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Australia's Bizarre Classification System For Internet Censorship

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the in-loco-loco-loco-parentis dept.

Censorship 208

stavros-59 writes "Australia's internet censorship watchdog, ACMA, uses an internet classification system originally intended for children's PC filters. ACMA has now made what must be the most amazing recent decisions of the whole bizarre censorship debate. The Register today has a story about ACMA's decision to force Apple to withdraw their ITMS gift feature from Australia on the basis that MA+ (over 15 and maybe sex) rated movies could not be given to children using the gift cards. The films are also banned on the internet but not at local video/DVD stores as detailed in this Whirlpool Forum post. At the same time, the photographic work of Robert Mapplethorpe (not for the fainthearted) has been classified as PG (Parental Guidance) by the Classification Board — which is not part of ACMA, but an agency under the Attorney General's Department."

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208 comments

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great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426457)

Great, so now we have goatse links in the fucking articles themselves.

Re:great (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426481)

A NSFW tag would have been appreciated

Re:great (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426629)

Don't be a dumbass. First, this is the Internet and there are unpleasant things here. Second, if your temperament or employer can't handle you looking at grownup stuff, then don't fucking click links labeled "not for the fainthearted". Take a little responsibility for yourself and quit blaming others when your common sense fails you.

Re:great (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427319)

First, this is the Internet and there are unpleasant things here.

Granted, but you don't expect to see goatse-like images linked directly from an article on Slashdot. You wouldn't expect to turn on 60 Minutes and see hard-core pornography, would you?

Second, if your temperament or employer can't handle you looking at grownup stuff, then don't fucking click links labeled "not for the fainthearted".

Generally speaking the employer doesn't care what you look at; they are more concerned about another prude employee seeing you look at it and filing some kind of harassment suit against them. Given all the bullshit lawsuits that go on in this country, I can't say I blame them. Also, "not for the fainthearted" is not a strong enough disclaimer; it doesn't do a good enough job describing what the imagery is. "NSFW" is tried and true.

Re:great (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427385)

Granted, but you don't expect to see goatse-like images linked directly from an article on Slashdot.

That's exactly what I expect to find linked directly from an article on Slashdot. Why do you think no one reads the articles?

Seriously, though, the subject at hand is the censorship of Robert Mapplethorpe. Were you expecting pink unicorns and daffodils? Well, the pink unicorns perhaps, but only in the context of gay S&M.

Re:great (3, Insightful)

Obyron (615547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426675)

The link was marked as not for the faint hearted. Would you have still complained if the image had been violent, or perhaps a tasteful photo of naked breasts? What exactly did you expect to see that's not for the faint-hearted, but is simultaneously sterile and inoffensive enough for the workplace? Perhaps your complaint has more to do with you personally disagreeing with the content of the work.

Re:great (4, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426817)

Most workplaces would have no problem with a news article about a gruesome murder or mass killings in some foreign country. Most workplaces would have a problem with a tasteful photo of naked breasts.

Regardless of whether you think that sort of standard is silly, it's the way things are. Violence is okay. Sex is not.

Re:great (2, Insightful)

SpockLogic (1256972) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427983)

. Violence is okay. Sex is not.

You must be american.

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426863)

The summary is so poorly written, it is completely unclear what the relation between the MA+ rating and said photographs is. "Not for the fainthearted" sounded like sarcasm to me. From the description of the MA+ rating, I figured it meant something like omgboobies. This is no problem in my workplace.

Goatse however, is a problem. I don't expect /b/ images in slashdot articles.

Re:great (2, Insightful)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427347)

I defined/interpreted faint hearted as NSFW and didn't click the link. Common sense failed you otherwise. Thanks for letting me know it was goatse. Now I'll definitively, send the article to my Australian friends in the office. However, it will likely be filtered.

Re:great (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426711)

You are allowed to read Slashdot at work?

Re:great (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426901)

A NSFW tag would have been appreciated

Not safe for work? On the top of the page it says: "FOR CLASSROOM USE ONLY". Are you a teacher?

