Freedom Is Not Slavery

By | September 2, 2006

J S Rossbach This week it became illegal in the UK to possess “extreme pornography”. But who defines “extreme”? Well apparently the courts, which in practice means the first poor sod who gets caught with what someone thinks is objectionable material will have to fight the corner as a test case.

Let me clarify, I do not condone, approve of or wish to encourage the production, consumption or distribution of material that involves the exploitation of anyone, of any sex or any age. But I do believe in freedom of choice and individualism.

Surely the lawmakers in this country could have come up with some form of words that defined the genre of exploitative, sickening pornography that some deranged individuals crave. They did. Then, on top of the perfectly acceptable wording regarding material depicting rape for example (as opposed to rape-play), they added “or other .. material”.

The rest of us with our myriad, varied tastes and fetishes now have to be wary that someone in the future may deem what we produce or view as “extreme”. Consenting adults, involved in certain forms of play are already at risk from the courts. Recording their actions, or even being in possession of material that depicts such actions by others is now very risky.

One reason for this law was this case. But the reaction to it by the government is based on an assumption that the undoubtedly wicked perpetrator would not have committed the offence if the Web had not made certain material available to him. This flawed assumption and a need to be seen to be doing something does not excuse a law that could lead to the imposition of strict censorship.

It is with this backdrop that I wrote the following post:

I was rather humbled by the response I got to “Ersatz” the other day. It was simply the expression of a thought that had been running around my head for a few weeks. The culmination, I think, of three influences. George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and, perhaps curiously you might think, V for Vendetta.

All deal with the same theme in different ways, the surrendering of our will to the state in exchange for a shallow happiness, a constant mediocrity, an endlessly mass produced consumer lifestyle. And they are all so horribly plausible.

In 1984 sex is for procreation only, as Winston’s estranged wife would put it “Our duty to the party”. In Brave New World Huxley sees sex as part of the solution instead of part of the problem, along with the synthetic music, perfumed air and chemically induced sense of happiness. Life as a constant series of one night stands, promiscuity encouraged rather than frowned upon. Relationships and personal attachments the real taboo.

V is lighter on the detail about the unpalatable truths regarding society’s readiness to relinquish responsibility for the individual’s destiny and entrust it to the state. It does highlight how our fears and prejudices can be harnessed by power hungry individuals. At least it has some hope for the eventual salvation of mankind through the application of “people power”.

We should never become Huxley’s Bokanovsky clones, physically or mentally. But it’s so easy to do. Buying the right label, being seen in the right places, saying the right things.

If we were to surrender to the temptations that science might eventually offer us, a life without strife, disease or old age, we would become bland and uninteresting. Huxley observed, in Othello’s words ‘If after every tempest came such calms, may the winds blow till they have wakened death’.

Without our differences, our hardships and our individuality we are nothing. To say to a surgeon I want the body of Brad Pitt in “Troy”‘ is to devalue yourself. Such a physique takes hard work and it is this that makes it worth having, not the undoubted attractiveness of the form.

It is like making a verbatim copy of another’s work. To my knowledge this has not happened to us, perhaps we simply aren’t good enough to copy :(. The effort and creativity involved to compose some of the wonderful posts on all the erotic/adult blogs out there is what gives them their value. And the hardship and often uncomfortable emotions they often reflect.

Perhaps they would not be regarded as high literature, but so what? They are an expression of truth and intense feeling, cast into the ether for all to read. Potent not because of their grammatical excellence, but because they reflect beautiful souls singing like the hosts of heaven. Some thunderous like the slamming of the doors of Hades, other’s quieter than the beat of an angel’s wing.

All of them beautiful.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that in all things, be it your writing or your sex life, be true to yourself. Don’t strive to copy others, you become a pale reflection of what you tried to copy and diminish yourself in the process.

And don’t ever, ever, let anyone tell you what to do, directly or indirectly. Don’t be a sheep and beware of shepherds who promise to keep you safe in the fold, they might be a wolf.

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.’ V, V for Vendetta.

On a final, lighter, note remember Graham Chapman’s speech in “The Life of Brian” to the masses outside his window who think he is their messiah “You’re all different, you’re all individuals”. Don’t be the guy who stands up in the crowd and responds, “I’m not”.

1984 anti-axioms

Recommended reading: http://www.huxley.net/, http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/,  http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/animalfarm/

Recommended viewing: http://vforvendetta.warnerbros.com/

Post image by J S Rossbach: http://salvfilm.valuehost.co.uk/satanic/sluts/rossbach.htm