Censorship of Nude Art

An editorial dated June 1st in Pigtails in Paint (now here) tells how FSM, a German Internet watchdog organization, pressurized their Internet provider in order to demand the removal of two posts entitled Stolen Dreams and the Japanese School and Dream Girls, claiming that they depict “child sexual abuse material” and are “potentially criminal” under German Criminal Code. The site had to comply in order to keep their provider.

I have seen these two posts before their removal, and there is nothing “sexual” nor any “abuse” in them. Indeed, there are no sexual acts, nor any gestures hinting at such acts, nor any obscene poses; nowhere is there any highlighting of buttocks or genitalia. You see just nude photographs of young girls made by artists. These girls are beautiful and healthy, they look happy. No decent-minded judge living in a civilized country could call that “pornography”.

Private watchdog organizations play a role of moral vigilantism, denouncing artists, harassing and threatening those who display their works (Internet sites, art galleries, etc.), in order to impose their own restrictive interpretation of law, based on moral fears. All this under the fraudulent pretext of “child protection”, as in fact their zealotry protects no one from any real harm or danger.

Couvrez ce sein que je ne saurais voir.
Par de pareils objets, les âmes sont blessées,
Et cela fait venir de coupables pensées.
Molière, Le Tartuffe ou l’Imposteur, acte III, scène II, vers 860–862

How do they see “sex” and “abuse” in innocent nudity? One can suppose that they have some sexual feelings while viewing such images, and that they become afraid of them. Bigots are frightened by their own desires, and repress everyone in order to cleanse themselves from sin. Recently, during a debate on freedom of speech, a Turkish academic explained that the danger to freedom comes when people become afraid of themselves; because then they will call into power “strong men” like Putin, Erdogan or Orban, in order to “protect them” … from themselves.

Removal of photographs of works by Duchamp, Michelangelo and Caravaggio from an exhibition - from Newcastle Herald (1984)

Removal of photographs of works by Duchamp, Michelangelo and Caravaggio from an exhibition – from Newcastle Herald (1984)

Continuing their momentum, the zealots of Internet purity could demand the eradication of any classic artwork showing juvenile genitals or buttocks. A prime candidate for this withchhunt is Caravaggio, whose Amor Vincit Omnia represents a perfect prototype of “child pornography”. It seems indeed that he already suffered such censorship in Australia. Then why not ban the Original Coppertone ad, this compound of bestiality and child sexual assault!

I will now present shocking images showing revolting things happening to children. But they are not sexual, so neither the images nor the things depicted will incur the censorious indignation of FSM.

First a child infected by the malaria parasite, whose spleen has been hugely inflated because of it. After WW2, it was found that the cheap and long-lasting insecticide DDT was very efficient against the mosquito that carries that parasite. So by spraying indor house walls with DDT, this disease was eradicated in North America, Europe and the USSR, and contained in other continents. But as farmers in Europe and North America had polluted environment by repeatedly spraying massive quantities of DDT in their fields, in the early 1970’s the USA moved to impose a total ban on DDT, not only for agricultural use, but also for indoor house spraying. At the same time, poor countries could not afford the best anti-malaria medication, artemisin. As a result, the epidemic rose in Africa and Asia, killing up to a million people every year.

Child with inflated spleen due to malaria - from J. Gordon Edwards (2004)

Child with inflated spleen due to malaria – from J. Gordon Edwards (2004)

Next, a ghostlike child suffering from a famine in Africa. Hunger and malnutrition remain the cause of the majority of childhood mortality across the world, with millions of victims. Moreover malnutrition in the first two years of life leads to permanent physical and mental impairment. While some countries are afflicted by famine, others undergo a crisis of food overproduction—from the point of view of the market, not of human needs. About this photograph, CBS News says:

Mihag Gedi Farah, a seven-month-old child with a weight of 3.4kg, is held by his mother in a field hospital of the International Rescue Committee, IRC, in the town of Dadaab, Kenya, Tuesday, July 26, 2011. The U.N. will airlift emergency rations this week to parts of drought-ravaged Somalia that militants banned it from more than two years ago, in a crisis intervention to keep hungry refugees from dying along what an official calls the “roads of death.” Tens of thousands already have trekked to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, hoping to get aid in refugee camps. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Baby victim of Somalia famine (2011) - AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

