Laurie Taylor

March 2, 2001

" Universities are being flooded with complaints from members of the public shocked by the adult content of emails purporting to come from academic institutions " - THES , February 23.

Department of media and cultural studies. Gordon Lapping speaking .

Ah, Professor Lapping. My name is Simon Burgess. You don't know me but I'm a member of the public.

How can I help?

Professor Lapping, I was profoundly shocked by an email I received this morning. An email headed "Are you broadminded?" But, more to the point, an email posted from what I assumed to be a university address - gaygordon@poppleton.ac.uk

Really?

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened it up and found an invitation to look at "big boys in heavy-duty action". When I clicked through, I discovered an explicit picture of two muscular, naked men engaged in sexual congress. Most disturbing. I'm afraid there has been a number of such cases in recent months.

There's worse to come. I was then told that if I clicked again, I would be shown an even more exciting scene.

Really?

So I duly clicked and was confronted by the spectacle of an elderly man in brown corduroy trousers and a Harris Tweed sports jacket and the legend: "Congratulations. You've just proved that you're a person with a broadminded and libertarian approach to the world. Just the type of person that we're looking for on our graduate course in media studies at the University of Poppleton." What have you say about that, Professor Lapping?

This certainly seems like another disturbing example of the manner in which unscrupulous peddlers of porn are infiltrating legitimate sites.

You've nothing else to say?

Not really. But if you should choose to re-visit the site, you might find that the corduroy trousers in question are not brown but sage green. Just a point of information, you understand.

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