Maiden Voyages: October 2022

For Registered Pigtails Members: Over the past few months, a number of people have requested access to our restricted images and in previous posts, we have explained why this was necessary. However, a few readers are not following the instructions. I sent those specifically because member login is not done in the usual manner of other WordPress sites. The protocols established for signing in are in place to prevent or minimize automated attacks. That is why, 1) There is a non-standard login page address. If you are the only one using a particular device to access this site, your computer can remember the URL and password. 2) If you attempt to log in incorrectly, your IP will be blocked after a couple of attempts. If this happens, wait 24 hours and try again referring to the instructions sent to you. This is another measure to stop automated attacks. We apologize for the inconvenience, but this is necessary to secure the site and I can assure readers that I have to follow the same login protocols as everyone else!

Cultural Norms: We have all seen comments from readers about when it was acceptable to let kids run around naked or little girls to be topless at public beaches. This anecdote is a little different. One of our readers recalls: Back in the last century (it may have been Hungary), orphaned children were given to people in rural communities to help with agriculture. The practice was to keep these children naked to discourage them from running away. The reader says he saw a film about this featuring a girl of about 7-8 but can’t remember the title. Does anybody have any ideas?

[Wow! Reader response is amazing. It is clear from several loyal readers that the Hungarian film Árvácska, 1976 whose English title is Nobody’s Daughter. Although I have a copy of the film and am familiar with the title (it is listed in the ‘Pipeline: Films’ page), I had not viewed the film and was not familiar with its plot and premise. Thank you all for your prompt replies but since so many of you gave the same exact answer, I don’t think it necessary to publish all these duplicate comments. Your contributions are appreciated!]

 

Random Images: AK von Malmborg

AK von Malmborg is a self-taught Swedish artist who paints mostly large scale oil paintings but has utilized sonic media such as symphony orchestra, electronic opera, performance and has three full-length albums.

I paint what I dream, sometimes I dream the whole image at once and sometimes in installments.

The artist’s process is reportedly highly intuitive and multi-sensory, an organic approach that often results in a “messy consequence”.

AK von Malmborg – Amor Fati (2015)

Maiden Voyages: September 2022

I usually feel guilty about not getting these ‘Maiden Voyages’ posted in a timely manner, but this time I’m glad I delayed because early this morning a podcast dropped that illustrates a concerning development near and dear to Pigtails’ history.

A.I. and Corporate Tyranny: In this story, a father noticed a rash on his toddler’s penis which seemed like more than the normal diaper rash. Contacting the pediatrician and being under lockdown, the doctor advised him to send a picture. Because it was a closeup of the boy’s penis, it triggered a hit in a routine Google AI algorithm which goes through a standard reporting process reaching law enforcement and triggering an investigation. The problem here is that even though the police exonerated the man, Google refused to reinstate his account and was recently informed him that the account would be completely deleted soon. Google seemed completely uninterested in explanations or the fact that he was completely exonerated by the police. This is especially tragic because this man saved a lot of personal material on the cloud which will be lost permanently if the account were deleted. That includes important family memories. As much as this was an inconvenience, it is remarkable that Google refused to change its position and reinstate the account or allow him to at least rescue his files. Also concerning is the fact that pediatricians (and other relevant specialists) are unaware of the risk they put their patients in when requesting these photos. (I personally have sent photos of my forehead to my dermatologist, for instance.) There are a lot of important twists and turns to this story that informs the experiences Pigtails has had in getting “cancelled” and how middle managers err on the side of conservatism so that the company won’t have to expend resources dealing with this fairly. Apple and Facebook also use automated AI algorithms generating thousands of reports, but so far such an extreme case has not come to light. I strongly urge readers to listen to this particular podcast episode because it says so much about abuse of corporate power, why we have had so much trouble keeping this site up and why we have to protect certain images from public scrutiny to stay online.

