And in shock news, the Aus­tralian cen­sor­ship office has made a logical decision, announ­cing that the con­tro­ver­sial Bill Henson photos of a 12-year-old naked girl rate a PG and should not be banned. Could this mean that any pedo­philic thoughts while viewing the image are — wait for it — in the mind of the beholder? Are they saying that meaning is cre­ated between the viewer and the text? Is it pos­sible that the cen­sors have caught up with post-structuralist thinking? [1]

Henson must be thrilled, not least because every­body and their dog is now going to go and see this exhib­i­tion.

[1] Doug and I had an extensive con­ver­sa­tion about this at the time the photos were banned. I essen­tially agree with this the­or­et­ical pos­i­tion but I do also think that there are inter­pretive com­munities and cul­tural codes that come into play and that it is pos­sible for an artist to delib­er­ately trans­pose sexual codes that are com­monly under­stood in our society to indicate avail­ab­ility onto an underage person in such a way that would make it almost uni­ver­sally inter­pretable as sexual and fur­ther­more that this would be prob­lem­atic. Most people would inter­pret that image as revolting; pedo­philes would inter­pret it as enti­cing. Would that image still be art? Doug thinks so. I’m leaning toward saying it would be porn. Note that Henson’s photos were not vis­ibly sexu­al­ised — no makeup, no spread legs, etc.