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Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

'Extreme' Web Sites Under Fire From UK Police 1154

An anonymous reader writes "A conference on electronic crime, taking place in London this week, has thrown up some interesting news. Britain's top hi-tech police officer has demanded a crackdown on Web sites devoted to 'abhorrent' subjects such as cannibalism and necrophilia. What happened to freedom of expression online?"
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'Extreme' Web Sites Under Fire From UK Police

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  • by karmaflux ( 148909 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:33AM (#8386227)
    The same lawbook that holds protection freedom of expression also outlaws things like necrophilia. If you walked into a morgue to get a snack, you can expect to be put in jail. If you sold books containing HOWTOs on corpse-buggery, you would, in fact, get shit-hammered by the law. This is no different. If you want to act like a retard on the internet, you're better off doing it from a country that doesn't outlaw your particular brand of idiocy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:33AM (#8386239)
    What happened to freedom of expression online?

    Some psycho killed a teacher and the Daily Mail and Sun needed a good campaign. The pedophiles-infest-the-web thing wasn't working out for them lately so this is a better angle for them to whip up a bit of hysteria. Apparently the necrophiliacs and asphyxia fans infest the Intarweb just as much as the pedophiles and terrorists, much to the surprise of the newspapers and general public.

    Hysteria based on uninformed opinions; it's whats for diner!
  • Freedom of Speech (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Jotaigna ( 749859 ) <> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:35AM (#8386260) Homepage Journal
    I strongly feel that freedom of speech must be defended at all costs, however, there is content on the web that i dont want to see, and i just dont. But when i think of people that can see that content and make something bad of it, free speech doesnt guarantee my freedom anymore, giving someone the blueprints for a car bomb.
    If you want freedom of speech, you should be responsable for your speech, in other words, i think anything that is posted on a website, can be related to an identifiable person. Perhaps your fingerprint or something. This is too controversial anyway, so if im troll please ignore.
  • Human rights (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:36AM (#8386280)
    Freedom of expression should not be placed above human rights. Eating people and defiling their corpses isn't freedom of expression, it is abuse of human rights. Put things in perspective and things seem a bit clearer.
  • by Belisarivs ( 526071 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:40AM (#8386349)
    Ask the people in China and Saudi Arabia what happened. It's not a matter of freedom of expression online, it's a matter of freedom of expression in various nations. The Internet is only as free as where you live.
  • Publishing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by millahtime ( 710421 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:40AM (#8386362) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know if its legal or not to publish a book on cannibalism and necrophilia with the same kind of content the web sites are showing??? In the UK and/or the US??? I know there are different laws in the different countries.

    If you can publish a book or other writing on it then I wouldn't see a problem with it on the net.
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:51AM (#8386537)
    Well, there is no such thing as "Freedom of Expression" at least in the Constitution or US Code I've read, however there is Freedom of Speech. In some state constitutions there is a freedom of expression and thats why Oregon has tittie bars* everywhere, since that's "dancing" and that's protected.

    There is Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition freedoms, and a bunch of legal protections, but no vauge "Freedom of Expression.

    Now I don't know about British law, but in the US things like cannibalism and necrophilia are illegal at the state and local level so if some DA wanted to go after them, it'd be perfectly legal.

    * - If you are going into a strip club and there is a Corvette or 911 with handicap plates, it's a rough strip club. Likewise if there is a bouncer in body armor with an MP-5, it's a rough place.
  • by sketerpot ( 454020 ) <> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:51AM (#8386539)
    However, the UN Declaration of Human Rights [] does---even Article 19:

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Stop bashing people for American Provincialism until you know the score.

  • Re:Duh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#8386570)
    Not all child porn is illegal in the US. Virtual child porn made using 3D models is legal, as is animated child porn (hentai). That's because the basis of restricting it is that it hurts the children being filmed. If no children were used in producing it, then it becomes a clear-cut first amendment issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:56AM (#8386611)
    Called [] that claimed to cater to the human-eating connoisseur. The parody was so well done, many people thought it was for real, and the police even investigated.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:57AM (#8386638)
    There's something in law called "precedents." You see, once something happens, that opens up a window, so to speak, for it to happen again. Once you outlaw something on the basis that it expressly incites people to commit violent acts, then *anyone* who can dig up proof for *anything* else that that specific thing incites people to do something violent and/or illegal will be able to outlaw that thing.

