Elderly woman prohibited from photographing empty swimming pool "to prevent paedophilia"

An 82-year-old woman in Southampton, UK was told she couldn't take photos of an empty wading pool because she might be a paedophile. Because, you know, anything that children touch regularly becomes part of their souls, and if a paedophile looks at those objects, it's just like sexually assaulting a child.

Makes me glad, as a father, to live here in the UK, where the clear-eyed, sensible view of paedophilia is doing so much to ensure the safety of my daughter from assaults by strangers (an occurrence that is so rare as to be practically nonexistent) while doing practically nothing to protect her from the people who are statistically most likely to assault her -- her family, her friends' parents, her teachers, and other people known to her, who account for the overwhelming majority of assaults on children.

> An amateur photographer was told she could not take snaps of an empty paddling pool because she might be a paedophile.

Betty Robinson was ordered to put away her camera by a council worker when she began snapping the outdoor pool.

'It's absolutely ridiculous – it's bureaucracy gone mad,' said the 82-year-old widow from Southampton.

She was with friend Brenda Bennett as she took pictures of the city's common – where the pool is situated.

My pool picture ban over paedophile fears (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. Some good points Cory, but I’m wondering if “teachers” should really fall into the “most likely” category when it comes to abuse of prepubescents.

  2. I know you can spin this to support your agenda (an agenda I largely agree with), but it harms your case when you use inappropriate evidence like this. Here are a couple of reasons why:

    1. The council had already apologised for the inappropriate behaviour of its employee when the original story was printed.

    2. It’s unfair to expect an employee with a small amount of training to understand the issues as well as you. As far as they are concerned they have been told: no photography. For very good reasons. They are not allowed to exercise discretion because that requires far more training, an expense the taxpayer can ill afford.

    The message you are trying to promote is “don’t be terrorised” and that’s great. But an employer has to do one of three things: (1) reduce this message to a simple instruction that is cheap to convey, (2) spend a lot of money training people on the subleties of the issues or (3) nothing (read: lawsuits).

    Your campaign is worthy but don’t assume every incident is a good exemplar or you are no better than the people selling the threat.

  3. Are there even female paedophiles, at all? It seems like such a male thing (to generalize about three billion people).

    I’d use Google to answer my own question, but I don’t want that word in my search history.

  4. “It’s unfair to expect an employee with a small amount of training to understand the issues as well as you”

    Dominic, the guy suggested an old woman that she might be a pedophile, because she took a picture of a disused swimming pool. It’s not something one requires training to understand is absurd. In fact, it’s fairly obvious the employee is trained to deliberately misinterpret innocuous behavior.

    Post-backlash handwringing from authorities doesn’t solve the problem: brain-damaged risk assessment wedded to authoritarianism and inscrutable policies that make no sense.

  5. Allowing discretion at this level doesn’t require training, it requires standards. It wouldn’t be costly to administer an entrance exam to screen applicants who can’t demonstrate logic or critical thinking skills. Then again, it doesn’t seem that many goverments are promoting these qualities lately.

  6. #3: The issue here is as follows:

    Sexual assault of children is morally reprehensible. Sexual photography of children is morally reprehensible (as it is exploitative, even if the children are not directly physically harmed).

    But all photography of children? Even by a paedophile? Do you honestly believe that paedophiles will get off on photographs of fully clothed children playing? Or that they would have any difficulty gaining access to such photographs online?

    To summarise: There is *nothing* wrong with photography of fully clothed children playing in public. It is stupid and dangerous to condition society to think that it is.

    The council is correct to train its employees to keep an eye on who is around the children playing in the park, although this is really the responsibility of the parents. They should be giving explicit instructions to their employees that *all* photography is allowed, as it is a public place, and that is the law.

  7. “As far as they are concerned they have been told: no photography. For very good reasons.”

    Good reasons such as…? Preventing pedos? Which is exactly the dumb idea Cory is criticising here.

    “or (3) nothing (read: lawsuits).”

    Find one lawsuit where a local authority is in court for allowing someone to take a photo on public property, and that conclusion might make sense.

  8. #4 yeah there are but its much rarer – just like female rapists…sexual attraction to pre-pubescents(sp?) is a species of mental illness, but children must be protected… not the easiest situation to control, it is not our usual custom to lock people up because of mental illness..but locked up or restrained they must be…IIRC the rate of occurrence of pedophilia is stable but recent changes (recent=last 30 years) in Laws of Evidence makes it seem that there is more of it about. There is not – it is just much more likely to be discovered and once discovered the child’s testimony is now easier to use than formerly to obtain convictions…resulting in a public perception of an increase in this behavior, while in fact we are stopping and preventing and punishing for this behavior more than ever before.
    The Media’s seeming fascination has I think a different source, and one which does little honor to the Media’s motives I’m afraid – or the Media’s view of who their audience is, or what they need to know about…in other words sexual hysteria appears alive and well .

