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The Fall New Low

Last night I watched a young woman be bound and gagged provocatively, then suffocated to death, after her boyfriend was stabbed to a bloody pulp with long scissors, by a serial killer obsessed with "making his own pornography".  No, this wasn't some sick Internet site, nor was it a DVD or movie for adults.  It was a BBC 2 TV show, on Monday night, at 9 pm, with strong violence and language from the start.

This after several weeks of hand wringing about banning violent and degrading porn sites, as it may have led to the escalating sadism of a child killer in Britain recently convicted. The Fall, a highly-rated, expertly filmed and acted five part thriller series, starring X-Files hero Gillian Anderson, is by far the most unsettling terrestrial TV I have ever seen, in how it fetishes the abuse and slow murder of young attractive women, in a context that involves scared children, and very horrific images and concepts.  It also graphically shows how to stalk and break into women's houses.  It is a blueprint for murder, an incitement to hate, despite its skin-deep pretence at feminism.

Simply by being knowing enough to indicate you know a killer is objectifying women does not mean you are being the change you want to see in the world.  Better to not depict what is sick.  I know you will say it is pure entertainment - but why is graphic bondage and suffocation, with clear depictions of terror on the faces of the victims, in the eyes, and their screams considered entertainment, while we seek (rightly) to want to restrict access to violent and degrading sexuality?  The sex crimes in this film - though depicted with some clothing - are obviously sexualised in nature (the killer seeks to overpower women on their beds).  This is hate porn dressed up as high-class drama.

Now, I know that one of my favourite films is Peeping Tom - a very dark and equally transgressive exploration of sexual sadism and scopophilia, and I know Hitchcock also did this forty years ago in Frenzy - but both were films you had to pay to see in a cinema.  BBC2 is free, and also accessed later online.  Why are we putting such sordid images and scenarios into our heads?  The world is already filled with sickeningly high levels of terrible violence against innocents.
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