    Think about it: What if some partisan court ruled that (otherwise peaceful) protests incited violence, on the basis that a protest occasionally bursts out into a violent riot? Goodbye free speech.
  • by isopossu ( 681431 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:02PM (#8386731) Journal
    Pictures of necrophilia are just strings of ones and zeroes. They cannot hurt anybody. Guns and axes can.

    Maybe some people believe, that some binary digits are evil and others dont, but it sounds insane to me. Is 100001100110110 bad? If it is, why and if it isn't what exactly would make it evil?

  • Racistic pages (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:06PM (#8386780)
    This is definitely a troll in your opinion, but tell me:

    Why has it never been a case when racistic and/or National Socialistic pages have been shut down, and the authors arrested?

    This has been happening for years...
  • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:07PM (#8386801)
    Who said I was an atheist? And atheists typically have higher moral standards because they believe in them without having the fear of eternal punishment hanging over them. I don't care who you are, though, I cannot understand how a female breast is indecent. You can put a big, fat, disgusting guy on TV and have him show his man-tits all night long and there is no problem but a female tit for two seconds is a disaster. Explain that to me and I will go quietly. If you are Christian then show me were in the bible it says that baring a breast is wrong.
  • by Arathrael ( 742381 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:14PM (#8386886)

    I don't think it's quite as black and white as that. You might visit a website because you're intrigued by something, not necessarily because you're already into it.

    In this specific case, the guy told the court that 'he had been obsessed by women's necks from his early twenties but stopped being ashamed when he found other people on the internet who shared his perversion.' So there's an argument there that, without the websites in question, his obsession would never have developed the way it did.

  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpeedyRich ( 754676 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:18PM (#8386933)
    A 'punter' is someone who bets. You're a punter, because you gambled that your text above is accurate. Regrettably you lost. The British do not need a constitution, for example, precisely because we are not a nation who does what we're told. In other words we can do what we like unless there's a SPEFIIC law against it (in your case the 'arson' suggestion holds no water. The very word arson implies intent to commit crime, hence the law is not open to interpretation) rather than the US system wherein you can only do what the constitution AND your laws allow you to. Much like the ability of US soldiers. Regardless of the presence of large FOF boards on the side of allied armour the Yanks still managed to attack several columns of armour. Sigh.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:31PM (#8387126) Journal
    The approach that I'd like to see is twofold.

    First, the official involved pretty much grabbed a "this porn causes people to commit crimes" principle out of the air. I'm very dubious that his personal opinion (and one that isn't currently mine) should be weighty enough to merit instituting censorship.

    Second, I don't understand why the official can't do the standard thing that I'd like to see pro-censorship advocates do. If the official really thinks that porn of a particular variety is bad, why doesn't he, instead of simply suppressing it, explain his reasoning. If he really is (a) correct in his reasoning and (b) the value systems of others are similar to his own (and I don't think that he should be trying to govern their actions if his are different from the masses), then his explanation should institute a similar opinion in others, and "innoculate" them against the cannibalistic necrophilia meme.

    Consider what the official has claimed. Images of porn cause criminality. That's a pretty severe allegation. He's claiming not just correlation (which would seem quite reasonable to me) but causality, which doesn't seem reasonable at all.

    If the official really thinks that images are so influential, why do the English have James Bond? He frequently endangers others recklessly, destroys property, ignores military and government authority, etc. I don't see the mass of Britons running out and trying to blow up ships.

    Heck, video games are plausibly even more influential -- you take *on the role* of someone. How many FPSes are there where you take out a gun and start shooting people? Most of 'em. You don't follow police rules for requirements on when to shoot, you simply try to end lives, frequently of almost anything that moves. Why aren't there masses of shootings in Britain if violent video games, so apparently much more influential, have failed to convince people to commit murder? Is it because the censors have made the blood in the games green? Is it because images really *don't* affect people to the degree that the British official assumed?