  9. @TEKNA2007

    Of course there are. You can also clear your search history if you are that squeamish.

  10. I know this is going to upset a lot of people… But when did BoingBoing become a “Directory of Terrible Things”?

    Maybe there should be a separate section for stories about security and the like? I understand that some people (myself included) that like reading these stories–but some people may not. Just like you made a gadgets section.

    I dunno… I just think that sometimes the world would be a lot better place if we just removed all the warning labels from all the products of the world…

  11. Since when is it illegal for pedophiles to use cameras? Is that a real law or an orange alert law?

  12. #3 DominicSayers – If the stupid, terror-pandering Orwellian policy is used for no other reason than it is cheap, then it is our duty to make it expensive by publicly shaming the people who enact and enforce the policy.

    (Christ, what is with this submissive “no right to criticize” attitude that seems so prevalent? It’s like the “let the market sort it out” people who pop up every time a dodgy product is discussed, oblivious to the fact that criticism is the sorting it out.)

  13. I’d really like to know how these two women dealt with the initial confrontation. I have no idea what UK laws have to say about public photography. However, if you are entitled to take the picture, then the appropriate response is to get names, tell them that you are within your rights and that they are more than welcome to contact the police. If the police tell you to leave, you’ll have to decide how far you want to push this. Above all-Stay calm and Polite. Just clearly and firmly state your position.

    Yes, its a hassle for you, but its a hassle for them as well. Frankly, an apology is just this side of meaningless in the absence of a real change in how they deal with this issue. If they aren’t going to commit to that, then you need to do what you can to change the calculus in everyone’s mind…Is it worth it? Its only an empty pool? If 50,000 people call my boss to complain from all over the world….

  14. But come on, now, folks! What was she doing photographing that kiddie pool in the first place?

    And that’s a mighty fine camera for such a geezer.

    This stinks of suspicious activity!

  15. @1 RRSafety;

    Check this page and especially the sources… note that the harm to children they are talking about is not exclusively from their peers, but also those acting in loco parentis.

    Yup, the vast majority of teachers do not harm the children in their classes, but as a group, teachers are far more likely to harm or abuse children than, say, shop keepers or old ladies with cameras.

    It’s why the NSPCC “abuse must stop, full stop” campaign is probably a lot more useful than any number of “stranger danger” campaigns.

    And I’m still trying to come up with a name for people who get their kicks from hot pictures of nude concrete paddling pools. Poolophiles?

  16. #7, well, let’s not assume that people photographing kids are 100% pure as long as the children have clothes on. Part of the fear here isn’t that old pervs are secretly taking photos of kids and privately wanking to them.. and honestly, why is that an arrestable offense?… but that they’re stalking children they’d like to abduct. They can do that perfectly well when the kids are clothed.

  17. @ #15

    The NSPCC “abuse must stop, full stop” campaign is a load of hogwash. It has done little to stop abuse; its main success is to raise the profile of the NSPCC to bolster their power and donations. Meanwhile the public still thinks that the non-government organization is the first call for reporting abuse, meaning child services aren’t getting the calls they need to act on.

  18. we are on the foot fetishist runs a shoe shop territory here.

    I see a picture of a bunch of wee kids in their swim suits playing in a wading pool.

    That’s all I see.

    To a paedophile the image is a LOT more,it is imbued with a strongly sexual overtone.

    Now can we legislate against the thought?

    NO more than we can against the foot fetishist who runs the shoe shop.

    It is in the territory of thought crime.

    It’s not nice that peole react in these ways, but even if they do , as long as they do not act on their impulses , there is still no crime.

    There is a giant difference between images which are of Children and Child pornography.

    About 20 plus years ago in Denmark I catually saw some.

    And it is an experience which makes you want to pull your eyes out, immediately after killing the abusers.

    So don’t mistake me for being soft on the paedophiles.

  19. Crazy world… TSA harasses handicapped people due to their “extremely dangerous” prosthetic limbs and 82 years old ladies become suspect of pedophilia because they’re taking photos of empty swimming pools.

