As from tomorrow it will be illegal for anyone in England and Wales to possess an "extreme" pornographic image.
This comes as quite a relief as, before photography and the internet came into being, women, as I am sure you are all aware, enjoyed a Golden Period where they went unmolested about their business, free from harm or oppression. Yes, before the advent of online pornography women didn't even need to be protected from the depraved attentions of picture peeping perverts.
Well, all right, perhaps there was still a chance of encountering a sexual predator back then, but things were very different, nonetheless. There was a great deal more craftsmanship involved in being a sadist, murderer and total nutjob. You couldn't just go online, look at women in bondage and then consequently decide to go out and kill a prostitute. No, you had to put a bit of thought into it, use your own imagination. Not like todays lazy, computer-reliant lunatics.
The Romans only had mosaics and arousing busts to inspire them but they still excelled in creative cruelty. The Vikings didn't have internet access but they could rape and pillage with a huge degree of success. Gilles de Rais, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Jack the Ripper, all managed to come up with their own ways of torturing and killing women without a laptop between them. History is packed with people who were quite capable of going out and doing something abhorrent to somebody else entirely under their own volition, without a single horror film, video game, heavy metal song or extreme pornographic image to send them on their way.
Still, if todays MTV generation can only get stimulated enough to leave their darkened rooms and muder women by looking at pictures of people pretending to strangle each other then I can see how a law banning them from looking at that sort of thing would be useful. But while the extreme pornography law coming into place tomorrow has certainly made me feel so much safer already, I do have concerns it hasn't gone far enough. It's all very well making it illegal to have a picture of something someone, somewhere, might find abhorrent but what about all the upsetting filth already besmirching my eyeballs? The wealth of sexually violent, necrophiliac, bestial imagery already established in our society, slowly corrupting us all into sexual pyschopaths?
For example, one could argue that one should not be found to be in possession of a Bible (itself full of tales of incest, torture and killings) because its existence led to women like Saint Agatha of Sicily suffering terrible torture, including having her breasts cut off, while Saint Catherine of Alexandria was scourged and condemned to be broken on the wheel. Where their tormentors got their specific ideas from I have no idea, (though I'm guessing it wasn't the internet - maybe an extreme etching?) but the irony is that depictions of these, and other, violent acts can be seen in religious artwork across the globe. Walk into any church, chapel or cathedral in Europe and the chances are there will be depictions of everything from Jesus on the Cross, to a scantily clad Saint Sebastian being pierced with arrows, to poor old Saint Agatha carrying her amputated breasts before her.
The same is true of the contents of museums and art galleries. If you perform a Google image search on "Leda and the Swan" you will be presented with a plethora of bestiality based mythological erotica. I have viewed a lot of these images and while I still only want to throw bread at water fowl, rather than my underwear, it's only a matter of time before someone less balanced than I sees these same extreme pictures and ends up buggering a swan in Hyde Park.
If, however, you disagree and think that this law sounds like an ill-conceived, badly thought out, damaging and unnecessary enterprise and are puzzled as to what the point of it might be then you can find out more here.
Meanwhile I'm off to the museum to warn them that possessing the following sorts of images will soon be a big no-no, so best to chuck 'em in a skip, now.