Refugees and the Human Condition: While we’re on the subject of podcasts, another one really struck me. The entire episode was about why people have personally sponsored refugees whether they were from Nazi Germany, war-torn Vietnam or Assad’s Syria. One of the concerns about taking in refugees is that they may exhibit so-called bad behavior and endanger society. What is not often taken into account is the trauma these people are experiencing and how much their behavior is motivated by survival instinct. One of the most heart-warming stories was about a little Syrian girl who kept wailing and seemed inconsolable. Even the parents didn’t know what to do. Finally, one of the volunteers decided to pick her up and just hold her as long as she needed. She finally calmed down and there was a strong bond between the man and the little girl for a long time after that. Even recalling the story, one could hear the emotion in the man’s voice even now. It is so disheartening to hear how in our dysfunctional society, few people have the instinct to simply comfort a child with touch: hold and perhaps gently stroking him/her. I have personally had to show new parents by example how to soothe their own children when putting them down for a nap! Indeed, we tend to expect the worst when we hear there is an interaction between a grown man and a vulnerable child. Yes, bad things do sometimes happen but the push for media sensationalism has conditioned most of us that this is much more common than it really is.

A Secluded Beauty: Pip sends me interesting leads from time to time. This one is about Walt Disney who brought fantasy and adventure to generations of children. It seems obvious that his grave might depict children in some way, but it is surprising—even to me, a self-proclaimed expert—that one is of a seated nude girl. Pip discovered it while reading an article about how people still visit his gravesite more than 50 years after his death.

Statue at Walt Disney’s Grave

Sublimated Sexuality? A lead from Christian reminded me of Pip’s series on ‘Sublimated Sexuality’. But sometimes the sexuality has more explicit elements. I have not decided if this artist should have a dedicated post at some point, but it is natural in the male and female psyche to explore these ideas and thus I share the work of Gea Philes. I find it hard to say if the work is truly transgressional or simply a frank exploration of sexual fantasy. Readers know when I use the word erotic or sexual, that I am not being provocative. It is a fact of life which children must figure out in their own way and necessarily has to be a part of what we examine on this site. Almost inevitably, artforms on this subject will have symbolic elements that help convey the attitude. There is also an article in French on this artist.

Video Archive: An associate offered this lead which is an archive of vintage videos. This discovery came in the wake of last month’s lead about a YouTube account focusing on children. The Prelinger Archives range all over the place as far as subject matter is concerned but I was told that quite a few do involve children and should be on Pigtails readers’ radar. Naturally, I would hope readers who discover important gems on this site let us know the specifics.

Random Images: Ricardo Gómez Campuzano

Ricardo Gómez Campuzano (1891–1981) was a famous Colombian painter. The reader who offered this lead could not find much on this particular painting except that it was a direct homage to Goya’s Maja Desnuda.

Ricardo Gómez Campuzano – Le Majita (1925)

The story of this painting is an excellent example of collaboration. First, there was the lead from the reader with a few sparse details. He attempted to find the image online, but was unsuccessful even while browsing the gallery website where the painting is supposedly housed. I casually passed this lead on to Pip in case he ever came across it. He said he may have but didn’t know where it was at the time. I prepared this post in July 2020 anticipating that he would dig it up and later I forgot about it. I came across the draft post while going through and classifying images under the new protocol. I realized I was still missing the image. I was about to delete the draft when Pip came forward with some materials he found stored that I should share with readers and, lo and behold, there is was! So thanks to open communication among the parties involved, all readers can finally see it here.

Maiden Voyages: August 2022

The months are just not long enough. As usual, I am a little late on this.

More on Pigtails Members: I am getting a little impatient with members not following the instructions I send. I understand that many of you are familiar with WordPress and even though we use the software, we are not on their server. Also because of automated attacks, we have had to modify the system so that our server won’t have to deal with the extra garbage traffic. That means that the login process for registered members is not the usual route that most other WP sites follow. If you attempt to login incorrectly, your IP will be blocked for 24 hours and you will have to wait to try again. So please follow the instructions!

During the registration process, I noticed that Yahoo and AOL are notorious for automatically blocking the automated email that sends you your password. In some cases, you can find it in the “spam” folder—not to be confused with the “junk” folder. Firefox and Mozilla email applications won’t even show you these. Therefore, for those who want to use those email accounts, I am going to have to send you the passwords manually. As if I didn’t have enough work already. Aargh!

Instagram Artists: I have gotten a spate of leads having to do with Instagram accounts with quality images by skilled photographers—amateur or otherwise. Young people are fond of sharing selfies but these few seems to be of higher production quality. Readers may even see posts here on some of these account holders in the future. Here are some of the leads I have received so far: here, here, here and here.