    I guess that the selection of officers is going from bad to worse: instead of choosing competent, responsible and polite people what is seen is that security has been left to the ones who failed high school or who should be under psychiatric treatment.

  20. There are places in the UK that resemble Iran, down to the application of Sharia law. Productive native Brits are leaving the country at record rates. There are nanny-state cameras on every corner. And what is the once-great country focusing on? The grave injustice from taking pictures of imaginary children.

    Modern liberalism, you so crazy.

  21. You know what? Let’s keep life simple and not take pictures of anything. After all, children use the sidewalks; the street. They may have even climbed that tree near you. Or of the sky because children look at the sky. Oh and that cloud? Doesn’t it look like a naked child if you take five hits of Acid and squint really hard into the sun?

    What? You’re going to tell me I’m silly? Well, then the whole story is silly isn’t it?

  22. Am I the only one categorically unimpressed by extraeneous voewels? Come on, paedo? Enough already.

  23. Vonmises@21: Could you keep the hyperbole down to a gentle scream, please?

    Sharia law could have the same status in the UK — all of the UK — as Jewish rabbinical law, that is to say, as a basis for negotiating settlements in civil cases. At the moment it doesn’t even have that; I think the only accommodation UK law makes to Muslim beliefs is on the matter of multiple wives. No-one is proposing that UK laws should adopt the most extreme practices of the worst practioners of Sharia.

  24. #16 – Gobo: And potential child abductors stalking their victims will take photographs of these children because…well, why, exactly? As a visual aid for their army of accomplices hiding behind the other bushes? To make trading cards to hand out at the next Kidnappers Klub pub night? Or maybe taking pictures is just one of those crazy weird warning signs of child-abductor behavior, like talking on cell phones and walking on sidewalks.

    And if this behavior is so common, why are only a tiny number of stranger abductions every year? If kidnappers don’t get a really primo set of stalking pictures do they just call the whole thing off and go home?

  25. KBlackwell, I’m guessing you are north american, where the simplified spelling has become prevalent. Elsewhere the older form persists.

    The word comes from the Greek paidophilia (παιδοφιλία): pais (παις, “child”) and philia (φιλία, “love, friendship”).

    I’m much more concerned by the title:
    “Elderly woman prohibiting from photographing empty swimming pool”


    prohibited, surely

  26. The moment they didn’t enforce this rule or law their council or collective came up with for their community and something bad happened because they choose to ignore it for all its silliness and over reaching, then all those criticizing this rule – especially those little grandma’s – would be the first ones to shout out about how it should have been followed to the letter and thus such outrageous acts would have been avoided.

    And it’s not really about having such a law anyway, it’s about asking the citizens of that community or state where they were when such rules or laws are being passed? It’s SO over reaching? Well, why are you only finding out about it now? What are you doing to help modify or shape this rule in order to benefit your community rather than overly restrict what its citizens can do?

  27. Here’s what I don’t get with all these no-photo situations. Sure, there might be rules put in place by the higher ups to avoid liability and to look good. Of course the higher ups carry blame, but I have some sympathy for them as well.

    The thing that puzzles me is what the low-level enforcers are thinking. Even if there is a rule “no photographing the kiddie pool because of pedophiles”, and it’s my job to enforce it. Who in their right mind sees a little old lady photographing an empty pool, and tells them to stop? What are they thinking? Or perhaps they are not thinking at all? If they aren’t thinking at all, are they humans or automatons? If they are automatons, can we reprogram them?

  28. musicbear: Your straw men, they don’t stand up too well. What bad thing, exactly, will result from photographing an empty pool? And where in the article does it indicate that the public was consulted or even informed when this absurd rule was put into place? RTFA, kthxbai.

  29. Cory-

    Please don’t add words to a news story that aren’t in the original story. The words, “…Because, you know, anything that children touch regularly becomes part of their souls, and if a paedophile looks at those objects, it’s just like sexually assaulting a child…” are your words and not part of the original news story. However, the placement of your words gives one the impression that they were part of the original news story. Paedophilia is far too serious a subject to treat like this. Please stick to the facts.

  30. This is the result of an organized campaign against photography. Start with things that can’t be argued against.. no taking pictures of “sensitive” government buildings because terrorists might use them to plan something, no taking pictures of children because pedophiles might use them to plan something… then pretty soon its “get a permit to take pictures” which is already in the works, then it will be “pictures are outlawed” and each step will be an incremental one that isn’t big enough to notice or rebel against.

