Should Apple allow English porn iPad app?

Is Apple right to allow the Sun newspaper to have an iPad app featuring topless women? Is this a purely commercial decision? Or does Apple show a peculiar understanding of English culture?

Pornography, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder.

For some, pornography is any woman in an advanced state of nakedness and any man without shorts. (Unless they're at, say, a hot springs in Calistoga, Calif.) For others, porn is the amount of food some Americans like to put on their plates.

So perhaps one should vigorously exercise subjectivity on hearing that Apple is reportedly to allow the Sun newspaper to enjoy a magical iPad app.

Some might be surprised at this decision as, in 2009, Apple prevented an app called Newspaper(s) from appearing on the iPhone specifically because this app offered all the finest aspects of the Sun newspaper.

By "finest," I am naturally implying that the app contained shots of girls next door who happened to have omitted their shirts. These are lovingly known in the U.K. as the "Page 3 girls."

This time around the situation is, allegedly, different. PaidContent reported that the Sun's iPad app has been approved because all who download it (for almost $8) have to declare that they have more than 300 growing in their armpits and 12 on their chins. Yes, you must state that you are 17.

One of the all-time great Sun headlines.

Your first reaction might be that if all an app needs to do to gain approval is to ask every downloader whether he or she is of an age to cope with such material, then perhaps there might be a flood of application applications with a hard core of content.

However, if the Playboy app has already been approved--one that has surely far racier content--how can the Sun be denied? Moreover, perhaps the Apple approval committee also understands the peculiar cultural context inhabited by the Sun in the less than sunny isles.

English culture has its own peculiar nuances. The country with some of the most deft, subtle humor in the world also shows a fondness for some of the more basic aspects of existence. The English might have produced the world's most refined actors, but somehow when Google Street View catches someone vomiting in the street, it always seems to be an Englishman. And have you ever seen any of the "Carry On" films?

The Sun is regarded with such benevolence in English culture that those with a more uptight way of life might find it hard to grasp. The Sun is actually very easy to grasp, given that in your corner shop it doesn't sit on the top shelf next to Playboy and Hustler. It sits next to the Guardian and the Times. Good Lord, it's owned by the same people who own the Times. (Which, I am sure, did not influence Apple's approval committee at all.)

It is no more salacious than a British seaside postcard. And it does offer such lovely embellished tales as the exclusive it once offered that a British comedian had eaten someone's hamster (the proof is in the photo above).

Banning the Sun would be the equivalent of banning warm beer, fish, and chips (doused in salt and vinegar) and talking without moving your lips. It would be equivalent of banning the vuvuzelas at the World Cup.

And what fun would the world be without any of those?

(Disclosure: In my difficult youth, I was the creative mind behind some of the Sun's ads. Yes, I am responsible for several TV spots featuring famous Sun Page 3 girl (and singer), Samantha Fox, playing the part of Esmerelda in a reimagined "Hunchback of Notre Dame." I wrote the part specifically for her.)

 

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