    I personally feel that if there's someone with a necrophilia and cannibalism fetish, but that they recognize it and can have said fetish without running out and engaging in it (and there are a hell of a lot of fetishes and fantasies out there that don't get followed up on, like making love to a actress or whatnot), there doesn't seem to be much reason to try to force them underground.

    Remember when the British thought that homosexuality was awful, deviant sexual behavior that needed to be corrected? Turing (a major player in *saving* many British asses from death, and a person that is now considered a pretty wronged great man) had his security clearance revoked, was forced to take hormone injections and modify his behavior, and was eventually driven to suicide.

    People that buy peppy sports cars cause a *hell* of a lot more deaths each year than people that have cannibalism fetishes. Should peppy sports cars be banned in favor of station wagons? More human lives would be saved, and that's the only really convincing factor that I can think of.
  • by winwar ( 114053 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:45PM (#8387334)
    "Hm. I'm not sure. How would an atheist arrive at a moral standard? And when he arrived at one, wouldn't it be a bit arbitrary?"

    No more arbitrary than basing morals on a book...

    "Sure, 1st Timothy 2:9 - "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel..."."

    Doesn't say that baring a breast is wrong. What is modest apparel anyway?
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:45PM (#8387348) Journal
    Harry Potter featured a scene where he addressed the camera and told people how to eat hamsters....

    BTW, is eating hamsters actually illegal in UK? Anyone know?
  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NickFitz ( 5849 ) <slashdot.nickfitz@co@uk> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:50PM (#8387410) Homepage

    Although the German cannibalism case has been dragged into this, the UK is currently experiencing a moral panic [] because of the murder of Jane Longhurst, a teacher who was killed by a man who regularly visited extreme (rape/murder/snuff) sites. Some details here. [] There are more details accessible from this BBC News search. []

  • by themusicgod1 ( 241799 ) <themusicgod1&zworg,com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:10PM (#8387662) Homepage Journal
    "Hm. I'm not sure. How would an atheist arrive at a moral standard? And when he arrived at one, wouldn't it be a bit arbitrary? " as opposed to believing what you are told without question? that sounds like a more arbitrary way to chose personal value-sets. now applying your own personal logic and power of deduction/induction to the best extent one can, and trying at all times to 'do the right thing' and to look for the 'truth' in all things on the other hand...that looks more like the 'best solution' granted i have transcended atheism, but when i was an atheist, this is what i would have countered you with.

    "do not kill. do not rape. these are laws that every man can abide by."-boondock saints?
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hwapper ( 756180 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:26PM (#8387985)
    I don't have an issue if homosexuals want to get together and have the same rights as married heterosexuals. Just don't make me throw out my dictionary in the process. Call it something else like "legal union" and then make sure "legal unions" get the same benefits as "marriages".

    Also, it sound's like you're engaging in the same kind of manipulation with the use of words like "outdated religious code". I don't care if you want to do it, just don't be a hypocrite by complaining about it.

    And as a side note, this same outdated religious code tells us to love one another. Maybe we should replace that with something more up-to-date like don't offend one another.

    Welcome to the human race, wear a cup.
  • Re:Get off it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PenguiN42 ( 86863 ) <taylork.alum@mit@edu> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:39PM (#8388193) Journal
    What if those bits are a collection of child pronography? I would say someone's rights and liberties were violated to create that content.

    Yes, someone's rights were violated in creating that content. But we're talking about *distributing* it. Lots of people's rights were violated to create pictures of 9-11 occuring, but it's legal to distribute those pictures.

    Distribution of that content is continued abrogation of that person's rights.

    The only rights I can see that are violated by the *distribution* of child pornography are privacy rights, unless the children's faces are obscured. The violation of rights that led to the taking of the picture only happened once, and doesn't continue as the picture is distributed. So I don't see how it's "continued abrogation ["abolishment, or annulment, especially by authority"], of that person's rights."

    Besides, current law doesn't only make it a crime to distribute pictures, but to simply *posess* them.

    Now I could see criminalizing *selling* the pictures -- making money from a violation of someone's rights should be a crime, imho. But that's a whole 'nother bag of worms.

    I agree with you about libel and "free speech" in general, though.
  • by Scudsucker ( 17617 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:30PM (#8388926) Homepage Journal
    hope that offends you. If so, then we can take as a given that there are certain behaviors you think should NOT be broadcast during the Superbowl Half Time Show without warning viewers.