  31. – texasroute66, since when has expressing opinions on a blog necessitated a full blown duplicate of the article in question before hand? The quotes from the original article are in quotation marks and nothing else. No, hang on, I just relayed my opinion about your comment, should I have replicated it first and then said my piece?

  32. @31: Cory is not adding words to the story. It’s his commentary. That’s why a link is provided so you can be the entire story. And frankly, as someone who was molested as child, I think the whole thing is ridiculous. My molester was someone I knew, not a stranger. Same thing for any of my friends who had similar experiences–it was someone they knew. And while there are a few cases pf “stranger danger”, most abuse is perpetrated by those already in a child’s life.

    “…Because, you know, anything that children touch regularly becomes part of their souls, and if a paedophile looks at those objects, it’s just like sexually assaulting a child…”

    Cory has it exactly right–it’s called missing the forest for the trees. It takes away from real actions that could be taken to keep kids safe. It’s just more security theater. Stopping someone from taking a picture of empty playground equipment wouldn’t have helped me one bit.

  33. Am I incorrect in my reading of TFA or did the city-employee not basically tell the woman she was a paedophile? (I’m in the US but since it’s a UK story I’ll spell it “ae”)

    If she didn’t say it outright she very clearly implied it.

    And since it was in the presence of another person does that not make the employee, and possibly the town/city, liable for slander?

    -abs thinks that accusing someone of something as vile as being a child-abuser should probably be dealt with by lawsuit.

  34. @33/texasroute66,

    The clue is in the page formatting. The text just below the headline is Cory’s. The indented text below the giant orange quote is from the article. This is part of Boing Boing’s standard formatting when quoting news stories or blogs. Hopefully your browser is showing the quote image and indented the copy.

  35. Geez!
    I had hoped Chris Morris’ brilliant Paedogeddon on Brass Eye (search it on YouTube) would’ve inoculated the Brits against this kind of lunacy.
    Apparently not.

  36. Well I, for one, feel much safer knowing that the authorities are taking steps to prevent the abuse of nonexistent children. They are often overlooked in favor of protecting children who are actually there, and this double-standard needs to stop.

  37. If I remember correctly, doesn’t the UK have some pretty plaintiff friendly defamation laws? Using those aggressively against the idjits calling people pedophiles might help. . .

  38. I spell it paedophillia because that is how it is spelled.

    if you are goign to play fast and loose with the language then do so with all words.


    or wood that bee rong?


  39. She should simply have told them to mind their own business. Photographing ANYBODY in the UK in a public space is NOT an offence, and certainly photographing an empty public space is permittable at ANY time! Flash mob?

  40. Good call, Angstrom.
    I’ve grown so accustomed to poor grammar on the internet that the article title didn’t alarm me.
    As for the extraeneous vowels, it’s my opinion that many internet folks enjoy bringing attention to these words in an effort to appear clever, suave, refined, fancy, etc. For example:
    Bob: Why look, here’s a story about dog faeces.
    Sue: Wow, us bumpkins in the states spell it in the crude, proletarian manner, without the ‘a’.
    Bob: Well, that’s because you’re dumb and have bastardized our language. I only read articles where the proper form is used.
    Sue: Gee Bob, you sure are smart, and better than us lowly Americans.
    Bob: Your observation is accurate, Sue.

  41. KBlackwell
    So, on the flip side: people should be peer-pressured into spelling things incorrectly (or colloquially, at least) because their friends do?

  42. We had a large amount of the “stranger danger” business when I was a kid, but then we had this lunatic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifford_Olson running around so it was justified.

    But he is a major exception.

    And @16: the idea of the kids being stalked by a stranger is silly. In the rare cases of child abuse by a stranger it’s even rarer that there was any form of contact before the child was abducted. meaning the children are only targeted by family members, etc. If strangers are involved, it’s usually a crime of opportunity.

    No, the alarming thing is the trend towards restricting freedoms in the name of things we can all agree with (pedophilia is bad, etc) while simultaneously encouraging people to just obey rules and orders and not ask questions, because it’s all being done for our own good.

    I respect police, and security, but there’s a point when it becomes very obvious that certain rules simply don’t make sense, don’t enhance or protect our lives, and take away from our freedoms. This is one case.

  43. In fact, we shouldn’t even be TALKING about pedophilia, lest we become pedophiles. Dammnit! I just THOUGHT about the concept!! Now I might be one!