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427079)

yay... even more reason to never read the article.

Re:great (1)

philmack (796529) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427333)

new tag: footse

Re:great (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428225)

I didn't study the picture very hard, but it appeared to be an arm to me....

Re:great (2, Funny)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427337)

Why? If your management complains, point out that it's classified as PG (Parental Guidance) and thus must be safe for work. After all, who knows better, your boss or the Aussies?

Re:great (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426931)

Since when do people read the articles anyway ?

Internet Censorship: (2, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426485)

'Cause when they first start doing it, it makes no damn sense at all. Give 'em another twenty years or so and all the little holes will be patched up and we'll all be criminals.

Re:Internet Censorship: (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426895)

I think this is a great idea. In addition, since children and psychopaths can use money to purchase drugs, prostitutes and weapons, we should ban that too.

Re:Internet Censorship: (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427101)

Not far enough. Ban metals because they can be melted down into guns and knives, ban fire because it can be used for arson, ban soil because you can grow pot in it, ban oxygen because criminals breathe!

In 4,000 years, I can see it being an entirely plastic world, where metals are reserved for the military. Fire is only used by the government, soil is only used by tightly regulated food producers, and everybody has specially assigned air tanks: if you aren't wearing your air tank, it clearly means that you are trying to hide what you're doing.

So, give it a few generations and we'll finally be censored completely; by then it'll be illegal to even attempt to question the government. /stopsfreakingout

Re:Internet Censorship: (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427569)

Then criminals will use John Malcovich's Plastic Gun! [liveauctioneers.com]

Re:Internet Censorship: (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426919)

A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
-- John F. Kennedy


"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself."
-- Potter Stewart

wait...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426489)

"ACMA's decision to force Apple to withdraw their ITMS gift feature from Australia on the basis that MA+ (over 15 and maybe sex) rated movies could not be given to children using the gift cards."

So they want kids to get the movies?

Re:wait...what? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426549)

Yeah summary is confusing. iTunes won't let kids get R rated movies, but Aussies rate some R movies as "slightly less than R", so they feel kids should have access to them. 16 year olds, for example, should only be restricted from the reeely R and NC-17 movies, according to them.

Don't click the last link then scroll to the end (2, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426501)

Unless you want to see artsy goatse.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426545)

Seriously, what's bizarre about rating goatse-like pictures as PG?

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426721)

???

Don't know what PG means in .au, but around here it's generally accepted to mean "yeah, maybe a baby shouldn't see it, but basically kid-friendly; parents with particular sensitivities WRT what their child sees might want to keep an eye on it".

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426939)

Perhaps it means that the kids should perform such activities only under parental guidance. *ducks*

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426949)

My bad for assuming that parental guidance implied that minors shouldn't be able to access it without parental permission. Anyway, the article is written *against* censorship, so I'd expect them to be happy for Robert Mapplethorpe instead of calling it a bizarre decision.

I blame the summary :P

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427207)

You're thinking of the PG-13 rating or the R rating. PG is the second lowest rating, and movies rated such are considered harmless by most. Also not that the rating system only actually applies to movies, they are set by a secret group of "parents" in the MPAA, but the structure is so well known it often gets applied to other things, like photographs and web sites and such.

In the US the ratings are as follows: G - General audiences, PG - Parental Guidance, PG-13 - parents strongly cautioned, no admittance under age 13 without parental consent, R - Restricted, no admittance under 17 without parental consent and in the company of an adult, and NC-17 - No Children under 17, kids under 17 can't get in, parents or no.

It's rare for a movie to be rated NC-17 that isn't a porno, in which case they tend to go all out for the X-XXX ratings, as an NC-17 rating for a non-porn is generally a death sentance unless you have a following before the movie even airs.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (4, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426577)

Artsy goatse...Try saying that 5 times fast...right now...and don't worry, your cubicle neighbors won't question it.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (1)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428335)

I can hear them saying it. No wonder we're way behind on this project.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (5, Funny)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426585)

nice one. How many people are going to wonder how goatse can possibly be 'artsy', and click the link to find out, I wonder. you've doomed thousands. I'm just glad i'm at work so I can't possibly click on it, and i'll forget all about it by the time I get home.

