Friday, February 19, 2010

Malcolm Brown, Bob Gosford, and a couple more moral panics to wreck your weekend ...

(Above: steady, steady, moral panic alert following).

Speaking of moral panics, there's a couple more this Friday, to send you off to a fearful, worried, troubling, troubled weekend of unhappy quivering timorous trembling tremulousness.

First up is Malcolm Brown, who in Ultimate violence may escape on to street, is deeply disturbed by mixed martial arts, by the news that the Ultimate Fighting Championship coming to Sydney, and by the fear that the ultimate violence on display will be out on the streets in a split second.

What a silly billy. Sydneysiders don't like their violence on the streets, not when they can do a good glassing in a pub to a woman after a game of thugby league.

People tend to take up martial arts to defend themselves, and to get fit. But once this virtually unrestrained violence enters the popular culture, people, especially the young, will want to ape it in their hostile interactions with their fellows.

Fighting in the Queensberry Rules tradition had been encouraged by countless fathers - like my own - as a way for boys to demonstrate manliness. But what if there are no more Queensberry Rules?

Indeed. And what if there's no more Victorian England? How to demonstrate manliness? Especially if there are no Zulus handy?

Well I guess there's always thugby league.

What's even more alarming is that it seems some women are taking to mixed martial arts:

Bruno Panno, who runs the Gracie Sydney Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy, based at Coogee with a training cage in Chatswood, said MMA was becoming more popular among women. ''But normally they don't do cage fighting,'' he said.

Oh dear, is this how women demonstrate their womenliness? Caged women, just when we were getting rid of caged chooks. Brown even quotes a woman who uses UFC moves in her own mixed martial arts.

''You can learn a lot from MMA. It is brutal but that is life on the streets. I use my power for good, not evil. I teach my students how to defend themselves. You must remember that this ultimate fighting is not really ultimate fighting. It is a lot safer than on the street. You cannot pick someone's eyes out or rip out their scrotum. You can choke them but not rip their throat out. Ultimate fighting is really a fight to the death.''

Ah shucks, it's not even Gladiator, and I was certain Gladiator would encourage young people to ape its stadium fighting in their hostile interactions with their fellows. "At my signal unleash hell". Or at least ultimate fighting that isn't the ultimate.

Instead Rusty gets to co-own South Sydney, even if he's no longer on the board. Where's the justice and the sense in thugby league?

Never mind, surely the UFC heralds the end of the world, and rampant violence on the streets.

Oh wait, that's already happening, and they haven't even landed yet, at least in person as opposed to cable and now FTA TV.

Well I guess there's always macrame waiting for me to demonstrate my womanliness. Or for men to demonstrate their womanliness. Or for fear mongers to settle their anxieties with some steadying needlework, since it seems boxing is no longer manly enough and is feeling threatened by a new product.

Oh and what actual hardcore evidence does Brown produce that UFC is more likely than boxing or thugby league to produce violence in the streets? None, nada, zip. He just likes boxing and doesn't like the UFC. He doesn't like blood, and lives wasted, which is presumably why he must also hate thugby league.

Well if he hates street violence so much, perhaps instead of worrying about the UFC, he might consider a ban on pubs and pub culture? Or how about getting worried about soldiers and the western tendency to wage war? Pacifism anyone? Thought not ...

Meanwhile, over at Crikey, Bob Gosford attempts to stir the pedophile pot by throwing a racial element into the stew, in Naked Aboriginal kids on postcards: the line between art and exploitation?

In a fine example of moral and theological and philosophical confusion, Gosford doesn't seem to have any problem showing images of things he seems to think should be banned. Or at least classified out of existence. Or put in an art gallery, where the context will somehow sanitise and make safe that which out in the broader world can only be deemed crass commercialisation.

You know, in the old days, before people got agitated about the sexualisation of children - you know, back in the days when the airbrush conclusively showed they had no genitalia, and they were marked down for a career as eunuchs serving the Emperor - a nude child was not seen as an ipso facto invitation to have sex with them (and by the old days of course I'm not talking about the very old days of Graeco Roman culture). And nudity per se in children was not a crime or pornographic, whether in reality, or in art or even in crassly commercial works, or in the shared bath tubs of working class families. Not even when they were sucking on a teat, like perverted milk-drinkers.

Not any more:

“There are times when parents are going to make arrangements and sign things that they say are OK and that they are going to get paid money for it. I think we need legislation that backs up a system of classification,” he (Charlie King) said. “And despite some photographers being able to strike a deal with mum and dad, there still should be strong legislation that prevents that being distributed. But there is a broader moral issue outside of that — we should not be peddling this sort of image around.”

You mean like Bob Gosford peddling them around on Crikey, and linking to them, as he does in his piece? In much the same way as I'm always concerned to highlight salacious material by showing jolly good examples?

Well here's the ones he ran, though we'll spare you the cant, and the handwringing and the moralising:

Oh on second thoughts, no we won't:

Professor Behrendt points to the importance of context when considering this issue.

“Bill Henson’s photographs explore issues of teenage sexuality but we see them in the context of an art gallery,” she says. “These photographs are not taken with any notions of creativity or exploring a theme or trying to capture a moment that is meaningful and poignant — these postcards are just about crass commercialisation, that is all. The sandy beaches of Australia on young Aboriginal bums.”

Well you won't be able to sell me twee images of indigenous Australians, but then you can't sell me twee images of any young Austalian, in the nuddie or dressed to kill.

But it takes a spectacular level of conflation to mix race, representations of indigenous culture, crass commercialisation, anxiety about inter-racial pedophilia, and pedophilia itself - while showing samples of the images that are of ostensible concern.

One of the hapless photographers caught up in this sanctimonious righteous storm in a teacup had the cheek to defend himself:

“These photographs were all taken with the support and encouragement of the parents or guardians of the children and a legal agreement was made through the Aboriginal Legal Service,” he said. “This has been an ongoing agreement since 1996. The intention of my photographs has always been to show the more positive side to Aboriginal life in remote communities. I believe they suggest the joy and innocence of childhood.”

Sorry, the world is full of perverts, innocence and joy is lost, and sand on a bum is a sign of deeply sick commercial perversion. But if you stick Bill Henson in an art gallery, suddenly it's all okay?

Guess that means I'm really transgressing the boundaries by publishing this:

They liked this crassly commercial image so well they even released it in colour:

And what on earth are we to make of this?

Dear god, you can see where nudity leads in the sexualisation of children. Quick, let's all have an anxiety attack, and lock them behind curtains, in the way Nicole Kidman managed so admirably and neurotically in The Others. No prizes for guessing she was a Catholic mother.

I keed, I keed. Clearly the Coppertone girl is a threat to western civilisation, and I'm remiss not to have recognised it earlier.

Now if someone would only explain to me the deeper meaning and significance of the Michelin man? Is it a Nostradamus-like warning of the dangers of that lycra-clad lout Tony Abbott ascending to Chairmanship of Australia, or is it perhaps a hint of the obesity crisis which would come to threaten western civilisation? Or simply an indication of the way cigar smoking is deeply perverted, and a metaphor for corrupt sexuality and phallic patriarchal rule?

Whatever, just another moral panic in the making ... quick, someone give the FTA broadcasters $250 mill to deal with it ... or perhaps arrange a great big new filter ...

Meanwhile, as the UFC and naked children herald the end of civilisation as we know it, tremendous news that Sex is one of life's great pleasures ...

1 comment:

  1. The Coppertone ad is clearly pornographic. I mean, to be safe we should even burn Rolling Stone because since Jim Carrey is depicting that original advertisement we might say he is trying to become the little girl and sell on that sex appeal.


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