Monday, January 26, 2009

With friends like these ...

The SMH has got into the act on the filter with two Op Ed pieces. Stephen Conroy is probably thinking with friends like these who needs enemies.

The enemy was the one trick pony Helen Razer who made her reputation on JJJ as a Gen Y version of a shock jock - trying to see how much of the audience she could shock. While I have nothing against her item, reading it you'd think that the clean feed was all about banning all R and X rated material. No reference to the RC stuff at all.

Meanwhile the friend was unfortunately Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby. While he rightly pointed out that the adult content filter is at the moment proposed to be only opt-out, he didn't drive home the point about the RC stuff either. And he shouldn't try to make a 30% speed degradation nor a 3% over-blocking sound trivial.

Me thinks it is time Stephen Conroy entered displayed the kinds of legislative moves he'll propose.


  1. RC (Refused Classification) or potentially Refused Classification material is sold illegally and purchased legally every day in the State of New South Wales. It is legal to own and purchase and has for many years included bestiality and extreme forms of Sado Masochism. Some material once rated "R" such as "I Spit on Your Grave" has been rated "RC" but then after due process reclassified "R" (it's current status). The same applies to the film "Salo" and "Baise Moi" which was (by law) legally rated "R". There is a distinction between classification guidelines and the laws regarding classification which permit items that might be classified "RC" to be otherwise classified. Much material that is legal in other countries has been or would be rated "RC" in this country. Much pornographic material that would have been rated "X" prior to the year 2000 is now rated "RC". Such is the confused state of affairs in New South Wales that stores and importers don't even attempt to apply for a classification. Until such time as the New South Wales government in conjunction with the Minister for Censorship in the ALP government (Bob Debus) come to grips with this dichotomy discussion about blocking RC material on the Internet can't be contemplated. We MUST have uniform laws across all States and Territories of Australia and until we do there is no mandate for Senator Conroy, Helen Razer or Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby to make statements regarding what should or should not be blocked. Approxmately 99.9% of material ni the form of film (pornographic, artistic or dramatic) is imported material. Australia is NOT a creative nation even though there are a few film makers such as those operating under acronyms such as MUFF (Melbourne Underground Film Festival) who allegedly produce artistic erotic material. The term "RC" does not mean "bad". It means that those in charge of censorship pay very little attention to detail and dismiss nearly every attempt to discuss it rationally.

    You may find examples of such material on my LiveJournal together with selected letters from Ministers of the Crown.

  2. Earlier I stated:

    "There is a distinction between classification guidelines and the laws regarding classification which permit items that might be classified "RC" to be otherwise classified."


    The wording is found in "The National Classification Code" which as far as I can tell was last revised in May 2005

    ( Federal Register of Legislative Instruments F2005L01284 )

    With regards to classification generally it begins..

    Classification decisions are to give effect, as far as possible, to the following

    (a) adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want;

    (It then modifies this to take in account what are alleged to be community concerns regarding violence and the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner - although this wording has been in the Code for a considerable number of years and it's hard to tell if the community are still as concerned about such issues as once they may have been )

    The wording with regards to the classification of films is (or was) as follows:-

    Films are to be classified in accordance with the following table (and here the reference is to material to be rated "RC"..)

    Films that:

    (a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified;

    the words which are ambigious are "to the extent they that they should not be classified". The code does not suggest any criteria whereby such films should not be classied other than that found in the opening section of the Code which states (a) "adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want"

    If that is the case and adults wish to view something that is objectionable to others then it appears (to me at least) that there are no valid arguments why any film should be classified "RC".

    (subject to parts (b) and (c) )

    I note Amendment 2 to the code was only operational between 6th. September 2000 and 16th. March 2003 (Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. GN 35 6th. September 2000)

    If there are any lawyers in the house perhaps they can elucidate on this.

  3. Helen Razer as Gen Y?!?!? That's the funniest thing I've read all hour! She's, like, totally forty years old.

  4. Thanks for that Shermozle - she's actually like totally 41! And Gen X fits her so much better than Y - Xers were not discerning at all!

    Interesting that her Wikipedia entry is already up to date on the Herald article from Saturday. Somebody loves her.

  5. Oh Simon Simon Simon (sigh)

    I don't know much about GenX and GenY other than GenY reputedly stay at home with mum and earn heaps of dough. Helen kept me amused for a long while on Radio National and she's approximately 25 years younger than I am.

    Now how about the 80 year olds and I refer to this piece from,28323,24930682-5017672,00.html

    Sex toy industry poised to boom in Australia
    By Lanai Vasek
    January 19, 2009 11:00am

    "IT'S a dilemma: What to do when an 80-year-old couple say they want to spice up their sex life and need some help."

    Clicking on the video link (the one with handcuffs) may provide a few answers :-)

    WARNING: Contains Adult Content !

    Tupperware out ! Sex Toys In !

  6. Born the same year as the much-maligned Ms Razer, I can assure you that she is no one trick pony! Well-read, acerbic, quick-witted and with a (too rarely seen) temper, she writes and broadcasts across multiple media in a huge variety of subjects. And she does so with intelligence and humanity.

    She has long been treated as a radical, and radicals nowadays are feared and loathed. This, more than anything, is the "gift" of Gen Y and their flipper parents, the boomers. A conservatism rooted in Gen Y's ignorance and apathy, and the Boomer's need to rationalise the counter-counter culture of wealth protection.

    Gen X may seem to lack discernment. In fact, it was a generation of diverse reactions (and tastes). Give children brochures on "how to survive a nuclear attack" in a world of stagflation or 20% interest rates, and you have unpredictability.

    As to Bob Bain, what does "mandate" have to do with anything? Labor has had a net-censorship platform since Kimbo, and Australia has a long and proud tradition of censorship at Federal level (using any power possible). The states augment as required. Banning the film of "All Quiet on the Western Front" (too pacifist) must be a stand out. Nazi propaganda was ok for a while, though.

    Australia is unquestionably as creative as everyone else. Unless you think there are some races, cultures inherently "so creative" that they stand out above the pack.

    In a narrow definition (ie, volume of copyrightable things produced), hard to imagine we do not match or exceed our quota. We are rich with time to spare. We represent <0.3% of the world's population. Hard to believe we don't come close.

    The filter farrago shows that religiosity and paternalism still thrive in Canberra. I do not believe it will work because - if it did - there are loonier countries around the world who would have implemented it. China's greatest power with its filter derives from caching, allowing subsequent identification of naughty surfers, and appropriate draconian punishment. We already have this in NSW and Queensland. The scariest thing with Labor is that this may be become their later preferred option.