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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Simpsons Porn Case Follow-Up

Neil Gaiman reacts to the case in Australia where a guy was convicted of possessing child porn because he had images of child cartoon characters having sex:

"I don't know if it's something that they can further legally appeal, or afford to appeal, but I hope they can. If not, I hope that a bunch of Australians will get together to change the law."

Well, if it is within the purview of "artistic license" to show cartoon children in sexual situations, then why shouldn't some publisher be allowed to print or present online a child porn comic book? I'm not talking one with pre-established cartoon characters in it (because heaven forbid we violate the copyright laws), but just straight child porn, all drawn? There is most certainly a market for it. And it doesn't hurt anyone, right?

When you champion this sort of porn, you run the risk of taking all porn down with you. People outside of the quaint aesthetic bubble you are living in look at you making this passionate case for illustrated child porn and...they can't even identify with you, can't even understand what you're saying. And then in turn you make fun of these people, call them all puritanical maniacs, religious nuts. Nothing gets accomplished. There is no middle-ground. There are just extremists on both sides: extreme liberals who fight for the right to publish child porn, and extreme conservatives who put fig leaves on the penises of statues.

But there is a whole lot of people who are on the middle in this debate. In the end, you have to stop preaching to the choir and start addressing them. Understand where they are coming from, stop turning your nose up at them. Try your explanation on them about how harmless images of Lisa Simpson having sex with her dad are, and see how well that goes.

I like the CBLDF a lot, but if they were fighting for the right of a publisher to print images of little children having sex, I'm not interested in supporting that fight. I'm not. I know I would be more popular if I did. But I just can't do it.

I read stuff like what Neil Gaiman wrote, and it's like I'm living in a completely different world from him. I can't relate to it. I'm all for eroticism. I'm not here to take away Playboys, Witchblades, and your assorted avant-garde pornography. But...

It's a bubble. It's a big bubble. And it's a bubble in which I feel I do not have the complete freedom to speak my mind. It's a bubble all about "freedom" -- in theory. But it really isn't. It's only about the freedom to agree with the majority view within Bubbleland. I feel as oppressed by this bubble as I do by people I feel who are sexist, probably more. I mean, I don't really give a damn what the sexist people think of me. But to come up against the Bubble -- I don't have the guts to do it. Honestly, it scares me to death.

80 comments:

  1. Is anyone really defending the material? My understanding is the complaint is more about the gross overreaction to treat someone possessing drawn images of child sex as equal, in the eyes of the law, to someone who would facilitate the abuse of an actual child by supporting the filming or photographing of it.

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  2. Let's be clear, a defense of fictional child pornography is not and should not be confused with a defense of pornography, whether real or fictional.

    In the case of the former, it's a question of legality, not morality. In the US, under current case law, it should be perfectly legal to publish a pornographic comic depicting minors having sex. Of course, that won't necessarily stop local police from attempting to stop you from distributing the material, nor will it stop those who abhor such material from boycotting or protesting you. No publisher, except one with nohing else to lose would possibly take a chance on such material.

    However, as others have said, Child pornography laws are intended to protect children from being abused. This Australian man, is being prosecuted for an alleged thought crime. I happen to believe that is wrong.

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  3. Okay, so you come up against the bubble. Where do you think the line should be drawn? You're "all for eroticism," but only the eroticism you think is what? Acceptable? Safe? Not icky?

    Where is the line Val would draw?

    And why should your line be the demarcation for right and wrong in the world? And if not your line, then whose?

    This is why those of us who consider free speech to be an absolute right believe the way we do. Hell, I can respect someone who wants to ban *all* pornography and erotica for a principled (if wrong) stand. They believe, quite correctly, that allowing any to exist creates a slippery slope. Just as outlawing any of it does.

    Would you rather we live in a world with free speech, no pornography, or a demarcation line drawn by Estelle Rosenberg of Peoria, IL?

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  4. Also, as a side question, should a depiction of a teenage girl having sex with an adult male be illegal? What about in a country where 15 is the age of consent?

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  5. One more post (and BTW, I am not in any way trying to criticize your POV - just attempting to articulate mine).

    I looked at the Neil Gaiman journal entry and he mentioned slash fiction. Aren't there a fair number of underage characters in slash (BTW, is slash just same sex, and if it is, what's the hetero equivalent?) fiction?

    Maybe they all involve teenagers or otherwise pubescent/adolescent characters, which is definitely a distinction that can be made over pre-pubesecent characters.

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  6. it's such a nice way to spit in the face of the real victims of child pornography, and tell them.
    Yes i think it's just the same to fuck you as it is to draw a drawing of the Simpson's kids, fucking each other.
    Just the same, so please stop crying cause when i did draw the Simpson's they sure as hell didn't, my love!

    I really really can't believe you actually compare a drawing to real child pornography, it's so so wrong.
    and so respectless for the victims,
    to actually tell them their pain isn't greater than the one of a cartoon character!

    Shame on all of you!

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  7. If people with these extreme views regarding "freedom" were more consistent with their support of and respect for *all* different points of view, I would respect them more, and see them as brave and peaceful warriors for a cause.
    *hate* intolerance; I don't tolerate it."

    Everybody draws their lines, not just me.

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  8. Gaiman's 100% right on this. Suddenly any and every depiction of violence/assault is threatened. We should save our ire for institutions that protect actual child molesters:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFfbR_BWsuU

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  9. @valerie, I have these so-called "extreme views". I would challenge you to find any speech I don't condone and support. I'm even hard-pressed to support the SC's fighting words doctrine.

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  10. As Gaiman recently said:
    "The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don't."

    I'm not really sure what else there is to say. The same law that would ban Simpsons cartoons (or the Manga that CBLDF is defending now) would be used to ban Phoebe Glockner's books.

    Is that okay with you?

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  11. Again, Val, no one is saying the material is wonderful or that people who are obsessed with such pornographic materials should be lauded or the like. We're saying that the judgment in the matter, that fictional characters somehow retain the same legal rights as living flesh and blood people is a ludicrous and dangerous basis to arrest someone on.

    We're not defending the porn - we're defending the guy's right to have it. For example, when Dark Horse was planning on releasing the Gor books, many were pretty angry about it... but no one was calling for the government or some other organization to prohibit them from publishing; it was a boycott to say, "we think they should be smarter than this" and "we encourage others not to buy them because they're sexist garbage." No one was calling out for the people who read and enjoyed those pieces of kindling to be burned themselves for liking them.

    As another example, how about Lolita, both the film and the book? I personally think they both suck, but others consider them to be classics. Fine, whatever, it's within their right to do so. We can still say the material is questionable on a different level and still support the guy for possessing them.

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  12. "it's such a nice way to spit in the face of the real victims of child pornography, and tell them.
    Yes i think it's just the same to fuck you as it is to draw a drawing of the Simpson's kids, fucking each other."

    The "cartoon is the same a a real person" aspect is a straw man argument. Gaiman used it in his post as a way of avoiding a big chunk of the real issue. "Obviously cartoons are not real people, right? How silly this whole thing is, how backward!"

    Again: if this is ok, should a publisher not be able to put out a book called "Child Porn Comix" that features illustrated child porn for people who get off on that sort of thing? The market is there. If we fight for the protected right to have this sort of art available, this is what is eventually going to happen. It's economics.

    Yeah, and we'll see if pedos get "satisfied" by looking at drawings, making them "safer." I doubt that would actually happen. I think it would just make the hunger worse, like giving a rubber bone to a dog.

    Sexual predators can get set off by simply a word in a book, a glance at a child in the street. Provide them with illustrated child porn on a regular basis and go see what happens.

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  13. I don't know if I read your blog when it was released, but what were your thoughts on Alan Moore's Lost Girls?

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  14. "You ask, What makes it worth defending? and the only answer I can give is this: Freedom to write, freedom to read, freedom to own material that you believe is worth defending means you're going to have to stand up for stuff you don't believe is worth defending, even stuff you find actively distasteful, because laws are big blunt instruments that do not differentiate between what you like and what you don't, because prosecutors are humans and bear grudges and fight for re-election, because one person's obscenity is another person's art.

    Because if you don't stand up for the stuff you don't like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you've already lost."

    Just a passage from the already mentioned Gaiman post that I agree with.

    This kind of issue can lead to dangerous places, so it probably does need passionate voices on both sides offering arguments.

    As for the Child Porn Comix, how uncanny does the valley need to be to be considered realistic child pornography? Short stick figures could count. What if Bart was clearly negotiating a mortgage while he had sex, could it be argued he's 18 in the drawing? What about child robots, or dragons? Or Kirsten Dunst vampires?

