back to article Murky online paedo retreat: The Nether explores the fantasy-reality divide

On a bare stage, two chairs face each other across a table. At the table sits Morris, an investigating detective employed by The Nether – the virtual counterpart to the In-World – where users in the year 2050 can live out their every fantasy. Opposite sits her quarry, Sims, a businessman in his 60s who has been up to no good. …

  1. Graham Marsden
    Childcatcher

    No doubt...

    ... this will have the Daily Mail brigade up in arms because, to them, there's no difference between fantasy and reality.

    For the same reason, anyone who goes to see films from the Saw series is clearly a repressed psychopath and Agatha Christie was a potential mass murderer who lived out her fantasies in print.

    And whilst we're at it, let's burn all copies of Viktor Nabakov's Lolita and...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No doubt...

      There are two conditioners of our potential actions - nature and nurture. The culture in which we are raised, or now live, can override some of our species' basic instincts.

      In the UK child-brides being married off to much older men are no longer a social norm. We have replaced blood feuds and other "honour" killings with a formal system of law to protect the innocent.

      All these things have changed over time in our society. Even within a person's life-time it is possible to acculturate to changing mores. Then one day it is realised that the change in your attitudes has become ingrained - and you may wonder at your various younger selves' opinions that were of their time.

      Unfortunately the human psyche likes consistency - therefore many people deny their previous opinions and/or zealously persecute those who apparently have those opinions now. The emotion we call "guilt" is socially induced for the flagellation of the self - or hypocritically of others. That latter trait is ancient enough to have acquired a shorthand expression in "motes and beams".

      The censorship argument would be that a realistic fantasy modifies a person's future reactions to the same situations in reality. That is why emergency drills are practised as realistically as possible - to make the necessary reactions second nature.

      The question is how far will a fully realistic fantasy make the average person incapable of inhibiting certain actions in the real world? Our dreams are experienced as "reality" - even though they are often apparently illogical. Is there any evidence that they influence an average person to alter their behaviour unless they desire to do so?

      The play described in the article has echoes of "The Silence of the Lambs". Will there be a final act where the interrogator reveals their own barely suppressed predilections - and joins the accused in their Nether world?

    2. knarf

      Re: No doubt...

      Daily Mail is fantasy and control, their readers are just too stupid to see it

  2. x 7

    So.......if we accept the premise of this play, Gary Glitter should have been found "not guilty" in his first trial as his possession of kiddie-porn photos was likely to prevent him from carrying out real life attacks. Whereas in reality we now know from his second trial that he had the photos AND carried out attacks on young girls.

    The basic premise of the plays argument is wrong: habituation to a certain practice, even if simulated, makes it more likely that the practice will be repeated in real life. Not less. Repetition breeds acceptance and familiarity: if it didn't, then what would be the point of aircraft / tank / battlefield simulators? If some deviant practices kiddie porn in private, its more likely to make him accept carrying out the real thing. Not less.

    This play tries to create a discussion where no discussion is needed. In our society abuse of children is not acceptable.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This play tries to create a discussion where no discussion is needed."

      That is the slippery path to a totalitarian state.

      Orwell made Newspeak the scaffold of his plot in "Nineteen Eighty Four". If you change meanings in a society's vocabulary - and even better limit that vocabulary - then you chain people's minds. What can't be thought in language - can't be communicated clearly to others.

      To close down any public debate is a sign of either fear or the wish to control the population to your own agenda. To do that you also need a codex "Indicis librorum prohibitorum" - a list of banned books, films, and subjects. What then follows is book burning and destruction of other artefacts - and the persecution/execution of authors, film-makers, artists etc. It happened when the Roman Catholic Church held sway; it happened in 20th century Germany, Russia, and Cambodia; --- it is still happening today.

      No subject should be off-limits for serious, informed, public discussion. Whether it is potentially to change society - or to neutralise a threat. Since the Enlightenment people have debated human nature in an objective way - and there have always been vested interests trying to close down discussion. The internet has now made it very difficult to exercise control over a population's thinking.

