July 17, 2003


A couple of hundred people saw Ken Park last night. One freedom-loverís verdict:

Daisy, 25, of Camperdown said while the film was confronting, it was worth being shown.

"I think incest is still a topic that is taboo in our society," she said.

"If seeing something like this helps make it less so than that's a good thing."

Posted by Tim Blair at July 17, 2003 04:40 AM

Ken Park sounds like a charming film. According to the article, some kid stabs his grandparents to death. I know I'm getting old, but why in the world would anyone want to see this movie when one can rent an Audrey Hepburn film?

Posted by: Polly at July 17, 2003 at 07:42 AM

You mean we haven't sent you guys the Jerry Springer show and/or its clones yet? Without trailer-park incest those shows would have nothing to talk about.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 17, 2003 at 08:37 AM

Someone wants incest to be less taboo?

Posted by: Ilona at July 17, 2003 at 09:54 AM

Nice breasts.

Seems Daisy has a screw loose.

Posted by: d at July 17, 2003 at 10:18 AM

Whether it's nicer than an Audrey Hepburn film is not the issue - how do you know the depiction of various unpleasant events is gratutious unless you've seen it? Are artists obliged to only depict nice things now? OK, you Tories let's ban the Bible. All that incest and worse in there is unnecessary too,

Posted by: Jason Soon at July 17, 2003 at 10:27 AM


Maybe your argument would have a little more credence if the lefties weren'tforever trying to ban things that they think might be "sexist", racist" or "homphobic".

As for the references to "democracy" in the smh article, all I can say is "crap". Thsi controversy has nothing to do with democracy. It has a lot to do with the rule of law. The whole point is that the rule of law is what makes this a civilised country. It all comes down to delegation. If I had to make a personal choice on every moral issue, I wouldn't have much time left to live. Hence, I am happy for the censors to take some choices for me in relation to moral issues. They will not get it right every time. But the loss of one or two films is hardly likely to be a real bother to me. Of course to people like Ms Pommerantz, who live in a dream world rather than the real one, the loss of a film is all important.

Posted by: Toryhere at July 17, 2003 at 10:51 AM

There is an official, government-paid censor in Australia? And it's illegal to screen a film that hasn't subjected itself to a ratings review?

What the fuck is up with that?

Posted by: Andrew at July 17, 2003 at 11:33 AM

Well 200 people got to see it Jason, you should be glad.

As for depictions of incest (or anything else "unpleasant") in film, this one is hardly unique or breaking new ground.

Hey -- here's something else "unpleasant" we could share with the kids: coprophagy! We'll have them joining the Rightwing Death To Fun™ conspiracy in no time! It's all part of the Plan, mwahahahah....

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 17, 2003 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, Andrew -- when we make Australia the 51st (or 51st through 56th) state of the US, we'll get rid of that office. Why should taxes pay for some guy to sit around and watch films all day?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 17, 2003 at 11:56 AM


An extreme example but nevertheless would you be comfortable with snuff films or films depicting violent rape etc to be available in mainstream cinemas? That, broadly with less extreme films, is the purpose of a censor.

Law would make the extreme examples I've used illegal anyway but those that generally fit within the contraints of the law are then further veted by a censor.

For those that are aware of the "Faces of Death" series you'll know what some "directors" are willing to cut and paste into a film. In Thailand some years ago when these films were first released they were available for viewing at any cinema in Bangkok. This to my sensibilities was unacceptable so I didn't go and see them. My friends did and came away disturbed and titilated in equal measure.

The point being: choice is great but some things need the heavy hand of discretion applied.

Posted by: Jake D at July 17, 2003 at 12:01 PM


I don't want to oblige "artists" to do anything their little hearts don't want to do. I wouldn't want to stifle their creativity because, of course, that's the most important issue here. . . . an "artist" expressing. Who cares if what's being expressed is degrading and damaging to a person's soul. And I never said anything about the gratuitousness (is that a word?) of any scene in that movie. I don't care if the scene of a kid stabbing his grandparents is critical to the plot or not. I just wonder why anyone who would want to spend his time and money watching the stuff. I'm glad someone mentioned "Faces of Death." The graphic death scenes in that movie were essential to the films, but I never understood why anyone would want to see them.

As far as being a Tory, I guess I have to plead guilty to that if only to a very small degree. While most of my ancestors were on the side of the revolutionaries, I proudly claim the Swamp Fox as an ancestor, there was one relative who supported the British during our little disagreement so many years ago. Apparently Dennis Nolin was a counterfeitor, and he thought the British currency had more value than the junk the Continental Congress was printing, so he stuck with the Crown. Oh well.

Posted by: Polly at July 17, 2003 at 12:40 PM

I don't object to ratings, per se, and I'm not even quite sure I object to local restrictions against the showing of pornography (let alone really nasty stuff).

My bigger objection was to the implication that if I don't go to the trouble of clearing my film with the ratings board, I'm on the hook for an $11K fine. That I somehow need the government's approval, regardless of the actual content.

Posted by: Andrew at July 17, 2003 at 12:41 PM

Well, I don't approve of that either. But it's up to the Australians to get rid of the office. I wonder though, how useful the leftists in Australia have found this government censor. Have there been any instances where a film was banned for being mean to Communists, or having too housewives in it, or does the department stick to safe, obvious things like sex and violence?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 17, 2003 at 01:09 PM

i think we need more screenshots tim, before we can make an informed opinion on this, um, sensitive issue.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 17, 2003 at 01:22 PM


The libertarians support censorship?

Posted by: craig at July 17, 2003 at 04:45 PM


Its their big secret - "new conservatives" are just reconstructed 1950's social conservatives, bettter dressed, funnier and with more "rational" sounding arguments to support the same tired old bullshit social conservatism.

Its not just the left who still carry some sad old baggage from the good ol' days.


Posted by: Tom at July 17, 2003 at 08:35 PM

try and get tim, purportedly a libertarian, to say that he objects to this censorship. i've done so repeatedly, with no response yet. you'd think he'd stop posting about it on account of how evasive it makes him look, but here we are.

Posted by: adam at July 17, 2003 at 10:30 PM

Sssh! Adam's hunting consewvative wabbits!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 18, 2003 at 12:11 AM

It all comes down to delegation. If I had to make a personal choice on every moral issue, I wouldn't have much time left to live. Hence, I am happy for the censors to take some choices for me in relation to moral issues.

Yes, heaven forbid that you be responsible for making your own moral choices. That would be terrible, wouldn't it? You'd have to be a grownup and everything.

Here's an idea: Hire your own personal censor, who makes decisions for you and you alone, and not for an entire country. Why should your laziness bind all your countrymen to your preferences?

Posted by: Phil at July 18, 2003 at 02:34 AM

Hear, hear, Phil, a neat distillation .Well said.

Posted by: d at July 18, 2003 at 12:53 PM