Le Scarabée
Masquer la pub

The end of lightness

par Eric Cotte
mise en ligne : 23 March 1999

The "celebrity" section of the Scarabee and its "light" images have definitively disappeared: it had become impossible to continue encouraging others to take such huge financial risks.

Well, that’s it, frequent visitors of the Scarabee will see that I totally erased the "French celebrities" section. I had been thinking about it for quite some time, but the Estelle Halliday/Altern affair prompted me to do it today. That’s definitive. Erase directory...

That section, for those of you who never saw it, was a directory of websites dedicated to actresses, female singers and other celebrities. I hadn’t updated it for over a year, but I hated to have to get rid of it. But the thing is that I cannot encourage anybody to take risks worth 40000 francs ($7000!) over that kind of stuff. That’s the price SilverSurfer’s webmaster had to pay when the affair was taken in front to court.

Indeed, it’s the end of innocence. The end of "our" Web.

I was never ashamed of that section. French celebrities are beautiful and they use that to their advantage, to get some renown, and there’s no shame in appreciating these women’s nice bodies (for some of them, that was their only talent).

That section was even one of the first of the Scarabee. At first, I’d make my own scans from my own magazines (the way SilverSurfer did, by the way). That was one of the amusing things the internet allowed us to do: sharing charming images, communicating good URLs, referencing the best photo galleries, being somewhat proud when you were able to make a good scan of a picture no one else had. A teenager’s type of pleasure? Maybe, and why not?

There was a use to that section (in addition to my own pleasure) that I never kept hidden. It would give my site, made austere by the choice of texts, a light touch that could lift it out of the shade in which politically engaged sites such as mine often fall. That section provided a balance between futile and grave. That may sound stupid, but I used to get messages from visitors saying "I came for the photos and stayed for the articles". Those were among my favorite messages.

But the Altern affair revealed two attitudes that put an end to that nice epoch. The first, and obvious one, is the one that consists in seeing those images as a mass-media. Exchanging photos thus against some people’s rights. According to the European Human Rights chart, it’s at least plagiarism of author’s rights, and it’s punished as such. This is no more tolerated and the fee is rather hefty. The internet is not a children’s playground anymore.

Another lousy attitude is the condemnation by web-surfers of light sites. There seems to be, in some people’s mind, a distinction between a freedom of speech that’s worth it, engaged, serious (boring too?), and one that deals with libido that is unworthy, insignificant, lousy. Just for that, I would have left my section up.

But providing links, like I did, was tantamount to encouraging others to run risks, whereas I would remain safe. Am I not a bit guilty? As far as I was concerned, I had long stopped putting up my own scans, judging that the atmosphere wasn’t that great anymore. But when SilverSurfer contacted me so that I reference his site, I didn’t refuse (it was a great site, in its category...).

As much as I like images of that type, I feel guilty. Therefore, there goes my images-section. Suppressed. We’re not amongst friends anymore: out there, it’s full of assholes who are just waiting for us to make a mistake to sue our pants off. Innocent pictures are not innocent anymore: it’s business.

No more playing around.

Lire aussi :