    So I take it your an atheist? Or an agnostic? Anyway, I always thought it was funny, growing up and learning about the greek myths in schools. Some students would laugh at those idiot Greeks for believing that gods lived on top of a stupid mountain and pulled the sun around the earth in a chariot, but believed in the story of Noah's ark or Moses parting the Red Sea.
  • I don't buy it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:45PM (#8389116) Journal
    If you run a service that arguably exists only to facilitate crime, expect to end up arguing about it in court. This isn't complicated - if you run a website that facilitates crime you can be found liable and guilty of breaking laws.

    I don't buy it. You're talking about content aimed an cannibalism fetishists versus the actual, physical crime of cannibalism. There are damned few actual cannibals running around. Serial murderers have a habit of standing out.

    Here's an article [] written by a cannibalism and snuff fetishist. I think that you'll find that it's pretty clear that said person finds actual cannibalism frightening and appalling. There is a tremendous line between people that run out and kill and eat people, and people that have cannibal fantasies. There is a tremendous difference between people that fantasize about BSDM content and actual rapists. There is a tremdous difference between fantasizing about killing your boss/George Bush and actually doing so. There is a tremdous difference between people that fantasize about having sex with an actress and the guy that actually goes out and starts stalking her. The line between the two is quite significant. The issue that I take is that the police officer in the article is either ignoring that line, or attempting to draw connections across the line that I'm not sure I find convincing.
  • by jabberjaw ( 683624 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:32PM (#8389703)
    I think because there is no way to engage in cannibalism without harming another person, and that if a person is willing to accept that harm his competence is in question.
    Actually, regarding the Mewies case there were four others who responded to his "ad" in addition to Brandes. To quote from the BBC article [] "But London-based hotel worker Dirk Moller testified that he had even got as far as being chained to the bed and marked out for butchery before changing his mind. He asked to be released and Meiwes complied."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:49PM (#8389886)
    Let's look for a moment at the idea of "organ selling" for what it really is (economically speaking): one person transacting something they own with someone else for what they both agree is a fair price (whether or not *either* party *truly* believes the price is fair; the donee may feel he's getting a bargain and the donor may actually feel his organ is worth more than he accepted...) This is actually no different from exchanging time/effort for money; the all-too-familiar employer/employee relationship. One (the worker, or donor) has time but no money, the other (the employer or donee) has money but no time (or at least not enough of it to get something he wants done done all by himself...) -- and in such a familiar case the exchange of something tangible and renewable (money) for something intangible and non-renewable (time) is not only accepted but is considered honorable, even though the finality of the transaction is just as sure as that of organ selling; once the time is gone it's gone . In fact, it could be argued that the original "owner" of the organ could be given back the organ under certain circumstances (such as, perhaps, the donee dying of unrelated causes which still leave the organ viable, etc.) but once time is gone it's (as mentioned above) gone . The fact that the recipient of the "asset" (be it time and effort or a kidney) had an abundance of whatever he traded for said "asset" (presumably money) shouldn't be a consideration nor should the fact (presumed) that the donor of the "asset" was destitute before the transaction -- if each benefits in his own estimation then the net harm is nil and the net good is great!

    Where does this philosophy begin to break down (at least in my mind)? At the point of selling eggs or sperm, for then the transaction involves participants who cannot (whether or not they would, given the choice, is inconsequential) opt for or against participation but whose interests (in fact, their very existence) are deeply involved.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @07:40PM (#8392496)
    Have you ever heard of the "Rind Report"? It was a peer-reviewed study published by the American Psychiatric Association's most influential publication "The APA Bulliten".

    It showed statistically, through a meta-analysis of other studies, that "child sexual abuse" was not nearly as harmful as most people espouse and, in fact, a substantial minority of 'victims' still regard these experiences in a positive light at least through their college years.

    It was attacked by the right-wing press first, headed by Dr. Laura. Some folks at "Focus on the Family" wrote to their congresspeople and Congress ended up drafting a resolution denouncing the study. There have even been a few refutations published. I met Bruce Rind, the author, when visiting Temple University last year and I chatted with him about the topic. I assure you, he's just a nerd with a PhD in statistics who was reading over some old studies and saying "the numbers don't add up". He almost lost his job for publishing this paper.

