Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Degrees & Censorship


There's some interesting doings going on over on the other side of the planet.

When I first saw both of the images presented on the left on Michael Netzer's site I was fascinated. I've never been a fan of censorship in any way, shape or form, and for a while I thought that Mike had been told that his initial image - the one on the far left - was far too offensive for many, and probably borderline slander, which is why he changed it and added the extra bits. Then I realised who this was - Mike Netzer - and I knew that he'd not bowed under pressure, but was making a more powerful statement with the 'Censored' markings. Which one works best? I'll leave that for others to decide. Both are great in their own way, certainly the censored image makes the alleged crime much worse than it probably was.

Which brings us to the following. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't aware of the Charles Brownstein/Taki Soma situation when it happened - I wasn't there clearly - but I was aware of allegations of a sexual assault that occurred at last years Mid Ohio Convention. However Michael Netzer has been focusing on it, and what he sees as a cover-up about the situation, for a while now. And that makes for some damn good reading. Other have also covered it, to varying degrees, some blaming the victim, some the alleged assaulter, and so forth. The Comics Journal actually did an interesting piece as well - one of the few times I've bought a copy of the rag in ages. But one thing leaps out at me and has made me think of something that happened here on the weekend.

Much has been made about Brownstein and the fact that (if he indeed did it) 'only' grabbed Soma's breast for about ten seconds. That's minor in a lot of people's eyes, and perhaps they're right. On the weekend here a high profile footballer decided to break the nose of an opposition supporter because, according to initial reports, the supporter called him a dickhead. When news finally broke other players came to the support of Brogan (player involved), and some of those players were from the opposition. Entitling Port officials tried the cover up and are now going down the road of, "Well it was only one punch."

One punch killed David Hookes.

When you start using the varying degrees and levels of assault then when does it stop? Assault should be just that- assault. If someone gropes you against your will, or smacks you out in an airport, then that should be considered serious enough. It may not be murder, but in Brogan's case it's happened before (and was covered up by a Port friendly media person and the club itself) and if he's not checked and dealt with, and educated, it will happen again. Naturally the club is rallying around him, as they should, and as they did with the player who had the rape charges against him (charges dropped, but he paid the victim out with a decent sized sum before civil proceedings got underway - read into that what you will) and their now departed serial drink driver.

You see, from little things big things spring. One punch today leads to a full blown attack. One grope leads to rape. Deal with it now, don't cover it all up and educate the public. Pure and simple.

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