    All that may seem ridiculous, but they're now real legal questions to be sorted through because of one Australian judge that liked to show-boat.

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  15. Yeah, and we'll see if pedos get "satisfied" by looking at drawings, making them "safer." I doubt that would actually happen. I think it would just make the hunger worse, like giving a rubber bone to a dog.

    But that is the same sort of claim that is made by those calling for the censorship of any sexual or violent material, that they assume that it leads to transgression, and thus curtailment of freedoms of all is valid.

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  16. I think you're using the "culture of acceptance" argument, here. It ties in with the Camel's Nose Fallacy. Allowing publishers to distribute illustrated child pornography means we're saying that it's acceptable to think of children sexually.

    But, regardless of what's published, you can't remove the stigma from the subject matter. Personally, I would be okay ("okay" being subjective, here) with a company publishing it(assuming its content was clearly stated), but I wouldn't be okay with it being widely distributed. In other words, I wouldn't want it on a comic book rack next to the Bongo Comics licensed Simpsons books.

    And, while I believe possessing such material should be used as evidence in the indictment of someone for another offense, I don't think it's okay to make the possession, itself, illegal.

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  17. With respect, I do not think it is a strawman argument. In one case, an actual child is being abused. In the other case, no matter how dubious the artistic merit, no child was harmed in the creation of the piece.

    A legal precedent like this lumps together teenage Harry Potter fans exploring their own sexuality through fanart or vulgar but creative satirists with hardcore organized criminals. It's a level of ridiculous above two teenagers being prosecuted for taking nude photographs of themselves and not sharing them with anyone. http://news.cnet.com/Police-blotter-Teens-prosecuted-for-racy-photos/2100-1030_3-6157857.html

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  18. "But that is the same sort of claim that is made by those calling for the censorship of any sexual or violent material, that they assume that it leads to transgression, and thus curtailment of freedoms of all is valid."

    in the case of extremely sexually violent material, I will say, from observation, that it is better off kept out of the hands of the public, or at the very least, curtailed. I am not saying this based of some sort of vague artistic notion, but based on practicality, compassion, and mental health reasons.

    and if you say, "well, it's somebody's right if they want to indulge in this sort of destructive porn," then you should also be supportive if they carry a loaded gun.

    Do you feel we should all be allowed to carry around loaded guns too? The guns themselves don't hurt anyone. Maybe the person carrying loaded weapons just likes guns for artistic reasons, or their rich historical value.

    Should we be making fun of people who support the NRA? Or should we support them and their rights?

    Because, to me, some of this porn is on the level of loaded guns.

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  19. Isn't it interesting that the same day I find this post, I also find a news article on the BBC site that says the UK will block Wikipedia and Amazon for having a photo of the original cover of The Scorpions "Virgin Killer" album?

    So if possession of a cartoon of two kids having sex is a crime, is the act of drawing it a crime as well? If so, then wouldn't having the idea for the drawing be a crime?

    If I think of a fool proof way to embezzle funds from my boss or shoot up my school, is that a crime? If I write the plan down, is that a crime? Or does it become a crime when I put it on my MySpace page? If it is a crime, then it's a thought crime.

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  20. I think internet porn needs to be put on a short leash.

    I think the sexualization of children has gotten out of hand.

    If this case draws attention to these two issues, then I thank the prosecutors in Australia for pursuing it.

    A couple of years ago I was helping my niece research a report for middle school. The subject was bears. We couldn't find an internet website about the animals because of the number of gay porn websites that the simple search "bears" brought up. I had to make her move away from the computer so that I could try to find something she could use. I have nothing against gay people (I think they should be able to get married in every state in the Union), but if you want to see internet porn, you should have to go to much more trouble than to type in the word "bear" or "chick" or "girl". It should be up to the people that run the porn sites to keep them from the eyes of children such as my niece, and search engines should automatically filter them out of general searches.

    And I cringe every time I see a little girl in a halter top and makeup, with dangly earrings. I see them all the time out with their middle-class mothers. Making your 7-year old look like an 18-year old is just stupid.

    I know I'm not addressing the artistic merits of Simpsons porn, or freedom of speech and all that, but I think that for speech to be protected, it should actually be saying something. Simpsons porn doesn't say a damn thing, and it shouldn't be placed where anyone who doesn't know exactly where to look for it can find it.

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  21. You know, honestly?

    I really don't care of I "win" this argument or not.

    But after reading a lot of these comments -- just the reasoning -- and taking into account a lot of other stuff that has been on my mind, that I have observed...

    ...it is just so incredibly depressing. Not "depressing" as in I take personal offense, because I don't. I believe most of you are good people, and honestly believe in what you say and what your reasoning is.

    This has just given me some more food for thought.

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  22. Val,

    I disagree strongly with your loaded gun assertion. The same argument from some feminists has been used against regular pornography. It's very similar to the argument that pot is a gateway drug. I believe these arguments confuse correlation with causality.

    I believe pornography is the first place people with a particular fetish will turn. If they want to molest a child, they will first read about it. I do not believe that the literature encourages or trains them to want that. Nor do I believe that these people shouldn't be in treatment.

    I think it's very possible that if high quality virtual reality is developed in the future the pedophiles may be content with the simulation.

    Guns are designed with one purpose in mind - to kill. It's an objective, physical killing device. Ideas or images only have power to the extent we give them power.

    Personally, if the NRA supported legal requirements for registration and proper training, I would have much less of a problem with them.

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  23. I think the issue, Valerie, is you're arguing both that these sorts of images influence and lead to actual crimes, and that they are morally offensive.

    The former argument, if it could be proven statistically (which I doubt it can, fully) is at least debatable. The latter is such an issue of personal taste, even in Bart humping Lisa, that it's really difficult to draw a line. I mean, actual child pornography isn't illegal because the common man finds it offensive, or because molesters find it arousing. It's illegal because of the irreparable harm it does to the children involved. There's not a lot of that coming from ridiculous cartoons like these.

    And mixing the two together just quagmires it all up even more. So there's not going to be a lot of answers here.

    Also, short of mental illness and past criminal behavior, don't all you Americans have the right to carry around loaded guns?

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  24. I was just coming to leave some more depressing comments-- Yeah! Whatever, civilized disagreement; could be worse.

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  25. "Then why shouldn't some publisher be allowed to print or present online a child porn comic book?"

    They're called Eros and are part of Fantagraphics.

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  26. "But there is a whole lot of people who are on the middle in this debate."

    I suspect that many of the folks who think themselves "in the middle", aren't.

    Murder is a crime. CSI: Miami and Saw III are crimes, too, but not the sort that gets anyone arrested. Daffy Duck being shot in the face with a hunting rifle, meanwhile, is just silly fun.

    The logic being applied here is that watching Looney Toons is the equivalent of enjoying a snuff film. And lemme tell ya, that sort of thinking is nowhere near centrist.

    "and if you say, 'well, it's somebody's right if they want to indulge in this sort of destructive porn,' then you should also be supportive if they carry a loaded gun."

    First off, you haven't established how cartoon porn of any type is destructive. But more importantly, you're leaping the bridge between fantasy and reality without even acknowledging it. A more accurate phrasing would be:

    "and if you say, 'well, it's somebody's right if they want to indulge in this sort of destructive porn,' then you should also be supportive if they indulge in stories that glorify violence, crime, infidelity, blasphemy, and disloyalty."

    And y'know what? I *am* supportive of all that.

    "Because, to me, some of this porn is on the level of loaded guns."

    Please see my first sentence. That doesn't mean I don't want to hear your POV in my "bubble", nor am I going to call for a boycott of Cloak & Dagger just because you disagree with me. If someone advocating freedom of expression *does* seek to silence you through legal or economic pressure, please point it out... I love the taste of fried hypocrite.

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  27. "But that is the same sort of claim that is made by those calling for the censorship of any sexual or violent material, that they assume that it leads to transgression, and thus curtailment of freedoms of all is valid."

    Last I checked, studies show introduction of pornography into a community decreases the amount of sexual violence. Now these things are always questionable and it was something a professor said without giving us much background, but it is worth looking into.

    I have another question - if I showed a high correlation between certain religions and violence toward women/children/gays/jews/pagans/atheists, should be we ban those faiths from practicing? What if a certain church was actively engaged in keeping child molesters out of jail?

