Obscenity at the Design Museum

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Jonathan K Thursday 13 December 2007 5.24pm
cholmondeley wrote:
On June 12 I wrote this to the Design Museum, but got no reply or acknowledgement although I wrote a follow-up:
"In your mostly excellent shop you are displaying a book called 'Hell Babies' cf http://tinyurl.com/yswlfh .

In my view this book obviously crosses the line into pedophilia. I don't want to get into a boring discussion about artistic freedom. Protecting our children trumps that. Personally I would have doubts about another book you are displaying called Gothic Lolita.

I ask you both to remove the book and reply to this email.

thanks"

The books continued to be displayed for some time.


Drifting away from the OP here, but the well-known, stylised drawings, by Junko Mizuno (a woman by the way) have never made me think of paedophilia whatsoever. They are not to my taste, but that's a different matter. The pictures are of all obviously meant to be of women - they all have breasts for start! Japanese manga-style drawing do often use big eyes, innocent looks and what western people may think of as 'child-like' hair-styles but in no way is Mizuno's work paedophilic.

'Gothic Lolita' is a youth-cult in Japan made from combining two other youth groups (guess which ones...). Not seen the book yo0u describe but if it documents a youth culture then why have 'doubts' about it?
Ivanhoe Thursday 13 December 2007 5.31pm
Loli-Goths are harmless fun, imho. All the ones I've seen have clearly been adults, and so if they want to dress like that then it's their prerogative (now Bobby Brown. He IS worth banning!)

I'm looking forward to seeing a few Loli-Goths in Harajuku this Christmas. I'm also hoping to find a cafe where the waitresses dress up as French Maids though, so that probably makes me a screaming pervert. Right! Off to the Design Museum shop with me ;0)

...if you press it, they will come.
roy Thursday 13 December 2007 5.54pm
Using children in any argument about censorship is reducing a complex argument to its lowest form. If you take offence at the word **** then say its you that takes offence don't speak for your neighbour or your children.
Most children 'as has been mentioned, punctuate most of their sentences with Fuck these days.
Rather than targetting the design museum your ire should be better placed at the lack of recycling that is destroying our childrens future.
Also french connection has pretty much taking the shock effect of that word and over used and misspelt it to their use pretty effectively over the last couple of years. A much better target imho.
Lets not use 'Wont someone think of the children' to move to a bland and censorious approach to what is after all a museum.
cholmondeley Thursday 13 December 2007 6.28pm
Jonathan K wrote:
the well-known, stylised drawings, by Junko Mizuno (a woman by the way) have never made me think of paedophilia whatsoever. They are not to my taste, but that's a different matter. The pictures are of all obviously meant to be of women - they all have breasts for start! Japanese manga-style drawing do often use big eyes, innocent looks and what western people may think of as 'child-like' hair-styles but in no way is Mizuno's work paedophilic.
'Gothic Lolita' is a youth-cult in Japan made from combining two other youth groups (guess which ones...). Not seen the book yo0u describe but if it documents a youth culture then why have 'doubts' about it?
Disagree. I've seen plenty of manga and am broader-minded than many, but I draw the line at the melding of adult sexual characteristics with depictions of children. In 'Hell Babies' the paedophilic implication is blatant as hell. The Design Museum was wrong to stock it, wrong to ignore my letter. The argument that something "documents a youth culture" carries no weight.
Jerry Thursday 13 December 2007 10.23pm
I suppose it's lucky that we are able to discuss these subjects in such an open forum. Or is it because the fight against summary censorship continues and there are many people out there who would like to decide what you or I can or cannot read. It is pretty clear that if "Hell Babies" was deemed obscene then Amazon wouldn't stock it, nor could you buy stationary featuring her drawings of weird babies (not to my taste either!)! As much as we all deplore pedophiles, it seems wrong to cry "wolf" too much and devalue genuine concerns.
cholmondeley Thursday 13 December 2007 10.35pm
Jerry wrote:
I suppose it's lucky that we are able to discuss these subjects in such an open forum. Or is it because the fight against summary censorship continues and there are many people out there who would like to decide what you or I can or cannot read. It is pretty clear that if "Hell Babies" was deemed obscene then Amazon wouldn't stock it, nor could you buy stationary featuring her drawings of weird babies (not to my taste either!)! As much as we all deplore pedophiles, it seems wrong to cry "wolf" too much and devalue genuine concerns.
1.It's always wrong to 'cry wolf too much.'
2.Amazon is no arbiter of anything.
3.Asking the Design Museum to desist displaying paedophilic material is the opposite to 'summary censorship.'
4.I suppose you mean 'stationery' rather than 'standing still.'
Jerry Thursday 13 December 2007 10.59pm
May thanks for correcting my damn spelling checker. Though perhaps my spelling database was trying to keep me calm and stationary in dealing with the contentious area of free speech. I still maintain you are crying "wolf" but I understand that people can see different things in a work of art, perhaps you should exercise your democratic right and avoid the shop at the design museum. You can and should legislate against the perverts, but stopping art you "think" is going to help? I don't read the tabloids much, but this is their approach. Let's get to discussing the real problem that is out out there, that is prison overcrowding, problems with offender tagging, and lack of secure mental hospitals. These are all areas that could help reduce paedophiles offending again.
Jan the old one Friday 14 December 2007 7.45am
Encourage recycling? yep I'm all for it, seeing what I consider a swear word emblazoned accross a bag? no..I know children today use language far worse but just because they do should we turn a blind eye. How do you explain to a small child that the word they are trying to read is not ' nice' and when they ask what it means, you explain that it's an anglo saxon word for sexual activity..

My daughter from the age of six was an avid reader, sitting in the packed surgery reading a magazine asked me what Inkest was, puzzled I looked at the word ..it was incest..no way could I explain that!

I think we are doing our children no favours in permitting language to be seen displayed over bags, or hearing it all the time on television. That combined with sex and violence desensitises(?) children.

Oh my heavens I sound like Mary Whitehouse,
I used to laugh and think she was misguided now I know she was right.
I believe people should be entitled to live their lives in any way they want and would defend that right. But please behind your own front door!
chuckalata Friday 14 December 2007 11.02am
Do you really think that a genuine paedophile would have any interest in these cartoon drawings? You might not like it, but it's hardly paedophilia, given that they're very un-lifelike drawings. I find it odd that someone could be worrying about these drawings being somehow improper and offensive when actual real-life children are being abused for 'proper' paedophilia. What's next? Prosecuting authors who write teen novels containing underage sex in case adults read them and get paedophilic urges?
Michael Place Friday 14 December 2007 11.24am
I am delighted to let you know that the Design Museum has now removed from display the article in question. Thank you for your support.
Michael
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