Quality Foreign Films: When I use the term “foreign”, this is from an English-speaking perspective. I really mean international films that were never intended for an international market. Someone turned me on to a YouTube channel with a collection (over 600) of foreign films in a wide range of languages. In one case, I found a much higher quality version of the film Du sel sur la peau (1984). I was intending to take new screen shots and update them on the post but the specific shots I captured weren’t really that bad. The problem was avoiding the hard-coded French subtitles and really poor sound quality. The channel in question has the theme of children in cinema which includes boys and girls so I would appreciate any readers willing to go through these and identify those dealing with girls that are not already included in the ‘Pipeline: Films’ page. The account seems to have been started in January 2022 which indicates to me that this person’s account is periodically cancelled due to “community standards” issues. Copyright issues are unlikely given the age of these films.

An Ethical Conundrum: I got a report about a pornography video—I believe a full-length film—that contains a child. Of course children engaging in sexual behavior with adults is almost universally illegal but this filmmaker seems to be pushing the edge and I wanted to hear comments—thoughtful, of course—about this tactic. According to the lead, the girl in question is not in any scene with an adult. In the story, the scene with the young girl (9 years old) is included as a flashback of one of the main characters in the film. The child’s genitals are visible for a few seconds because the scene is about her “playing doctor” with three little boys. The boys are also shown but the scenes were shot in such a way so the naked girl is not actually in the same room with the boy actors. To further complicate things, I am told that the girl’s face is recognizable in some shots which adds the possibility of stigmatization for having acted in the film. We have often discussed how nudity should not imply a sexual connotation (and therefore not stigmatized) but this little actress has been deliberately included in a porno film. Assuming the girl was otherwise treated well during filming, where do you fall on the ethics of this? Was it really necessary to show the girl’s genitals so prominently? Maybe because of the typical production values of pornos (low, in case you didn’t already know), maybe the filmmaker didn’t give it that much careful thought, but they seem to be skirting the edges of legality here. What do you think? Also, for the morbidly curious among you, I will not be divulging the title of the film, where it can be found and, no, I have not looked at the film myself so don’t bother asking!

Maiden Voyages: July 2022

Registered Users: Since it has been necessary to restrict certain images to protect the site from complaints from people unaccustomed to our subject matter, as of today, there are 200 registered users with full access to the site in addition to a handful of site editors and administrators.

Yahoo Account Holders: One complaint is that yahoo.com seems to be overzealous in blocking automated emails from this site (all WordPress sites, actually). The emails don’t even appear in the junk folder. The only way to see these missing emails is to login to your email account directly and rummage through the spam folder. As a result, it has been an extra hassle registering those users.

Public Posts: In order to protect all unreviewed posts, they were all made private until I could go through them all and set each image to the proper status. Until a post is made public, keyword searches and saved URLs will not work. As of today only the first year of posts are left to be reviewed (I was working through the posts backwards). Because Pip was, at the time, doing one post a day, that still means a lot of posts to review so it will be a couple of weeks before all posts are publicly viewable. Since there have been a lot of images to go through, I may have made some mistakes, so if you think I have made a mistake with an image status, please let me know. Understand that some images are restricted at an artist’s request or to protect a model from stigma until she reaches the age of majority. In that case, I will usually indicate something to that effect at the beginning of the post.

New Writers: First of all, I would like to thank Moko for keeping the home fires burning with a couple new posts each month. He is discovering—like I did years ago—that the more you research, the more leads you find! But I am especially pleased that new writers like Marlin, Bob, Amanda and Zeklullaby have been producing new articles. I hope they find this process rewarding and are encouraged to continue; there is still a lot of material to get through. And if our adversaries can manage to leave us be for a bit, I might find time to get some posts up myself!

The Coppertone Girl: Pip was recently having a conversation with someone about the Coppertone baby and decided to do some research. One interesting item ihe found s a Coppertone commercial from 1990 posted on YouTube. He doesn’t remember having seen that spot at the time, but it definitely marked the end of an era. There’s a real little girl of 3 or 4 years going shirtless in it, and it hints at—but doesn’t quite imitate—the famous ad with bare-bottomed 3-year-old Cheri Brand, the daughter of the ad’s artist, Joyce Ballantyne Brand. There’s also a transcript of an interview with Cheri on NPR’s website. Another YouTube video outlines the history of the image and how it gradually became more and more modest.

