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Porn in music is getting embarrassing - but so's David Cameron's support for online age ratings [OPINION]

Porn in music is getting embarrassing - but so's David Cameron's support for online age ratings [OPINION]

You've got to feel for Rihanna. In another era, she'd be Mary Whitehouse's diamond-knickered boogy woman; a fizzing sex-punk of titillation, Satan-sent to hypnotise The Youth and traumatise their Cath Kidston-clad progenitors. But these days, it just ain't that easy.

Shall we get the obvious, weirdly unspoken secret out of the way? Her target fanbase aren't so much 'tricky to offend' as 'Two Girls One Cup veterans'. This, remember, is the 3G era, when internet muck is only ever a finger stroke away. (A particularly intriguing one, if teenage hormones are charging around your system and there are disgusted playground "OMG!"s to be won.)

Watching RiRi writhe, thrust and gyrate her way around her Viagra'd-up Benny Hill set at the O2 last year (pink cannons!), it struck me just how easy Madonna had it in the Eighties.

All it took to outrage parents back then - and subsequently draw a flock of scandal-hungry teens, cash in hand - was a little stroke of Black Jesus in a video. Pah!

There is a tidal wave of filth, bizarro human antics and disgusting freakishness available to view RIGHT NOW, as you read this, at the bus stop (probably). Your ethics, your imagination and the law are your only censors.

Shouldn't this fact be a telltale trigger for the music industry - and, yes, the 'celeb media' - to grow up and accept porn can't shock and sell like it used to? Or perhaps to ask why Adele's team has never needed to seedily glue together art and smut in the hope of snaring a quick, demeaning buck?

Surely it's time to separate genius and grot once and for all. Reg Bailey and I have that opinion in common. (Although, admittedly, I'm not adverse to people enjoying either separately. Knock yourselves out. So to speak.)

Where the Mothers' Union chief and I differ is on age ratings for online music videos; a concept about as divisive as the Christian charity's favourite Holy text.

Apparently, PM David Cameron is 'disappointed' in the music industry's response to such recommendations. Well guess what? I'm appalled Call Me Dave is being taken in by them. You'd think someone so close to Google (ho ho) would recognise that attempting to age-gate the internet is a fool's errand - not to mention expensive, artistically damaging and wholly ineffective.

Would an age classification stop kids seeing or sharing inappropriate material? Of course not. Would it deter teens - or alert their folks - any more than the BPI's parental advisory scheme already does? Nope. It will only serve to hinder the creative community.

The biggest threat to the sanctity of the next generation may well be what youngsters are choosing to type into Firefox. But the reality is, that can't be controlled by anyone - except possibly their parents and, ultimately, their own brains.

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