Saturday, 31 January 2009

Circling The Drain: The Fall Of The Human Race

This has been on my mind for quite a while, and I’ve finally got round to formulating an opinion on it. Unless something changes in our collective thinking, unless something drastic occurs to really make us do something, I strongly believe that the human race is finished.

A drastic statement indeed, and one that needs to be explained. Clearly.

I’m not sure when it began exactly, though I think it was sometime in the 1980s. It was caused by a perfect storm; a unity of the two things that had long since proved themselves to be two of the most destructive things our species has ever encountered: Technology and greed. Technology has long since been our most beloved and destructive toy, but in the 1980s it reached a point where it ceased to be a beneficial accessory in our lives - things used to make work easier, things used to entertain us for a passing period – to becoming the thing we lived for. We finished work and marched diligently home to watch television or mind numbing movies. We hurriedly prostrated ourselves before glowing green computer screens. We ceased interacting with other humans and began to block them out by putting miniature speakers in our ears. We tossed out the entertainment and information to be gleaned from books that took time to read and started feeding our imaginations with other peoples pictures, our knowledge with other peoples words and opinions.

And our greed fuelled this insatiable drive for more. Our drive for more entertainment, more disposable garbage, more exotic foods, more pictures of other peoples lives to distract us from our own. We wanted more, more, more. And companies, corporations and conglomerates were more than happy to oblige us. With the advent of true twenty four hour television came the advent of true twenty four hour advertising. Shopping channels and infomercials ran round the clock, offering us every kind of unnecessary disposable product imaginable. We had encountered advertising in the decades prior, but now the medium had begun to hone its methods. And it had the perfect crowd to work on: The baby boomers.

The generation that grew up in families that had very little money or comforts. The generation that grew up in the bleak, dark penniless years that followed World War 2. They were the generation that were given chequing accounts and limitless lines of credit. They were the generation that had grown up with and were used to absorbing the advertising messages. They were the generation that had lived with the new medium of television, and invented computing. They were the generation that, in their maturity, wanted the lavish, constant excess that they never had in their youth. They wanted ease, convenience, accessibility, the opposite of what their formative years had been furnished by. They didn’t want to have to go out or to put in effort for entertainment, they wanted it wherever they were, whenever they were. They didn’t want to wait for a letter, or wait for you to get home to communicate with you, they wanted you on a mobile phone or a fax right now. If they didn’t have it, they wanted it. If you had it, they’d get one better than yours. ‘Gimme that it’s mine! Gimme that it’s mine! GIMME THAT IT’S MINE!’

And in that perfect storm developed the cancer that is eating away at our species today. From one moment to the next we sank deeper and deeper and deeper into social apathy. We developed mobile phones that could connect us wherever we were on the planet, replaced brief chats were with texting, face to face contact with webcams and video calling. Bluetooth activated our ovens before we got home so we wouldn’t need to do it ourselves. We exercised on electronic mattresses in our living rooms so we wouldn’t need to bother going for a run outdoors. Soon our all phones will make pancakes, play movies and scratch our balls for us so we won’t need to bother exerting any effort to do anything. Email replaced letters. Instant messaging replaced quick emails. IM and text speak replaced standard language. Quicker and quicker, shorter and shorter, faster and faster. ‘Send it in a minute, send it in a second, send it now, why haven’t you sent it already?’

And as things got faster and faster the effort needed to produce them grew less and less. The cognitive thinking, the mental gymnastics needed to read or write or think or engage with something, anything, anybody at any kind of length reduce itself by degrees, over and over, shorter and shorter until it became practically non-existent.

And it is here we find ourselves. We live our lives through the lives of others. Our dramas, our existences, our gossips, we subjugate them and instead take more interest in those that occur in the lives of celebrities and public figures. We don’t have to really analyse our own personalities, eccentricities and flaws, we can instead pick on and gossip about those that we see in the flavour of the month conveyor belt that is paraded before us on the endless loop by the “news” and entertainment industry.

Our ability – as a society – to analyse and interpret, to think cognitively, to engage with causes and purposes and thoughts larger than ourselves, has been worn down, reduced, and crushed. Our need to protest, to express ourselves, to form a discourse with our Government, our media and our employers seems to have vanished. We’re not interested in the rest of the species unless we are told to. Unless the 24 hour news channels, or the papers, or the three minute news bites that pop up in between shows we’re not really interested in watching tell us that we’re outraged at monks and civilians being slaughtered in Burma, we don’t bother to think about it. We just consume it and move on.