  44. No-one is proposing that UK laws should adopt the most extreme practices of the worst practitioners of Sharia.

    Maybe not the most extreme, but the slippery slope has started sliding. Many countries with large Muslim populations have movements to create an alternative justice system based on Shari’a, which would be applied to members of that community. Canada has had an ongoing foofaraw about it. It’s also been an issue in the UK. The Archbishop of Canterbury remarked that the adoption of some Sharia law in the UK seemed “unavoidable”. There is some support among non-Muslim lawmakers.

  45. Can you blame a person for trying to prevent something?
    Back in the 90’s a cook overheard me telling someone that I had taught my daughter and her friends origami and I’ll refrain from all the details but I spent a month in the hole untill $5,000 dollars Bond for $50,000 bail was raised.
    and not just general lockup with the hot check writers, The hole with the arsonist, murders and the like in the spit proof cell. while my house was raided and the pictures of my daughter and my girlfriends kids were scrutinized.
    I finnaly got out of that situation but in the meantime the Parsons household amonia and the foot fungus medication and a postal scale were determined to be the makings of a meth drug lab.
    Okay, sorry for the rant but it totally pisses me off to see the kind of crap that goes on Like that woman getting jumped for taking pictures.

  46. Sadly that article was pretty short on details. When they say council worker I picture the stereotypical scene of 3 supervisors with one bloke digging. And they’ve given THEM coercive powers?

  47. This is all very interesting, and we all get daily minute of therapeutic outrage out of it, but … what exactly is going on here?

    Whether it’s TSA employees who consider a gun-shaped key-fob or T-shirt with a gun image on it a security threat, or council officials and special constables persecuting photographers for imagined terrorism/child-abuse … there seems to be some mechanism at work involving abrogation of reason and good judgement when exercising some limited degree of power.

    Maybe if we can understand it, we can cure this widespread mental illness.

  48. Error404 44: Well, actually in BE it’s ‘paedophilia’, with only one ell, or ‘pædophilia’ if you really wanna get 19C about it. (æ gives æ)

    I do agree with you, however, that it’s dorky for someone to criticize (heh) the spelling that’s correct on the other side of the water (or even, in the case of the US, the other side of the border). He may not have known that ‘paedophilia’ is a correct British spelling.

  49. remember that South Park episode where the parents decide they can’t be trusted with their children?

  50. Also, you poncey Brits need to learn unicode so that you can correctly spell pædophile.

    Speaking as a poncey Brit graphic designer, “æ” is a ligature which comes under style issues in typesetting, not spelling. Exceptions are made in the case of brand names.

    BTW, my Oxford English dictionary gives a choice of “paedo” and “pedo” for this spelling, with the former the first choice in UK English usage. It also informs me that adherents of infant baptism are “paedobaptists” which I’m fairly sure I didn’t know before.

    ♥♥♥ ★★★ ♔♕♖ ☝☝☝

    ¿ǝɹoɯ ǝʞıl noʎ plnoʍ ɹo ǝpoɔıun ɥƃnouǝ ʇɐɥʇ sı

  51. A year ago, a sort of friend and I were driving around.
    It was a beautiful evening and I had my camera with me, and we were stopping anywhere that had photo possibilities. At one point we pulled over at a tiny beach facing boston harbour.
    I was planning to take some photos of the skyline, etc…
    but my friend freaked out on me.
    there was a solitary 8 or so year old girl there playing alone in the sand, and he was convinced people would think we were pedos were someone to see me taking photos near her. Not of her, but Near her!!!!
    He’s a bit nuts, but influenced by our societies general paranoia.

  52. I ♥ BoingBoing

    I ♠ My Dog

    Don’t ♣ Baby Seals

    I ◊ the gangster as he breathed his last.

  53. Oy! I know the heart, but I don’t have the star, the chess pieces or the hand on my list. That’s not fair.

  54. Our socities become oversensitive to issues like this only when we allow all kinds of people to live in them. “Oh noes, don’t call him ‘Jack’, he might be gay and take ill”

    Pluralism + centralization of power = FAIL

  55. Oy! I know the heart, but I don’t have the star, the chess pieces or the hand on my list. That’s not fair.

    Us Mac users can cheat and use the Special Characters palette.

    ☆ ❉ ☆ ❉ ☆ ❉ ☆ ❉ ☆ ❉ ☆ ❉

    1. Oh. Does that involve cutting and pasting, or can you open up the palette as part of entering the text in the field. Either way, explain it to Teresa, because she’s quite jealous of my Alt + abilities.

  56. I meant in the middle of the ◊, sorry. ♦ is showing up as a box on this computer. Do you see now, FourFiveFire?

    1. poolophiles are known to hang out at the discharge jets around the pool

      And sometimes hang out far longer than expected at the intake jet. Usually until emergency services arrives to extricate them.