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  28. There is a "camel's nose" argument that Gaiman and others make, which is, if we censor some horrible kind of art, we'll end up not being able to stop the censorship of something someone somewhere thinks is worthy.

    To which I say, meh.

    One man's vulgarity is a vulgar man's lyric.

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  29. I've pretty much kept quiet because the whole thing disturbs me.

    Like the virtual kiddie porn concept. *shudder*

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  30. Okay.

    I'm sorry. I love this blog. I really do. I've never minded the snark or the battles. I've read it for the insights into the industry, and being a woman, for the views that it offered on what sometimes went on behind the scenes.

    However, I can't continue reading it anymore. I know that this doesn't really matter, but I wanted to explain why.

    You see, I don't want to continue reading the blog of someone that looks down on me. That thinks I might be dangerous on the level of people carrying around loaded guns in their bags. That thinks that the things I like eventually might seep into my mind and make me enact things in real life. Hell, I'm 37 years old. I've been through a lot of censorship debates. I've been a part of the underground video tape trading where we dealt with third and fourth generation copies taken from the countries where the movies I liked managed to sneak through uncut. A lot of the things I loved back then, who was dead illegal and forbidden (especially in sweden where I live) are now shown in every movie theater.

    This is not about loaded guns. This is about morals and the public consensus. It is ALWAYS dangerous. It must ALWAYS be stopped. Whether comics or music or porn, the difference is where you draw the line. And if that line is drawn to include art? With things drawn on paper? With figments of your imagination? With fictional tales of word in stories?

    Then I'm sorry. Like it or hate it, if that's turned illegal, then I am a criminal, and support criminal activities. Sure, Simpsons porn for me is about as daft as furries and not my thing, but seriously...

    Comparing reading what I assume to be hardcore SM porn to carrying a loaded gun? *facepalm*

    I'm sorry Val. You have lost all my respect there. Goodbye.

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  31. I hate to disagree with you, Val, but...I disagree.

    Defense of sexual acts between demonstrably fictional characters who are portayed as minors isn't comparable to actual child pornography. And at the risk of sounding flip, in reality the character of Lisa Simpson's well over 20 years old anyway. There may be a trademark infringement rights case to be made here (and Disney made it years ago with THE AIR PIRATES), but that's it, as far as I'm concerned.

    Stepping beyond the specific case, regarding depictions of sexual activity between other fictional characters:
    -yaoi exists
    -LOST GIRLS exists
    -slash fiction of all sorts exists

    As far as I'm concerned, if the characters portrayed aren't fumetti and don't have actual underage human models, CHILD PORN COMIX has as much right to exist as any of them (I honestly wouldn't be surprised to find out it already did). I wouldn't want to hang around someone who read it; I might pressure my comic shop not to carry it; but trying to stop it from ever being? Not unless you can prove a causal link between its existence and damage and real harm done.

    This particular issue is bound to breed extremity in those who argue the points, because both sides are looking to the bottom of their slippery slopes and refuse to allow the downward slide to start.

    For "my" side, prohibiting depictions of demonstrably fictional minors doing... whatever... is not that far removed from prohibiting depictions of fictional minors engaging in illegal acts like, say, deliberately shooting their father's boss in the season's opening episode.

    I'm inclined to see the loaded gun parallel as a false analogy, if for no other reason than I've never heard of anyone being mugged at bookpoint. If anything, an apt comparison would be supporting the right of a person to read pornography featuring fictional character is equivalent to supporting the right of someone to view images of, say, hot chicks in bikinis or well-proportioned thong-wearing men shooting guns in a sexually charged manner. Or, in this case, drawings of imaginary people in skimpy clothing shooting guns in a sexually charged matter. Which would have the advantage of retroactively making much of Image's worst output illegal, so maybe there's something to be said for it...

    I'm glad you don't believe believing these things automatically makes me a bad person. Like you, I'm uncomfortable finding myself in a different bubble from people I respect and/or like. I do understand your discomfort with such material and won't hold your desire to censor it against you (or the majority of the population that would probably support such a move.)

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  32. "Do you feel we should all be allowed to carry around loaded guns too? The guns themselves don't hurt anyone. Maybe the person carrying loaded weapons just likes guns for artistic reasons, or their rich historical value.

    Should we be making fun of people who support the NRA? Or should we support them and their rights?

    Because, to me, some of this porn is on the level of loaded guns."


    If the person carrying the loaded gun is responsible in how they use the gun, then I have no opposition.

    If the person is mentally unstable, or has shown to have illegally used a gun, then they forfeit the right to own a gun.

    A person may not care to own or use a gun for whatever reason.


    Now... does the government have the power to regulate gun ownership? Yes. Does the government have the power to regulate pornography? Yes. Why? Because the Supreme Court and the Judicial System have ruled on specific instances. Some do not agree with the rulings, and thus petition their elected representatives to change the law, which can then be challenged and reviewed by the judicial system.

    Both the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union take extreme stances occasionally. Fortunately, we live in an open democracy where people can voice their opinions and be heard.

    Our society is also maturing, as once taboo subjects and ideas are becoming accepted because of the free exchange of ideas.

    Thanks for sharing your views, Valerie. The next time we meet, I'll buy you a drink, and we'll talk about something more fun and interesting.

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  33. "Well, if it is within the purview of "artistic license" to show cartoon children in sexual situations, then why shouldn't some publisher be allowed to print or present online a child porn comic book? I'm not talking one with pre-established cartoon characters in it (because heaven forbid we violate the copyright laws), but just straight child porn, all drawn? There is most certainly a market for it. And it doesn't hurt anyone, right?"

    Val, some publisher probably has.

    And, provided the porn wasn't drawn straight from live models, then no, it doesn't hurt anyone. I've got no fucking interest in seeing it, but I can say the same thing about Amazing Spider-Man right now, and I don't ask the courts to shut that down.

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  34. I can't agree with the judgement not out of any free speech debate (though the argument seems valid - it will set a legal precedent) but because the judgement does not fit the crime. There's no real children involved here, he's not abetting in the abuse of a child as he would be if he downloaded actual child porn.

    He's been convicted of a crime he's not actually done, and he's going to be locked up longer than what he's done deserves (which means one less cell available). It's impractical.

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  35. "Again: if this is ok, should a publisher not be able to put out a book called "Child Porn Comix" that features illustrated child porn for people who get off on that sort of thing? The market is there. If we fight for the protected right to have this sort of art available, this is what is eventually going to happen. It's economics. "

    Sure, they should be free to publish it. I don't think it'd be as successful as you think it is, but then again people are still going to yell and scream and say "Dude what the hell is wrong with you," and they probably wouldn't do it because it's just not in good taste to publish it.

    After all, DC stopped printing "The Boys" despite the fact that it was getting them money (Oh how I wish that stupid series had ended).

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  36. I have read this post and the comments made about it. They hit a bit close to home for me on the subject of censorship. I wonder if I might share a theory I have on the subject as well as my own personal experience with censorship even though I have a feeling what I am about to write could be taken out of context to make me look like an asshole.
    I have this sort of theory that porn can be like drugs. I know someone is going to get angry about that, but then again maybe no one will notice or care. There was this family on the Oprah show once and they were all adicted to heroin or crack i forget which. But the point is the dad said that whatever you start on everyone ends up going to heroin because its cheeaper and gets you a better high. I'm pretty sure it was heroine. And maybe looking at pornographic cartoons that involve underage characters could lead to a desire for something more hardcore. I am not saying the Simpsons cartoon will turn people into pedophiles. That would just be stupid. But I am saying that everyone who goes down those dark paths started somewhere and they were all more or less normal once.
    Now about my own experience. I was not alwayst the well adjusted adult I am now. In highschool I was depressed and anti-social and just all around not in the best shape as a person. To help relieve the stress i started this little e-mail newsletter that i would send out to my classmates and freinds. It was kind of like a blog. Anyway it was this goofy little thing i did where i would share storys and report star wars news that no one but me cared about. Then one day I included a joke in one of them that even then i should have known was in very poor taste. It involved one of my classmates and i got the idea after my freind told me he liked this girl and her boyfreind was this jerk in my mathclass. The e-mail came to the attention of my highschools faculty somehow. I was called to the guidance counselors office one day and i had no idea why. Two weeks later the Columbine shootings happened. They were not the first or the last school shootings of those years. Before long there was a rumor going around that i had a hit list and i was called to the guidance counselors office again. I went through another round of vague questions desinged to get me to share my feelings and i still had no idea what they were talking about. My parents got a call form the school and soon i learned what all the comotion was about. Aperently my joke somehow made them think i wanted to hurt my fellow student and when i think about that stupid joke i can understand why. I never actually said i watned to hurt anyone but i did happen to have a very poor choice of words that could be interpreted that way. The point is, this incedent killed my goofy little e-mail newsletter slash blog before we had a name for them. I know what it is to be censored. I don't know if this actaully gives me any special insight into anything.
    I can see where Neil Gaiman in coming from, I think he makes a valid arguement. I also think that those pornographic simpsons cartoons are tasteless crap. I have no interest in defending them. But i don't think people should be penalized for looking at them by accidnet. I don't know how that man in Australia came across those images. Was it an accident? Did he seek them out?
    They are going after this man for having them. Why are they not going after the source of them if they do not like them so much?
    I'm not sure what else to say on the matter. I just wanted to share my feelings about it. But I would recomend to everyone, don't post when you are in a hightened emotional state. Wait until the hightened emotions pass and see if you still want to post the comment.