For corporations and governments, it’s great. They don’t want the majority of their population and workforce to be able to think critically, to engage and analyse why and how they’re being screwed over by them and their minions. We express indignation in the form of comments on news articles that tell us how our Members of Parliament are working to keep us from knowing how much we pay them. We snort and bitch and complain about being forced to bail out banks that took our money, sold it back to us at an inflated cost and have now taken more and are rewarding their own failure with it. Do we actually do anything? Do we protest like we used to? Do we march, do we strike, do we flood phone lines and switchboards like we did when we were told we were outraged because someone said ‘fuck’ on the radio? No. Most don’t care, those that do don’t know how to organise a fluid means of protest in the face of the media endorsed apathy.

Schools refuse to tell pupils that they’re stupid or intelligent, so everyone feels happily average, and they go on to enter their adult life thinking that way. As I.Q points dip slightly lower, the next generation of obedient workers are just smart enough to use the machines that they need to use to work, but not so smart that they’d ever realise how badly they’re being screwed over by their employers. And they’re certainly not left dumb enough so they couldn’t turn on their TV, log into their email, or switch on their phone in order to buy this, download that or subscribe to this. They, like us, will be willing and ready to spend money they don’t have on shit they don’t need. Money we don’t have on shit we don’t need.

And here we are then, left in a little corner of freedom in an internet being crushed under the weight of corporate interest. We’ve squandered our gift. We evolved the most magnificent organism in the history of any species: the human brain. A mind, a consciousness, an organ that allows us to think rationally and critically, that allows us to interact with each other with language and literature and art and intelligence. It allows us to look at the world, to see things wrong with it and ask why it is the way it is and what we can do to make it better. We look at the stars and wonder about what is out there and how we got here. We have a long history of public figures that were famous for invention, for talent, for creating beauty and making us think.

And we’ve been bought off. Nowadays, some of our heroes have talent. Most however, have only moderate amount, and are more famous for being famous, famous for being thin or a well dressed or an emotional train wreck. We are told we want to look like them, live like them and act like them. And so many of us go along with it.

I hope we can buck the trend. I hope more people will realise what it is they’re missing. That real beautiful conversation can be based on more than celebrities or sport. That beautiful art can be complicated and difficult, rather than instantly accessible and a constant feel good trip. That we are not servants to the politicians or corporations or media titans that we think rule us. They depend on us for their existence. Not the other way around. I hope more of us will realise that we are not the servants that so many of us have been conditioned into thinking we are.

But as it stands right now, we’re circling the drain. We started many years ago, but just like water going down the plughole, the circles keep getting smaller and smaller, shorter and shorter, quicker and quicker until…

We’re gone.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Wrestler: The Reality Of The Fiction

As a self professed wrestling fan, I was very eager to see The Wrestler. I thought the film was quite magnificent, and was quite bowled over by Mickey Rourke’s performance as Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson. One of the things that stood out to me from the film though, was the reality that Darren Aronofsky produced when it came to referencing the truth behind the professional wrestling business.

There were several moments in the film that I had seen previously in wrestling rings, documentaries and films that I wanted to highlight. I feel that knowing about these truthful situations gives an extra dimension to the film, and to the viewer’s appreciation of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson and what he’s going through (it also leads a further wow factor to Mickey Rourke’s performance, as it is amazing to see how truthfully he captured the real lives of the men that have become his character).

1: The Daughter

Taken from the excellent documentary Beyond The Mat. Randy’s whole relationship with his daughter is a direct take off Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts’ ongoing trials and tribulations with his daughter. The true sadness of this clip (and Randy’s journey with this in the film) is that it is not fiction, it is real.

Points of particular: 1:42 – 2:35 / 3:17 – 4:13 / 5:00 – 6:00

2: The Injured Horse That Won’t Quit

The denouement of The Wrestler is of course, Randy’s rematch with old rival The Ayatohlla (a feud that seems cribbed from the Hulk Hogan/Iron Sheik rivalry in early 1984). Randy chooses to wrestle the match, despite the knowledge that a doing so might kill him. In 2003 Kurt Angle wrestled in the main event of Wrestlemania (against the current UFC champion Brock Lesnar), despite having a broken neck that desperately required surgery. One bad bump could have paralyzed or even killed him, yet he still went out and worked anyway. The excerpt is from the 2004 documentary ‘The Mania Of Wrestlemania’.