      Do you really want a world of LOL cute cat pictures - with a compliant population of tv ostriches like "Farenheit 451"?

      1. x 7

        "That is the slippery path to a totalitarian state."

        Is it hell.

        Society as a whole generally accepts that child abuse is wrong (unless you happen to be a member of certain Christian and Islamic fundamentalist cults, or else live on some Pacific islands). We all accept imagery of child abuse is wrong - otherwise why prosecute so many offenders? Theres no need for a new discussion - its already taken place over the years and reached a consensus.

        Conceptually whats the difference between looking at pictures, watching videos, or indulging in virtual reality? All - in this content - are "artistic" (for want of a better world) representations of illegal practices and should be regarded as such. Society has already had its discussion and made its decision. Any attempt to re-engineer that simply panders to the aims of the perverted. Is that your intention?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "We all accept"

          And what if me and my wife decide to dress up, role-play out some fantasies, and take polaroid photographs of the events for our own, private collection? Doing so makes us criminals and puts us on the sex-offenders register.

          Is that something that "we all accept" as clearly criminal?

          The debate is never over when it comes to victimless free thought.

          1. x 7

            Re: "We all accept"

            with the best (or worst) will in the world, neither you nor your wife are going to remotely resemble 10-year old children, despite whatever makeup or facelifts you indulge in.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "We all accept"

              "[...] neither you nor your wife are going to remotely resemble 10-year old children [...]

              The law in England and Wales defines a child as "under 18 - or looks under 18". A TV actress was recently fired from her role in a soap as a 14 year old - when it was discovered she was actually 25 rather than her CV stated 19. Pictures of a woman in the classic St Trinian's fancy dress outfit would theoretically be enough to justify an arrest of the photographer.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "We all accept"

              @x7

              And the bar has already slipped to include "extreme pornography" or anything that is deemed too un-normal. It doesn't have to have anything to do with being 10 years old. Could just be whips and chains between two consenting, married adults.

              That's an example of the slippery slope that we are all talking about. Get it?

            3. illiad

              Re: "We all accept"

              ... except some 25 year old wives *look* like 10 year olds, due to their small frame, etc... I know a 30 year old teacher, that is always mistaken for one of her 15 year old pupils!!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "We all accept"

                "except some 25 year old wives *look* like 10 year olds, due to their small frame"

                A 30+ friend was so petite that an English size 8 was too large. She had to buy children's clothes.The bonus was they were VAT free. The downside was her husband complained that people looked at him askance when he was out with this "12 year old".

            4. rh587 Silver badge

              Re: "We all accept"

              "with the best (or worst) will in the world, neither you nor your wife are going to remotely resemble 10-year old children, despite whatever makeup or facelifts you indulge in."

              But you accept that the activity itself is a fundamentally legal (if tasteless - depending on your POV) partnership between two consenting adults?

              So what you're trying (and struggling) to say is that with significantly more convincing (digital) costumes, the ethics of the activity change?

              Perhaps you might like to put forward arguments in support of that (entirely reasonable) position, rather than simply spouting "child abuse bad".

              Because yeah, duh. But we're not discussing child abuse.

          2. PassiveSmoking

            Actually...

            If you ask your wife to sit on your face while you photograph it and she agrees to it then you've both committed a crime that can land you on the sex-offenders' register. Sorry to have to break it to you, but there are some acts between connecting adults that have been criminalised.

          3. razorfishsl

            Re: "We all accept"

            What goes on between legally consenting adults as long as it is not made public by them... is absolutely no ones business, anything outside of that should be stamped on hard.

            A recent case in HK where a singer got his end away with a twin of another band and videoed it, the material was stolen by a news paper and published.

            He had to publicly apologize and was cautioned by the police, the real criminals got way scot free.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "[...] representations of illegal practices [...]"