  57. Antinous: In Macs using recent iterations of OS X any web browser should show Special Characters… at the end of the Edit menu. Click that and a floating window pops up. Double-click the symbol you want (there’s a huge choice of foreign and other symbols) and it appears wherever you left your cursor. Easy.

  58. Probably an obvious comment: It’s not about what some silly groundskeeper did. What he did is an expression of things gone astray in the discourse.

  59. D’oh! I’ve been using the Special Characters palette for kanji; it never occured to me I could use it for Latin characters. Lōōk, mācrōns!

  60. TRR: “I die,” moaned the gangster as he breathed his last.

    die moaned == diamond == ◊

    Lame? Yes. Do better.

  61. It seems like the best solution here is for photographers to start patrolling in groups to protect other photographers from illegal harassment. You can make a citizen’s arrest for assault if they touch you or your camera, right?

  62. I feel lame as well. Even moreso since I actually snorted when I read the explanation.

    I am Urkel.

  63. The extra vowel is to make the word meaner, as evidenced by comments that are so mean they need their vowels removed.

    The aelig is meaner yet: call someone a pædophile and it resists garden-variety disemvoweling.

    BB mods, are you ready for the onslaught of Unicode-obfuscated namecalling?

    1. BB mods, are you ready for the onslaught of Unicode-obfuscated namecalling?

      Bring it on, π☺.

  64. FYI… many words have multiple legitimate spellings and pronunciations. Claiming there is only one True Spelling is silly, especially when the dictionary says otherwise. There are more important issues…

    TexasRoute66: That’s how blogs work. If you dislike editorial content, you will probably dislike blogs.

    WhizGirl, Thank you for sharing your story.

  65. Anyone want to play chess?

    â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡
    â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â– 
    â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡
    â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â– 

  66. ♖♘♗♔♕♗♘♖
    â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡
    â–¡ â™™ â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â– 
    â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡
    â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â–  â–¡ â– 

  67. I agree it’s always a shame when the elderly are treated just like any other member of society, but really, this should be hardly note-worthy. Anyone who’s been involved with clubs, societies, sports organisations, schools, etc, in the UK, who could ever even possibly come into contact with children, will be only fully aware of the perils of Child Protection Policies and the nonsense they promulgate.

    (I’m an archer; every time I go to a organised archery tournament, if we want to take photos, we’re supposed to give our name and address first, to the tournament organiser, in order to meet the Child Protection Policy of the GNAS organising body. This is presumably so that if my photographs have children in them, and they wind up on a child-porn website, the authorities will be able to track me down. Coaches aren’t ‘allowed’ to touch a child’s shoulder if they’re drawing their bows wrong (etc), because that could be considered assault or, child molestation, or something… And so coaches are leaving the sport in droves.)

    With reference to TFA: The local council probably have a Child Protection Policy that says ‘no photography near playgrounds’. Why? Because the person taking the photo could be a paedophile. So if the two grannies were sent away for taking photos, the correct explanation could only ever be “because they could be paedophiles”.

    But don’t worry, Esther Rantzen is here. You should search for her recent Daily Mail op-ed “I launched Childline to protect the most vulnerable – but unleashed a politically correct monster” which recently inspired a small media flurry.

    Also, Rantzen Today programme interview from a week ago: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7474000/7474792.stm

    Maybe, just maybe, the tide is beginning to turn.

  68. @ #40 cinemajay
    Thanks for explaining the formating situation. It makes sense now. I appreciate your help.

  69. By yogh aesch ond thorn, nprnncbl, it won’t slow me down more than a minute.

  70. And blossumes bolne to blowe
    Bi rawes rych and ronk,
    Then notes noble innoghe
    Ar herde in wod so wlonk.

  71. The one point that seems to have been overlooked is COMMON SENSE, or lack thereof . Is everyone so paranoid that an 82 year old woman taking pictures of an empty pool is perceived as a pervert? Exactly whose mind is warped here? The whole of the UK seems to be afflicted with some kind of security OCD.

  72. Yep, reaaaaal nonsense right there. I used to work as a teacher here in the UK, so I know all about this kind of thing. (Stupid bureaucracy, not pædophilia, I might add). It was one of the reasons I left teaching (the other being the behaviour of kids).