Baby victim of Somalia famine (2011) – AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

Now children killed by airstrikes of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan. About this photograph, Scientific American writes:

The lifeless bodies of Afghan children lay on the ground before their funeral ceremony, after a NATO airstrike killed several Afghan civilians, including ten children during a fierce gun battle with Taliban militants in Shultan, Shigal district, Kunar, eastern Afghanistan, Sunday, April 7, 2013. The U.S.-led coalition confirms that airstrikes were called in by international forces during the Afghan-led operation in a remote area of Kunar province near the Pakistan border. (AP Photo/Naimatullah Karyab)

Dead Afghan children after a NATO airstrike (2013) - AP Photo/Naimatullah Karyab

Dead Afghan children after a NATO airstrike (2013) – AP Photo/Naimatullah Karyab

For the sake of East-West balance, I also show a Syrian child wounded by shrapnel from a Russian bomb. Our great beacons of civilization, decency and protection of children (from sex and nudity) spend much more money for their armies than for the fight against hunger, malaria and AIDS in Asia and Africa.

3 years old victim of Russian bombing in Syria (2015) - from Daily Mail

3 years old victim of Russian bombing in Syria (2015) – from Daily Mail

I have absolutely no complacency towards Islamists, so I also show one of their child victims:

Pakistani child injured by a Taliban suicide blast (2016)  - from Daily Mail

Pakistani child injured by a Taliban suicide blast (2016) – from Daily Mail

When poor people from Africa and Asia finally decide to flee hunger, poverty or war, they find the borders of fortress Europe closed, with walls and barbed wires to keep them out. Attempting to come through the Mediterranean, thousands meet their death there:

Child refugee washed up ashore in Turkey (2016) - AFP

Child refugee washed up ashore in Turkey (2016) – AFP

Child abuse? Don’t forget to send your protest against censorship of art to hotline@fsm.de (with a copy to office@fsm.de), referring in it to “unique report number 54892”.

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10 thoughts on “Censorship of Nude Art

  1. Boycott products, services, travel to all sex-offender registry countries.

    Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Maldives, Malta, Pitcairn Isls, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, UK, US
    and Russia for vigilante attacks. Poland and Indonesia should also be added for their increasingly Draconian policies.

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    • There are probably many more countries to add to your list. I have given up the idea of boycotting countries whose regimes do bad things, because I should then go to another planet.

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  2. Great post, well-reasoned and documented. Maybe the only effective way to combat political vigilantism is to fight fire with fire, reporting some horrible danger in sites that promote the mass hysteria over child pornography and child sex abuse. Be dramatic, emotional, and arrogant just like the vigilantes.

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    • Yes, in my youth I read a text by Mao where he said something like “only a fool practices defensive defense” (and it is the only thing I remembered from that text). All to often one sees whining protests that do not deter the adversary and fake actions that achieve nothing. Fighting an enemy, one has to be ruthless and uncompromising; and one must tell the truth about inconsistent and weak fighters, even if it is unpleasant.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Christian,
    I agree with everything you say, Censorship is abhorrent and should be opposed at every step, particularly in performance art where so called post-modernists are responsible for this so called identity politics in fact feminists have now become the moral Victorian protectors and there is nothing progressive about them at all. The no platform position in most British Universities has reached ridiculous levels and are banning anything that they perceive will upset peoples sensibilities, thank you for a very enlightening post in this era of reactionary bigotry it is to be welcomed at every level. Laurence

