Sunday, May 11, 2008

Censors allow suicide but not those obscene boobs

It is positive that, according to the Dominion Post, the Chief Censor has allowed the New Zealand distribution of the book by Philip Nitschke's The Peaceful Pill Handbook - which is about voluntary euthanasia. It is rated R18. Jim Anderton, who to be fair has close personal experience of the tragedy of suicide, is concerned it will encourage young people to be suicidal. However according to Chief Censor Bill Hastings the law limits what can be done:

"when grading material that depicts or expresses suicide, or any activity which could cause harm if imitated, censors could only restrict material. They could not ban it."

The book is aimed at the elderly or those with terminal illnesses, it is only fair and right that this well intentioned publication be allowed to circulate. Let's not forget that one of the most widely circulated books in society has as its central theme human sacrifice.

Meanwhile the Dominion Post reports the Australian Classification Board is concerned about magazine Rushh Australia which apparently has topless photos of a 16yo New Zealand girl called Zippora Seven (above) (if you dare you can see one of the topless shots here and it is hardly pornographic) in the magazine.
Although the girl could legally go to any private premises she likes and bare her boobs for the hell of it (and can consent to letting people do as they wish with them), apparently she is a "minor" for censorship purposes as nudity of anyone under 18 is banned. The legal status of the magazine will be interesting, if it is deemed objectionable then it would be a serious criminal charge for the magazine, and everyone who sold it and everyone who bought it as producing, distributing and possessing an objectionable publication is a strict liability offence. You don't need to know whether an image is objectionable to be convicted of possessing it.

It's always been a curiosity of Angl0-Saxon culture that womens' breasts are obscene. This restriction is no doubt caught up in concern about child pornography, of which the real stuff is so far removed from this case to indicate that the law has been drafted to apply the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut. Of course, anyone arguing any different would be deemed a "pervert" because "who wants to see a 16yo girl's breasts". I'd argue that those getting so worked up about the exposure of a young woman of legal age perhaps need to look in the mirror, and perhaps ought to consider that there are probably more young women doing this online by choice with webcams (and umpteen websites dedicated to this) than ever any legitimate magazines. Remember if this law is meant to protect them, then you'd wonder why it is ok to let men of any age fondle any willing 16yo girl's breasts, but not ok to buy a magazine that depicts them. Oh and if you're concerned about the sexualisation of young girls (nobody is ever too fussed about boys which is an issue in itself), then looking at 16 year olds is not the place to start, you might look at Bratz dolls instead for those half that age!

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