Powerful but challenging look into the question “is there child pornography on 8chan“?

The answer is “yes, there is”, but that it doesn’t necessarily take the form people “expect”. That is, it’s often less hardcore penetrative sex so much as it is very young children–mostly girls–being photographed in adult porn star-style clothing and poses. The article’s author, Dan O, goes through a whole bunch of examples of this. There are pictures, and they’re blurred out and “safe for work” in the sense that they’re not explicitly explicit. What are “explicitly explicit” are the messages posted next to them by 8chan users.

You will need a shower and brain bleach after reading this article, but it’s something I suggest everyone do, if they’re able.

This is horror in the really real world, not the thrill-soaked stuff of the movies. In one respect, there’s nothing particular “awful” here; no graphic or shocking visuals. If you saw it in a movie, you’d think it tame, these things that would barely even warrant an R rating. And yet, I think this shows just how removed we can be from true horror.

True horror, true evil, isn’t sexy and it isn’t thrilling. It’s banal. It’s ugly. And it’s sad, too. It’s a bunch of anonymous men sharing rape fantasies on a message board about little girls dressed in adult lingerie. It’s about the inability of those men to think any kind of human thought over what must be happening in that girls’ life for her to end up in that sort of situation. It’s about them lacking the empathy to see another human being as a person in her own right, not as an extension of their own slimy, poisoned selves.

When we think of evil, we tend to think of supernatural things. Of great adversaries and grinning demons. Creeping horrors and inexplicable monstrosities. But that stuff? That stuff’s not evil. That stuff’s fantasy. It’s made up. And it’s made up to distract you from the real stuff, to insulate you from it, to let you sleep at night safe in the knowledge that goat-eyed shadows don’t lurk outside your door.

But it’s a lie, a distraction. Because evil? True evil?

True evil sits in the dark on a message board, living in plain sight, known by everyone, acknowledged by none.

That’s evil. And it’s us. No super nature required.