Sunday, June 9, 2013
"David Cameron's statement said he was "sickened by the proliferation of child pornography." DISGUSTING".
Are you just a regular bod, bumbling along through life? I am, pretty much. And, like me, that statement may cause your brain to judder for a microsecond as you try to unravel its implications. Is someone really complaining that our Glorious Leader is disgusted by kiddie porn? Is this a quote from someone who feels their ability to watch child abuse is being outrageously circumscribed by the State?
I'm not identifying the source, except to say its someone whose official career was dedicated to fighting child abuse. The quote is merely illustrative and a jumping off point for my annoyance and bafflement. He is not – despite the initial impression – annoyed that the PM is speaking out against child abuse.
Unless you are au fait with the politics and terminology of child sexual abuse – "CSA" to those in the know – then like me you wouldn't appreciate the source of this outrage. It turns out that the words "child porn" are a source of angst, objects of pain and because of that subject to a campaign which renders them verbotten from the language. Don't worry, you can still use the words "child" and "porn", but just not together.
Perhaps, like me, you scratched your head and wondered- pour qua?! Because whenever I hear the words "child porn" I know precisely what it refers to. It means pictures of children in a sexual context. And, being children, by both moral and legal definition this is firmly in the category of "abuse". "Child porn" means pictures of children being abused. Is anyone not following me? Do any of you think otherwise when you see those words?
Those campaigning against the term "child porn" are insisting that what we all understand by it is that it is consensual, because of the word "porn". I never have. Have you? What I understand by "porn" is sexual material intended to titilate. It is not a comment on its legality or moral status, anymore than adding the word "porn" to "rape" or "animal" makes it all kosher. No one has sat at their keyboard and thought, "hmmm, because its porn it must be okay"...and then searched for "child porn".
I dislike being told by a group of campaigners what I understand or mean by the words "child porn". I know it means abuse, you all know its abuse. But so wrapped up in their own view of the world have they become that when the PM uses it in the context of denouncing child abuse someone calls it DISGUSTING. Note the capitals. That's the extent of this misplaced attempt to warp our language.
And because these campaigners insist that what WE understand by "child porn" is that its consensual, as if we think abused kids are a succession of Jenna Jameson mini-me's, they take umbrage. Because they are rapidly persuading themselves that what we believe is that "child porn" is okay, they are feeling demeaned and insulted in having their suffering minimised.
I am not persuaded. Everyone knows that "child porn" equals pictures of child abuse. None of us ever thought otherwise. And I dislike any group telling us what we mean, wrongly, and then feeling insulted.
I think this is one of the most specious and manufactured campaigns ever, an outgrowth of some "survivor" ideology and in no way a reflection of reality. In case anyone is in any doubt about the abusive meaning of "child porn", the clue is in the name: "CHILD porn". We are not idiots. Feel free not to tell us what we mean when we know damn well.
And feel free to note the important stuff and not some bizarre lexicological debate. The Prime Mnister is decrying child abuse on the internet. That's quite important, it may lead to significant policy changes. But such is the circular, inward looking view of some people that he is abused because of their focus on the language Cameron used. Talk about wood and trees....
And in case you're wondering, the terms insisted upon instead of "child porn" are – images of child abuse, child abuse images, and variations on the theme. I offer them to you so you can avoid the seminological hole I found myself in – and just in case you were thinking that the words "child porn" meant it was all legal and consensual.
Just in case....