You may not be surprised to hear that John Howard’s $189 million dollar vow to “clean up the internet” has not won my vote.
On the contrary it has merely given me the desire for a strong cup of tea and a bit of a lie down. And by ‘lie down’ I mean ‘projectile vomit’.
Under Howard’s vote garnering pla- I mean uh under his well thought out and surely desperately needed plan every Aussie family (and wouldn’t I like to see his definition of family while we’re at it) will get a free internet filler and… well I don’t know what else exactly, as I may have experienced a small rage black out while reading the article, but I gather it’s bunch of other crap to prevent people from accessing (clutch your pearls now) porn.
The fact that Howard chose to reveal this plan while blathering on about Christianity and “family values” (don’t even get me started) at the National Press Club in Canberra makes it pretty clear exactly who he is appealing to and why. It is a shameless attempt to claw back some votes from a dying government that I hope will backfire. I just cannot believe anyone can think that this is the best way to spend nearly $200m bucks - ahead of, say, education, health, the environment or - Jesus - half a dozen areas they have been neglecting for 10 years. (Then again the people he is appealing to seem to believe in a lot of very incredulous things so you never know).
This is not to say that the thought of paedophiles using the internet to procure young victims is not a terrible one. I just find it very hard to believe it happens as often as the government and/or media seem to suggest. Or maybe I just think that there are simpler ways of cracking down on it, such as, say, ensuring your child is not a fucking idiot.
Meanwhile the promise to give every Australian family a filter is just… lame. I mean I can understand that some people do find pornography highly sexist and offensive but I just don’t get what the big deal is. It might not be everyone’s view but I actually don’t think that exposing a child to most of the laughably-lame porn on the internet is going to scar them for life. If they’re seeking it out and you put it out of their reach they’re just going to want it more and find a way to get it. I say let everyone experience the joys of B-grade porn, complete with cheesy music, for themselves and they’ll soon discover how anticlimactic (I wish I could say pun unintended) it is.
Growing up in the computer age (well sort of - our first machine was an Amiga 500 so it wasn’t exactly The Matrix) as a teenager I had, in theory, access to all kinds of disturbing stuff on the internet and yet somehow I made it through. I’d like to give the next generation enough credit to assume they can do the same.
As Neil Harvey (god bless you, stranger) from Perth commented on the PerthNow website: “Can we get some filter to block out politicians from appearing on Youtube?”