    The statistics he produced have been peer-reviewed by a bevy of statisticians without being disproven. On the other hand, his study was blasted by a variety of psychologists. They simply would not accept the conclusions, since their training and often their practice show them the many people that are hurt by this abuse. Their refutations were compiled and published in a single special journal devoted to taking a look at this study. A variety of statisticians have shown that the refutations were mostly based on assumptions that basically said "we can show that this abuse is harmful if we assume that people saying it was a positive experience MUST have been hurt by the experience and therefore their reports are inaccurate. Removing those reports, we see that all the responses say this experience is negative".

    In fact, while attending a conference with Mr Rind, I met a variety of Statisticians who were pulling their hair out about the in-accuracies in the "public opinion" of the meta-analysis based on personal convictions rather than statistical fact.

    The fact is that the statistics are ACCURATE, but congress determined that they are also DANGEROUS because they said it could allow people to justify abusing kids and therefore should be denounced (by an act of congress, no less). Many groups called for it to be supressed, but the government rightly disagreed. But to you, is this free speech or dangerous incitement?

    Extend it to the Internet. A group of people get together and say how great it would be for all the kids if they could all have sex with whoever they want... Is this different? Or the same? Does the medium matter? In a journal, it's HIGHLY influential worldwide... in a chat room... it's just chat. How is that more dangerous?

    I just wanted to point out a place where the lines blur and give you a chance to think about it.

    I also would like to say how strongly I object to the government trying to step in and interfere where REAL people are not actually getting hurt.

    don't get me started on whether "virtual child porn" should be legal or illegal, along the same lines of whether we should ban pictures of people eating raw beef (and claiming it's man-flesh).

    Bah. Free speech is already too restricted IMO.
  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:1, Interesting)

    by denks ( 717389 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @07:41PM (#8392502) Journal
    and if the majority says something should be legal or illegal, then so be it

    So under Nazi Gemany, as most people there supported Hitler, by your logic what he did was actually quite ok. Or is your logic more along the lines of: if the majority of people want something and it affects someone else then its OK, but if it affects me then its not?

  • by misterpies ( 632880 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @08:05PM (#8392719)
    *sigh*. Yes I know scotland has a separate legal system. So does Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (You might also note that all the systems are joined at the top, since they share the same highest court, namely the House of Lords.) But this minor mistake on my part is rendered inconsequential compared to the nonsense you write. I'll just respond to the more egregious errors:

    "Scotland has a (superior) legal system that is derived from Roman Law (even today proceedings are in Latin)."

    Are you smoking crack? Whether Scots law is superior is a matter of taste, though you should note that it's very much a hybrid common-law/Roman-law system. But thinking that they still argue in Latin? All lawyers are fond of the occasional Latin turn-of-phrase, but it's been several hundred years since proceedings were conducted in latin any court in Britain.

    "Scotland has fully adopted the EU Human Rights Act whilst England is lagging behind. "

    There is no such thing as the 'EU Human Rights Act'. The Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights, or ECHR) was promulgated in (I believe) 1947 by an organisation called the Council of Europe, which is unrelated to the E.U., which did not exist in even embryonic form until the Treaty of Rome in 1956. The ECHR is enforced by the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, while EU law is under the aegis of the European Court of Justice, in Luxembourg. There are no organisational links between the two.

    The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated the ECHR into both English and Scottish law simultaneously. As far as I know there is no difference between the two nations regarding the applicability of the ECHR. Please point me to the provisions of the relevant legislation showing this is not the case.

    "English law DOES NOT HAVE the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise thanks to the Criminal Justice Act in the early nineties."

    This is truly complete, total, utter bollocks. If that were the case, why was there such uproar when the Home Secretary suggested changing the standard of proof in terrorism cases (a position from which he backtracked today.) There is not one single criminal offence in English law where the presumption of innocence does not apply.