Thanks for the warning though, this story needs an NSFW tag.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427021)

Thanks for the warning though, this story needs an NSFW tag.

Or maybe people should stop getting worked up about nothing and grow a pair. Stop feeling guilty just for looking at pictures.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427649)

What's with everybody acting as though a warning is too much to ask for? maybe I'm at work and others can see my screen? maybe i'm at home, the computer is in the lounge, and my whole family is in the same room watching tv? maybe it's just inappropriate for some people to have giant gaping anus on their screens right now?

Grow up.

Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426973)

Man, that guy looks like he's doing an anal dental exam on that chick.

Why is that the solution? (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426565)

Couldn't Apple just implement a method of checking the age of the purchaser for a given movie? Why would they have to disable the gifting feature?

Re:Why is that the solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426615)

The ACMA told Apple they could not continue the gifting feature _as is_. Apple could easily implement what you suggest, and they may. (not likely, imho, but, still possible.)

Re:Why is that the solution? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426649)

Apple does check the age, just not the way the aussie overlords want. They feel, "Damnit, Apple, 15 year olds should be able to watch V for Vendetta, so I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" So is it Apple's job to work out the rating system and age correlation for every country?

Re:Why is that the solution? (3, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426695)

So is it Apple's job to work out the rating system and age correlation for every country?

No, only the countries in which they want to do business.

Just like anything else, if you want a business presence in a country, you have to abide by that country's laws.

Re:Why is that the solution? (4, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426897)

So, my understanding is that Apple decided that it wasn't worth doing business in Australia (at least that particular form of business) and disabled the gifting feature for Itunes in Australia.

Re:Why is that the solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427445)

Why would they have to disable the fisting feature?

FTFY

"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426617)

"Not for the fainthearted" doesn't quite cover that link as a warning. "(Warning: NSFW and Similar to Goatse)" would have prevented me from clicking and my retinas from being tainted with another tasteless image.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426723)

Given Maplethorpe's body of work, those images were on the tame end of what he did.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426965)

You don't seem to understand, Robert Mapplethorpe's work is not "similar to goatse" it is "high art". I haven't quite figured out how it is more "artistic" than goatse, although, I think it is because in addition to being sick and twisted it is specifically offensive to Christians. I'm not sure on the last, since I have never viewed any of Robert Mapplethorpe's work, but that appears to be the position taken by his champions the last time there was a controversy over tax dollars being used to fund a display of his work.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427129)

'm not sure on the last, since I have never viewed any of Robert Mapplethorpe's work

Up to this point, I tended to agree with your position. But if you have never actually seen any work, you're just trolling. (Even if you happen to be right by chance)

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427151)

I haven't quite figured out how it is more "artistic" than goatse, although, I think it is because in addition to being sick and twisted it is specifically offensive to Christians. I'm not sure on the last, since I have never viewed any of Robert Mapplethorpe's work,...

You don't understand what you have never seen?
I'm shocked!

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427313)

It's "high art" because it's in black and white.

Everybody knows that if you take a photo in black and white, it's artistic, be it a man shoving a finger into his penis, going elbow deep into a woman's ass, or what have you.

Totally art.

Excuse me, I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426977)

He's only one of the most famous photographers in history. Jesus, if you haven't seen that image before, maybe it's time to move out of mom's basement and get an apartment. Or at least go visit an art museum once in a while.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (3, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427353)

He's only one of the most famous photographers in history.

He shouldn't be, I've seen a lot of amature stuff that is frankly, quite a bit better than his work.

It's a sad state of society when what amounts to a fetish porno photographer is considered a top photographer.