    Two occasions spring to mind. Firstly, on one occasion I was taking some kids to the primary school across the road to do a music performance for the little ‘uns. When I announced this in morning briefing, the response was not “Oh great, that’ll be nice for the kids, and a nice way to improve the reputation of our school!” but “Where’s your risk assessment?”

    The second occurred the time that a child stormed out of my class because I had – horror of horrors – asked him to stop talking. Politely, I might add. I followed him out of the classroom and tried to stop him. This is a big no-no, apparently – we’re supposed to just “let them go” because any touching could be considered “assault”.

    I left several weeks after this last incident. I strongly believe that this sort of stupidity is why crime is on the rise – because no-one will challenge it for fear of infringing human rights, offending someone or inadvertently sexually abusing someone.

  73. t’s lk, jst whn y thght Cry Dctrw cldn’t pssbly b mr f slf-ggrndzng, pdntc knw-t-ll prck, h hs kd.

    f thr’s ny jstc n th nvrs, hs dghtr wll lglly chng hr nm t gt rd f th 40 xtr ns hr prnts tckd n nd bcm th CF f Sny BMG.

  74. Kyle, this comment is shocking, not because it’s a diss on Cory (people do that all the time), but because it’s at odds with your posting history. Examples include this comment, where you support BB doing whatever they want with their own blog (I agree 100%), so why shouldn’t Cory?

    Reading briefly through your comments, they seem intelligent and thoughtful. This one mystifies me.

    Do you really believe having a kid is a “slf-ggrndzng, pdntc knw-t-ll” thing to do? Or do you just think being a parent will make Cory worse?

    Basically, why are you hating on Cory? It seems really out of character for you. I’m really asking.

  75. Meanwhile, “in other parts of the worlds”, it’s open season for cameras on private property – via Slashdot

    Smile, you’re on Google

    Where’s the disconnect that allows for one but not the other? If the definition of pedo-perv is now an 82 year old woman photographing an empty public wading pool, what does that make Google and all their massive visual-omniscience projects? How many empty public wading pools has “Don’t Be Evil” Google photographed? Better yet, how many children-filled public wading pool photos does Google own?

    And what of CCTVs at public wading pools? Given the virulence of CCTVs in public spaces, both government and privately owned, when and how did it become wrong to take photos in, or of, public places? What makes companies like Google perv-exempt?

    And now that we know what we know about 82 year old women photographing empty public wading pools, how should we view 82 year old women out taking photos of their own grandchildren, maybe with other children, in public playgrounds? Worse still, what are we to think when we see 82 year old women out actually playing with children in public places, especially given the actual real-world stats on pedo-pervs?

    Be afwaid, my childwen. Be vewy, vewy afwaid.

    Then again, maybe all’s well with the world after all. Google’s probably out in their camera-van photographing those 82 year olds on their own property as I write, maybe even in their own wading pool, which effectively makes senior-perv the new pedo-perv.

    Anyone seen my wide-angle?

  76. @ John Coulthart – ϖσστ!, and thanks!

    @chessplayer – my friend and I invented an ascii chess game (caps vs. lowers) when he was in Africa and had internet access once a week. Yours is cooler.

    @article: The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

    I think the fact that so many people are so paranoid about it speaks to the volume of sexual abuse which has been experienced. It’s not small.

    In the absence of leadership, paranoia strikes first.

  77. Solution: lock up all paedophiles.

    Question: how do you identify paedophiles?

    Answer: penile plethysmograph and vaginal photoplethysmograph. Show you photos of children in various states of dress and undress, and if there is any measureable sexual arousal, off to jail you go. And don’t forget your free “P” branding on your forehead.

    We can rapidly test the entire population, and make the country safe for all children. Anyone who objects to this is just a closet paedophile who fears being outed.


  78. Hmmm no,

    The correct spelling is the correct spelling for a reason, it is because it has a slightly different pronunciation.

    but US pronunciation ignores the origins of words and spells them any old how.


    FFS that doesn’t ecven make any sense.

    You pronounce it correctly and then spell it as if you had meant to say CALL-ORE

    So I hope you don’t mind if I pass on taking spelling lessons from US americans.

  79. How are we to know that the perverted old bitty wasn’t imagining scantily-clad children at that pool? That’s the only logical explanation. Those bright council workers intuited her motives and they pounded on that old cougar. Dirty old woman!

  80. Error404: I don’t know if you intend this, but you’re really beginning to sound awfully snooty and narrowminded.

    And I’m not sure whom you’re referring to, but I for one am not trying to tell you how to spell things, but just trying to establish that there can be different equally valid spellings (on different sides of the Atlantic, in different countries, etc.). When a British novel is pubbed in the US, usually things like ‘kerb’ and ‘colour’ are corrected to their US spellings, but ‘bonnet’ is not changed to ‘hood’ and so on…the color of the British writing is kept, but not the details of the spelling.