Points of interest: 0:00 – 0:38 / 1:10 – 1:45 / 2:40 – 3:00 / 6:35 – 7:47

3: The One Trick Pony Out Of His Depth

The scene where The Ram has to face off against Necro Butcher in a hardcore bout is particularly interesting. It is a very clear example of how the business has changed since the hey day of The Ram in the ‘80s, where wrestling was punching and kicking and bodyslamming. No longer. We now see tables, ladders, chairs, barbed wire, glass, fire and all manner of other things (who could ever forget the staple gun) being used to take the craft to new extremes. The above clip is a collection of highlights from a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match held in 2006 between Edge and Ric Flair. Flair, much like The Ram, was a wrestler from the ‘80s, who had never, ever been in any kind of match like this, but went out there and tried his best to keep up, despite the punishment his 56 year old body had to go through to keep up. The video is a collection of highlights from the match. Just imagine your father going doing that to get some idea of what the Old Dog might be going through. (And ignore the crappy music on the video).

4: Doing It For The Fans

The speech that Randy gives prior to his final match with The Ayatollah is a combination of a lot of teary eyed speeches given by wrestlers to the fans in the past, but I am pretty sure that this speech, given by Ric Flair after Raw went off the air in 2003 was probably the main body of the source material. It encapsulates why so many of these wrestlers cannot quit, why they can’t give it up and why even in the face of injury (or in The Ram’s case) death, they still go out to perform.

Point of interest: 7:00 – 9:05

These are just a few examples of the real life scenarios that went into making The Wrestler such a believable film. Props should go to Aronofsky for his research, to Rourke for his amazing performance, and to the wrestlers themselves who live these lives for the entertainment of others.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Bye, Bye Bush: A Legacy Of Incompetence And Arrogance: The Middle Finger On The International Stage

Bye, Bye Bush: A Legacy Of Incompetence And Arrogance
The Middle Finger On The International Stage

In trying to reflect on a man, an administration and a political movement that has so crippled America and the West in the eyes of the world for almost a decade, I found it a little difficult to figure out where to begin. The last eight years that we in the free world have had to endure with George W. Bush as our ‘leader’ has been a long litany of screw ups, and to try and figure out where to begin in reflecting on this legacy of incompetence is difficult. So I figured I’d start at the point most immediate to me, as a British citizen, how Bush’s America has fitted into the world of the 21st century that the rest of us co-habit.

What the Bush Administration bought to the world was a foreign policy of absolutes. Rather than understanding – or even attempting to understand – any geopolitical situation for what it was, the higher ups in the Cartel of Incompetence had only one view; every situation, conflict or political deal boiled down to ‘Good vs Bad/Right vs Wrong’. There was no nuance, no carefully figured out shades of grey, merely black and white. America – and her allies – was right, always, by default, and any who opposed/disagreed/refused to comply with her was wrong. Totally. They were portrayed in the national media as cowards, traitors, elitists, uncaring snobs, uneducated terrorist loving socialists or grave threats.

And how did Bush seek to deal with those that refused to toe the line with his Government? Well, there are two examples, you have the way that they dealt with France, those boneheads who refused to along with the brilliantly planned and genius invasion of Iraq, where the media and the political system drip fed insults, encouragement to xenophobia or direct, open lies and hatred abut a country that stuck to its principles and backed the law. Who can forget ‘freedom frees’ – McDonalds’ cheap gimmick of refusing to use the name ‘French’ in its products – or talk show host Bill O’Reilly talking about how – on his encouragement – the fact that several (stupid) American businesses refusing to trade with France had crippled their economy and cost them billions of dollars. When ideological opposition presented itself on a national scale, the Bush policy was clear; they’re too big to invade, so we’ll just destroy their image.

Of course, that option is immensely preferable to the approach they took toward a smaller country that had less clout on the international stage, like say, Venezuala. They started with calling the democratically elected President Hugo Chavez a socialist, communist and sponsor of terrorists, but when he refused to do business with the Red, White & blue Empire, when he refused to ship his vast reserves of oil at cheap price, when he refused to let American industry buy his country and his people, the Bush CIA simply helped stage a military coup within the country, and had him overthrown, plunging the majority of the population, who prior to Chavez had never, ever been able to call any politician someone who stood up for the, into turmoil, for they were well aware that things would go back to the old ways, where the rich got rich and the poor stayed in the barrios (slums). It was only after a massive display of people power, when they marched on Caracas and Miraflorez Palace and demanded the return of their leader, that things were reversed.