Why is his crap artistic? Because he shot in black and white? Seriously, there is a lot of stuff like his out there, and in color. Most people wouldn't consider it "high art". Is it the B&W that makes it art? If so, artsy people are idiots.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427613)

I'm not really interested in debating art here. Regardless of your personal feelings about it, it's a fact this his work is very well-known, and should be no cause for excitement on Slashdot.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427767)

Meh, just because it is well known doesn't mean it is any good. You're arguing against personal feelings in an industry that is 100% subjective. Shit is shit, that some people are tittilated by shit isn't really any surprise, but it doesn't mean it's worth much. People buy what they want though, so more power to him.

What is backwards is the fact that a rather benign picture of a pair of breasts will be banned, while a man shoving his fist up a woman's anus is a-ok.

Do you see the disconnect there?

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427985)

So he's the Britney Spears of Photography?

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (1)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428093)

I never said anything about "good". And, FYI, Mapelthorpe is long dead, so he doesn't give a rats ass if people buy the photographs. Oh, and that's not a woman.

Re:"Not for fainthearted" is an understatement (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427415)

I'm glad we degraded into offensive talk. I would very much doubt much correlation between living in mom's basement to not having seen this image before. I would expect a much higher correlation between heterosexual, of an age range when public funding for displaying his works was not in the media, and/or outside the art community and having not seen this image before. No art museum I've been to has displayed work such as this. Having said that my interests are in tech/science/engineering (thus being on /.) and not homosexual eroticism as wikipedia describes his work. I suspect my lack of exposure is likely due to my location being southeastern US and may also be impacted by me having (respectfully) no interest in homosexual eroticism.

ignorant politicians (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426659)

I just want to point out that human history is full of ignorant politicians trying to ban or limit new technology for whatever reason (fear of what they don't understand, protecting business interests, maintain the status quo). But technology has always won in the end.

One of my favorite examples is when the Church banned crossbows. How'd that work out for them?

My point is that we should get upset with them, but we shouldn't overreact. Their stupidity will eventually be overturned.

Re:ignorant politicians (4, Funny)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428263)

"One of my favorite examples is when the Church banned crossbows. How'd that work out for them?"

Oh, I dunno. Just how many crossbows do you possess? See! It works! ;)

Physical Media? (2, Interesting)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426685)

I don't know about Australia, but after the South Park movie, American cinemas (particularly the corp-owned multiplexes) started checking IDs for R-rated movies. Recently some retailers began following the ESRB ratings for games, but I have never seen a clerk at any store bat an eye over an R-rated (or Unrated) DVD sale to anyone regardless of age.

I always assumed it was just a "gentleman's agreement" to avoid regulation on the film/game industry, but that there was no legal mandate to follow the ratings recommendations. Does anyone know in the US if there is a legal requirement (anywhere?) and likewise in Australia are there restrictions on buying physical DVDs based on their ratings?

Re:Physical Media? (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426755)

No idea, but if I ran a store, I wouldn't sell porno to kids. However, I define kids as 12 and under. Teens are not kids, even if they're not quite adults. They can certainly handle porno, FPS games, and The Godfather.

Re:Physical Media? (1)

BradleyAndersen (1195415) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426911)

Um ... no. Do you have children? 12 year olds, while they may appear to be something they are not quite yet, should have no such access to 'porno'.

Re:Physical Media? (3, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427113)

He defined a kid as being 12 and under. Kid = 12. He wouldn't sell to kids. Thus he wouldn't sell to 12 year olds.

Shortly after 12 though their biology will start telling them they should be interested in porno.

And remember, the (English speaking) world's most famous love story / tragedy involves a 14 year old.

Re:Physical Media? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29428065)

a 14 year old
Juliet was "a fortnight and odd days" shy of fourteen. Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.

Re:Physical Media? (3, Informative)

story645 (1278106) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427529)

You can't sell porn to minors under obscenity laws [usdoj.gov] .

Re:Physical Media? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426833)

Does anyone know in the US if there is a legal requirement (anywhere?) and likewise in Australia are there restrictions on buying physical DVDs based on their ratings?