          Which are a mainstay of the general public's media entertainment. Murder, grand theft, prostitution, corruption ...are all constantly portrayed in print or on a screen. The audience don't necessarily want to see a wrong-doer get their comeuppance. The "House of Cards" on both sides of the Atlantic had/has the audience rooting for a thoroughly nasty, murderous leading character. Ditto "The Sopranos". Even the popular screen detectives are often the ones who deliberately break the laws that are supposed to protect innocent people.

          The problems with a lot of recent criminal laws in England are manifold.

          1) single issue groups with a vested interest being allowed to push, or even draft, a bill without consideration of its wider impact.

          2) insufficient diligence being given to the official drafting of the law. The awkward detail being left for the Appeals Court to sort out - if anyone is rich enough to challenge a prosecution that far.

          3) politicians' knee-jerk reactions to media "moral panic" pressures.

          4) police attempting to enhance their careers, or simply meet targets, by using "mission creep" to push the boundaries of poorly drafted laws.

          "Child Abuse" has become one of the Newspeak phrases that is supposed to close down any discussion about what it might mean. People are afraid to have some pictures of their children in family albums when they read about some of the prosecutions. For the purposes of the relevant laws in England and Wales "a child" is someone who is under 18 - since 2003 it has been redefined as "looks like they are under 18". That's a very broad canvas for "mission creep" when "indecency" definitions are subjective, vague, and sometimes circular.

          The polarisation of any subject into "you are part of the solution - or part of the problem" is a bluff that apparently doesn't wish to consider the complexities or nuances.

        3. Oninoshiko

          "Conceptually whats the difference between looking at pictures, watching videos, or indulging in virtual reality? All - in this content - are "artistic" (for want of a better world) representations of illegal practices and should be regarded as such. Society has already had its discussion and made its decision. Any attempt to re-engineer that simply panders to the aims of the perverted. Is that your intention?"

          The difference should be at the question of "who does this depiction harm?" When that person is a minor, it should be illegal. Possession of it should be illegal. When that person is of age (at the time the depiction was created) it should be legal, without regard to how old the person APPEARS. When there is not a real person, it's not harming anyone, regardless of age (Books, comics, animation, or VR, someone who doesn't exist can't be harmed).

          Just because something makes you uncomfortable, is not grounds for making it illegal. If you don't like it, just avoid it.

        4. veti Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          @x7

          Theres no need for a new discussion - its already taken place over the years and reached a consensus.

          That's an argument against ever changing anything. Once, not so very long ago, there was a consensus about treatment of homosexuals, which was very different from the one we have today. There was once a consensus about the status of women, which was very different from the one we have today. There was once a consensus about the desirability of associating with French people, which - well, actually maybe that one hasn't changed so much.

          But just because society has "reached a consensus" is no reason to consider the question closed.

          (And incidentally, this very thread is quite strong evidence that whatever society has reached, it's not "consensus", there is still significant dissent on the subject.)

          (On a meta note, I find it interesting how many 'Anonymous' comments there are on this particular story.)

        5. PassiveSmoking

          Nobody's arguing that having photos of child abuse is a crime and you should do time for it.

          But what about that guy who went to prison for having a pornographic cartoon of Lisa Simpson?

          In the former a real child was made to suffer for somebody's sick gratification. Who was made to suffer in the latter case? Last time I checked, Lisa Simpson doesn't actually exist.

      2. P. Lee

        >If you change meanings in a society's vocabulary - and even better limit that vocabulary - then you chain people's minds.

        Indeed, this was the reasoning behind redefining "marriage" to include homosexual relationships, when (as far as I'm aware) it was never so in any culture, regardless of the culture's view on the acceptability of homosexual practise.

        A few things I think have driven the problem of dealing with "forbidden stuff":

        1. Politicians have discarded the idea that some things cannot be sensibly legislated and reasonably enforced.

        2. Public morality has been discarded, especially in the pursuit of profit.

        3. Mass media - the pleasure and profit to be gained from shock.

        Thought-crime is a tricky beast. My tuppence-worth is that motivation should not be factor in the legal system. The hate-crime issue needs to go away. If calling names is not a crime, calling names because I dislike your skin colour doesn't warrant special attention. Being mean is being mean. If I steal your handbag, prosecute me for that, not because I think Orientals are fair-game. It used to be that morality and honour helped keep individuals mostly in check. That is no longer the case. The law is a very blunt instrument, inappropriately used and its being wielded badly. Our issue, is that we have discarded the finer-grained approach of personal and public morality, which should step in where the law cannot effectively go.