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  37. "in the case of extremely sexually violent material, I will say, from observation, that it is better off kept out of the hands of the public, or at the very least, curtailed. I am not saying this based of some sort of vague artistic notion, but based on practicality, compassion, and mental health reasons."

    Any science to back that up? Because you're talking about throwing people in jail for many years over this.

    And if you can find science that shows that yes, viewing bad porn leads directly to abducting and raping children then pretty much everybody would be on you're side.

    But until then, you're treading on Wertham-ish ground (ie trying to convince people that comics lead to juvenile delinquency because of the bad things in them).

    I'm not going to bother with you're gun analogy because like all (straw man) analogies it falls apart if you examine it throughly.

    As a rebuttal I can say it's bad porn is like alcohol. When people drink it their judgment is impaired. They may think they're okay enough to drive and only find out they aren't after they've crashed into something hurting themselves and quite possibly something else. Plenty of people have and continue to get horribly addicted to it and it causes them to loose everything. Eventually they end up living on the street and die a premature death.

    But do we ban alcohol? No, because the actions of some people that use it is not the same for all people that use it. We don't withhold it from everybody because of the actions of a few.

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  38. I was really disapointed in your stance.

    A few important points.

    * With this ruling, you are basically putting people in prison for using their imagination. No real children were harmed or at all involved. Congrats you've just created what amounts to a thought crime.

    * Freedom of speach and expression are one of the great things about this country. Infringing on that right is a scary thing and is never to be taken lightly. We have laws banning real child porn. They actually protect children. You had better have a mountain of evidence before you apply the same standard to a thought put down on paper.

    * It wasn't long ago that people argued comics were hurting our youth and passing bans and strict codes of conduct. How is this any different?

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  39. No one is crying for this guy. No one wants this guy to be a school teacher or to be anyplace close to their kids. What people are upset about is when my wife gets tossed in jail for reading a copy of Fushigi Yugi that has a pic of an underage(?) girl taking a bath. If you really don't think some prosecutor out there won't say that and Lisa Simpson getting fucked by her dad are the same filth then maybe you are missing the point.

    It might sound alarmist but its not a huge jump from that to anyone that has ever sexed up a underage superhero like say Supergirl to be facing charges of production of child porn.

    Also all the same claims you make about this art can be made and are being made about violence.

    Its not him we are trying to protect... its us.

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  40. I'm really familiar with many of these "free thinkers" who campaign so much for the right of others to express themselves. When I wrote a post last year and mentioned the word "God," I got to see firsthand just how open-minded many of them really were.

    And really, if Orwell was alive and could see how many people cavalierly toss around his name and his ideas, I think he'd either chuckle softly to himself or vomit. Any rule you don't like, any limitation you detect, you cry: "thoughtcrime! thoughtcrime!" It's become trite, meaningless, like a fashion model wearing a Che shirt.

    I'm sure when Orwell wrote 1984, he was specifically concerned about the right to view child porn. I'm sure he's thrilled, wherever he is, that his name is being invoked to protect the right of some dude fapping off to a drawing of an eight-year-old's genitals.

    And I'm sure when it comes down to free speech debates and court cases involving organizations, viewpoints, and religions you don't like, you will be the first to step up to the plate and defend them. Or, you might just *happen* to forget to do that.

    As for the often-romanticized "comics scare" of the 1950s, I was completely sucked into that mythology up to the point where I actually read some of the comic book stories that were referenced. And then I was like: "okay, they don't want comic books with graphic murder and gore in the hands of children. Oh, the fascists!"

    "You're against the right to put gory violent comics in the hands of minors? Thoughtcrime! Thoughtcrime! Orwell! 1984!"

    To me, the fact that the 1950s crackdown on comics has become such a rallying cry, used as such an example of "the horrors of censorship" -- it's very telling. The publishers fucked themselves by marketing and providing easy access to children for material that was obviously not appropriate to them. Then they became shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- that the government freaked out over this. And what got pulled down with the violent and gory comics? -- a good portion of the rest of the comics.

    And this is the example that is invoked over and over again -- like the trite Orwell stuff -- to make a case for free expression in comics. That is, up to now, when illustrated child porn is the new poster child for anti-censorship.

    Well -- good luck with that!

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  41. Actually Val, you might want to tone down your sarcasm a bit. As a Jew, I'm happy to say I've supported the rights of Nazis to march. Because of, you know, FREE GODDAMN SPEECH.

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  42. To everyone jumping on Val:

    What about the illustrated porn that is used by pedophiles to groom their victims? To show "Hey, Lisa here is enjoying herself and being good to Grampa, don't you want to be good to me?" Which exists, is never mentioned separate from, say, an image with two clearly underage characters made to appeal adult eyes, and has been seized from pedophiles's houses and computers? Can that be used against the owner as evidence?

    Oh, and @Foley: Yaoi doesn't necessarily portrays man/child relationships, or even child/child. Yaoi is the western term for homosexual relationships written mostly for woman. What you're thinking of is Shota, or it's female equivalent, Lolicon. Yes, they exist, Japan is starting to try and legalize a bit more about it since the whole Nymphette debacle, but saying Yaoi = Images of little boys having sex is a complete misrepresentation.

    Same happens with slash. There's a sub-genre of slash called either shota or chan, depending on who you're talking to, which depicts man/child relationships, and trust me, there's a lot of debates within the same writers circles about how much is too much and what is 'harmless fun for adult readers' and what is 'ook, this might be a good time to stop talking to this person with a weird obsession with little boys' underwear'.

    (I haven't read Lost Girls, so maybe that one still stands in your post regarding the comparison)

    Either way, all three of them are made by adults for adults, so my question still stands.

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  43. Val, I think you're cool and all, but you're pretty much completely wrong in every argument you've made. Would the world be a rosier, sunnier, friendlier place if people couldn't carry loaded guns or view drawings of child pornography? Probably, but the fact is neither is a crime. Others have talked about how the basic analogy is flawed, so I won't get into just how bad a comparison it is.

    Then you get Orwell involved. While I'm sure you've got the market cornered on what writers that have been dead for half a century would think, the fact is it doesn't matter one iota what Orwell would have personally thought about child pornography. As soon as you're punishing something because it might "lead to something worse" (aka the slippery slope), you're making thought a crime. If the reference wasn't to Orwell, it would be to someone else. And personally, I think Orwell would have more problems with governments approving content then his words being used so often. But then, my communication with the dead is limited to reading their works.

    No matter how personally distasteful, the fact is there's no one being harmed. To imply that child predators can't tell the difference or it will "whet their appetite" takes away the decision to act which makes one thing a crime and thinking about something not a crime. At that point we should just put them in a mental institution since they obviously have no control over their own actions.

    But don't take my word for it. Here's Justice Kennedy, ready to agree: "[virtual child pornography laws] prohibit speech that records no crime and creates no victims by its production. Virtual pornography is not 'intrinsically related' to the sexual abuse of children . . . the causal link is contingent and indirect." Kennedy actually does a succinct job of killing the rest of the "think of the children!" arguments, but I don't want to go crazy quoting the guy. Here's one more: "The Government has shown no more than a remote connection between speech that might encourage thoughts or impulses and any resulting child abuse." Even those old guys on the court recognize the difference between THOUGHT and ACTION.

    The fact is, if you have ANY interest in free speech/obscenity fights, you have to sometimes recognize that stuff you don't like needs to be protected from government.

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  44. Like F! said, would anyone defend this? As in, a whole bunch. It's kiddy porn whether it's drawn or not, because it is implied. Also, I've always wondered about copyright too and how they get away with it.