Demise of the Century Project: Reader Jerrold has reported that Frank Cordelle of ‘The Century Project’ died last October. At the time I wrote that article, he objected to our focus on the young girls in his publication. To secure his cooperation, I did the post without images. With our new ability to protect images, we can at least make them available to registered users. Scanning and posting the intended images has recently been on my to-do list.

Strange Fruit: I consider myself an educated person and yet I manage to find that I am ignorant of many events of historic import. This is perhaps not surprising given the tense race relations in the United States and consequent bias of US History textbooks. A case in point is a controversial song first sung by Billie Holiday in 1939. At the time, lynching of Black people was still common and, in protest, she sang a song called Strange Fruit. Yes, this metaphor refers to the appearance of dead Black bodies hanging from tree branches after being subjected to various forms of torture and humiliation. The children were hardest hit because apart from those who traumatized then orphaned, often Black children themselves were fair game as victims. In an effort to find images to illustrate this story, I discovered a strange dichotomy. Some images were documentary and were used in civil rights movements to illustrate injustice but many more were taken by the attackers as a trophy and squirreled away in private photo collections to this day. Perhaps it is not surprising that Holiday received harassment for her audacity to bring such a subject to the public. At the time, there was still a strong effort to keep Black people in their place and so this form of protest was not considered acceptable by the establishment. In fact, Harry J. Anslinger, the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics seems to have gone out of his way to make Holiday’s life miserable, even having his men plant narcotics in her room so they would have a pretense to arrest her. Unsurprisingly, juries believed law enforcement’s story hook, line and sinker and Holiday would lose on court case after another.

Your Government Money at Work: I noticed a weird item while listening to a podcast about the life of Osama bin Laden. When his compound was finally stormed—and bin Laden himself killed—it was the military’s task to collect various items from the site for archiving. Among the materials was an extensive video collection. Somehow, it became the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) job to digitize it all and make it available to the public. A few items were excluded because they were subject to active copyright by companies like Disney. The entire list can be viewed here. Some items are unsurprising as they pertained one way or another to terrorist attacks, Jewish-Muslim animosity, the Koran or Islamic customs and practices. But, amusingly, conventional Western fare was discovered such as Disney films and episodes of Tom and Jerry. The odd thing that caught my attention was a short film of two post-toddler girls fighting (VID-001841). There isn’t much to it and it is not known if the girls are some relation to bin Laden. The troubling thing for me was that whoever was filming did not have the impulse to break the girls up.

US Postal History: I have run into this item a few times and have now listened to a podcast that went into a little more detail. When the United States Postal Service was first established, it had very simple rules. As often happens, people game the system and stricter rules are gradually implemented. But at first, customers could send anything they wanted so long as it weighed less than 50 pounds (22.68 kg). That’s right; some people sent their infant or toddler girls through the post—applying the appropriate postage on a sleeve attached to the girl’s wrist, for instance. In most cases, this was not some kind of human trafficking, but a cost-effective way to send a child to her grandparent’s house which was often on some local rural route nearby. Usually the postman was known personally and could be trusted to complete the delivery with his charge unharmed. The most extreme case was a child sent from Pensacola, FL to a relative in Virginia. As the FBI had not yet been established, prohibiting such activities was not exactly enforceable.

Maiden Voyages: June 2022

Yes, everybody; we are still here. This is a crucial stage in the site and organization where we must strategize how to survive in this environment.

“Protected” Images: I feel it was a sensible decision but it does pain me a bit that it has become necessary to protect certain image from prying eyes and those they report to not competent to make informed and rational decisions about the content we cover. No use crying over spilt milk. As an emergency measure, we had to change the status of most posts to private which mean non-registered readers will not see those posts. Now that we found a way to protect individual images, I am working back in time and making each post public again as I evaluate each image. It is important that the posts themselves are public so that those researching specific artists or themes can find the contributions of this site. As of this writing, I have released posts going back through 2017. All posts should be readily available in the next few days.

Registered Readers: I am pleased to announce that there is robust interest in full access to this site. Requests have been trickling in and over 100 users have now been registered. The good news is that a handful of materials that artists wanted to keep under wraps due to unwanted public scrutiny can now be made available to a limited number of viewers.