        I think habitation to something does increase acceptance. The more you do something, the less likely it is that you'll think its wrong. Its just classic cognitive dissonance being solved. Take porn as an example. There may be an issue with unwilling actors, or there may not in any one instance. Overall, however, it can be a problem in the industry as a whole. However, possibly more significantly, there is an issue with demand. If I can get sexual satisfaction without the consent of another living person; if I buy the means to that satisfaction; if a significant number of women I see and hear want to be my dirty little slut-whore, what kind of person does that indicate that I am? If that were my normal or common sexual experience (or with women in general), are you sure those attitudes wouldn't leak a little into real life? Is sex all about me and what I can get, or is it about what I can give? Does St Trinians' sexualisation of children not have any implications? Does art only imitate life, or does life sometimes imitate art?

        Part of breaking a taboo is the adrenalin rush, the excitement. If nothing else, that will go with habituation and the quest would be on for something new, to keep the rush going. When it comes to older people having sex with children, that leads to places society in general says are inappropriate. When things are completely safe, do they not become a little less fun? As long as "no-one gets hurt" are we likely to progress from pretend-sex to trying it out in the real world?

        There appears to be a general despair at finding a solution. If you have an alcoholic or a heroin addict, do you put them in a padded room with alcohol and drugs and say, "off you go" or do you try to break the addiction and keep them away from places where they may be exposed to the temptation to indulge?

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          "If you have an alcoholic or a heroin addict, do you put them in a padded room with alcohol and drugs and say, "off you go" or do you try to break the addiction and keep them away from places where they may be exposed to the temptation to indulge?"

          Unlike substance addicts, paedophiles don't need external input - all the temptation is being generated in their own head automatically. Then, if you won't give them a safe outlet to express and act out their desires - they WILL try to get to real life children.

          This is what makes the paedo-vigilantes so dangerous - they are so much in love with the strawmen they create trying to justify their hardline stance, that they are actually increasing the risk to children.

        2. Graham Marsden

          @P.Lee

          > this was the reasoning behind redefining "marriage" to include homosexual relationships,

          No, limiting people's minds was the reasoning behind the *objections* to allowing gays to be "married".

          > if I buy the means to that satisfaction; if a significant number of women I see and hear want to be my dirty little slut-whore, what kind of person does that indicate that I am?

          I would say it indicates that you are someone who enjoys a bit of fantasy role-play in his sex life, along with a large number of other people in the population.

          I would also presume that, like them, you also have a conscience and can tell the difference between fantasy and reality and know that enacting these things in real life with a non-consenting partner is not a good thing.

          However to then call for such fantasies to be banned because of a spurious "slippery slope" argument or because "well there might be *someone* who can't tell the difference and could do something bad" relies on the sort of fallacious post hoc justificiations that lead to the Extreme Pornography laws and the desire to find a scapegoat to blame for something.

          > As long as "no-one gets hurt" are we likely to progress from pretend-sex to trying it out in the real world?

          Provided those partners are capable of giving *lawful* consent, what business is it of yours or anyone else?

          > If you have an alcoholic or a heroin addict, do you put them in a padded room with alcohol and drugs and say, "off you go" or do you try to break the addiction and keep them away from places where they may be exposed to the temptation to indulge?

          If people wish to indulge in drugs and alcohol, it's their choice.

          If they want help, support mechanisms should be in place to enable them to get that help.

