I’ve been away from home and without broadband for a week, so I went into the library in my home town to check my e-mail. I had a look at a few blogs while I was at it and then tried to check on my own. The computer flashed up a message telling me that www.giaklamata.blogspot.com ‘contains offensive material’ and there was no way it would open the website, lest I be corrupted.
Offensive material? Like what? OK, there’s a bit about auto-erotic asphyxia and people being found dead with things stuck up their bums, but my source was a respected pathologist, so that ought to lend it some gravitas, surely? And there is a post about a gay porno book, but I did point out that it failed to give me an erection, so that should be OK too, shouldn’t it? I gave a description of how you can collect and then post packets of your own shit through the public mails, but couched it in terms of reassurance, explaining that it is easier to do than one might think, so what in this would bring the blush of shame to the cheek of modesty? There are posts that deplore the religion peddled by Jentezen Franklin, Fred Phelps, Mary Catherine Baxter and Jimmy Swaggart, a quite shamelessly crude and offensive bunch, who regularly trounce the sensibilities of the more broad-minded, so upsetting people like them redresses the balance a little, that’s all. I suggested shoving a dildo up the Pope’s tail-pipe, but after hearing his pompous hypocrisy about homosexuality, what right-thinking pillar of the community wouldn’t? No, pure as the driven snow, is this blog.
No human being has been censoring blogs from a back room of Huddersfield public library, of course. It’s just a bit of soft-ware the library uses, an electronic Lord Chamberlain’s Office that scans sites for occurrences of ‘fuck’, mention of dildoes, anything to do with the Pope’s rectum, etc. (‘Lathophobic Aphasia – regrettable playground language, juvenile mockery of the clergy that the faithful might find offensive, schoolboy smut about boy-on-boy shagging in our top public schools, fashionable approval of homosexual acts, all quite unsuitable’.) The programme did once backfire, though. Three years ago it refused to open an e-mail from a friend, and it spelled out why:
‘This message contains language that may be offensive:
Fuck x 3
Shit x 2
Wank x 1’*
Thus it failed to spare my blushes in its attempt to do just that.
(* 6.5 on Whitehouse-Cartland Regrettability Scale: ‘Most unladylike’.’)