Pigtails Volunteer Recruitment Drive: The biggest problem with keeping this site going is the efforts of our supporters. In the early days, I had time to nurture the contributions of others but I have had much less time of late. In the coming month, I will be putting together a list of supporting positions that would help in the smooth operation of this site.

Agapeta‘s Domain Issues: I am pleased to report that the domain transfer codes to Agapeta have finally been released. In the mean time, a new domain agapeta.fr had to be used and still functions but now the original agapeta.art is now functioning again. I’m afraid Agapeta and the Graham Ovenden sites were the unwitting victims of attacks targeting this site.

Lukas Roels: I am delighted to report that images from Roels’ Angels Of Time are now publicly available. I confirmed with the artist that the images displayed by Galerie Ludwig Trossaert London were duly authorized by him.

Jogging the Collective Memory: Many times readers have shared memories of images they recall seeing in the past in the hopes of making an identification. Usually the descriptions are a bit too vague to offer much of a lead. However, a recent message gives details that are peculiar enough to be distinctive and perhaps one of our readers will recognize it. Anyone wishing to help, please send us a message.

Many decades ago I saw late 19th early 20th century (maybe 1900s) nude photographs depicting girls seated on short legged baroque chairs, one was looking with binoculars at a circular mirror on the ground oriented towards her, another photograph was a girl also on the same chair looking at white dog on the floor and another was a girl standing with the same chair behind her while looking at the circular mirror on the ground. All girls were wearing knee socks. So where can I find those plus all other similar work from the same photographer? [Text was edited for clarity. -Ron]

Update on Site Overhaul

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your kind and supportive words. Even under this frequent barrage of attacks and complaints, I can reassure readers that I have no intent of shutting down the site. However, given Pigtails’ organic growth and the nature of the publicly-accessible internet, we need to step back and do some long-needed overhauls. We are also going to engage in some recruitment to get help running the site. (details to appear in the next ‘Maiden Voyages’)

Visceral Impact: One of our chief goals is to educate the general public about the legitimacy of the nude form, including those of children. The trouble is that no matter how rationally we attempt to proceed, one cannot overcome the visceral impact of seeing a nude child when one has been conditioned to be shocked by such images. This is a very primal response and no good is served by shoving such images down the throats of the unwilling public. Therefore, we are taking steps to protect those sensitive types from their own rabid response. Please understand that we are not conforming to some societal standard (just our own). We still maintain the ethical high ground and will not be restricting access to anyone who wants it, despite any misguided notions that some presumed class of innocents require protection. However, any person publicly viewing this site should be advised that we at Pigtails in Paint do not depict any kind of lascivious display of children nor any overtly sexual behavior by individuals, groups of children or between children and adults.

Internet Security: No man or woman is an island and neither is any website or online account. Because of the complexity of the World Wide Web, every site depends on the cooperation of many others to function smoothly and offer full access. It is impossible to just carry on obstinately and not have some kind of interference by a service provider, site host, data center, domain registrar, nation or other legal authority. It is clear that middle managers  who receive complaints and are tasked to judge the legitimacy of public content are not expert enough to make sober decisions in the face of public pressure. The imperative of corporate capitalism compounds this problem even further. Therefore, we are taking steps to be less publicly visible so that important content can continue to be preserved and accessible to those who want to see it.

Image Scrutiny: So far, we have gone through and made most posts private which can now only be seen by registered users. I am currently going through one post at a time and making them public again. For those posts that have controversial and triggering images, we are establishing a system that will make certain images private while making the post as a whole public allowing in-site and internet searches to work. The use of AI (artificial intelligence) algorithms has also forced us to use a special application that protects images from being scanned by external automated searches. We have had trouble in this regard from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and there will doubtless be others as the use of AI becomes ubiquitous.

Judging which images are “safe” will have to be somewhat subjective, of course, but I can share some guidelines to give you an idea. The following categories of images will be classified as private: 1) Practically all complete photographic nudes of children, 2) Partial nudes if they could be considered slightly erotic or have an attitude of intimate vulnerability (Taking this precaution will also tend to protect models from the stigma of public ridicule), and 3) Images in any medium that depict children in the context of an overt sexual metaphor or otherwise disturbingly transgressional.