          Prohibitions of alcohol and drugs have been shown to fail time and time again, but still our politicians and "moral media" won't grasp the nettle and admit that their "solutions" have failed and it's time to try a different approach.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @P.Lee "Indeed, this was the reasoning behind redefining "marriage" to include homosexual relationships, when (as far as I'm aware) it was never so in any culture, regardless of the culture's view on the acceptability of homosexual practise."

          There have been, and still are, many cultures with flexible genders for recognised couples. It is said that the early Roman Christians rejected anything that associated them with Judaism. Therefore the obvious proscriptions were actively rejected: eating pork or shellfish, cutting their hair, being circumcised; shaving. It is said they even had same sex couples.

          Where the religious authorities in the UK recently overstretched themselves was in vehemently opposing CIVIL marriage regulation changes. No one was suggesting they had to open up their religious ceremonies to same sex couples. In fact they were given the same legal exemptions that have long allowed them to refuse a religious wedding ceremony for reasons of their dogma's proscription of divorcees or "barren" people.

          A religious wedding ceremony per se has nothing to do with the State's legal contract with a married couple and their children. In England and Wales only a civil marriage registration confers the legal rights and obligations of a married couple.

          The Anglican Church once held a monopoly on State marriage in England and Wales by virtue of being a legal extension of Parliament in many family matters. They were stripped of that legal authority about 150 years ago. The waters were muddied because, unlike France, the civil registration is often allowed to take place in the same place as the religious ceremony for convenience.

          Incidentally the Churches' campaign was finally torpedoed by their most vitriolic anti-gay senior cleric being exposed as a sexual predator on the young clerics in his pastoral care.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A society that has closed down debate in the way you suggest has closed down any possibility of lowering the age of consent. Or indeed raising it.

        Societies definition of a "child" changes with time and although at the moment we seem to be in a static period undoubtedly at some point it will change again.

        FWIW I support a completely harmonized European wide definition of "adult" and I think I'd stick it at seventeen. I think the current system where a sixteen year old is considered adult enough for some things but not for others is just stupid.

        ALSO anonymous because apparently even raising the subject in discussion proves I'm a paedo.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Paintings

      If you paint pictures of certain ideas (violent, sexual, against the state), you can be locked up in prison, upon their discovery. Even if you had never committed a crime or intended to do so in your life.

      Unfortunately we already partially live in a Totalitarian state where certain thoughts are a crime.

      Yet most sane people know how not to act on certain thoughts. We shouldn't criminalise free thinking for everyone, to catch a few insane people. The price is too high, and the slope is too slippery.

    4. Graham Marsden

      @x 7

      > This play tries to create a discussion where no discussion is needed.

      Translation: This play tries to create a discussion where x 7 doesn't *want* a discussion to happen, so he goes for the simple categorical "won't someone think of the children" argument.

      For his interest and edification, I give him the Paedofinder General...

    5. rh587 Silver badge

      "So.......if we accept the premise of this play, Gary Glitter should have been found "not guilty" in his first trial as his possession of kiddie-porn photos was likely to prevent him from carrying out real life attacks."

      No.... because the porn in itself depicted unacceptable child abuse, and we follow the logic that the supply is (in part) linked with demand and therefore the consumer is an accessory to the abuse.

      If Glitter's porn had consisted solely of Lisa Simpson being subjected to animated incest then his conviction might be more tenuous, since no harm was done to any living person.

      And so it is in the scenario posed by The Nether - no harm has been done to a child, and no harm will be done to a child, because the entire meeting is a digitally-augmented roleplay game between consenting adults.

      The question you should be asking yourself is that - in the knowledge that consenting adults do engage for instance in daddy/daughter role-play (apparently that's a thing) - is a digitally enhanced extension of that - entirely legal - activity ethically different?

      "The basic premise of the plays argument is wrong: habituation to a certain practice, even if simulated, makes it more likely that the practice will be repeated in real life. Not less. Repetition breeds acceptance and familiarity: if it didn't, then what would be the point of aircraft / tank / battlefield simulators?"

      It's not the premise of the play, it's the question the play is asking. In that respect, it cannot be "wrong".