This is the shadier side of the Bush Administration, that viewed things only in terms of right and wrong, coming into play. This was the way they handled the middle east (to be covered in a later article) and how they would have built the case for war with Iran had they the time.

It is in this manner that the Administration has dealt with the rest of the world throughout its time in power; you’re either with us, or against us. There has been no political give and take, no deals, no middle ground, nothing, only the ultimatum; stand by America’s might, or in front of it. It was this bone headed, dim witted diplomatic direction that Bush and Cheney took their nation, lecturing the planet on the needs to stand up for what was right in one moment, and then illegally invading countries, using nations like my own as pet poodles, or sullying the name of others the next. While Tony Blair stood by George W Bush, gently made Britain grip it’s ankles tightly and wait for the big red, white and blue shaft of ‘freedom’ be embraced by its people, he allowed our prostrate nation to march happily into an illegal and wholly unsupported war, he allowed our airspace, planes and airports to be stop off points for Bush’s extraordinary rendition kidnap victims, he decided to play soft on Bush’s continual middle finger that waved in the face of combating climate change and he decided to follow his old Christian pal’s example and began stripping away the civil rights of the people of a country whose established democracy is older than America itself by half a century.

But Tony Blair got his medal at Bush’s dog show for Best Poodle, and George W. Bush and his legion of dolts are able to con themselves – and probably no one else – that they stood up for the side of ‘good’, whatever that means in their heads, and refused to compromise America’s integrity, telling the planet what it was going to do and when it was going to do it. Those Governments, like my own, that went along with this misguided, deluded concept of diplomacy should rightly hang their head in shame, those that stood against them, that stood for true goodness and what was right and the population of billions that resented every second that they had to tolerate the hypocrites and criminals within Bush’s regime, can breathe a sigh of relief. We’ve reached the end of that long night, the new dawn is almost here.

Bye, Bye Bush: A Legacy Of Incompetence And Arrogance: The Exploitation Of The Religious

One thing that the Bush Administration has been so very, very good at is using and exploiting people for their own ends. They have been shameless about it, playing the unity card one minute, and then hurling their one time friends under the bus the next. No political figure, party or group has been more politicized and exploited by the Bush Regime than the religious, namely the Christian right. Where they saw a fellow born again man of God, Bush and his team saw idiots who could win them elections, toe the line and fight the opposition on any issue. They saw pawns that only had to be rewarded with more neo-conservative policies and practices already favoured by the Bush Drones.

The exploitation of the religious right by the George Bush and his handlers has been an on going experiment. It was they that helped win him the Governorship of Texas back in the ‘90s. Most of them couldn’t have cared less about his conservative policies, the fact that he was an ex-alcoholic now born again warrior for Christ was enough for them. The fact that he was in favour of rewarding rich white people – people he called friends – while also being a Biblical literalist who thought that the death penalty was important to utilise and that evolution and global warming were ‘theories’ just sat perfectly with the lambs of God, the flock of sheep, that swallowed his drivel hook line and sinker.

His first (illegal) election was not, largely, due to the Christian voting, but following 9/11, his drawing of the line in the sand of history, proclaiming that the threat the nation faced was nothing more than a case of good vs evil, repeatedly using phrases like ‘crusade’, and underscoring that the America that believed in freedom, Christ and faith was under threat bought the once fringe idiots of the extreme right of evangelicalism to the forefront of their communities, with the tone that they had been preaching for years now being echoed by the most powerful man in the world.

Next came the ‘faith based intiatives’, the abstinence only sex education programs, the repeated attempts to have creationism taught in science classes and the horror of boys kissing boys. As Bush’s support grew in the wake of 9/11, he and his acolytes began to roll out a litany of strict, conservative policies, that found support in one of the most vocal, overzealous and combative areas of the country; the Christian right. It was this kind of forward thinking from Bush’s election guru Karl Rove that allowed them to roll perfectly into the 2004 elections. Despite the catastrophic failure that the Iraq War had turned into – even at that point – Rove’s concept of pushing ‘traditional American values’ into a battle with ‘elitist, liberal, progressive reformers’ that wanted to do away with everything that America was built on, and pushing gay marriage as a hard issue to battle on, worked perfectly. Bush was re-elected, and then the shit really hit the fan.

The horror of the bungling of Katrina, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the scandals involving Scooter Libby, Mark Foley and Ted Haggard, the continual misery coming out of Iraq, none of these things could dent the unwavering support that Bush and company maintained from the religious right. The faithful flock of sheep fought Democrats on every issue they could, whether it benefited the country or not. Torture was a good thing, illegal, warrantless wiretapping was a necessity. George Bush was a good, Christian man who would stand up for God. True to the nature of the extremely religious, they never looked below the surface.

