Plastic Pollution, Blood, Gore, and Censorship

Environmental pollution causes harm for animals and people (especially for those living in poor countries or poor neighborhoods). Once you start looking at the problem, you can easily find some rather disturbing images and videos.

I follow Last Week Tonight YouTube channel, hence I noticed that their latest video is about plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution

Unfortunately, YouTube didn’t want to allow me to watch said video. I could either use a credit card to verify that I am at least 18 years old or submit an image of my passport to Google.

Of course, I am not going to give Google access to my personal information. There are much more convenient ways how to watch age-restricted videos. I just typed “download youtube video” in a search engine, clicked on the first result ( and put the video ULR ( in their download box. It took me less than a minute to circumvent YouTube’s careful attempt to protect my eyes from seeing some blood and gore.

Since I was watching an age-restricted video, I was looking forward to seeing some disturbing and nasty images depicting human and animal suffering. Only to get disappointed… John Oliver toned down the nasty bits and didn’t even show any disturbing footage or photos. Why the hell was this video even flagged as suitable only for people above eighteen!?

Sine we all missed the gory bits, I will gladly do some public service and offer you appropriately disturbing images. No need to thank me. I am more than happy to be the bringer of doom and gloom in our daily lives.

Marine debris at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Marine debris at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Plastic pollution

Birds die after swallowing plastic trash that they mistake for food.

Plastic pollution

Oil spill bird

The result of oil spills.

Plastic pollution

Plastic pollution

Plastic pollution

According to some people, children ought to be protected from finding online disturbing images or videos. To some extent I can agree. Showing images of dead and maimed animals to a four years old kid might cause said child some emotional harm.

But there are limits to how much censorship I can accept as reasonable. If a child is old enough to independently go to a grocery store and buy snacks with their pocket money, they should also be old enough to learn what is going to happen with the plastic packaging from said snacks. And, as I mentioned, John Oliver’s age-restricted video on YouTube was sanitized and didn’t even contain the truly disturbing footage and photos.

Online censorship aimed at protecting children is rather funny. When I was 17 years old, I submitted some nude pencil drawings to an online art website. I was forced to flag said artworks as “mature content,” because in said website they had a rule that anything with female breasts is “mature content” that only people above 18 should be allowed to see.

Pencil drawing

Here is one example of pencil drawings I did back when I was a teen.

The result was that I could not see my own submissions in said website. Site rules allowed me to submit nude art but I was forbidden from viewing my own nude art. As if I could have drawn artworks while being blindfolded!

Incidentally, I live in a city where even building facades feature plenty of naked boobs.


This is Art Nouveau. We have a lot of buildings with facades like this one.

Never mind all that nudity seen in pretty much every public park.


As if I didn’t know how female breasts look like long before I was eighteen years old. But no, I couldn’t be allowed to see some boobs online. Speaking of which, what exactly is supposed to be so naughty about female chests? The average male sumo wrestler had larger boobs than many women. Nonetheless, overweight men are allowed to publicly display their boobs while even flat-chested women are expected to cover up their chests. Just how did humanity get there!

Ultimately, online censorship is somewhat pointless. I watched online porn videos already by the time I was 15, and today (at the age of 28) I circumvented age verification process just because I didn’t feel like giving my credit card information to a website for no good reason.


  1. Bruce says

    In the USA, all TV was originally broadcast over the public airwaves, and thus regulated by the government for decency, whatever that meant. But cable TV bypasses that. Thus, CNN has fewer restrictions, but targets audiences for whom indecency would not increase ratings anyway. HBO, which does LWT, is not “basic” cable, but also requires a specific extra fee, which in practice means access is controlled by the adults in the house who pay the bill. Thus, HBO can do more. The LWT show doesn’t usually have any adult images, but Oliver doesn’t mind using four-letter words in his jokes, which would not be allowed “over the air”. So HBO tells YouTube that all their stuff is adult, so that the parents of kids don’t blame them for teaching kids bad words. Oliver could easily have written his jokes cleanly, but being on HBO, there was no need to bother.

  2. Nomad says

    I’m guessing that the credit card requirement is something more specific to your country, either a local requirement or else Google’s interpretation of what the local standards are. Here in the USA I sometimes run across videos that Youtube has flagged as being for mature audiences, and all they do is give me a page warning me that the content is for mature audiences only, and I have to click a button that basically says “I’m an adult”, and that’s it.

    But I hear you about arbitrary rules on what is and isn’t considered socially acceptable. I see this on Twitch all the time. People can stream the most gory, disturbingly violent video games without fear of breaching Twitch terms of service. I don’t tolerate that stuff too well, I’ve been traumatized by some of the stuff I’ve seen. But something as simple as a joke cartoon penis appearing in a game makes streamers freak out and fear that they’ll be punished for showing sexual content. Streamers can’t show their feet because feet are a sexual fetish for some people. And so on. And despite the prohibition on any kind of overtly sexual content, streamers I watch are also paranoid about viewers in chat discussing their ages because of the risk of someone underage revealing their age and forcing the streamer to ban them from the stream because most of them flag their streams as adult because the restrictions on all ages streams are even worse.

    It’s 2021. I thought we were getting over this. But no. The tolerance for grotesque violence seems to have gone up, while sex or even just the human body is still a scary nono. But I can see that that comment is a bit out of step with this blog post, seeing as how it was a limited degree of gore that likely brought about the age restriction.

  3. says

    Nomad @#3

    Streamers can’t show their feet because feet are a sexual fetish for some people.

    Here we also have a double standard about sexual fetishes. If a person who is sexually attracted to women thinks that breasts are sexy, they don’t have a fetish. If they think that feet are sexy, then they have a fetish and that’s somehow bad.

    On top of that, some fetishes are perceived as weirder/less acceptable than others. If somebody searches online images of people’s feet, they are labelled as a freak. But when I look at images of long haired men, then nobody criticizes me (I have a hair fetish, I like long hair on men).

    People can stream the most gory, disturbingly violent video games without fear of breaching Twitch terms of service. I don’t tolerate that stuff too well, I’ve been traumatized by some of the stuff I’ve seen.

    This is why nuanced content warnings make much more sense than flagging some content as “adults only.” It’s better to let each person decide what they want or don’t want to see.

Leave a Reply