Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Internet is for Porn

09:30:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , 8 comments
 by Ashley Lister

 If I was going to make one modest proposal to large internet presences, such as Google and YouTube, it would be: accept that people have sex.

I spent this morning looking for a specific track from a musical. It’s a track from the musical Avenue Q. For anyone not familiar with Avenue Q it’s a Jim Henson-style creation of adult humour and puppets with a catchy songbook and sharp, pragmatic comedy. The writers describe it as a coming of age parable and, as they’ve taken it to the West End, Broadway and beyond, I guess they’d know.

This is one of the opening tracks:


I think these four lines are my favourites from any musical ever:
What do you do with a BA in English?
What is my life going to be?
I can’t pay the bills yet
Because I have no skills yet.

There are other excellent tracks, such as My Girlfriend who lives in Canada, If you Were Gay, and Schadenfraude.




But the track I was looking for is called, “The Internet is for Porn.”

YouTube stopped suggesting search titles by the time I’d hit the third letter R in that song title. Admittedly, by that point I’ve usually gone past the deliberate misnomer suggestions such as ‘The Internet is for PROM’ and ‘The Internet is for PRON’ and the grossly disquieting suggestion ‘The Internet is for P.’

But I find this abrupt cessation of help to be annoying and condescending. It’s the start of unwanted censorship. YouTube is washing its hands of me at this point. YouTube is virtually saying, “If you’re looking for that sort of filth, you can look for it on your own without my help, you pervert.”

I’m aware that this is being done as a safeguard to protect the innocent. But it has to be one of the stupidest safeguards on the face of the planet. Who in the name of God actually goes searching for legitimate porn by typing in the word ‘PORN’?

Google does this same stupid trick of snatching away helpful suggestions as soon as someone inputs an inappropriate term. Google will suggest ‘helpful’ items until one of the search terms being input becomes something deemed as unsuitable.

However, you can Google terms like lemon party, blue waffle and dirty smurfing and the results will make you wish to God that you’d never been born with eyes.

I’m not going to rail here about how internet policing should be done WITHOUT the heavy-handedness of arbitrary censorship levelled against randomly selected trigger words. I’m just going to make the modest proposal (to large internet presences) that some people have sex and businesses like YouTube and Google should grow up and accept as much.

And, for anyone interested in hearing the track I’d been looking for:



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8 comments:

Colin Davies said...

Ave Q is an amazingly cool thing.

It's interesting that our government want to impose so many things that censor us or remove our freedoms when they were not voted in by the people and therefore are not acting on mandate.

The internet is for porn and kittens. Though not at the same time please.

Cracking post.

Anonymous said...

I just dont know... I mean suppose little Annie is looking on youtube for a clip from her favourite western "A Fistful of Dollars" - (a movie enjoyed by many prepubescent 6 year old girls), but the moment the letters "fistfu.." are typed into the search bar, youtube immediately suggests "fistfucking"... now, a lot of parents won't like that and frankly it wouldn't happen in any other sphere of life - she wouldn't for instance be looking for a 'My Little Pony' annual in the library and suddenly come across a title like "The Sex Slave Fucked By Dog, Horse, & Donkey (Taboo Bestiality Zoo Erotica)" In general I agree that the internet should be open, free and uncensored but it's hardly too much to ask if people looking for - for instance - degraded images of facefucking via Google at least manage to cope with the burdensome task of typing the full word in themselves without lazily relying on a Google suggestion. I mean - hell! - do they also want Google to wank them off when they finally reach their porn of choice??? Are they really so lazy?? In terms of costs and benefits I'd say it's worth making adults type a whole word in themselves if it means that potentially young kids arent going to be accidentaly clicking on the suggested word and looking at videos of women having their throats viciously fucked.
What's next? Are you going to complain about the inconvenience of stretching you're arm to reach the top shelf and suggest that the jazz mags be put next to the comics on the bottom shelf?

Ashley R Lister said...

Colin - I replied earlier from my mobile but it's not uploaded the message. Long story short. Avenue Q is wonderful. And porn and kittens can work.

Anonymous - I know I'm being lazy. But I work hard in other areas of my life. If I'm looking after a six year old whilst they're on a computer, I make sure that the safe search is switched on and I try to keep them protected from images that could otherwise be deemed as distressing or inappropriate.

My worry here is that this surreptitious act of censorship is the thin end of the wedge.

If these small censorships are allowed to go unchecked it won't be long before it's impossible for a woman with breast cancer to google her symptoms, or a man with symptoms of testicular cancer to do an online search (ideally with helpful video) to advise what to look for.

Do I want the jazz mags put next to the comics? No. I don't. I think the current system is a touch unfair to those with mobility issues (because wheelchairs don't allow users to reach top shelf magazines) and I'd hate to be a dwarf, because it must be awkward if they require something from the top shelf. But I suppose we need to draw a line somewhere and good parenting and an "opt-in safe search" idea strikes me as much better than crap parenting and Cameron's censorial ideas of no one being allowed access to adult material unless they've specifically admitted to being a pervert.

Anonymous said...

Okay, after reading up about some of the other changes to the ways Google filters results I've done a U-turn decided that I largely agree with you! I suppose one thing to bear in mind is that Google is just a company like any other and one possible way you can object to these changes is to begin using another search engine - particularly if you like porn!
I think that the issue with David Cameron and censorship is slightly different and more troubling as this is coming directly from the state. If you read the proposals it isnt just porn that you will have to opt-in for but also the ill-defined and amorphous "esoteric material" which could mean anything the government wants it to. Bad, bad development.

Ashley R Lister said...

Anon - You're right. Using another search engine is the most sensible option. Voting with my feet is the way I operate most other choices in life.

And Cameron's proposals genuinely scare me. I don't think he likes dissident thinkers - unless they're providing him with a profit :-)

Thanks for such thought-provoking responses.

Ash

Lisa Kelly said...

Avenue Q is a little bit amazing - I only got put onto this recently but I love it.

My problem isn't with Google but with the internet. It is possible to tangibly take down entire pages and for the government to block access to sites (as they do with Pirate Bay). Before the net, you wanted something, you did the legwork and found it. Now you google and if it's not there, assume it doesn't exist.

Personally I have a little fond spot for safe search. Without its predictive work, I assume that it is much harder for people who can't spell to find their porn. Maybe it's incentive for them. Learn to spell so you can google hardcore video?

Loved the post.
L :-)

Ashley R Lister said...

Lisa - cool idea: an ABC guide to pornography!

;-)

Ash

Colin Davies said...

That's it, discriminate against the dyslexics now.