      Moreover, your references to simulators are hopelesly misplaced. Spending time in a simulator does breed familiarity, but does not mean that (e.g. if you simulate firing your tank cannon) you are more likely to do it in real life. In actuality it means you are more likely to use that cannon efficiently and effectively if you have need to use it. It doesn't mean that the moment you are deployed you will go blowing the place up firing shots everywhere. It simply means you'll be well equipped to use that equipment when you need it.

      "If some deviant practices kiddie porn in private, its more likely to make him accept carrying out the real thing. Not less."

      Two things.

      1. Cite your sources. Such claims require evidence. There is a whole section of criminal psychology which would disagree with you.

      2. When did "porn" become a verb? What does "to practice porn" mean?*

      * Don't answer, I don't want to know.

      This play tries to create a discussion where no discussion is needed. In our society abuse of children is not acceptable.

      Indeed it is not. But at no point in the play does it actually try to argue that abuse of children is acceptable. All activities are between consenting adults wearing digital costumes. People engage in roleplay now, so is roleplay with a more convincing costume ethically different? I'm inclined to accept that it might be. But not because of any argument that you have put forth in your drivellous rant.

    6. Steven Roper

      @x7

      I believe that those who are most fanatical in their opposition to something are often secretly enamoured of it themselves, and so they speak out to hide the fact from others as well as reinforce their own denial.

      This principle has already been demonstrated in the case of anti-gay fanatics: many of them are secretly gay, or have homophilic desires, which their culture and upbringing causes them to deny, and this denial is what drives their anti-gay fanaticism.

      That's not to say that everyone who dislikes gays is secretly gay. There are certainly many who are simply uncomfortable with the idea, but they don't go on banner-waving crusades about it. There is discomfort and avoidance, and then there is fanatical zealotry.

      If this is true of homosexuals and anti-gay fanatics, it is likely also true of vocal anti-paedophile crusaders like yourself. Yes, most people are rightly protective of kids. But when they start frothing at the mouth and demanding that the most basic freedoms be flushed down the toilet to further their cause, as you have clearly been doing in this thread, that's the kind of fanaticism which is usually covering for denial.

      Which is why I'd be more concerned about somebody like you being left alone with kids I care about, than someone like the fictional Sims. At least he knows what he is. How well do you know what you are?

      1. x 7

        Re: @x7

        Steven Roper

        You appear to be attempting to equate paedophilia with homosexuality. Is your arugment that because one is accepted so should be the other? It would appear to be so. And you attempt to accuse me of fanaticism? Methinks you are rather confused in your mind and should perhaps be analysing yourself rather than questioning how well I know myself. And the answer to your question is, I know myself very well and am absolutely happy in what I know - which I suspect is more than can be said for you.

        1. NumptyScrub
          Trollface

          Re: @x7

          You appear to be attempting to equate paedophilia with homosexuality. Is your arugment that because one is accepted so should be the other?

          Whereas you appear to be conflating "looking at depictions of something" to "immediately ready to do the depicted thing in real life at every opportunity". Which is a completely unfounded and basically untenable position.

          Conceptually whats the difference between looking at pictures, watching videos, or indulging in virtual reality? All - in this content - are "artistic" (for want of a better world) representations of illegal practices and should be regarded as such. Society has already had its discussion and made its decision.

          Aka bare assertion fallacy, you present the premise that looking at representations of an illegal activity should be itself illegal because "society has already had its discussion and made its decision". The mere fact that so many people disagree would seem to prove that society is not actually of one accord on this matter, notwithstanding that it is trivial to refute your premise: killing people is illegal, but watching John Wick or playing CoD: Advanced Warfare is a perfectly legal activity. Both activities have been undertaken by millions of people worldwide and are hugely popular. Society has apparently already made its decision, that watching movies and indulging in VR whose content involves illegal activities (like violence and murder), is perfectly fine in the name of entertainment.

