Censorship. To me it’s pretty clear-cut: censorship is bad. So whenever there’s a case that involves someone referring to the Obscene Publications Act of 1959, my ears immediately prick up. Today I found myself engrossed in an article in the Guardian concerning a short story entitled “Girls (Scream) Aloud”. The author of this piece, Darryn Walker, was arrested last October after The Daily Star and later the Internet Watch Foundation, reported “Girls (Scream) Aloud” to the police. Today, however, the case against Darryn was abandoned as someone proved how hard it was to find the blog on which young Darryn had spun his sado-masochistic yarn, and therefore didn’t pose any real threat to young people. It is very hard to find, unless you have the address of course: http://www.asstr.org/~Kristen/putrid/girlsscream.htm
Darryn, who has a stupid name, is 35 and used to work as a civil servant, has written what those in the know refer to as a “popslash” story, a slasher story where the narrative features individuals from the music industry. In this case, it is hardly a surprise that the victims of the piece are Girls Aloud. In Darryn’s remarkably badly written piece, the five ladies meet an unimaginatively violent death, when the driver of their tour bus is finally driven insane by the Aloud Girls’ constant lesbian love making aboard the bus. He maims them, kills them and then sells their body parts on e-bay. Fictional violence doesn’t bother me; it never has particularly, as I tend to reserve my outrage for things that happen in real life. Nor does it bother me that Nicola, Nadine, Sarah, Cheryl and Kimberley are actual human beings, “actual human being” status is what you forfeit when you become a celebrity. They’re not persons in this context, they’re personas.
What does bother me is that the piece is so terribly bad, and now, because of the story’s newsworthiness, loads of people are going to read it (yes, I concede, am one of the purveyors of Darryn’s filth). A monkey on crack could have written “Girls (Scream) Aloud” provided that the primate in question had an interest in British popular culture and a penchant for sado-masochistic erotica. This is what makes this case so depressing; previously, the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 has been used in cases such as “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, Linda Lovelace’s autobiography and Oz Magazine, somehow these all seem to carry some meaning and significance; whereas Darryn’s erotic fantasy about maiming, raping and ultimately killing the members of Girls Aloud is just an unimaginative, grammatically substandard snooze-fest. I am not of Darryn’s ilk, but I’d like to think that if I was, I could come up with a much more varied, colourful and innovative plotline and draw the reader in with some linguistic flair and reasonable sentence structure, at least.
Basically, if I was a sick twisted fuck who wrote a story about killing Girls Aloud for my own sexual pleasure, was going to risk arrest and prosecution, etc, I’d make sure that shit was hot as hell, and didn’t read like it was put together by a stolid simian with learning difficulties. What a waste of a censorship debate.
Mia Tagg 2009®