The promises of an outlaw on gay marriage never happened, the idea that prayer would be re-established in schools never materialised. It came to light – and this shows how truly cynical and exploitative Bush’s lackeys were – that Karl Rove, the architect of the Bush Presidency, was an atheist. He didn’t believe in any of these causes, but he knew that playing to this audience of over a hundred million would keep him, his friends and his boss in power.

And what is America left with? What has been the knock on effect around the world? A resurgence of extreme right wing religious values in Christian nations. In this country we have seen theatre shows cancelled and the rise of faith schools, spearheaded by our ex Prime Minister, the formerly Christian, now Catholic Anthony Blair. In America the resurgence of religious right has been far more alarming, with widespread intolerance for alternate lifestyles, religions and viewpoints rising with almost militant ferocity in many red states. We see things like Proposition 8 passing in California, the outright outlawing of same sex marriage in states like Florida, repeated attempts to change school boards and curriculum’s, and even attempts to repeal/challenge Roe vs Wade, the lawsuit that legalized a woman’s right to have an abortion in America.

Bush and his cronies have exploited the religious, feeding their fervour, their paranoia and their conviction that they are the only ones who are right. It has coloured American thinking, American policy and American interests abroad. It has, in effect, opened up a Pandora’s box, that will not be quietly closed. Those that were once the fringes of nutty religious society are now the mainstream, with tens of thousands of followers. They attack, relentlessly, until they get their way. They have been led to believe, by Bush and his attack dogs, that they are in a war for their own survival and the survival of the America they love, and they are too gullible, too eager to swallow the misinformation, double speak and lies of the President that they adore, to look at the obvious facts, and the truth and realise that they have been exploited for nothing more than an easy vote.

American culture has been thrown to the wolves, left to fight for its survival in the face of resurgent religious extremists who want a theocracy established in their lifetime. Those that believe in freedom, liberty and equality have been left to fight this battle, all because encouraging these psychopaths, this American Taliban, was an easy way to get public support and faithful votes. Once again, America’s future was up for sale, it was the needs of little George and his minders that came first.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Don’t Kill Me, I’m You

Here’s something I was thinking about while reflecting on this dreadful Israel/Palestine ‘conflict’ (or, as I prefer to call it: ‘The suffering of mostly unarmed civilians who are being held hostage by a very small cartel of heavily armed religious psychopaths that hold influence in their democratically elected Government being assaulted by a heavily armed military nation whose Government is influenced by a similarly small cartel of religious psychopaths that have no problem murdering said hostages because they believe in a the correct version of the divine sky pixie and think they have undying support from the international community because of the attempted genocide of their people that occurred 60 years ago allowing them to break ceasefires at will, act unilaterally across the region declaring wars on whoever they feel like and in a both funny and saddening way starting to become and act like those same monsters that tried to exterminate them from the face of the planet all those years ago’), that led me to reflect in a wider way on the futility of human conceit:

Regardless of what faith you believe in, whether we came from a big bang or a supernatural finger poke into dirt, we are all made of atoms. We, the entire species, the entire planet, every object in existence, are all formed from the same building blocks. In that sense, the fear of death, the fear of the unknown, the fear of other creeds, beliefs, races or beings out there is stupid, because it’s just part of me out there. My atoms are not unique. Before me they were dirt, water, air, rabbits, gazelle, puppies, coke cans. As I exist I consume food, alcohol, oxygen, medicine while I expel faeces, urine, skin cells, hair cells. Atoms leave and atoms re-enter. We are all made from the exact same stuff. I am a part of you, just as much as you are a part of me. We are all part of nature.

So the idea that you need to be comforted with the idea of an afterlife, or you need to be comforted that yours is the superior race, or that you have to be comforted that you have a right to this land, is ludicrous, because all that awaits you after death, all that awaits you in a different race, all that awaits you on that part of land, is you. The same building blocks across the universe. You are intrinsically tied to it. Doesn’t that make the killing of other people – for any reason - or the destruction of the environment, or malevolence towards animals, seem kind of stupid?

In killing each other, all we are doing is killing ourselves.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Sexual Freedom

There is an extremely unpleasant movement rolling through our fair isle. It appears to move in the shape of something altogether good and wholesome, something which aims to protect people from an unscrupulous and morally degenerative few. But looks beneath the surface, and you will see that it is not that, it is, in fact, something quite the opposite.