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    • Laurence, words like “feminist” or “left-wing” can now mean almost anything, so I always use them in quotes. We have seen US “radical feminists” collaborating with right-wingers around the Meese Commission (set up by the Reagan government) in order to try to ban porn on purely ideological grounds, then campaigning to denounce male heterosexuality at the same time as Reagan attacked abortion and contraception rights. Now we see “feminists” both in Europe and North America joining with right-wingers in order to attack sex work under the pretext of “fighting sex traffic”; some went as far as hailing the action of G.W. Bush. And “victim feminists” try to explain that women are too weak to defend themselves and need a gender-neutral paternalistic strong State (with powerful police and jails) to protect them and take care of their interests (and they dare to call that “fight against patriarchy”).
      As said the renegade psychologist Tana Dineen in 1997: “At the turn of the century, women were said to be hysterical; now we suffer from stress and trauma. We had to be protected then; we have to be protected now […] I see the return of patriarchy: ‘Women are children’. […] But let’s not assume that the new patriarchy can’t wear skirts. I call it patriarchy in drag.”

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      • Excellent Response Christian, I so like your thoughtful comments which I agree with totally .we are on the same plane and I am glad of that. It was very perceptive of you to make the connection between right wing fundamentalists and Feminists who without knowing embrace this reactionary philosophy well done. Laurence

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  4. >”How do they see “sex” and “abuse” in innocent nudity?”

    There are a lot of possibilities to explain this tendency to see filth in the most innocent material.

    I’ve recently become interested in the idea that this may be something that happens when a culture refuses to acknowledge the possibility of child sexuality. It leaves a conceptual gap which can only be filled with two options – ‘adult sexuality’ or ‘absolute innocence’.

    A tribesman who has had no contact with western culture or technology on seeing an aeroplane for the first time will seek to understand and interpret it according to those concepts and definitions he already possesses – and so he will probably understand it as a strange bird, or as a deity.

    A westerner who believes children have no sexuality has two options when confronted with behaviour, or images, of children which has some kind of sensual or sexual undertone – he can interpret them as ‘innocent’ (‘she’s just copying what she’s seen on the television’) or as a manifestation of adult sexuality (i.e. pornography).

    Child sexuality is neither ‘innocent’ nor ‘adult’ – like everything in children’s behaviour and feelings it is something playful, capricious, confused, ambiguous, amorphous, fast-changing. A boy who kicks a football is not a ‘footballer’ as in, say, Ronaldo – but nor is he ‘not a footballer’ – he occupies a third state. The person who is offended by imagery such as that which you refer to in the article are uneasy because they have not got a concept of this third state of sexuality and they can not therefore make sense of what they are seeing.

    Those images of children suffering are rightly shocking and disturbing. However I think it is right that we should see such images. But we must see them with the right eyes, with the right frame of mind.

    A lot of the worst and most virulent paedophobes on twitter and other places seem to be fans of ‘gore’ images, and have no compunction enjoying images of people undergoing or having undergone great suffering and distress, and even laughing over them (somehow these kind of images end up classified under ‘humour’ on some sites).

    I don’t want to insult any gore fans who may be reading this but I find the idea that people can enjoy or find amusing these kinds of images much much more disturbing than the idea that someone could enjoy images of children enjoying or displaying their sexuality. It’s no coincidence that these viewers of gore images are those who express themselves most violently and with the least thought and humanity.

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    • Thank you.
      Note that the girls in the two censored Pigtails in Paint posts are not little girls, like a 5 years old who plays with Mum’s sexy clothes and lipstick, but young teenagers or pre-teens; at that age they have a good understanding of the adult world, including sexuality. Also the bigots want to ban nudity for all minors under 18. For example in the Australian article linked to, it is said about Michelangelo’s David: “A spokesperson for the city council said that, as the artwork “David” depicted in the nude the figure of the biblical David at the time he slayed Goliath, when he was 15 years old, it was evidently breaching the law regarding child pornography.” It is clear to me that a 15 years old adolescent has a fully adult sexuality.
      The most extreme paedo-haters, like Stinson Hunter and the neo-Nazis, are indeed often sadistic psychopaths. But my demonstration was not aimed at them, but at those who get fooled by the respectable bourgeois charities and NGOs that claim to “protect children”. Every sensible person should understand that the most horrible things happening to children are not nudity and sex. I could also have talked about the ravages of poverty in Europe itself; bourgeois moral entrepreneurs don’t care about poverty.

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