Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, because the actual recommendations aren’t online yet. But news today that the Bill Henson “scandal” has prompted an overhaul of NSW art laws really gets up my nose.
Australian photographer Bill Henson is no stranger to controversy. His images, like the one here, are of nude or semi-nude adolescents, and “protecting the innocent children from the evil pedophiles” is a powerful rallying-call. Newspaper columnists and talkback radio hosts alike revel in its ability to stir the emotions — attention-seeking pricks that they are.
In an incident earlier this year, some of Henson’s photographs were seized by the police — but returned once the Office of Film and Literature Classification found that none of them were “child pornography”. Indeed, it called their nudity “mild and justified” and gave them a PG rating.
Got that? PG. Suitable for viewing by children under the age of 16, with parental guidance.
But apparently the considered judgement of the official body charged with this kind of analysis — the people who deal with and (sometimes) ban material which is pornographic — isn’t good enough.