          The line that must not be crossed is turning thought into action. I can murder pixels all day long (I like playing internet shootmans like CoD myself) and I have done nothing wrong, but the second I take that outside then I become the criminal. Fiddling kids is bad and must be punished, but simply thinking of fiddling kids and doing nothing about it? Until it becomes action I don't see the issue there.

          And in answer to the inevitable "but if you lock up anyone thinking of fiddling kids, you can prevent them being fiddled in the first place!" arguments, yes, that is exactly as effective as any other proposed method of punishing thoughtcrime. Overhear someone say "if X says that to me again I'll give them such a slap"? Report them for violent thoughtcrime. Have a friend tell you their shiny new BMW can do 120mph? Report them for speeding thoughtcrime. If you are going to suggest custodial sentences to "prevent" crimes then I insist you go the whole hog, so you can see for yourself just how stupid and unworkable the idea actually is.

        2. Steven Roper

          Re: @x7

          "You appear to be attempting to equate paedophilia with homosexuality."

          I was hoping you would be intelligent enough not to attempt to use that particular strawman to try to bolster your position. I guess I overestimated you. I should have known better, given the mindlessly Orwellian mentality you've been exhibiting.

          No, I have not equated homosexuality with paedophilia at all. What I did was to examine the psychological mechanism behind fanaticism and denial. At no point did I draw any comparison between homosexuality and paedophilia, the only comparison I drew was in certain peoples' negative reactions to them and the reasons for said reactions.

          I could just as easily have used a comparison with a fanatical Islamist wanting to ban bacon being a secret bacon-lover, or a rabid anti-smoker covering for her craving for a cancer stick, or a fanatical temperance-movement crusader trying to cope with his alcohol addiction, but in my ignorance of your sheer stupidity I chose to use the homosexual analogy instead. Silly me.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      i do concur, but then at the same time i'm hardly likely to fly to france to pick up a french maid. one could imagine leaving the retrobates in their own fantasy world in a humane prison for life, where they can live out their life in their own insane world whilst not actually harming anyone in the real world, gleefully unaware how sick they really are.

      on the other side i'm sure some form of therapy can be included in this world where the kids turns out to beat the crap out of them everytime they try it and huge electric shocks in the real world induce real pain.

      that would fix gary for sure.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Boffin

        @terra

        > i'm sure some form of therapy can be included in this world where the kids turns out to beat the crap out of them everytime they try it and huge electric shocks in the real world induce real pain.

        Oh, you mean just like the gay "cures" being offered by some Moral Crusader quacks? Yes, let's beat the sin out of people because that's always worked so well in the past!

    8. PassiveSmoking

      First, kiddy porn is a crime because it's got actual victims. The children in those photos are being abused on camera for the gratification of sick fucks.

      Second, Glitter was quite clearly abusing kids before he was downloading kiddy porn. He was not "using" photos because he wanted to work out his issues without hurting real children (which he was doing anyway because of point 1), he was using them because he was a sick fuck and they were probably serving as a substitute for not having access to real kids.

      Thirdly, arresting people on the basis of what they think or imagine is thought police. If you think depraved things about kids but never actually carry them out should you be arrested for that?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just arrived at the theatre.

    Seen this posted on El reg today. Got tickets this morning. Now it is a sell out.

    Tip... Look at the top of the table (if you are in the royal circle. It's animated. If your In the stalls you may not notice it at first.

    Next post it n 90 mins.

    Short play with no interval. But there is a real buzz already.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    #thenether

    Just finished watching #thenether.

    Firstly. The techie geeky stuff. The animation and Visual projections were amazing. I'm not going to spoil th deeper plot line. But for all of that work in technology it does show we really do have to decided what boundaries are acceptable in our online world. Aka. The Nether.

    Amanda Hales performance as the detective was thought provoking and a believable.

    I know we are on a tech website not a theatre review site.

    This is a good thought provoking show set only 35 years In the future and is a warning to us all.

    Don't let the initial bland set put you off. It's amazing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: #thenether

      "I know we are on a tech website not a theatre review site."

      The article is a valid El Reg subject for two reasons. One is the obvious tech side of its staging. The other is that it is envisaging a future that encompasses virtual reality and the internet.