Nope, there are no laws that require a retailer follow the ratings on the game box or ratings given to movies in the US. Gamestop could sell M or AO games to 5 year olds if they wanted to. They don't because it would bad PR for business because the soccer moms would be outraged by such a thing as they continue to blindly not read the video game box or even take two seconds to think if the M rated game in their hand would be appropriate for their child. The government might also try and get involved then. (I don't know that it would stand up to a court challenge though)

Re:Physical Media? (-1, Troll)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427015)

There is no such requirement in the U.S., as that would constitute a violation of the First Amendment. That being said, it seems like lately Congress has been using the Bill of Rights as toilet paper, so I would not be surprised to see some sort of legislation like this passed "for the children" in the future.

Re:Physical Media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427157)

Does anyone know in the US if there is a legal requirement (anywhere?) and likewise in Australia are there restrictions on buying physical DVDs based on their ratings?

I don't think there are any states in the US that currently have it as a legal requirement, I know Utah tried to pass a law making it illegal to sell M+/MA titles to kids, but there was a loophole where it was not a legal requirement to HAVE a rating, and so the law would have not applied to unrated titles. Because they couldn't get the votes to actually require the ratings, they dropped the law before passing it.

There might be some specific cities that have local ordinances, but in general the video game ratings are a voluntary thing. Sort of an unwritten "deal" where the industry polices itself and the politicians leave it alone. Most retail stores like gamestop, best buy, wal mart, etc. will have it as policy to require ID and not sell MA games to anyone under 17 or 18, but you will often find clerks and small shops that don't care.

Australia? No idea, mate.

Maplethorpe (5, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426705)

Maplethorpe had an "interesting" career documenting the gay S&M culture of NYC, but as such he is a canonical 20th century photographer. Some of his pics can be very disturbing (ie genitalia mutilations) but he has also taken some fantastic classical nude images. But in a twist of reality he has also taken some of the most beautiful photos of flowers [mapplethorpe.org] that I have ever seen. Hopefully the flowers are not being censored.

One ironic thing about Maplethorpe is that as a teen he struggled to win his fathers approval because of Maplethorpes artistic leanings and his struggle with his obvious gay sexuality. In order to "prove" himself to his father, Maplethrpe joined the most hardcore ROTC unit at his college and the irony was in the hazing routine - pure homoerotic S&M. So he seemed to be doomed! It all makes for his biography to be an interesting read

Re:Maplethorpe (1, Funny)

Obyron (615547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426729)

One ironic thing about Maplethorpe

One ironic thing about your post is that you know so much about Mapplethorpe, but cannot spell his name.

Re:Maplethorpe (1, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426761)

Guilty as charged. Can I blame it on my keyboard?

Re:Maplethorpe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426853)

Nno.

Re:Maplethorpe (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426935)

Some of his pics can be very disturbing (ie genitalia mutilations) but he has also taken some fantastic classical nude images

In the majority of human civilization, such pictures (the ones of mutilation) would not be regarded as artistic, but rather as obscene. In modern times, we've turned freedom of speech into a license to do wholesale degradation to beauty, truth, human sexuality, etc. to such a degree that even the most perverse things as tolerable.

While I fear empowered censors more than the effects of such "art," we should at least have the honesty to admit that such "art" expresses the worst of humanity. I'm not even 30 yet, and quite frankly I've grown sick of the self-assured, hipster posers who think this trash is edgy and avant-garde.

Re:Maplethorpe (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427295)

I'm not even 30 yet, and quite frankly I've grown sick of the self-assured, hipster posers who think this trash is edgy and avant-garde.

I am not going to claim that all of Mapplethorpes work is art worthy as I don't know the full extent of his catalogue and you can like or dislike his work as you see fit. However in defense of Mapplethorpe he was documenting the world around him as it happened in a subculture that few people knew about at the time. So it is of historical significance in the very least.

