Rotten.com is an old, infamous site, featuring many images of disgusting diseases, dismembered corpses, ugly women, et cetera. It's not something I was going to node about. But the current write-ups do it no justice - rotten.com is not an argument for Internet censorship. I am especially offended by mirko's allusion that content should be banned from the Internet if you wouldn't want your children to see it. Rotten.com explain themselves, I'll just quote their 'Words' section here, since I can't say it better:
Written by the Rotten.com Staff, used here with permission.
The definition of obscenity, according to the Supreme Court and known informally as the Miller test, is:
- must appeal to the prurient interest of the average person
- must describe sexual conduct in a way that is "patently offensive" to community standards, and
- when taken as a whole, it "must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value"
Certain people (including parents and schoolteachers) have complained to us and stated that rotten.com should not be "allowed" on the net, since children can view images on our site.
One US schoolteacher wrote us a very angry email that complained some of her students had bookmarked images on this site, that our site shouldn't be on the net, and other claptrap.
This is our respone. The net is not a babysitter! Children should not be roaming the Internet unsupervised any more than they should be roaming the streets of New York City unsupervised.
We cannot dumb the Internet down to the level of playground. Rotten dot com serves as a beacon to demonstrate that censorship of the Internet is impractical, unethical, and wrong. To censor this site, it is necessary to censor medical texts, history texts, evidence rooms, courtrooms, art museums, libraries and other sources of information vital to functioning of free society.
Nearly all of the images we have online are not even prurient, and would thus not fall under any definition of obscenity. Any images which we have of a sexual nature are in a context which render them far from obscene, in any United States jurisdiction. Some of the images may be offensive, but that has never been a crime. Life is sometimes offensive. You have to expect that.
The images we find most obscene are those from book burnings.
Please remember that no child has access to the Internet without the active consent of an adult. And absolutely no child should be left on the Internet alone. Supervision of children remains the responsibility of parents and teachers, as it always has and always will.
The rotten staff, April 1997
What was the reason they should be censored again?