    I pronounce ‘color’ /k^’lr/ (‘^’ is as in ‘but’ /b^t/, there being no way to put a schwa on here, at least with my computer). You could make a case that it should be spelled ‘culler’ (as in one who culls), but I’ve never heard anyone pronounce it any way that could be spelled the way you do. It looks like it would be roughly /kal or/, as in “No need to dig in the bowels of the Earth; such is the power of my song that I can CALL ORE up from the ground!”

    The accursed Noah Webster wasn’t interested in spelling things phonetically or even phonemically, but just in eliminating what were, to him, extraneous letters. Yes, they rob the language of some of its colo(u)r (which is why I hate him and won’t use the dictionaries that bear his name (OK, I’ve also found them to be simplistic and biased)), but he wasn’t one of those “eliminate the letter ‘c'” bozos.

    And I have news for you: all pronunciation pretty much ignores the origins of words. Spelling preserves it a little more, but not very faithfully. Meaning drifts even more than spelling, and more unpredictably than pronunciation. ‘Template’ does not mean ‘little temple’, as it once did, and its spelling (and later, in some dialects, its pronunciation) was influenced by the word ‘plate’ (earlier ‘templet’). A gourmet is not a small groom (earlier ‘gromet’, lit. “little groom,” a wine merchant’s assistant, influenced by ‘gourmand’, a lover of food).

  81. And alas! for Youkahainen,
    Sings him into deeps of quick-sand;
    Ever deeper, deeper, deeper,
    In his torture, sinks the wizard,
    To his belt in mud and water.
    Now it was that Youkahainen
    Comprehended but too clearly
    What his folly, what the end was,
    Of the journey he had ventured,
    Vainly he had undertaken
    For the glory of a contest
    With the grand, old Wainamoinen.

  82. Eustace 112:

    I have sung the seed up out of the ground
    And the bird down from the tree;
    My skin, my bones, my heretic heart
    Are my authority.
           —Catherine Madsen, “Heretic Heart”

    Seed != ore, and the two kinds of singing-up aren’t the same either, but still.

  83. Xopher,

    I also cannot make a schwa (other than by cutting and pasting.) What the hell? I have formulæ for it, but none of them work.

  84. Macs can do them, of course, following the process described above. :)


  85. Macs are better than PCs. I know this.

    <snark>We know this because the guy who plays Mac on the commercials is young and thin and sexy, and the guy who plays PC is older and chubby and dorky (like me).</snark>

  86. I’ve used Macs and PCs, and I greatly prefer the PC, but I am rather jealous of this character palette. And if it’s a twink versus bear thing, well…

  87. Macs and twinks ftw! Twinks with Macs, even better. I think there may be a fetish niche there…

    1. I see that you have my namesake’s picture on your journal. That looks like a great exhibit.

  88. Ah yes, lots of Antinous statues gathered in the British Museum just now. All the reviews have been very complimentary, I ought to get down there to see it.

  89. Speaking of twinks. If not actual chicken.

    Hmm. So you’re saying I’m a PC and I have the hots for a Mac. So I guess I’m looking for my own Firewire connection!

  90. Did anyone notice the irony that the women were stopped from photographing an empty pool, but the article is illustrated with a photo of them (presumably) outside a pool where there appears to be someone in the background. Double standards surely!

  91. why all this obsession with paedophiles? I live in Spain and us parents don’t go around assuming that there is this risk. There isn’t. We are far more worried about illegal wars, racism and the British press which only seems to talk about asylum seekers and paedophiles. A great cover for the real nasty things. Our kids run naked on the beach here, speak to strangers are loved and protected. Only this perverse British fear will continue to cause perverse events. Liberal countries have far fewer problems in this respect and as for photographing swimming pools- who cares? I only came across this site cos I was lookng at photos of swimming pools and even that is apparently dangerous. Thank God we don’t live in Britain

  92. Eliminate spelling problems……

    In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favor of the “k”. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have one less letter.

    There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with the “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

    In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are
    possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double
    letters,which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also,

    al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e”‘s in the languag is disgracful, and they should go away.

    By the 4th yar, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing
    “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

    During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords
    containing “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer
    kombinations of leters.

    After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

    And zen ve vil tak over ze vorld!!!

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