Images like this are not meant to make you feel good. They are meant to challenge you and make you confront your own feelings and beliefs. Would you say the same thing about documentary photos showing the atrocities of war? Or poverty or starvation? These are all subjects that other canonical photographers have sought out and created famous images from - Have you seen the classical figure of the napalmed girl running down the road in Vietnam? Or even the Farm Bureau pics of depression era USA?

Art is not all about cute kittens and puppies and flowers

Re:Maplethorpe (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427589)

No, it's about documenting the world around you. I admint I don't know much about Maplethorp, and perhaps he was truely documenting the word around him, but I doubt this.

A person taking pictures of a war is a silent observer, attempting to show the drama that is unfolding within a war torn area and to draw attention to the forgotten aspects of war.

A person who gets others to pose, or poses himself in manners that are not naturally occuring is creating a world to be photographed. Rather than speak something true about the world, they make up a world and then speak about it.

I have much less respect for this type of art. It allows you to make up your own structure of the world, your own beliefs and then point to your own art as proof of that structure.

A well structured argument is challenging. An image of something may challenge you, but only if it represents something of the truth about the world around you. If your art makes it's own truth, then it ceases to be challenging as it does not invite you to question it, or to question the world. It simply shows you the predetermined view of the artist. It claims to be a challenge, but it is a fraud.

Re:Maplethorpe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427959)

Who are you to decide what is and is not art?

Well, since you are doing just that, clearly you don't mind when others decide what is and is not art.

So, as it stands, someone else other than you is saying that type of images are art. Thus, you should be equally OK and accepting of that answer, as much as you expect us to be accepting of yours.

Re:Maplethorpe (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427993)

No.
"Art" like that doesn't challenge anyone or make them confront their own feelings or beliefs.

A mutilated dick doesn't challenge me. It says "I'm fucked up and I want attention".
It doesn't make me confront my feelings or beliefs, it reaffirms them. Shit be nasty, some people are fucked up.

Hell no I wouldn't say the same thing about those other subjects - those subjects are serious business to all of humanity. Some guy shoving a needle through his dick because he has daddy issues is not something that very many people will ever relate to or be affected by. It is a willful choice made by a small group of deranged individuals. Eating feces and vomit is not performance art. You can't graphically reenact the rape and murder of your child through interpretive dance and expect a full house.

It may be "art" to the artist and the subjects, but that doesn't make it so. Eye of the beholder, and all. As you can see from the posts here, most that behold this shit (3 of his much tamer photographs linked in TFS) aren't exactly giving it the thumbs up.

Much of today's art and fashion is simply weird for the sake of being weird or gross for the sake of getting attention.

You're right - the world isn't cute and fuzzy all the time.
Chopin produced his greatest works during a period of personal anguish (over not being able to support the failed revolution).
Poe was most certainly not about teh happy.
Van Gogh was insane.

But I doubt any of these guys ever shoved a nail through their dick and screamed "Look at me, I've got issues!".

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428047)

You're a moron

Poe died of his alcoholism and Van Gogh drove cut his fucking ear.

Re:Maplethorpe (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29428117)

You missed the point completely.

Their work isn't given attention or appreciated because of those facts.

(Well, there is the one self-portrait.)

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427365)

In modern times, we've turned freedom of speech into a license to do wholesale degradation to beauty, truth, human sexuality, etc. to such a degree that even the most perverse things as tolerable.

So the torture, murder, suicide, fratricide & incest in Shakespeare's plays are not okay then?

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427667)

No, it doesn't exist actually... Oh who am I kidding, I think this type of poser just does it for the prestige and doesn't realize that half these plays are about people getting drunk, or murder, or sex. Hell, I'm pretty sure 99% of the people who acclaimed Eugen Onegin at the Chicago Opera House when it was there have absolutely no clue that Tschaikovsky used the duel in it to build up homosexual tension between the male characters. It's just music/theater/etc, why of course it has no hidden meaning where the author is obviously passing as much crap behind the censors as can be done, if there's even censors to satisfy.