I am talking of a new law that the Government is intending to pass, one pushed by a grieving mother who’s daughter was murdered, that will decriminalize the possession of ‘violent or extreme pornography’. Possession of images deemed to be ‘sexually violent’ will incur up to three years in prison. The law was pushed by Liz Longhurst, whose daughter, Jane, was murdered by a man who claimed to be addicted to violent pornography.

One’s heart, of course, goes out to anyone that loses a loved one under such horrific circumstances, but one’s head has to triumph over one’s heart in such an instance, when the consensual, adult, private lives of at least hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in this country are under threat by a vaguely worded and emotionally driven law.

To understand my outrage at the potential passing of this law, one must understand what is meant by ‘violent’ or ‘extreme’ pornography. We against it, we who may find ourselves accused of criminal behaviour should the law come to pass, willingly accept that things such as necrophilia or bestiality are aspects of the sexual makeup that should remain illegal; for simple reason, they are non-consensual (and yes, I don’t care if a horsey has a hardon, that doesn’t mean the horse is in anyway consenting to being bothered by one of us (to say a physical stimulation is an indicator of consent is to justify rape should the victim’s nipples be erect)).

However, beyond this initial boundary, I’m afraid it has to be said to this grieving woman, Liz Longhurst, that neither she, nor the Government that rules the land in which I live, has any business deeming any act between consenting adults to be illegal. If I choose to consume material that depicts something as mundane as simple BDSM, or something as heavy as simulated rape, provided that material is produced by two consenting adults, who have decided to enact these scenarios under their own free will and share the images with others, neither I or anyone else has done anything wrong. If I acquire images of genuine rape, then I understand the problem. But should I consume images of simulated rape, or consensual violence (again, something like simple S&M play could fall into this category), that has taken place between people who chose to do so, how can I be called wrong?

You see, what this law is moving to do, is to criminalize human emotion, human desire, and – most alarmingly – human thought. The Government, or anyone else, has no place trying to regulate what goes on inside the privacy of my bedroom. I’m sorry, you have no business there.

The disturbingly vague language of this law also leave it open to a horrific level of manipulation. Just wait for some overzealous moral crusader to start calling sodomy a violent sexual act. Just wait for those that enjoy dictating how others should live their lives to begin dictating that all pornography is, in its essence, unnecessary and untoward.

Initially, I was willing to give the woman who pushed this law, Liz Longhurst, a decree of leniency, given the trauma she has been through. But then I came across this disturbing quote:

‘Sometimes the freedoms of like-minded, decent people have to be curtailed because of a few others.’

I am sorry, Mrs Longhurst, but the words you spoke here are anathema to any free society. Let me ask you this, had the man that murdered your daughter been a heavy drinker, would you have sought to criminalize everyone that ever chose to get drunk? If the man had stabbed your daughter to death, would you have sought to criminalize anyone who ever chose to purchase a hunting knife? No one’s freedoms, NO ONE’S, should ever be put up for a vote, or ever put up to a committee to choose if they may exercise them. For such a thing to happen means that I no longer enjoy ‘freedoms’ I enjoy ‘privileges’. What you are saying, Mrs Longhurst, is that I am not free to choose the sexual stimulation that arouses me, rather, that I am permitted, for the time being, to do so.

Just as the Government has no place inside my bedroom, neither does anyone else. You are entitled to your opinion, just as it is your opinion that your daughter would still be alive if the man that murdered her had not been ‘addicted’ to violent pornography. But that is an opinion, Mrs Longhurst, not a fact. And even if it were, then should you not be seeking to deal with the obvious mental illness of this man, rather than potentially criminalizing the thousands, probable millions of us across the country that choose to indulge in pornography that revolves around power exchange, pain or violence?

Someone took away the right that Mrs Longhurst’s daughter had to life. In turn, Mrs Longhurst has pushed this Government to take away the right of others to enjoy consensual sexual lifestyles. Benjamin Franklin said,

‘Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lost both.’

To think that making any kind of violent pornography illegal would help in combat the very serious issue of sex crime is ridiculous. Those that are a genuine danger will merely disappear deeper into the psychosis of their own minds, while those of us that know where to draw the line between fantasy and reality, those of us that understand what is real and what is not, those of us that choose to indulge in such pursuits have to face up to the risk of being called criminals. The freedom of few should never be put at risk to ease the minds of the blinded many.