    But, JMY makes a GREAT point. I mean, this is an implied thought crime. If you think about things but don't do them, is that not not crime. It shouldn't be. But, copyright laws are what should be dealt with. Plus, I knew friends who didn't see it that way, they just see a cartoon, and they'd print it out or email it just because it was so weird. It being a famous cartoon and all. I'm sure that's why the tijuana bibles were and are so popular. Cuz, to be honest, tijuana bibles are hilarious. Heh.

    This reminds me of those who wanna legalize marijuana. The for-side always exaggerates and doesn't make a good point and the against-side always exaggerates and doesn't make a good point. Ha!

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  45. Again, I don't think any of us here are advocating actual child porn or sex with kids. I also doubt that anyone here would even want to buy "Child Porn Comics" if it was available. That said, I don't think someone should be tossed into the pen because he or she has a drawing in his possession. Where do you draw the line? Violent comics (say Walking Dead, which I found distasteful) or as someone said upthread Phobe Glockner's work (which deals with her own childhood sexual abuse). What if I drew an autobio book about losing my virginity at 15?

    As for defending things I don't like (i.e. religions or groups I agree with), well, that's the whole point. If we only defend those things that we agree with, that's not much of a freedom of speech.

    People are arguing that this case is a thought crime are not watering down the meaning of the words, because this case is a thought crime. This guy hasn't done anything. What if it so that erotic novels about vampires were declared obscene and owning one would get you tossed in jail (banned for promoting an unnatural attraction and sexualization of the dead). You didn't actually have sex with a dead person, just owned a story about someone who did.


    I know, I know, vampires aren't real (neither are the Simpson's though) and child molestors are, but I hope you at least understand where some of us are coming from. Once you start jailing people for possessing drawings, no matter how distasteful, where do you stop?

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  46. "And I'm sure when it comes down to free speech debates and court cases involving organizations, viewpoints, and religions you don't like"

    Hang on, who in this argument likes child porn? Who was saying they liked it? I haven't seen any of that.

    Even if you ignore free-speech and legal precedent issues, you've still got someone being locked up for a crime he's not actually done (the sentence being as if he'd looked at real children being sexually abused). That's an issue in itself.

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  47. "And what got pulled down with the violent and gory comics? -- a good portion of the rest of the comics."

    Given that you view that as the case, then it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that people are bothered by your call to censor works that you don't like -- because history has shown (in comics and elsewhere) that attempts to do so end up being harmful to expression in general. It doesn't just end with whatever gives Valerie an icky feeling. It's like calling for a flood and asking that it stop at the house next door.

    So, you want your neighbor not to be allowed to read what he wants, so that he doesn't have thoughts you don't want him to have. Are you prepared not to be allowed to read the things you want to read as the price of it?

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  48. "Are you prepared not to be allowed to read the things you want to read as the price of it?"

    I already don't read things I have read in the past because I realize that it's destructive and kills me a little bit inside each time I go there. I would put a number of adult fan-fiction in that mix, stuff that is over-the-top sexually violent and full of rape - but because it's women writing it, "it's all ok!" It's not ok. You can't campaign against the rape of women in comics and then wink at the rape of men in fan-fic.

    "so why don't you just read that stuff anyway and get off on it? it's not hurting anyone."

    because it kills me a little bit inside as a human being every time I do so. So I've made it a point not to read fan-fic with rape in it.

    I think this is a case where if you don't "get it," you don't get it.

    I'm sure you think I don't "get it" because I don't see the "self evident truth" of your argument.

    Similarly, I don't think you "get it" either.

    And I'm not ashamed to embrace an unpopular position. I have to do what is right in the face of what I personally believe in, because when all is said and done, that's all I'll be taking with me.

    And if you march for Nazis in the cause of free speech, here are some other free speech cases you should consider:

    * there is a website with Martin Luther King's name in the url that says all sorts of nasty things about him. there have been multiple efforts to take this site down, to no avail. but the fight goes on. why don't you see if Neil Gaiman wants to help those guys maintain their right to free speech?

    * there are websites where women are tortured and fake-killed. where they simulate rape. these sites are constantly under attack. why don't you take up the cause and make big big blog posts about how terrible it is that these sites are being prosecuted? Can somebody ask Neil if he can blog about this? make sure he includes photos from the sites.

    * you know who could use your help? That Phelps preacher. that guy who organizes protests of funerals and holds up signs saying "god hates fags." he could use your support of free speech immediately. you could also donate to his legal defense fund.

    * finally, there are plenty of free speech cases involving Christians all over the country. They could really use the help of people like yourselves who care so passionately about their right to state their their beliefs in public.

    excellent quote for future reference:
    "I will not tolerate intolerance."

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  49. Yeah Val, you really don't get it. I would have thought @Will's comment about vampires was enough, but maybe you just didn't read it clearly enough.

    Just because you don't *think* anyone could *possibly* object to something you currently read and find hunky-dory doesn't mean someone won't. Like perfectly tame vampire literature, or stories about boys and girls playing soccer together, or stories about women *driving* cars!!! Scandalous!

    The CBLDF is focused on defending comics creators. The ACLU defends those other examples you bring up. Hence my generous donations to them every year. To defend the "indefensible" in order to keep speech free for all of us. Even you.

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  50. "I already don't read things I have read in the past because I realize that it's destructive and kills me a little bit inside each time I go there."

    Yes, you made the choice about what you want to read.

    How that accords with wanting the government to throw people in prison so that others don't read what you don't want them to read is not obvious.

    Me, I've given money to organizations that support the right of people to make speech that I'd rather they chose not to make. Because I value freedom of speech.

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  51. The first two examples you gave, unless they contain libel or actual nonconsensual sex, I will defend. However, the third:

    "you know who could use your help? That Phelps preacher. that guy who organizes protests of funerals and holds up signs saying "god hates fags." he could use your support of free speech immediately. you could also donate to his legal defense fund."

    I would put a time, place, or manner restriction on the ability of anybody to harangue people at a funeral, whether they are shouting homophobic epithets or selling insurance. People have a reasonable right to privacy and Freedom of Speech includes the right to not hear/view speech as well.

    And I will defend Christians as long as they are not blurring the lines between Church and State. (We really need to remove "Under God" from the pledge).

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  52. What is wrong with not being tolerant of intolerance?

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  53. "When I wrote a post last year and mentioned the word 'God,' I got to see firsthand just how open-minded many of them really were."

    Given that I was part of that conversation, I'm curious... can you please provide a link to a comment from me that indicated a desire to suppress your free expression? 'Cause as I recall, I wanted you to talk *more*, not less. If I said anything that led you to believe otherwise, I apologize. And if you weren't actually lumping me into that group, well... nevermind.

    "I'm sure you think I don't 'get it' because I don't see the 'self evident truth' of your argument."

    I see a couple people here throwing their hands up at you, one going so far as to say they've lost all respect. I can see how that would irritate/depress you.

    But for the most part, folks aren't asking you to accept their opinions without thought. They're making arguments based upon their ideas, and hoping you'll respond to those arguments in kind.

    "there is a website with Martin Luther King's name in the url that says all sorts of nasty things about him"

    Does this site feature opinion or untrue statements of "fact"? 'Cause I'll happily defend an asshole's right to an opinion, but not his ability to libel or slander people.

    "there are websites where women are tortured and fake-killed. where they simulate rape. these sites are constantly under attack. why don't you take up the cause and make big big blog posts about how terrible it is that these sites are being prosecuted?"

    I'm not sure which sites you're addressing, but I know that I've spoken out in defense of a dickhead like Max Hardcore, who was convicted of obscenity in Florida recently for his "abuse simulations". The man is fairly loathsome, and I shed no tears for him as an individual... the world isn't losing much with him facing time in a cell. But the bottom line is that he was convicted of consensually simulating stuff that made a prosecutor and jury feel icky, and I can't support that.

    "you know who could use your help? That Phelps preacher. that guy who organizes protests of funerals and holds up signs saying 'god hates fags.'"

    Phelps is expressing himself in such a way that it is impossible for those who wish to ignore his speech to do so. (It isn't reasonable to ask a mother to leave her son's funeral just to avoid Phelps.) But if he wants to schedule an orderly march down main street, then fine. I may show up at a counter-march, but I don't want to take away his ability to be a public idiot.

    "finally, there are plenty of free speech cases involving Christians all over the country."