Re:Maplethorpe (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427427)

In the majority of human civilization, such pictures (the ones of mutilation) would not be regarded as artistic, but rather as obscene

Big whooping deal. In a large percentage of human civilization, it is considered obscene for a woman to show her neck or ankles. In a large portion of the world, something an American or Brit would wear to the beach is considered obscene.

It's really only during the last 100 years (less actually) that the Western world has relaxed its "standards", prior to the 1900's it was considered scandalous for a woman to reveal her legs or neckline here, while not a capital offense like in many parts of the world.

In modern times, we've turned freedom of speech into a license to do wholesale degradation to beauty, truth, human sexuality, etc. to such a degree that even the most perverse things as tolerable.

In modern times? Have you ever bothered to look at the art of ancient Greece? Tribal paintings? How about the work of people like Goya during the Inquisition? You obviously have never studied any history in terms of art and culture of any civilization if you maintain such a viewpoint.
Most of your ideas of what is "proper" are a direct result of the religious doctrines of the Catholic church (and more recently its offshoots such as most Protestant branches of Christianity).

The funny part to me, is that your words are essentially the same thing that many of the Roman scholars said, complaining about youth, their low moral standards, the trash called art "these days", etc. Every generation has people like you, who simply believe that anything you don't understand is "bad".

Hey, I think I see some kids on your lawn!

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427499)

I'm not even 30 yet, and quite frankly I've grown sick of the self-assured, hipster posers who think this trash is edgy and avant-garde.

I think there's some kids on your lawn. You'd better go shake your fist and scare them off!

Re:Maplethorpe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427511)

Look, Shakespeare had characters breaking out in yo mamma routines, opera has murder, death and suicide, most of the world's litterature and art is geared towards either war, religion, or ribaldry, complain all you want, but you have a damn poor leg to stand on. You're one of these pretentious pricks who goes on about high art but is completely oblivious to the fact that high art is just the fucking same - more than half of Shakespeare is about sex, and Romeo & Juliet is a sarcastic farce about two teens who are too dumb to just have a shag and let go.

So I'll conclude in the fashion of true art - Thy mother.

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427737)

In the majority of human civilization, such pictures (the ones of mutilation) would not be regarded as artistic, but rather as obscene. In modern times, we've turned freedom of speech into a license to do wholesale degradation to beauty, truth, human sexuality, etc. to such a degree that even the most perverse things as tolerable.

While I fear empowered censors more than the effects of such "art," we should at least have the honesty to admit that such "art" expresses the worst of humanity. I'm not even 30 yet, and quite frankly I've grown sick of the self-assured, hipster posers who think this trash is edgy and avant-garde.

Some of the art out there certainly does express the worst of humanity. This does not make it one bit less valid as art, though. There are many out there (myself included) who feel that to experience all that it is to be human you need to be aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly sectors of human society. Furthermore, you could not have missed the mark any further in stating that "obscene" work degrades the truth -- these things you consider to be obscene are part of the human experience and thus are intricately interwoven with the fabric of truth. The logic behind your assertion that avoiding this sort of art will preserve truth is backward at best, and totalitarian at worst.

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427803)

In the majority of human civilization, such pictures (the ones of mutilation) would not be regarded as artistic, but rather as obscene. In modern times, we've turned freedom of speech into a license to do wholesale degradation to beauty, truth, human sexuality, etc. to such a degree that even the most perverse things as tolerable.

So in your world, you would be OK with your government banning the practice of your wife and daughters getting their ears pierced?
How bout the shaving public hair for sanitary reasons?

It is the same body mutilation, degrading the natural body and truth.

Sad, that.

Re:Maplethorpe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427843)

In the majority of human civilization, such pictures (the ones of mutilation) would not be regarded as artistic, but rather as obscene.

