Sexual Aggression (1984),

    Postman / The Disappearance of Childhood (1994)

    Minnery / Pornography: A Human Tragedy (1987)

    Davis and Braucht / Exposure to Pornography, Character and Sexual Deviance, Technical Reports of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970)

    Carnes / Don’t Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addictions (1991)

    Kavanagh / Protecting Children in Cyberspace (1997)

    Cline / Pornography’s Effects on Adults and Children (1990)

    Garcia / Exposure to Pornography and Attitudes about Women and Rape: A Correlative Study (1986)

    Bergman / Influence of Pornography on Sexual Development (1982)

  136. Here’s a bunch of sources suggest porn affects kids

    Who is claiming otherwise?

    Music affects young children. Does the increased availability of music on the internet affect kids?

  137. Next time? As far as I’m aware, there wasn’t even a last time.

    And that’s half the problem.

    And next time you make any claim at all, I’ll demand evidence.

    You do that. See who gets bored first.

  138. People have memories and know stuff. You have told me many interesting things about the oil industry over the years, and I have never once refused to believe you unless you prove it. I suppose I could start doing so, but quite frankly that would make me an arsehole.

    And this: there is a world of difference between making an offhand remark, or throwing out a piece of specialist information picked up along the course of life, and making a claim about how something affects an entire society.

  139. Surreptitious Evil

    Stepping aside from the current game of Pong, there was certainly a sex shop and strip bar in Frankfurt Airport in 1998-99.

    As my one of my objectives as the time was to spend as little time as possible in that Airport, I never bothered to investigate.

  140. Philip Scott Thomas

    S2

    Yes, I thought you’d struggle with the idea of “society” not being a thing.

    There is no such thing as “society”; there are only individual men, women and, yes, children. That is, there are no people, only persons. Some of those person will have elected to group together, others will have not. That is the whole reason for the idea of the freedom of association. I can choose those persons with whom I wish to associate and those whom I do not.

    You and I seem to have radically different views on what constitutes “society”. So in what definition of “society” can we both be members of the same society?

    Yes, cultural trends will have an influence on some persons that is greater on the impact it has on others. And various individuals will respond differently to that cultural trend.

    A particular thing can have no effect on “society”, whether for good or for ill. Some persons will follow the trend while others will ignore it.

    That’s why anyone who tries to emphasise his point with its effect on “society” is, a priori, suspicious and not to be trusted.

  141. There’s long been a sex shop, even a place to watch very porno videos. The strip club even PJ O’Rourke wasn’t aware of…..

  142. PST,

    > Yes, I thought you’d struggle with the idea of “society” not being a thing.

    I don’t struggle with it; I disagree with it.

    > There is no such thing as “society”; there are only individual men, women and, yes, children.

    Since your quote is almost word-for-word Thatcher, I assume you’re referring to her. But when she made this point, she was explicitly referring to the idea that society should pay for something. She did not in fact believe that society doesn’t exist, and the Left’s repeated claim that she did is a slander.

    If your quote is only coincidentally the same as hers, fair enough. I already said that we’re talking about groups of people and that there is no need to appeal to the concept of “society” to describe them and their behaviour.

    > That is, there are no people, only persons.

    It’s actually quite amusing to see you reject the concept of society and use the concept of persons instead, considering that, despite millenia of trying, no-one has yet managed to define what a “person” is.

    > Some of those person will have elected to group together, others will have not. That is the whole reason for the idea of the freedom of association. I can choose those persons with whom I wish to associate and those whom I do not.

    This is actually the point I made. So I’m not sure why you think I need it explained to me.

    > That’s why anyone who tries to emphasise his point with its effect on “society” is, a priori, suspicious and not to be trusted.

    And I did not do that.

    Anyway, I take it that you’re going to be arguing with Ian now, because he also claimed that some things have an effect on society? Or is there some reason why you have a problem with me using the word and the concept but are fine with others doing so?

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