    Do any of them *not* involve a desire to use government funds or government property in religious pursuits? 'Cause if so, point me in the right direction and I'll start a blog post ASAP.

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  54. "there are websites where women are tortured and fake-killed. where they simulate rape"

    We also have TV and films which simuate torture, rape and death. Since I'm against banning them* and collect Ennis' Punisher MAX, I am logically forced to 'defend' the sites as no one's actually being raped and killed.

    And there was a recent Extreme Pornography law passed in the UK banning those, which one MP criticised because it would logically mean you have to ban Hostel II and arrest everyone who bought it, and I'm against that law. It classes simulated violence and downloading it as the same offence as actual violence and downloading that. I don't think that's either right or logical. If a country is going to criminalise it, it should not be treated the same as actual rape and torture and should carry different penalties.

    * Which the UK government did to many in the 80s, giving them counter-culture cred - even the really shit ones and the ones that could be argued to cross a line (as well as things like The Evil Dead). DVD companies now can release those films on DVD and make money; they're not those really bad, crappily-made films, they're suddenly Edgy.

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  55. Quotes
    "When you champion this sort of porn, you run the risk of taking all porn down with you."
    "People outside of the quaint aesthetic bubble you are living in look at you making this passionate case for illustrated child porn and...they can't even identify with you"
    As myself and several other commentators have pointed out. We are not championing child porn. We are championing freedom of speech and the common sense that thinking or expressing illegal thoughts on paper is NOT committing a crime. It's not even proof of attention to commit a crime. According to several scientific studies I've read over the years, it may actually REDUCE crime. I'd honestly like to hear your response to that. What if the position you maintain actually increases abuse as some studies suggest. Would you switch your position in such a case? Your two statements are flatly wrong and not only that, but your counter-arguments never take this into account. I've reviewed the comments and I see some fairly down to earth responses. Both real and imaginary child porn sickens me. I've got a 13 year old half sister. Only one however is a crime and causes harm to another person.
    Your attitude to anyone with an opposing viewpoint centered around those particular points have been dismissive in the extreme. We Get It. Let me make that crystal clear. No one here is happy with that content. Let me take your examples.
    * Anti MLK Sites and Fake killing, rape and torture.
    * Phelps
    * Free speech and Christianity (stating beliefs in public)
    I'll briefly point out why you are wrong about these in what i hope is a logical and easy to follow manner.
    1) The internet is not an Americans only medium. We have no control over this, nor should we.
    2) The fact that we DO allow this is a point in favor of freedom of speech, in America we are not guaranteed the right to be agreed with, the right to not be offended. We are granted the much more powerful right to express our disagreement. We are allowed to protest, we are allowed to debate. I'd much rather have that right then to worry one day my views don't fit into your particular morality.
    3) While you make the assumption because I and other people will allow something, we condone or encourage it let me point out there are millions of people donating to the ACLU and CBLDF (thousands for that probably). We in fact DO put our money where our mouth is. We are not defending a particular form of expression we are defending a principle. If you are going to argue the point, you have to argue that the principle is bad, not that the work is so horrible the principle should be ignored.
    4) I'd also point that I would readily defend against the censorship of movies. Even those that contain killing/rape/etc. Almost everyone would. We have a nice system in the ratings (thought it has flaws) that allow me as an adult to decide what I find morally repugnant. Thankfully I and many people like me can separate reality from fantasy. You don't really have the right to strip me of that, you do have the right to vote with your dollars by not participating or lobbying for a better rating system so parents and adults can make proper decisions.
    5) Christians are not forbidden to pray or gather. The speech issues arise around spending government time and money endorsing ANY religion. This is not the role of the government. Children can and do pray in schools during private times. Church's can and do say what they want on their property and in public (though not government locations, as that violates church/state. In short your argument is misdirected and poorly thought out here. Honestly it feels like you are really grasping at half understood issues.
    "I already don't read things I have read in the past because I realize that it's destructive and kills me a little bit inside each time I go there. I would put a number of adult fan-fiction in that mix, stuff that is over-the-top sexually violent and full of rape - but because it's women writing it, "it's all ok!" It's not ok. You can't campaign against the rape of women in comics and then wink at the rape of men in fan-fic."
    I'm glad that you can choose to do that, I do that on some material as well. Good thing it's a choice we can both make. I think many of the commentators are rather offended that you seem to think you hold some sort of moral high ground in comparison to us. I and you may disagree on what "kill's me a little bit". Generally talking to republicans does it for me...

    A few questions for you.
    Should the punishment for this Simpsons porn meter out the same as actual child abuse?
    If so, if some guy's girlfriend dresses up as a high school cheerleader for my birthday, should he face criminal charges for having sex with an women simulating an underage teen?
    Two consenting adults dress up as bart and lisa simpson and have sex in costume, should they both be jailed or fine? Where's the line? Think that example is silly? Try googling "furries" someday. Incidentally having sex with animals IS a crime, yet dressing up like them and having sex with them is not. I wonder why that is? Because one is not real. My point to all this is, if you are going to maintain an opinion that is going to put people in jail you better be damn sure you can apply it's logic consistently without hitting questions like this.
    For instance, you gave another example in saying that because Mr. Gaiman doesn't directly endorse something, he has no right to defend it's existence. That he should somehow take up the cause. I would challenge with you the same. Do you plan to contact Amazon.com and get each reviewer arrested for possession of child porn? Is this book and its readers exempt from your moral outrage or is this a special case? If so, how are we to make the distinction? Who gets to make that distinction? You? Me?
    How about this --> ( . )( . )... Boobs of a 22 year old girl in a simple drawing style
    How about this -- > ( . )( . )... Boobs of a 15 year old girl in a simple drawing style.
    Did I just commit a crime? Is it art? Is it free speech? Tell me why.

    Ok I'm wrapping up this super long rebuttal. I'm a good guy, I believe in freedom of speech, I'm not racist or homophobic or pretty much any nasty thing someone might like to generalize me as to cast me in a bad light or feel they have moral superiority over me. I think you are much the same. I think your heart is in the right place but you are speaking from a place of emotion and fear. You may never come around to my way of thinking, but I want you to carefully consider what would happen to people's ability to express themselves if you got your way. What other rights would you unintentionally strip from them? I actually almost talked to you at a Con, I saw you at the Lulu booth but you seemed busy. So for me at least, you are in a small way not just some anonymous internet person, but someone I (nearly) met, about 4 feet from me. I'm going to keep up with the comments on this page but I think I'm done with your blog. You've got your right to say things I might consider ignorant and misguided. I have the ability to walk away, just like I did that day.
    Truly, all the best in life.
    J

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  56. Phelps is an interesting example. Is he being prosecuted for his hateful rhetoric? Last I checked, Kansas has legislated a buffer zone for picketing near funerals. His freedom to spew hateful rhetoric is protected by the first amendment, and one could argue that he is much more likely to be inciting violence than a cartoon of the Simpsons reenacting The Aristocrats is likely to incite someone to pedophilia. And yes, I believe his right to freedom of speech should not be abrogated.

    Addressing a point that has been glanced over in comments, I have read Lost Girls. I thought it was awful and saw no artistic merit in it. I have, however, heard a woman describe it as a transformative experience affirming her sexuality and the goddess within. I don't get it. I also don't think Lost Girls should be banned. I also see no redeeming value in 24, which I think is abhorrent,pro-torture propaganda and badly written as well. (And, it's not just me. The dean of West Point petitioned the producers of 24 to stop having the characters who play American agents torture the terrorist characters in the show because it was sending the wrong message to his cadets.) It made me feel dirty watching it. If it came on TV and people around me wanted to watch it, I left the room. I also discussed why I left the room with the people who enjoyed watching it. I do not think it should be banned.

    I'll see your "I will not tolerate intolerance" and raise it a "I do not agree with a word you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it".

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  57. "why don't you take up the cause and make big big blog posts about how terrible it is that these sites are being prosecuted?"

    You use this argument alot. It sort of implies that people are defending what they like and not everything else... I hate to be the one to point this out but If everyone here is not a sick perv then are they not doing just what you ask when they stand up for this guy?

    Is protecting the right to look at fake kid porn not count as defending something we find revolting?

    With the battle cry "protect the children" only the pervs would stand against you as you have anyone with a copy of Lost Girls, American Beauty, or most manga sent to jail where they get to be a victim of sexual assault.

    It pains me to know that the majority of people in the USA are on your side.

    If not for the fact on the net know one knows who I am I would never stand up for this pervs rights or I might just find my house being raided and any pics of my kids at the beach and my taste in BDSM porn being used to send me away.

