After two years and a half, Poets and Lovers is alive and going on, surrounded by hostile forces. It survived the persecution of its first website provider by the UK police, which finally led to closing down the websites that he hosted. We have now a new provider, aiming to host several art websites suffering from censorship, starting with those suppressed in the UK: Poets and Lovers, Pigtails in Paint, and the sites of Graham Ovenden and of Garage Press.
Vigilance of desire
Between August 31 and September 7, the server for Poets and Lovers and Pigtails in Paint was unreachable. Our host interpreted that as DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and tried repeatedly to counter them by special computer interventions. Finally, it appears that the “Canadian Centre for Child Protection” (CCCP) had reported images from Pigtails in Paint as “child pornography,” so RIPE NCC (Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre) blocked the server.
One of the “offending” images is an ethnographic photograph of a woman and a girl from an Amazonian tribe, who live nude. It is titled “Brasil Indias Kamaiuras del Alto Xingu (c1965)” and comes from an article titled “Native American Beauties: Part 2” published on December 21, 2017 by Moko. Here is what it says about the picture:
The next photograph is a postcard from Brazil. This photograph of an Indian mother and daughter was posed, yet appears much more natural than the previous photo from Mexico. I was not able to find the photographer or date of the picture, but when researching it I found an image of the postcard with cancelled Brazilian postage stamps affixed. This demonstrates that in Brazil, the postcard was respectable enough to be sent in the mail, in spite of the nudity of the subjects. I wonder if the postcard would be acceptable to postal authorities in this country.
At this time, all images of Pigtails in Paint are removed, and the home page shows a message by Ron, the Editor-in-Chief.
One finds many private organisations claiming to fight child abuse or sexual exploitation, giving themselves an appearance of humanitarian concern, science-based policies and high professional standards. Quite to the contrary, they are generally conservative lobbies, often of religious origin, aiming to impose on society, media and the Internet their own reactionary moral standards. For instance, the article “How Radical Anti-Porn Zealots Became the Media’s Sexploitation ‘Experts’” tells us:
In 2015, the religious conservative anti-pornography organization Morality in Media changed their name to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Since their rebranding, with no discernible change to their background, membership, funding sources or mission, they’ve become go-to experts for the mainstream press on a variety of subjects such as sex trafficking, child sex exploitation and the dangers of decriminalizing prostitution.
Their name appears in dozens of mainstream press stories, often quoted or referenced as a legitimate source of information regarding the alleged damage that pornography and sex work causes society.
The fact that some of these private organisations, such as the CCCP in Canada and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the USA, are officially recognised by their governments, and even get financial support from them, does not change their nature as private lobbies with a conservative agenda. Governments do not act on science or humanitarianism, but on corporate interests and conservative politics.
Such groups will persecute websites and organisations that contradict their reactionary moral values, resorting to magical buzzwords like “child pornography” that make you guilty until you can prove your innocence, and that hypnotise web authorities into submission. It is a shame that RIPE NCC bowed to such pressure from a private group and reacted by blocking Pigtails in Paint, without examining the incriminated images. You can write your protest here.
Past and future articles
Most articles from Agapeta have been republished, generally in a revised form. During the last six months, I have also finished presenting all poems and songs that I had recently discovered. There still remain from Agapeta many poems by Ernest Dowson, and I have yet to start republishing those by John Clare.
I intend to issue an updated version of the two articles in Agapeta that denounced the censorship of Pigtails in Paint in 2016.
For the future of Poets and Lovers, I will have to search for new material. Suggestions by readers are welcome.
This is the name of a new category, devoted to my wild poetic fantasies, which appeared first in Agapeta. They mix together philosophical digressions, metaphoric language, and quasi-automatic text in the manner of surrealism.
The title and first subtitle
Marvelous Freedom, Vigilance of Desire was the name of the World Surrealist Exhibition held in Chicago in 1976; its catalogue was edited by Gallery Black Swan.