simpfamilyMark Pesce has written an excellent article over at his usual haunt, ABC Unleashed, titled Simpsons and sensibility. It’s a look at the Simpsons Porn case which made headlines last week (court document available here as a PDF). ABC took their time publishing it so a lot of what Mark says has been discussed elsewhere now, but nowhere near as clearly. Pesce writes:

…Has Judge Adams ever watched The Simpsons? The casual, almost reckless child abuse that occurs every time Homer strangles Bart is precisely the sort of “abuse” that judge Adams seeks quash. As near as I can tell, television brodcasters and everyone who watches any episode of The Simpsons where Homer throttles Bart (there are many, many such episodes, plus last year’s feature film) have violated Australia’s laws concerning the distribution and viewing of materials which depict child abuse.

And let’s be blunt: Homer does abuse Bart. There’s no other rationale for Homer’s behavior. It is child abuse. And any materials which depict child abuse in any way are wholly illegal under Australian law.

He also looks at the case of Christopher Illingworth, who today faced Maroochydore Magistrates Court charged with two counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material. And by child abuse material QLD police mean the famous video of a baby being swung around, circulated widely across YouTube and shown on news reports in the United States. Chris republished it on

Never mind that this video was freely available online, had been viewed by hundreds of thousands of individuals, or that it had been broadcast by American TV stations. None of that matters. Nor do police seem interested in the context of the video, reported to be a Russian circus family having fun with the baby. It is child abuse, and even watching the video is illegal in Australia.

Jeremy Gans, who teaches and researches in criminal justice law, also has a great article discussing both cases on his blog. Well worth reading.