    I know you mean well but here you have failed.

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  58. Are you or are you not supporting the right for people to view illustrated child porn?

    If you are, simply and proudly answer,

    "I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn."

    No introductory preface. Just state it. State it a few times, see how it sounds. If it sounds good to you, keep saying it. Blog it. Have your blog title read, "I Support The Right For People To View Illustrated Child Porn."

    Make a T-shirt out of it.

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  59. I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn.

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  60. I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn.

    I support the right for fan artists to draw chan.

    I support the right for people to read Ulysses.

    I support the right for theatres to produce Blasted.

    I support the right for people to say things I really really don't agree with.

    I also support the right for people who think illustrated child porn is disgusting to say so loudly. In fact, I agree with them.

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  61. What a well thought out and reasoned response to the detailed arguments people took time to write up in a civilized manner, not reactionary at all...

    Do you really want to bring the discussion to that level?

    Yes I'm supporting the right for people to do things I find morally and physically repelling as long as it does no harm. I'm sure that's the question you really wanted to ask.

    And yeah, I'm rather proud of that. Are you proud of turning law abiding Americans, many of whom you probably have or will work with into criminals for having thoughts you object to? Maybe the real world is more nuanced then a comic book sense of right and wrong.

    I'd also point out you didn't answer any of my, nor that of any one the other people commenting, you are not really listening, more reacting which is a shame.

    Ok I'm done commenting as well, based on your last comment there doesn't seem to be room for any real exploration of the issues of free speech, the implications that passing laws against illustrated child porn might have a bigger impact for creative professionals and average joes alike. Imaginary Child Porn is bad and deserves jail time, got it.

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  62. "Make a T-shirt out of it."

    If I wear that, will you wear your "I'm against freedom of expression" t-shirt?

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  63. I guess the problem I have with the banning of simulated child pornography, is that child pornography is against the law, a horrible crime, and apparently in AU it's illegal to sell drawings of it.

    However, I assume I can still draw and sell portrayals of rape, torture, murder, or all of those things combined together. It's not so much that I feel strongly about defending someone's right to view simulated child pornography, as much as I wonder why child pornography is the one crime it's not okay to simulate out of so many other truly horrible crimes.

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  64. I don't want to depress or disappoint you but I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn. Completely unqualified.

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  65. Little late to this, but I just wanted to weigh in on the "right to sell illustrated child porn comix" Val brought up earlier through a realistic context. In short, I'd say that yes would be in that right to publish such material, though there probably laws, either federal or state, that would probably ban and prosecute right away. But let's pretend there aren't such laws for a moment. I'd honestly be curious to see how long such material would last on a market even as public as Blue Beetle comics are.

    I don't doubt your claim of a market for illustrated child porn, but I feel like so many other business and social factors would come into that mix. Most direct market retailers wouldn't want that sort of stigma in the first place, either by morals or business sense. Then there's the possibility of the media catching wind of it and/or community outrage that would cause a world of trouble for retailers, as previous court cases dealing with comics have shown.

    Like I said, I agree there could be a market for that material, but I think it's just as likely that it would get get kicked out of the public view just as fast and relegated to some corner of the internet like all the other fetishes. After all, just because the public is able to see it, doesn't mean they will have to or want to.

    And really, if it's not libel or real (such as visual art and fiction), then it's not harming anyone and should be fall under the first amendment in my eyes. I've spent some time trying to research the effects of pornography and rape, but for every study I find for it I find another against it. Until I find more comprehensive proof, my principles says the first amendment is in effect. Of course, I do add that I'm pro-labeling as well to this situation, as the consumer has a right to know what he/she is getting into they buy a product. I was happy to see the comics code go, but happier to see Marvel create its own rating system for its audience. I think labels and ratings act as a happy medium for this debate, but obviously there's people who think that's not enough to restrict this material.

    And what's your last post trying to prove, Val? That standing up for all forms of freedom of speech sounds icky? No one's going to argue that, and no one ever was.

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  66. "I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn."

    Val: Why would you want people to misrepresent and oversimplify their opinions?

    For example, I'm not pro-abortion... in a perfect world, every woman in America would have a pack of morning-after pills in her dresser drawer, and most abortions would disappear overnight. This would be A Good Thing, IMO. But as emotionally wasteful and physically stressful as abortion is for both the individual woman and society as a whole, I fully support a woman's right to make that choice. The government just doesn't have any business telling her she can't.

    Similarly, I don't don't think Simpsons porn is cute, and if Child Porn Comix was being published, I wouldn't pressure my LCS to carry it, even if there were demand. I can't imagine having anything in common with someone who gets off on drawings of Bart with a massive boner. But I will never support the government outlawing the creation/consumption of such wholly fictionalized works.

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  67. I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn.

    I also believe that actual child molesters should never be let out prison. I also believe that if they are let out, forcing them to be chemically castrated is perfectly fine.

    I also believe that the Catholic Church is, as Bill Maher puts it, "The Bear Sterns of Child Molestation." and the former Nazi who is that group's CEO should rot in a prison cell. Also, all Catholics who continue to tithe while Ratzy -who pushed for no one coming forward about abuse until the statute of limitations ran out - sits on his throne are in fact complicit in barring him from facing justice.

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  68. I support the right for people to view illustrated child porn.

    Because no actual children are being raped and abused. If we pretend fiction and real-life child porn are the same crime, we run the risk of police, court and prison time/resources being tied up - or the authorities deliberately going after illustrated child-porn because it's a soft target, rather than the thing that's actually harming children.

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  69. Putting aside the question of whether owning virtual child porn should be a protected right or not, why should people that enjoy superhero comics feel inclined to defend someone who is an enthusiast of virtual child porn? I feel as though I have zero in common with these people. If the right to own virtual child porn needs to be defended, why not just let the pedophile community do the defending? Why should we comic book fans do it?

    Just because I like comic books does not mean I have anything in common with the people that view children as sex objects. I have absolutely nothing in common with people that like to view images of children engaged in various sex acts.

    It’s kind of like how people that enjoy Martin Scorsese films probably don’t feel anything in common with people that like to watch live-action child porn films. I doubt the average movie buff worries about a “slippery slope” when it comes to banning child porn movies. Just because the two share the medium of film doesn’t mean they are the same. It doesn’t mean they are just one big film loving community. Regular movie fans seem to be able to easily differentiate themselves from child porn movie fans.

    Why can’t we do the same?

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  70. Well, I think JMY was the only one who at least admitted it with no big back-speeches qualifying it with "oh, but I think abuse of children is wrong! I only support the right of pedophiles to read it!"

    Also, the next time we have a debate about sexualized violence against women in comics, I don't think any of you really have a right to complain about it. Because "it's not hurting anyone." Same for any comic that illustrates/advocates homophobia, racism, etc. Because it's "cartoon racism." "Cartoon racism doesn't hurt anyone, does it?" No, it's just harmless pictures. Like in Nazi Germany, those offensive illustrations of Jews in newspapers were harmless, right? I mean, if they contributed to violence against Jews -- that's not the fault of the pictures, is it?

    I think your positions are irresponsible and immature, but represent, unfortunately, the views of several key people within the industry.

    In spite of that, I still hold by my position. There is nothing you have said that has changed my position. And if you think I'm a fascist for being against illustrations of little children in sexual situations, then it says as much about you as it does me.

    And so I really don't know what else you are really accomplishing by going on and on about it. If the goal is to convince me, that hasn't worked. If your goal is to convince others, you are pretty much preaching to the choir. If you really want to change minds, I suggest you take a step out of the comic book industry and bring this topic up to groups of people who, frankly, might not have any idea that this issue exists, or to what extent. That, to me, would be a more useful step than vainly running this debate in the ground on this blog and calling me a fascist because I'm against illustrations of little girls and boys having sexual intercourse with each other and adults.

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  71. Actually Val, you forgot my completely unqualified statement. I could also tell you that my wife, who hates all comic books and considers them juvenile, agrees with me. She's an attorney, a former journalist, and as hard-ass an absolutist about the 1st Amendment as I am.

    We'll keep fighting for things you find icky, and if it comes up we'll fight for things you care about that someone wants to ban.

    I leave you with Pastor Niemöller:

    Als sie die Juden holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Jude.

    Als sie mich holten,
    gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

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  72. THEY ARE NOT REAL.
    That's the difference.
    These pictures are disgusting.
    But sending someone to prison, not a fine, not probation, but prison for pictures of cartoon characters, no matter what they're doing. )If Fox wants to go after them for copyright infringement, that would be fine by me.)