And which would be also true of many other forms of non-erotic, non-mutilating art as well. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and while I'm neither gay, nor interested in BSDM, I do find his photos to have an artistic quality in that, in the right mindset, you do question a lot of things regarding the photo itself, situations, lighting, what not. Perhaps YOU don't, but your personal taste is not the definition of art. That said, take a look at the flower photos. They are EXTREMELY erotic if you understand the context from the intricate detail. And no, you don't need drugs to recognize it either.

If you don't like it, just don't look at it. You're provided the freedom. The irony of his works is that I could probably see the art in the photo, while someone that is gay and into BSDM would probably be the one that only sees porn. Don't tell me those nude paintings from the Renaissance didn't give you ideas when you were 14.

Re:Maplethorpe (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428235)

FYI, Victorian era prudishness didn't hold sway anywhere in the world prior to *GASP* the Victorian Era. For the vast majority of human history, sex has been public, and sexual "deviance" accepted wholeheartedly. The only possible exception is the followers of God, in their various forms, who didn't take kindly to any "deviance" from any "norm", including sexuality, so much so that they kill each other over minor differences in their books.

Re:Maplethorpe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426995)

...Maplethrpe joined the most hardcore ROTC unit at his college and the irony was in the hazing routine - pure homoerotic S&M.

So it was a Marine ROTC then?

nuke australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426719)

kill the disease before it spreads

Re:nuke australia (3, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426841)

kill the disease before it spreads

In which case you should probably nuke the USA ahead of Australia - after all just 2 seconds of seeing Janet's naked breast was enough to traumatize the whole country

Re:nuke australia (3, Insightful)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427927)

It didn't traumatize the whole country. It traumatized a vocal minority - and most of them probably didn't even see it themselves.

I'm opposed to intentionally displaying that sort of thing where children can see it, but I'm not going to get into an uproar about an accident.

I applaud ACMA's decision -- it's great news: (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29426781)

First, it shines a brighter-than-usual light upon the stupidity of "censorship watchdogs".

Second, it antagonizes a company with a lot of money and a lot of public-relations skill. If you're in the censorship business, I'm happy to see you make large, powerful and articulate enemies.

Their system is easy, quit complaining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29426969)

It's either:

Child Porn or Not Child Porn

Re:Their system is easy, quit complaining (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427205)

It's either: Child Porn or Not Child Porn

Lord help us if Larry Clark gets to make that decision.

I thought the news item was about animals (1)

redNuht (213553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427191)

The headline starts with "Australia's Bizarre... ", so I just assumed it would be about cattle-eating bats or something.

inevitable (1)

ouder (1080019) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427619)

Any attempt to impose censorship will inevitably lead to bizarre and ironic situations. People who want censorship usually think that the world is a simple place with black and white decisions about right and wrong. Reality smacks you in the face when you try to apply what seems like a simple concept to actual situations.

Point? (2, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427655)

The ACMA is using adapting a set of rules taken from net nanny software and is tweaking and applying them to Australia's national internet censorship system.

The current internet censorship rules don't match up with other restrictions you see in the real world.

The Classification Board which has nothing to do with the ACMA thinks we should all see nasty shit by some "artist".

There is literally no news here.

- Censorship sucks, and it's done in shitty ways. When it's done by the government, expect it to be done as cheaply (for those doing the work) and lazily as possible.
- Censorship often doesn't make sense.
- Censorship will never cover everything.
- There's always some asshole who wants you to shove his dick or anus in your face.

Trade Agreement Violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29427681)

The films are also banned on the internet but not at local video/DVD stores as detailed in this Whirlpool Forum post.

Seems like grounds to bring a case against Australia with the World Trade Organization. A country using differential laws with respect to global and local economy is a violation of the trade agreement.

"not for the fainthearted" vs NSFW (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29427727)

As for how about letting someone else click the link first and wait for the results?
As anyone who has spent any amount of time on the *chan sites or Forums in general.
Don't fail for the obvious [youtube.com]

No arguing (3, Insightful)

cbraescu1 (180267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428311)

If one starts arguing about where the "good" limits of censorship should be then it basically agrees with censorship as a whole.

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