    "Also, your example about the box of matches does not hold true in England. The 1996 offensive weapons act makes it illegal to carry any offensive object in a public place. this would include a pocket penknife (of any size). You *will* be charged for carrying a pocket penknife in London - even if you had no intention whatsoever of using it to garot someone. If you had a box of matches in one pocket and lighter fluid in the other then you could well be charged, or at least, receive a caution."

    You are labouring under various misapprehensions here. Firstly, if you care to read the act (all Acts of Parliament can be found on government websites) you'll see that the offence is actually "carrying an offensive weapon without lawful excuse". Thus clearly carrying a lighter and lighter fluid is not an offence is you were using it to light your cigarette. Further, as regards knives the offence of 'carrying a bladed or pointed article in a public place' specifically excludes folding pocket-knives with blades under 3 inches long, and excludes knives carried for use at work. So you should be safe with your penknife.

    Secondly, of course you could be arrested, charged and cautioned for carrying a lighter or box of matches. You can be arrested for walking down the street if the police feel like it. But that doesn't mean you'll be convicted.

    "Also the Anti-Terrorism act allows citizens to be held without charge for an indefinite time. This came about to combat the irish threat in the 80's, long before bush and his oddball war for oil/power."

    The power to detain UK citizens without trial was introduced by the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991. It was repealed in
  • by stuffman64 ( 208233 ) <stuffman@gmai l . com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @08:55PM (#8393094)
    Say I get my leg traumatically amputated, but live through the event and heal. I keep the leg in the freezer, and decide later to pull it out and have a go on the rotisserie. Is there anything to stop me from doing that (well, besides freaking out just about everyone)? Just a thought, not like I'd do that or anything... or would I?
  • Re:Duh [OT] (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kazoo the Clown ( 644526 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @09:58PM (#8393558)

    Without taking a political position, let me just point out that the English word marriage already has a definition: "The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife". Any attempt to redefine that word based on political correctness smacks of "whims and prejudices" to me.

    The point is not whether or not there is an existing definition, but that the existing definition is prejudicial in that it doesn't apply equally to everyone.

    In fact, the above definition of marriage is inherently prejudicially exclusive in that it presumes that every human individual is either a "man" or a "woman." The prejudice is in the erroneous assumption that gender is a binary state which is clearly false. The definitions that are sorely in need of reexamination are far more rudimentary than "marriage"-- that of "man" and "woman."

    How then, does the term "marriage" apply to an individual who is completely hermaphroditic, such as in a dizygotic chimera []? How about an individual who is only partially intersexed, such as an genetic XXY individual, pseudohermaphrodite or someone with an endocrine or hormonal disorder? What about someone who is transgendered via a medical procedure? And what if such a procedure wasn't voluntary, such as when newborn males with small penises are thought to be females, surgically "corrected" and grow up believing they are females only to find out later (perhaps at puberty, or even later) they are otherwise male? Who gets to decide what gender these people are and on what basis?

    Does marriage simply not apply to some of these individuals? What do you do if one of these persons ends up inadvertently married to the "same" gender but who had honestly believed they were different genders when they got married and found out later that perhaps they are not? How "male" does one have to be to be considered "male" enough to marry as a male? 51%?... 80%?.... 95%?.... What does it mean to have such a fundamental social institution that simply doesn't apply to certain people?

    Can we simply ignore the issue because it's only a minority population of individuals with indeterminate or intermediate gender? How large would such a population have to be to be taken into consideration regarding "marriage?" How do you determine if someone is a member of such a population-- what means are to be used for determining intermediacy and how intermediate do you have to be to be considered one of such a group? What if the only "intermediacy" you have is that you find yourself attracted to the same sex? Apparently, even that is too much intermediacy for "marriage" to apply, at least in some quarters-- suggesting that the required percentages of "maleness" or "femaleness" required for marriage are quite high.

    And finally, does love have anything at all to do with marriage given the kind of constraints some people would apparently apply?

    IMHO-- How better could we undermine the institution of marriage then to withhold it from certain classes of persons? How could we make it more irrelevant to society at large than to pass a constitutional amendment proclaiming it an exclusive club? Watch what you wish for...

    Those who yearn for a black and white world can try to ignore these difficult issues, but even the passing of a constitutional amendment isn't going to make them disappear...