Registered Users: There is no restriction to be a registered user (except those who are suspected of being trolls). Simply go to the ‘Contact Page’ and send me a message from the email you would like to be registered under. You will be sent a password and login instructions. Please understand that those instructions are confidential and should not be shared with anyone. If we have to alter the login procedure because of security leaks, it will inconvenience other users who would have to be informed and learn a new procedure. I have received a few requests already and starting today, will be going through and creating those user accounts.

Navigation: Until all posts are made public again, navigation will be difficult for all users because posts that are still private cannot be searched. I have made all ‘Maiden Voyages’ posts public so that readers can go to the “Month” index found on the right side and go to a particular time period. It will be necessary to click on the post title that appears so that the “next” and “previous” links (in green) will appear on the right side just under the banner. From there you can navigate forward or backward one post at a time. It is my intent that this process of updating the posts will be complete during the summer and will function normally after that point.

Special Bonuses: Many have suggested in the past that Pigtails offer special bonuses for premium users (and that could be a source of some revenue). I still resist that idea because it will create the assumption that we are hiding salacious materials because of our challenging subject matter. However, a few pages will be available to only registered users because they contain images that some might find shocking. A menu item will be created that will index those private pages so those who are registered will know what is available. However, all posts will eventually made public.

Agapeta: Fans of the Agapeta blog may already know that for some reason, the codes to that registered domain have still not been released. As a result, Agapeta is now operating with the domain agapeta.fr. It is still not clear why the codes for Pigtails were released but not those of Agapeta and Ovenden which most would agree are less controversial sites.

Maiden Voyages: May 2022

Things have been heating up on many fronts. The most important announcement is that in order to import the necessary subroutines to protect the site from the wrong kind of scrutiny, we will have to shut down in the next couple of days. Don’t worry, we are doing this ourselves and hopefully the hiatus will be a relatively short one (hopefully only a few hours). We have put this off for a few days to give readers some notice so I won’t be inundated with emails asking what is happening.

Future Outages: Whether we are making voluntary revisions to the site that will require us to go offline or we have another carrier, data center or registrar who perfunctorily shuts us down again, remember that I will communicate to readers through our Facebook page. You can also take note of my Pigtails email and contact me directly.

Allied Websites: Because Pigtails shared an account with Agapeta and the Graham Ovenden sites, they were affected by the protests against our site. Clearly, these sites are much less edgy than we are and it is unfortunate they were affected. From now on, our host has promised to run the sites on separate accounts so that they don’t suffer these collateral effects. For some reason, the old registrar released the Pigtails domain access codes but not the correct ones for the other sites. Therefore Agapeta is not up and running yet and Graham’s sites (Personal and Garage Press) are operating under different domain names. Christian is protesting the delay in transfer. No word yet if this is some kind of deliberate act or an honest mistake.

Registered Accounts: As mentioned in my recent ‘State of the Blog Address’, we will be instituting a registration process for readers who want to see all the images of this site. Applicants will be screened by myself before being added as a user. Initially, we are taking the precaution of protecting images that are not publicly available so that automatic systems will not come across them and they can’t be reported to the internet hierarchy. We can no longer trust technicians and managers of internet providers to make educated decisions about acceptable forms of nudity. This is one of the reasons for the short downtime mentioned above.

Poignant Performance: The Russian invasion of Ukraine is regarded by most as a travesty, making many citizens pawns in a political struggle and causing yet another immigration crisis. Yet in the midst of this sublime chaos, there are rays of sunshine. I will let you take a look at this video yourself. The same reader also offered this charming (albeit less poignant) video of a little girl singing as well.

Presidential Pets: As I have mentioned before, I have been binging a lot of podcasts which are peppered with a multitude of interesting tidbits. For instance, Theodore Roosevelt was not the kind of president who was happy sitting behind a desk and during one of his excursions to the west (Arizona in this case), he was presented with a pet badger from a little girl. I tried to look it up but although I did find some information about the animal, I could find no mention on the girl who offered the gift nor a publicity photo during the offering.

