Do you know what Rule 34 is? Even if you don’t but you are even slightly familiar with the Internet, you are aware of it. And whether you are aware of it or not, you’ve probably been victimized by it. Plainly stated, “Rule 34” is Internet jargon for the “rule” that if something exists, there is a porn version of it. No exceptions. This is followed by another rule of the Internet: Rule 35, which states that if there is no porn of it, there will be soon. And, unfortuntely, it doesn’t take much to prove it. Just “Google” about anything, and chances are good that if you look not too far into your search results, there will be pornography listed. It doesn’t matter what you search for–Care Bears, the Koch Brothers, Nazis, Golden Grahams, Amputee Hillbillies–there will be porn included.
A lot of people consider Rule 34 a joke, a hyperbole of the Internet age. Unfortunately, it is not. Rule 34 is nothing but a fact of life, an astonishing and dangerous reality to be taken very seriously. In fact, Rule 34 has become so ubiquitos that several websites that have made it their main point to discuss it, have wiped out any reference to it since, after all, if you can’t beat ’em, well, you know.
Is It Photoshop or Not?
Anyone who is the least bit familiar with the Internet should know that there is a lot out there that can’t be believed, whether you believe it or not. The truth is that images can be created and manipulated in so many ways that it would make graphic artists of only a few years ago envious. Take a clip of a pornographic movie from the past, splice a few new heads on the actors–or “performers,” however you look at it–and you have something totally new to entice the purient interests of any like-minded person on the Internet. Or who even needs a clip? Today’s software can create practically anything, real or imagined, into pornography.
Want to watch Shaggy plow Velma? Easy to do. Wanna watch George Jetson spend a few erotic minutes with Rosie the Robot? Easier done than said. There are even websites out there where you can watch claymation images getting it on in unimaginable ways, all available at the touch of a keyboard. There is even pterodactyl porn, which hopes to play off of the success of Jurassic Park, one of the biggest grossing films of all time in its creators efforts to lure unsuspecting folk into its lair. Unfortunately, this is probably just the beginning of such material, which is probably limited only by the boundaries of the creator’s imagination. It is also possible that wherever the limits are for such characters are in costumes, cartoons can pick up on. Porn is already practically limitless, so there is little doubt that a fertile imagination can give it even more life.
In the Beginning…
Only a few years ago, Eric Schmidt wrote, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we ever had.” Unfortunately, at least to a great extent this is probably true, especially as it related to pornography, since the impact of it was probably never considered from the start.
The concept now known as Rule 34 had its genesis in the very earliest history of the Internet, as those who were looking for porn only satisfied their desires to find it by providing it, in whatever form they could. At the time this all started there was only a limited amount of porn to be found on the Internet and presumably it was boring. After all, a few looks as Marilyn Chambers doing with whomever and however ways can get tiring.
It can only be assumed that with enough time on your hands to upload porn to the Internet where there was so little, connoisseurs of such material would have enough time to go in search of it for the purpose of adding to the limited selection available online, which only led them to find other sources, primarily in the form of those that were more exotic. Unfortunately, this didn’t even satisfy them for long before they got wind of a new form coming from Japan,
As if the existing types of porn didn’t stretch the boundaries of what human proportions couldn’t satisfy, Japanese artists proved that they could put new meaning into the term, “size matters,” as well as a new and more “beautiful” artform which had never before existed, even in the most deprived minds. These included such situations as an anonymous penis having sex with a Pokemon and other scenarios.
It stands to reason that when the thrill was gone from these guilty pleasures opportunities would beckon those with their own artistic bent for expression, deviantART, while it is a forum for budding artists worldwide, some have taken “artistic liberties” to share what can only be deemed as pornographic under freedom of information and freedom of speech as pretexts. So for parents with children who have a flare for the Arts, a website that seemed like the perfect outlet for their creative juice can be a gateway to more pornographic and “devious” pieces published for everyone to see.
Much to the dismay of those whose desire it was to crack down on sites such as deviantART and others, there was mass revolt over the Internet when enforcement of standards reared its decent head in response to what was beginning to be a growing problem. As a result of being hit over the head with the general consensus that the Internet was not regulated, and being the ultimate form of free self-expression, a new rule was unofficially put into play which stated, “nothing in a franchise can stay pure for more than one day.” Anyone who doubts this fact only needs to introduce a new character to the overall cast of pornographic characters, the it will appear on the Google safe search off. In the same manner also, if the character is female, and the terms “hentai” and/or “porn” and the Google floodgates will magically open wide. This will only testify to the power of Rule 34 in all its glory to get through even the best intended search filters. This also goes to show that Rule 34 creators are very twisted, which might explain their tendency to draw porn of cartoons that you watched in your childhood. And if you don’t believe that, you might want to perform a search on “Flintstones porn,” “Pokemon hentai,” or something similar, and you will be convinced in only micro seconds.
Rule 34 as a Tool
By this time in the discussion you have probably already given up on Rule 34 as the product of sick, twisted, and deprived minds, not to mention something anyone with a modicrum of morality would have given up on a long time ago, but for any virgins who wish to explore the Internet, there is hope. This hope is a mindset that understands that although it is tragically unfortunate, pornography is a fact of Internet life, and as such it should be avoided whenever and however it is humanly possible.
It is important to note that although Rule 34 can be accepted as an undeniable fact of life, there have been several efforts recently to combat this problem, and even offer some hope that certain populations would be spared its effects. One case in point is “My Little Pony,” which is a hentai-like cartoon produced that warns of the ubiquitous nature of Internet porn and how harmful it can be to anyone who doesn’t attempt to avoid it. This production and several others like it have been enormously successful in preventing the harmful effects of pornography to those unsuspecting persons on the Internet.
Awareness of Rule 34 has also brought about changes in some websites that have in the past promoted nothing but the most explicit forms of pornography. A good case in point for this has been the change in the approach of such sites as DeviantART’s change from its previous “anything goes” position to a more “soft core” line. And although this doesn’t help a lot, it’s a start. After all, some positive change is better than no positive change.
The Culture of the Internet
Becoming famous in one form or another, has been a characteristic of the Internet from the beginning. This fact has been one important factor in considering the impact of Rule 34 on the Internet.
Just as some write in order to use the Internet in their effort to become “like journalists,” others use the Internet and the nature of pornography to be “like artists” or “like movie makers,” only with often what is an even wider audience. Probably thousands of people have created pornographic versions of their own characters and made themselves famous, or at least some semblance of that. A good example of this is the artist who recently created every single Pokemon into a new “Pokegirls,” and not only made himself famous, but well to do in the process. In this instance, the appropriate authorities chased this person off the site that made him famous, or at least temporarily so, as his fellow “artists” bid him fond farewell, but only because it would give them more room to pursue their own activities, and for their own fame and fortune.
This fact is complicated even further by the fact that the Internet is as pervasive–and still growing–as it is. This situation makes what Eric Schmidt said a few years ago astonishingly true, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, and largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had. Unfortunately, at least to a great extent, this is probably true.
It is hard to imagine that good fortune would be the result of these types of crackdowns, despite the fact that the growing intolerance of things such as child pornography would seem to slow down the prevalence of the phenomenon, rather than to just drive it deeper into the bowels of cyberspace, but at least there is hope. It is probably more realistic to think that dealing with this aspect of Rule 34 will drive it deeper, making it harder to find, or at least making it far lower on the Google search results. Only time will tell.