This Art Attack
It amazes me that in all the varied opinions I've heard on the nude child photos, no one has actually mentioned the real point here.
One's opinion on the issue has become almost a shorthand for your cultural views. Think the photos are art? You have a highly developed aesthetic, you're in favour of freedom of speech, you're generally an open-minded individual. If on the other hand, you think the photos are exploitative kiddy porn, then you're a philistine, right-wing wowser.
Both wrong. Look, I can see that the photos are art. But that does not make them okay. "Art" should not be able to supersede the general rules of right and wrong. Otherwise, where do we draw the line? Photos of people being killed?
Children need to be protected. And those who now want to view/defend the photos are exploiting these children, in the name of free speech, every bit as much as those sickos who get dirty thrills from them. Bill Henson has exploited them; not sexually, but for art itself. And "artistic purposes" should be removed as a legal defence in these cases.
The death threats are wrong, too. Eighteen month sentences for the artist and gallery owner; 200 hours community service for those who viewed the initial exhibition and didn't complain. A lifetime ban from the publishing industry for all those who hypocritically published the photos later, with those coy black bars.
But, as with my answer to the smoking in pubs controversy (why not just have smoking and non-smoking pubs?) no one will pay attention to what is so demonstrably obvious here.
Edit: I was wrong, a little reading has shown there are others who share my views. This blog post probably says it best.
Astonishingly, the Age still has one of the original, uncensored images on it's site. No, I'm not posting the link. But I have to admit, apart from finding the whole thing sad, there was one thought that occurred to me looking at the photo:
It's just not that good.