  • Re:Eating placenta (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lendude ( 620139 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:18PM (#8393682)
    Apart from the nutritional value of consuming the placenta; iirc the act also had some preservation basis - various species eat it in the wild to prevent it being an attractant to predators. Wasn't there also a fad awhile ago in which human birth parents kept the placenta to eat later (or is that an urban legend?)
  • by gammoth ( 172021 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @04:56PM (#8401554)

    I have to confess that when I have no definitive argument to make I tend to pick on bad arguments. I wasn't making a straw man argument for censureship. I do not advocate censureship any more than you advocate child porn.

    The internet is special, but not so special that we can act with impunity. It does not exist in a vacuum and not everything on the internet is benign. Because the underlying technology fosters anonymity, it doesn't give license to behave illegally, or even merely irresponsibly.

    Furthermore, the idea that our minds are blank slates and we are shaped by our environment is, of course, preposterous. But we are affected by the activities we engage in. The US army uses video games to desensitise recruits to killing. A higher ratio of soldiers pull the trigger in battle after going through the training. That's right. A significant portion of soldiers die in fire fights without firing a shot! The thought of killing or maiming is too abhorent. So, how does the army decrease the proportion? They use video games as part of a regime to affect recruit's behaviour.

    Oh yeah, and remember that movie where the the football team bonded by lying in between lanes on a freeway? People actually went out and tried it! Some of them were run over. Hey, I'm not making this up.

    On the other hand, in general, subliminal suggestion just doesn't work. Showing Coke in a single frame during a movie will not make us buy coke. If we do get up, we might get a drink from the drinking fountain or buy Dr Pepper.

    No amount of brain-washing will make me think water runs up hill. The most it can do is get a conditioned response to certain stimuli and to break my will -- not control my thoughts.

    More aptly, we can watch the Godfather without want to go out and whack somebody.

    So where does that leave us? The great majority of us want to enjoy art and activities unconstrained by the sad behaviour of the marginally or temporarily irrational. (The truly insane we can do nothing about.) We don't want to hold artists and creative people responsible for crimes commited by fans.

    I don't have an answer. I just know that black/white categorization doesn't help.

    I had trouble with the line from the original post that reads, "Yes, indeed, we always do anything we are told, don't we." This comment trivializes the issue and the concerns of people. Does the poster truly believe that we are not somehow shaped by the behaviour we routinely engage in? I don't think the poster does. He needs to make a more convincing argument, such as 'these sites are really about Goth fashion more than sticking the digits of a corpse into one's orifices. It's all a storm in a tea cup.'

    Let's look at it from the the cop's perspective for a second. He's getting heat from his superiors, who are getting heat from ministers (parliament ministers, not religious (not that the two are mutually exclusive)). The story gets a lot of press, people react because they've been hearing about bad content for years, molesters enticing kids in chat rooms, etc. Much like the Janet Jackson fiasco, which, on it's own, was no big deal. We saw her tit, big deal.That night, my kids watched an episode of Arrested Development revolving around a character's lust for his cousin, and the shame associated with it. I didn't have to explain the tit, they've seen plenty!

    Cops and prosecuters routinely see stuff that would curl our hair.

    Sorry, I rambled a bit but I don't have time to clean it up. And you're right, the burden of proof belongs with the censor.

  • by TyrranzzX ( 617713 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @11:23AM (#8408065) Journal If you're a necropheliac, pedophile, and/or cannible and you get off to those things, fine. It's ok to fantisize; people fantisize all the time and it's a freedom that everyone values. If you begin to have urges to do those things, you should seek professional help because they are bad.

    The very moment you actually do those things, is the moment you step over the line, and I get out the shotgun and begin huntin' for the sorry scum that did it. Violating a graveyard to get fresh corpses? no. You can argue that it doesn't cost anything to society all you want but would you like to be told by the cemitary your mothers body was removed, most likely by necropheliacs? Or how would you like to lose a friend to their fetish because they decided one day they wanted ot get killed and eaten by their buddy is some crazy sex ritual? As for pedophilia, that leaves real scars on young people, both from the rape part (from which comes a mistrust of society and the oppisite sex) and the confusion part (which completly screws up any chance of them having a healthy view of sex). IANAP, but if you want more info, look into the research.

Loose bits sink chips.