Sean Gabb on the Horrors of Internet Pornography

The Beeb woke me at the crack of dawn to deal with these fatuous and endlessly-recycled lies about the tendency of porn to turn good men into sex-crazed zombies. Don’t be surprised if I sound as bored here as I felt. The most interesting thing for me about the interview was staring up at the contours of my bedroom ceiling.


  1. yes, good comments. Other points: what is child porn? We are often told “so-and-so had 100 pictures from category 1 and 5 pictures from category 2” etc of child porn. The police have a classification system in other words – but they don’t say in the newspapers that the least serious category just depicts child nudity (a child playing at the beach) and is not pornography or offensive at all. We should reserve “child porn” as a term for actual sexual exploitation of children – not just general pictures from the beach. So the definitions of these things can spread. Secondly, while penalties for child pornography should be very high, mere viewing of such on the Internet is another thing entirely. The logic of the current approach is that the police should make random checks on all personal computers, just in case. Finally, child porn relates in my view to porn involving children – defining it, as in law, as any image involving nudity of an individual up to 18 years of age is one again a distortion of the real horror, of, say, a 5-year-old being exploited.

  2. Basically, if you can’t prove that the age of a model in an image or video is 18, then it could be regarded as child porn. I suppose 99% of images and videos widely available on the net are child porn if you don’t have access to the model’s birth certificate. Granny porn is the only safe option.

    Other areas of law work in similar ways, like taxation. No matter how law biding you try to be, you will always be breaking the law in one given area. It’s a modern day system of clergy, where everyone is regarded as a sinner, and it is designed to instil fear and keep the flock in line.

    This poor old disabled man was persecuted by the police and media, but if you read the article it becomes apparent that he never actually broke the law or did anything wrong.

  3. Well argued as usual Sean.

    It’s interesting to note how rapidly your interviewer “sets to one side” his initial question- “does porn prompt…”- to try to hang you on the “isn’t this extreme thing abhorrent” gibbet, which you dealt with very well.

    The interesting point from the newspaper reports on the Tia Sharp case though- which you would not have had time to read anyway by this interview’s early hour- is that it seems clear that Hazell first became obsessed with the Tia, and as a consequence sought similar imagery as a consequence- girls a similar age, girls wearing glasses, etc. So effectively it was his fascination with her that drove him to the images, rather than the other way around. One may even speculate that the imagery may have assuaged his lust for a while, until it got the better of him. After all, porn is normally a substitute which sublimates a viewer’s lust.

    The sad reality of the case seems to be one of a personal sexual obsession driving a man over the edge to an unspeakable act. Hardly new, and nothing to do with porn.

    And of course, they’re trotting out the “paedophile” word even though there’s no indication, from a psychological point of view, that he had any general interest in children at all. He just became fascinated by this particular girl.

    Alll very sad. Moralist campaigners may want to use this sad event as grist to their mill, but it seems to me that there are no general lessons to be learned.

  4. Nick-

    I like the way the Daily Fail do the shock horror about the quantity of porn on that poor man’s HDs. Especially with high definition video these days, it’s not an unusual amount for a “fan”, I’d guess. “Thousands of photos”? I’ve got thousands just of the lovely Adele Stephens. Heh. I realised years ago when I first got on the net and found myself in Usenet pornoland, that it ends up, like a lot of things, becoming more about the collector instinct than anything else, with everyone going “can anyone complete this set?” and “there’s a set where’s she’s on a bus, wearing a coalminer’s outfit, anyone got that one?”.

    Spose Plod will be around now, if they read this. 🙂

    As to the issue of illegality, I’m pretty certain in British law (it’s certainly true in some continental countries) that the age of the model doesn’t matter; the test is whether they “give the impression of being under 18”. That basically comes down to whether the jury (or judges in Napoleonic systems) merely think the subject looks under 18. Which makes things very dodgy, and provides much scope for the mutaween to make shit up.

  5. Ian B. The poor guy paid a one-off subscription fee and wanted to get his money’s worth. Enough porn to last a lifetime… It was automatically downloaded anyway.

    Sounds like he was only single due to divorce law application that empowers women over men. His wife used to give him a hard time.

  6. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was MET-Art. They’ve got a lot of content, big HD videos, and their girls are all definitely legal (2257 and all that) but tend to be on the borderline visually. As it goes, I have read that in the early days they had some photosets in the 14-18 range, before it was decided that US law would be applied globally, based on the idea that their stuff (all softcore posing) was “art” rather than “porn”.

  7. funny how the government pretends it’s worried about child pornography, but when they know Asian men are raping English children – they do nothing. Isn’t there something wrong here? It’s almost as if children being forced into sex isn’t really treated as a grave concern by the authorities – but they wish to use the issue to add to their panopoly of powers anyway.

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