Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet

By Philip Jenkins | Go to book overview

FIVE
Moralities

It's fashionable on this board to proselytize about how
good it would be for children to have sexual contact with
a ped. and have the pictures posted for our pleasure …
stand on that soapbox and soon you'll be standing in the
dock … just enjoy your sin … keep quiet … and pray to
God you don't hear the knock.

—Farfhad, Maestro board, September 25, 1999

Subcultures are often characterized by distinctive systems of values that, to a greater or lesser extent, set them apart from mainstream society. Deviant groups like criminal gangs and sexual subcultures appear to operate on value systems utterly alien to those of “normal” people, and this is certainly true of the pedo boards. Even in the most innocent postings regarding technical, computer-related issues, participants are seeking only to improve their access to images that the vast majority of people, in virtually all societies, would regard as unpardonably vile.

At first sight, there seems to be a contradiction here. Earlier, I argued that much of what the boards did was basically an extension or extrapolation of “normal” values, particularly within the electronic world, and yet a glimpse at the conversations on the boards suggests that participants are evil incarnate, utterly rejecting all social norms about children and sexuality. But this appearance of a radically deviant value system would be misleading, since the boards are also the setting for intense and passionate debate about the morality of the traffic and for abundant selfquestioning. Some participants state quite openly that they believe what

-115-

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Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Note on Usage ix
  • Glossary xi
  • One - Out of Control? 1
  • Two - Child Pornography 25
  • Three - Into the Net 52
  • Four - A Society of Deviants 88
  • Five - Moralities 115
  • Six - Policing the Net 142
  • Seven - Vigilantes and Militias 165
  • Eight - A Global Community 184
  • Nine - Where Next? 204
  • Abbreviations 225
  • Notes 227
  • Index 255
  • About the Author 260
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