Thursday, October 02, 2008

"But, but... they really did make a KitKat advert..."

The Daily Mail is a little flushed with the news that a bloke - a "civil servant", apparently - is being charged with crimes arising from writing fanfic.

Admittedly, his fanfic was extreme - as the Mail painstakingly details:

Walker is accused of posting the article on a fantasy porn website.

It allegedly described in detail the kidnap, mutilation, rape and murder of Girls Aloud members Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh.

Unpleasant, certainly, but is it pornographic? To the point where it requires prosecution rather than, say, the suggestion the author might like to nip out and meet some actual women to talk to?

And isn't there a slight suspicion that the prosecution has been arrived at not because of the content of the stories, but because of the characters? There are lots of tales of kidnap, rape and murder written that don't attract this sort of attention from the police. It's not entirely comfortable to picture people sitting down writing stories about real people being raped and dismembered for fun, but if the worry is that that person is obsessing over a pop star, shouldn't that be the focus of response rather than going "and it's lewd, too, so you're going to court, young fellermelad"?

The Mail seems a bit confused about what it is the accused has actually done:
A civil servant is being prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act for a blog in which he allegedly details the kidnap and murder of Girls Aloud.

So, it was a blog, was it?

Oh... maybe not:
Walker is accused of posting the article on a fantasy porn website.

So it was an article, then?
Headlined 'Girls (Scream) Aloud' it is said to have run to 12 pages.

Although, admittedly, they do have the margins set incredibly widely on the Northcliffe House printers these days.

Maybe the Mail should hire someone to write technology-related stories for them - twelve pages? Of what? A4? A5?

The Mail rounds off its coverage - and I'm using 'round off' in the sense of 'pads out' - with the biggest ragbag of background information imaginable. It's perhaps the only time the wording of the 1959 Obscene Publication Act has shared space with a brief explanation of the mechanism employed by Popstars: The Rival to arrive at a winner.

Somewhat oddly, then, an article which is supposedly about online obscenity ends with this:
They reached Number One in the charts with their debut single Sound Of The Underground and have had 18 consecutive Top 10 singles - a record.

There's a lingering suspicion that the Mail might be attempting to explain that a "single" is also known as a record, rather than reporting the band's entry into the Guinness Book.