Wednesday, April 15, 2009

nothing matters but the times you do as much as you can

Miss Sphynx Soliel sent me a wonderfully informative link to new British law regarding something termed extreme pornography. These provisions seem remarkably clear, actually:
It refers to pornography (defined as an image which "of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal") which is "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character", and portrays any of the following:

and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that any such person or animal was real.

By the way? I fought very hard to make sure the pictoral links were as non-offensive and safe for work as I could. Trust me--it's out there--I could have linked some deeply demented images.

So. This is a very specific list. Let's go through it, point by point, put into SL terms--since I can do that, it's my blog--and we'll talk about my limits.

1. Images, animations and/or equipment designed to provoke sexual arousal, that entail threatening another person's life: I vote yes for adult; I also vote yes for extremely violent. You can't have potential loss of life (which, by the way, I do not associate with breathplay, certain semi-choking scenarios [I'll carefully draw a curtain over which ones] and knifeplay/knife massage), without an extremely violent context.

2. Images, animations and/or equipment designed to provoke sexual arousal, that entail result, or the potential result, of serious injury to breasts and/or genitals: I vote yes for adult. I also have to vote yes for extremely violent. After all, the once and nevermore half-Drow demon warrior in Lumindor, Sid, was the fellow that gave me the eighteen-inch limit. He was also the one who came up with the fairly disturbing catchphrase, Blood makes a good lubricant. (It doesn't, by the way, but that might be more than anyone needs to know. Let's move on.) This is also known personally by me as, anything it takes me (Emilly the shapeshifter, my definition of "me" here) more than three days to heal from? Is serious injury on SL.

3. Images, animations and/or equipment designed to provoke sexual arousal, that involve necrophilia. If I really have to define necrophilia, I'm talking to the wrong crowd. How'ver, let's go back to the judging portion. (And I realize, on SL, "necrophilia" gets slippery--sexy zombies? There are groups for that. Vampires? Is vampire sex necrophilia? If you're not starting to decay, or you're still moving around, does it count? Is it just cold still corpses for this?) Would necrophilia be adult? Yes. Would it be extremely violent? And here's my first no, because really--once the body's cooling? All the violence is over for the most part.

How'ver, even on SL, a lot of people consider the body holy, and sacrosanct; and any violation to it is violent in the extreme. In this light, necrophilia is rape, pure and simple, and for many, rape is very violent. There's also the question of consent: would the person, living, have given consent? Is that even a question once experience becomes effigy, so to speak? It's that line between being and inanimate states, really.

If you want, you can trundle over to the Sexy Losers necrophilia comic (they did a few pages on it, once upon a time), or just move on to:

4. Images, animations and/or equipment designed to provoke sexual arousal, that involve sexual contact with an animal. And here we get into very interesting waters for SL. Because what immediately springs to mind when we think of animals on SL?

Furries! So now we have the interesting ethical quandary of deciding whether or not furry sex--with or without human partners--is bestiality, by the conventional understanding.

Some folks say yes. My long-departed Ryce would not be intimate with me--wouldn't even kiss my cheek--if one or the other of us didn't match species. (It didn't seem to matter to him which species, but we both had to be the same one. It created times.) And for those folks, understand, the mere mention of furs makes them all crazy. Furs by their nature, in this light, become sexualized objects, because they have fur. It doesn't matter whether they only date within their species, or not--they have fur, thus they are promoters of bestiality. And bestiality goes beyond the pale for a ton of people, for a ton of reasons.

My opinion? This does come from a partial fur, mind: Furs, by themselves, are not adult. It's like sexy little miniskirts or latex outfits--by themselves, they are not adult. How'ver, if they want to have sex with their specialized attachments in public: adult. If they want to have sex and then one chooses to swallow the other whole (though I have no idea if there are even animations for that in SL), then that would have to be somewhat, if not extremely, violent.

Of course, I think that goes without saying--it's not specifically about being a fur, having sex in public--I think anyone having sex in public is engaged in acts that are adult by nature. I think an avatar all by themselves, strapped into a machine pumping in and out of them is adult by nature. On this, Nany Kayo and I are (for once!) in complete agreement: I am forsquare for your ability (and mine) to do absolutely anything that doesn't restrain/harm/permanently kill another avatar in the privacy of our own homes; but if you want to do it on the green in Victoria City? That's just not right.

Which of course dovetails into the huge discussion of what is a private home and what is grid privacy, along with what is public space on the grid...and you're free to wrangle that out amongst yourselves...Me, I'm nipping blithely on to the next point. Which is:

Keep in mind that the UK definitions deal with images and/or media which is considered to be "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character". And that's the really big issue, because, even with all these carefully crafted definitions, they still seem to be relying a lot on "I'll know it when I see it".

On SL, will we know it when we see it? So many people are offended about so many things, and really, at the end of the day, this isn't a conversation about what offends people at all. This is a conversation on how best to protect the grid from itself, in the eyes of the Lindens.

And in the end, while I think this is a good article to read, and definitely informative on the laws of the UK concerning pornography in general, and extreme pornography in specific...this passage should have attention well paid to it:

There is a defence for the defendant if he can prove that he "directly participated" in the act, and where the participants consented, but only if the acts are those that can be legally consented to in the UK.

Another important point? The two sites mentioned as being heavy providers of "extreme pornography"--one current, one now gone in the mists of time--in terms of that article? Both operate strictly within US law on the legality of pornographic image.

So. While I'm sure I could find examples--everything from providing SLUrls to providing images--of "extremely violent" pornographic media/image on SL, I'm now wondering--what about pure violence? The guns and tanks and armaments that His Serenity, Otenth Paderborn, mentioned a few days back? I know about the Jessie sim--apparently, that's been replaced by, or is connected to, the New Jessie sim--but, because I'm not hugely in the shooting-guns crowd, I don't actually know what's on the ground now.

Maybe I should find out.


Magdalena Kamenev said...

And that's the really big issue, because, even with all these carefully crafted definitions, they still seem to be relying a lot on "I'll know it when I see it".I'm not sure we'll ever get past "I'll know it when I see it," or to quote Justice Potter Stewart on the subject, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [of obscenity]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

There will be some squishiness in this regard ... I tend to worry more about over-definition as well as under ...

Emilly Orr said...

I'm honestly more worried about over-definition than under-. Under can be upgraded; over-, well, people will just leave rather than put up with it.

Because I know, for a fact, that my definitions for "extreme" in all of this? Are far, far wider than the Lindens. And the Linden's definitions? Are going to be wider than someone like Nany Kayo's will be.

We know it when we see it? Sure. But we're all pointing at different things when we do.