      Fiction has always pushed discussions ahead of public debate. The publisher's forced trial of "Lady Chatterly's Lover" opened up a big debate about how British society was changing - but it had been banned for decades previously. The private prosecution of the play "The Romans in Britain" was the death knell for blasphemy laws in England. The Lord Chamberlain's absolute power of theatre censorship was repealed in 1968.

      In the 1960/70s everything was up for discussion. Then from the1980s the Establishment pushed back and there were things like Clause 28 to ban full discussion and education about human sexuality.

      Then in the 1990s the internet was a new forum for open discussions of everything - and since about 2000 the Establishment has been frantically proscribing what can be discussed.

      Today's play's subject could have been any of the so-called "extreme" areas of human interest recently defined as illegal on the internet in the UK. The recent popularity of "Fifty Shades..." probably rules out one proscribed area as not a strong subject for the general population.

      It seems that the "morality police" are too often driven by their own predilection for the activities they are prosecuting.

      They may fear their dark side thoughts - and attempt to hide them by abusing their powers to persecute others.

      They may feel that by imposing control on others - they are also hoping to regain control of their own desires/activities.

      There is also the possibility that they are simply jealous that others are doing what they would like to do themselves.

      The enforcement "mission creep" makes the public nervous of even going where the law appears to allow them. ... or rather I should say in English law "that which is not specifically prohibited". Literature, plays, and films are necessary to comment on the world in which we live - and to make people think.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: #thenether

        Thanks for your reply and not flaming me!!

        If you get chance to see it I would suggest you do so. It's interesting.

        I got to speak to David Calder just after I posted my message. He played Doyle. I told him even though it was such a sensitive subject they handled it really well.

        The funniest line for me in the play. And there are funny moments was a comment about elf's.

        If you have seen it, you will know what I mean!

    2. Steve Caplin

      Re: #thenether

      Glad you enjoyed it. I was knocked out by it, particularly (as I said) the fabulous set. Thought provoking, indeed.

      My seats were near the front of the stalls, so all I could see of the table was its faint reflection on the underneath. Did I miss much?

  5. Maty

    the not-so-slippery slope

    @ P.Lee

    In a thoughtful post you ask:

    'As long as "no-one gets hurt" are we likely to progress from pretend-sex to trying it out in the real world?'

    Well, we've had the internet as a 'pretend-sex' playground for the past two decades. As far as I know a wave of 'real-world' moral debauchery has failed to sweep across the west. Apart from the extreme conservative (small 'c') viewpoint, most people would say that sexual politics and gender relations are in a better place now than they were a generation ago.

    We can debate whether the internet has helped this (I think it has) but it's very hard to prove that it has been a hindrance. Certainly as a satanic instrument of moral perversion in the real world, sex on the internet has been a total failure.

  6. razorfishsl

    This highlights exactly why it is a bad idea to model AI on the human brain.

    Do I really want to comedown in the morning to see the toaster getting it on with the mixer....

  7. johndt

    Child Abuse Porn

    As a 75 year old survivor of all types of child abuse I feel until child abuse survivors find our voices the discussion is all from non survivors so to me not only not relevant but adds to the errors, misconceptions and harmful fallout to survivors. Our laws around child abuse are drawn up by people who have never been abused, never had to deal with child abusers and base their ideas, conclusions etc. on their life time experience as a non survivor of child abuse. Consider the survivor who was raped by parents starting as young as 2, auctioned off via internet to the highest bidder to be raped by countless strangers with the rapes often photographed by child pornographers. As an adult that survivor when seeing these images and films remembers the hours of drugs and pain she or he went through while being raped and filmed while knowing that the viewers of these images and films have a very different experience while viewing them. Child Abuse Porn reduces the horrific experiences of millions of children around the world. Child Abuse Porn takes Child Porn and turns it into Child Abuse Porn. All I see here is someone making Child Abuse Porn to increase their own celebrity and bank balance.

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