The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and we will continue to provoke until they respond or change the law. They are not in control; we are. -Mohandas K. Gandhi, “The Mahatma”
The Latest Provocation: A couple months ago, our internet host was arrested on charges of hosting child pornography. The culprit is, you guessed it, Pigtails in Paint. He is out on bail but has not been allowed to return home for an extended period on the grounds that the Worcester Police (probably under the direction of the London Metropolitan Police) need to do an extensive forensic examination of his computers. No formal charges have been levelled as the investigation is ongoing and there has been no determination as to whether this will ever go to court.
Fortunately, our host is no shrinking violet and seems eager to have a public airing of the issues. So far, the Police have only identified two images of concern, both by Debbie Dreschler and appearing in Pip’s post ‘Daddy’s Girls and Beautiful Boys: Children’s Sexual Encounters in Graphic Media’. It is likely that concerns over Pigtails came from a vague lead and the Police are engaging in a pointless fishing expedition. Nonetheless, our host is confident he can defend any material in his possession including unsolicited materials sent to him which he agrees should be destroyed and the senders prosecuted). Since there is nothing definite to declare right now, the various sites managed by our host remain working and the Police are not interfering with the day-to-day operations of the sites or sites run by family members.
The sad thing is that Pip was trying to make an important political point and it does need to be made. Although our host was reluctant to remove images from the site (after all, it may be considered evidence tampering), in order to protect others, he (and I, in cooperation) have temporarily blocked them from viewing. However, he made an important point:
Do I have the right to tell Debbie that her work is now child pornography? It probably took her 20 years to drum up the courage to put her feelings down on paper and now 20 years on with the book still freely available some IT technician has decided that he does not like a picture from that book.
Context is everything and that is why it is always necessary to include explanatory text with such controversial materials. Have the Police bothered to read the article? Obviously, it is important that the article remain available for viewing along with the necessary disclaimer.
An interesting twist in this case was revealed during questioning. It appears that the Police are assuming that Pigtails is being run by Graham Ovenden! When the interrogators were told that this was not the case, they shifted their tactics. For the record, Graham and I are friends and neither of us have any reason to be ashamed of that association, but he does not have any editorial involvement with Pigtails in Paint (in fact, Pigtails was in existence before I even knew Graham). Certainly, he does pass on interesting leads that should be shared with the readers and his extensive personal collection has made it possible to share images that might otherwise not see the light of day and I thank him for that.
This revelation has now complicated things for the Police (poor fellows!). From a legal standpoint, taking down Graham’s sites (his personal one and the Garage Press site) would lead to serious repercussions for the police. Those images shown have already been deemed legitimate by Her Majesty’s Courts and since Graham also included material demonstrating police misconduct in his own case, ordering its removal would be construed as tampering with evidence. The assumption that Graham was directly involved with Pigtails seemed like a foot in the door for the Police to somehow get to Graham indirectly. It should be understood that this obsession with Graham is being driven by a handful of desperate individuals trying to protect themselves from pending charges and lawsuits (which, of course, cannot be discussed publicly at this time). Will there ever be a day when the authorities will trust that, in its desire to provoke thought, the editorial staff endeavors to make sensible decisions about what is published and that it is not our business to produce sexual titillation?
So, until I can tell our dear readers more, it happens that someone archived the “offending” page so it can be seen in its entirety by the public. Judge for yourself!
Archival Priority: Although I am confident we will weather this latest drama, we are always at risk of being shut down one way or another. Therefore, I have made it a priority to list artists by name who are on our radar so that readers may investigate them on their own and know what artists we are already aware of. Since this list is enormous, they will be added to the ‘Pipeline: Artists by Name’ page in a certain priority. First of all, artists that we intend to feature soon will be listed. And then from now on, we will list artist leads coming from readers while the slow process of archiving the rest takes place. Artists who already have posts will not be listed unless we intend to do a follow-up post.
Consent, Agency and Justification: A reader passed on this lead of a book (Putney by Sofka Zinovieff) about the intense relationship between a girl and a much older man and the consequences in its aftermath. The scenario will certainly be upsetting for many but, according to reviews, its value is in how it provokes thought.