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Rod Liddle

This cant about protecting children from porn is really about protecting the coalition

3 August 2013

9:00 AM

3 August 2013

9:00 AM

I have tried very hard to become an afficianado of pornography, seeing as it is by far the most popular pastime in the world. Also, it annoys a lot of people that I don’t like, so I feel I should put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. But the trouble is, the scenarios never quite rattle my cage. I find myself despising the men involved, and disliking the women, before even the cap has been removed from the lubricant.

This is an impediment to full enjoyment, feeling averse to the grunting, smug male half-wits and the unnaturally supplicant — and usually tattooed — ladies. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off with something involving animals, as at least I’d feel simpatico to one half of the coupling. Apparently, dogs are used quite frequently in these short and inexpertly lit video films. How low can you get? About a Jack Russell, ba boom.

But all this notwithstanding, I will still choose to ‘opt in’ to pornography when I next buy a laptop (that’ll be in about a year, as my current model is a year old. There’s the real scandal). The government is thinking about making people ‘opt in’, superficially because it wishes to prevent children from seeing films like Ukrainian Dog Witch and Filipino Flange XXX, but rather more because it has decided to placate the Illiberal Democratic party coalition partners by conceding that porn is ‘bad’ and therefore should be restricted before being banned altogether somewhere down the line.

If we are about protecting the kiddies, there are plenty of seriously harmful things I would make the adult population ‘opt in’ to well before porno stuff, such as ‘Rate My Poo.com’, a favourite of my children from a few years ago, which simply consists of hundreds of photographs of variously filled lavatory basins. Some people have seriously bad diets, believe me. Especially in the USA.


One of the things I don’t like about porn is, much as the feminists and progressives suggest, the viciousness or callousness shown towards the female participants in most of these horrible little films. As one woman said to me, if it was a bit — you know — nicer, then I might watch it myself. In this the pornographers and the feminist campaigners seem to be united: in pornography women are subjugated and exploited, the opponents assert, and the porno industry responds: yes indeed, and you love it, you filthy sluts.

And politically, it sort of follows from this, if you accept that this is the way men view women,  finally that all sexual relations between men and women are ‘necessarily coercive’, as Andrea Dworkin once famously maintained. But even if you don’t quite buy that, then you might sign up to the idea that all pictures of women, when they are displayed largely for the delectation of men, are also a part of this process, the subjugation, the dehumanising, the commodifying.

And so we have another front opened, this time against the tits ’n’ lager lads’ mags which women despise us for reading, if we do read them. The Co-operative stores, with all the high-handed self-righteousness of the political movement to which it is paying obsequy, has demanded that henceforth publications such as Nuts and Zoo and Front must be displayed in plastic bags which disguise their front page. The front page of these mags usually consists of a young woman in a state of partial undress — but no nipples on display and certainly nothing from the really naughty region, that famous neck of the woods below the waist and from which babies emanate. The shop has argued that it is inappropriate for children to see these images — i.e. the image of a woman in a bikini.

This is cant, and you can tell that it is cant because the Co-op has gained the immediate approval of the Lib Dem minister Jo ‘Taleban’ Swinson, and almost everything that woman says is cant. She also agreed that ‘lewd pictures that portray women as sex objects is not appropriate’. And there you have it — the whole thing is nothing whatsoever to do with children, it is to do with the proto-Islamicism of a certain tranche of the bien-pensant feminist left. And I suspect that this creeping censorship, in which I would include the government’s determination to make watching pornography on the internet more problematic, is a case of political expediency.

The Tories can go along with it under the guise of being socially conservative and protective of children, but the real reason it is on the agenda is because of the dogmatic censoriousness of their coalition partners. And believe me, Swinson would go further, if she could. I suspect that like many of the campaigners, she would like to see such magazines removed from the shelves altogether, because she does not like them. You do not have to be a fan of the vileness of online porn to find this unsettling, and a little — how shall I put it? — Saudi, that a woman in a bikini should be banned from public view, on the blatantly dishonest grounds that the kiddies might be upset.

As for the Co-op, well, they may have gained a supporter in Swinson, but they’ve lost my funeral. One hundred years the Liddle family have been buried with the Co-op. Not any more.


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