First Black Millionairess? Conventional wisdom is that a woman named Sarah Breedlove Walker was the first Black woman millionaire. But a young girl may have beaten her: Sarah Rector. She inherited the fortune while still a little girl and required some involvement of advocacy organizations to keep her from getting taken advantage of. This item appears in an episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class.

 

State of the Blog Address: Spring 2022

Dear Valued Pigtails Readers,

When Pip and I met, we quickly learned that we were of one mind about how to handle the sensitive subject of what I now call, “The Cult of the Girl Child”. The intent was never to have a long-term site but we both began to realize it filled a need in public education. Every time some crisis shut us down, our consolation was that we already accomplished a lot given the political and moral climate of the time. If something like this were to continue to operate, our motivations had to be above reproach but not appear to censor in the conventional sense just to “fit in”. When Pip needed to move on to pursue other interests, it was easy for him to pass the reins to me. Although I am pleased with the contacts that I have nurtured, I had not found someone who fully understood the long-term vision of this site and could be trusted to run it in its entirety.

I am by nature a Renaissance Man and so my interests inevitably pulled me away from the girl child and the peripheral and frank subject of child sexuality. The reason I stayed with it for so long is that I felt a strong moral obligation to keep things going as a resource. That is why, even though I have not personally been very active lately, I kept it as a platform for commentary and contributions of others who had knowledge of the subject.

This latest interruption was pretty much caused the same way as the rest: zealous opponents putting pressure on our internet service chain until it was not worth the trouble to keep us as a customer. Predictably, the excuse was that our site hosted child pornography even though several organizations tasked with monitoring issues of child welfare have found nothing to take action on (apart from C3P’s recent efforts which were simply reports generated by a poorly-designed AI visual subroutine). These are unmitigated acts of cowardice and at no time did we receive direct warning from law enforcement or a court order that we had better desist (sometimes there were complaints about a specific item). Our attackers know they have a weak case legally and so have had to resort to these back alley tactics.

I have hung on this long because I feel it would be wrong to give in to the ignorance of moral panic and the subject of the girl child legitimately needs some debate and academic study beyond the mere appreciation of physical beauty. I have thought long about many aspects of the this subject and realize there has been only the most superficial coverage of this subject so far. It is one entangled not only in human nature, but the ways technologies have distorted a healthy balance including instant communication, digital photography, the law and the nature of civilization itself.

However, I would be remiss not to pursue some of my latest interests. I am a human being and have to do work I find fulfilling. There really won’t be that much of a change from my recent activity but I have decided to post an abridged version of the site to minimize the amount of fodder that can be used against us and to plan a more secure way to keep the site up and running. I am proud that Pigtails in Paint has operated for over 10 years with a few interruptions here or there and it is important that we maintain a presence on the internet until such point as the general public acknowledge us as a respected permanent fixture on the web.

My idea—and that may change at any time—is to maintain an summary version of the site for a while. The latest three months of posts will be publicly available as well as any important cross-reference libraries. Posts that are no longer visible will be indexed in the ‘Artists by Name’ and ‘Thematic Posts’ pages. I will try to accomplish this during the coming summer when I have more time on my hands. After discussing it with technical support, I realize we can implement a suggestion made by others in the past. Some of you may want to be registered viewers and can be given access to the entire site on a case by case basis. The only inconvenience is that you would have to sign in but you could still maintain your anonymity. All decisions about who gets access will be made by me, the Editor-in-Chief. We have nothing really to hide, but we are going to try this to see if we still get the same amount of heat about our site with this smaller public profile. It is hoped that we can relaunch the full site when we are confident that our continued operation cannot be interfered with by vigilantes. Since Pigtails has been the main focus of attackers, it has lamentably caused disruptions on Agapeta, the Graham Ovenden and Garage Press sites. We will also continue to work on getting the Sam Gates website re-established and, if at all possible, the launch of the Novel Activist website as an archive. Pigtails will keep its domain name and we are contemplating the idea of a backup domain so readers will know where to go if we are interfered with again.

The contact form and Pigtails email will also be maintained so readers can always contact me and lend their support, ideas, submit articles and the like. In the mean time, we will be researching ways to maintain our own servers and access to the internet that is not controlled by private companies who can shut us down on a whim. We are also seeking academic institutions who would be interested in preserving an archive on the subject so that key materials might be available to future researchers and not interfered with by short-sighted legal authorities.