Kinky porn is the thin end...

Just reading this article about a new law making the possession of "violent and extreme pornography" a criminal offence. The definition appears to be unnervingly vague, however. Previous obscenity laws place the onus on the publisher but the new law recognises that much of the material downloaded in the uk is held on overseas servers. From now on the consumer can be prosecuted and that means criminalising those with marginal sexual predilictions (such as necrophilia and S & M). This shift makes owning images containing "an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person's life" illegal and its owner a criminal. You might say that this will affect relatively few people and their rights should not be prioritised over that of the majority to enjoy safety from sexual predators like Graham Coutts. You might also say you agree that images depicting violent sexual acts ought to be banned anyway.
Have they stopped to think, I wonder, about the graphic and gratuitous use of sexual violence in mainstream films? If not, then they have criminalised a much larger section of the population than they planned. A scene like the one at the beginning of Basic Instinct surely comes under the definition above? The ramifications for video games such as Grand Theft Auto (latest version due this week) are difficult to foresee in this climate. The use of Virtual Reality to enact sexual fantasies that would land the perpetrators in jail in real life will soon become a crime in itself. Surely, a line has been crossed between protecting the innocent and preserving the right to think what you like and the Government has ended up on the wrong side.

Charley meets Tufty

I have been researching public information films for inspiration on the look of a Flash arty-fact I am planning. On the theme of the fable, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, I am planning a kind of updated version to warn kids/parents of the potential dangers of online chat rooms/social networking. I really like the idea of using the look of the Charley ads as a reference for the parents who view it. I guess to do this I would need to create paper cut outs of the scenery and scan/import into Flash but I'm not sure yet. Visualising this project will probably present the hardest challenge I come across (I could be wrong!) as the narrative will inform the interactive side of the project. I've included the Tufty vid cause I like the way they've twisted it to their own purposes with a clever script and editing.

Movable Type

As part of BBC Four's medieval season Stephen Fry presents a heartfelt tribute to the man who invented the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. Part biog, part historical engineering experiment, he tracks the man himself to his hometown of Mainz and follows (as far as he is able) his personal story while early printmaking experts attempt to recreate the original press Gutenberg used to print his legendary and groundbreaking Bible. Despite protesting that he is cack-handed at every opportunity Fry tries his hand at carving the double helix screw mechanism required for the press as well as casting lead type and creating paper the 15th century way. His investigations about the life of the man reveal an engineer/entrepreneur supremely placed to capitalise on his ingenious creation by revolutionising the medieval church bureaucracy. The impact of printing was massive and formed the basis for the spread of knowledge that led to the Renaissance and modern life itself. The earliest machine of mass production was shrouded in secrecy and, in the end, failed to net its inventor the wealth he deserved thanks to his unscrupulous investor. It's fascinating to consider how immediate the influence of early printed text turned out to be. In a world where we are surrounded by printed material it's hard to imagine what it must have meant to make books commonplace and (relatively) affordable. It could be compared to the internet in terms of its reach but its probably more important and the fact that from 1450 to 1500 literally millions of printed texts were produced demonstrates how popular it became in a short space of time.