    I don't have to agree with any of those things you listed. In fact I don't, but I wouldn't want someone with an issue of Nightwing #149 to get sent to prison because of it, regardless of my moral opinion of the comic in question.

    So again, I find these images wholly without social value, but I don't find any value in Saw or Hostel or 24 or hell, CSI but to send someone to prison for pictures of imaginary things seems much, much too harsh.

    I also want you to know that I don't think you're a fascist, but I would hope that calling for some legal sanity and the freedom of speech does not brand one a pervert.

    Great discussion even if we didn't accomplish anything.

    will

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  73. Val wrote

    "Also, the next time we have a debate about sexualized violence against women in comics, I don't think any of you really have a right to complain about it. Because "it's not hurting anyone." Same for any comic that illustrates/advocates homophobia, racism, etc. Because it's "cartoon racism." "Cartoon racism doesn't hurt anyone, does it?" No, it's just harmless pictures. Like in Nazi Germany, those offensive illustrations of Jews in newspapers were harmless, right? I mean, if they contributed to violence against Jews -- that's not the fault of the pictures, is it?"

    I am not saying "live and let live." I am in no way defending the people who create, publish, or consume illustrated child porn. That conclusion does not logically follow from supporting the right for people to create and view those images.

    For the same reason I do not think DC editorial or it's creators should be jailed by the State for publishing comics with violence against women. And if some asshole wants to publish a new version of the Zionist Protocols, I believe the State should not be able to shut him down.

    I absolutely support your right to condemn such works and work to persuade anyone who is involved in such works to stop it.

    For the record, I interpret "right" to be synonymous with "legal right," as m

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  74. And by the way, issues such as this have been discussed over drinks during my time in law school, and I just am a strong believer in the First Amendment. I am also a strong believer in criticizing and denigrating ideas that I find reprehensible. Both are protected by the First Amendment.

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  75. Val, I am sorry to keep adding new posts on a topic, you obviously feel strongly about, but as a defender of freedom of expression, I have to comment on the paragraph I previously quoted.

    Do you really believe the government should not allow racist, antisemitic, or homophobic works to be published because they might foment actual racism, antisemitism, or homophobia? Because that is what you are strongly implying, even if you have not come out and said it. There is a big difference between legally allowing someone to express a hateful position and criticizing or condemning that position.

    You should not suppress speech you disagree with, no matter how wrong you think it is. Memes need to live and die in the marketplace of ideas. If you suppress it, it simply goes underground and will erupt in more radicalized forms.

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  76. No one thinks your fascist for being against illustrations of little children in sexual situations. They think you are wrong for wanting the government to censor such works.

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  77. The problem is, as Val says, that while comic-book readers see "We're defending freedom of speech and the freedom of that guy to have whatever the hell he wants as long as he doesn't hurt anyone", everyone outside this particular bubble sees "Oh, dear god, the comic book readers like child-porn!" and that's an image that's very hard to break (Also, while illustrated children =/= real children, most people don't see a difference between illustrated child porn and real child porn. And if you don't believe me, check arguments against Lost Girls. And that one at least had a plot, as far as I know)
    Two years ago, LJ had this issue. a couple of Harry Potter fan artists were banned because of their NC-17 art of Snape banging Harry, and the fandom imploded in their defense. All of fandom was using the same 'freedom of speech' argument (Never mind that LJ is a business, has nothing to do with the US goverment, and thus, it's not really a Freedom of Speech issue but a Terms of Service issue) but what non-fandom people walked away with was "Harry Potter fandom is full of pedophiles." because, bottom line? What they were defending at that particular moment was their right to produce and enjoy images very similar to child porn.
    (And again, although I think no one cares at this particular point of the argument. It seems that there are many sets of cartoon porn produced exclusively to groom children to be receptive for the pedophiles advances, which are distributed and kept by pedophiles themselves and are different from art created for adults without the particular interest of grooming a victim. It also seems that the particular Simpsons set that launched this veredict was one of those. So this particular AU man is not just a fan who happened to have some questionable items in his collection, like the Iowa man who had only adult-targeted material. That should be a very important difference when talking about the subject, shouldn't it?)

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  78. "That, to me, would be a more useful step than vainly running this debate in the ground on this blog and calling me a fascist because I'm against illustrations of little girls and boys having sexual intercourse with each other and adults."

    i never called you a facist. and actually, when you get down to it, if this man had been charged with obscenity or lewdness no one would care. the problem is the idea that illustrated pictures do not qualify as persons. and i also reserve the right to call for boycotts, and to write a counter publication to anything homophobic or the spiritual nazism of the bible.i do so on a regular basis, and let me tell you am i the unpopular one - i've even been threatened with physical violence - so don't play the little martyr with me.

    personally i believe the more airing out of the lunatics, the more we proceed to victory for the rationalists. let people publish child porn, try to justify it, and i will right there with a hundred studies showing how insane and ridiculous they are.

    i'd also like you to admit that there is a church that people accept into their lives everyday that protect real child molesters. for example, if someone supports the bible as the word of god, even the inspired word of god, aren't they advocating the parts with incest, the part where a man offers his daughters up to gang rapists to protect perfect strangers, or even the central concept that Jesus will pull a Dr. Mengele on the Day of Judgement?

    it seems to me that not only are you taking the popular position, you are grandstanding and playing the childish martyr because you have the magical insight to live outside the bubble. you want to censor violence/evil, why not ask your religious friends to broadcast some scarlett lettering:

    "if jews don't accept Jesus as the messiah, then the holocaust was merely God's foreplay to an eternal concentration camp. same for black heathen slaves, people killed in the tsunami, etc."

    because, you know, we shouldn't let people publish these evil thoughts.

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  79. Bentcorner: "I doubt the average movie buff worries about a “slippery slope” when it comes to banning child porn movies."

    Perhaps they don't, but they should. Child porn laws have been used to halt availability of a work like The Tin Drum. That's an Academy Award winning, Palm d'Or winning film.

    Valerie: "That, to me, would be a more useful step than vainly running this debate in the ground on this blog and calling me a fascist because I'm against illustrations of little girls and boys having sexual intercourse with each other and adults."

    Well, Valerie, let us note that unless you've edited something out, the only person to use the word "fascist" in this conversation is you. And unless I'm misreading everyone, you statements are not being criticized for your being against such illustrations, but rather for your wanting the government to lock people up in order to enforce your tastes.

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  80. Here, R.A.:

    go read and have fun:

    http://tinyurl.com/6x8guj
    http://tinyurl.com/6byj28

    By the way, Australian police just busted a huge international child porn ring -- with hundreds of thousands of pieces of downloaded and shared child porn. Some kids were abused for up to 2 hours at a time. A connection between looking at such images, getting jaded, and letting crimes like the child abuse on the images/videos go on reported? Nah. There's no connection at all.

    But anyway, there might be a few of the seized porn that are illustrated -- they might need defending so those pieces are not included in the charges! So get on it! Remember -- if just one piece of illustrated child porn gets included in those indictments, that could threaten your free speech!

    I think your real problem is twofold, and this is why you keep posting on this thread:

    1) You spend your life thinking these views that you hold are self-evident. You hang around people who think that those views are self-evident. And then somebody comes along and challenges these assumptions. And it really bothers you. It almost feels as if someone is accusing you personally. And you just need to get rid of that dissenting opinion, change it, something!

    2) Usually, the person who would have this dissenting opinion would be some right-wing boogeyman who hates gays and denies rape victims the morning-after pill. An easy target for all to discredit. But to actually have someone disagree with you who doesn't fit this black-and-white party line stereotype -- that's actually quite troubling. Because he or she cannot be shot down as easily. And in that sense, I can see why you would so doggedly hold on to this debate.

    Guess what: not everything is broken down into liberals and conservative devils. There are people who have a breadth of opinions on a breadth of topics. I believe that violent & abusive porn is unhealthy. I also believe in gay rights. Mind-blowing, isn't it?

    It's not the Bill O'Reillys that are most concerning, because he can just get laughed away as an extremist. Ditto, Sarah Palin.

    But if I just *mention* that Lost Girls is not a book I would want to read or support -- that's different. It's not as easy to shoot down. And so starts the endless threads and comments. "No -- you're one of us! Surely you can be reasonable about this!"

    The last thing is, I think child porn of any type and brutal sexualized violent material is unhealthy, and kills your soul a little bit every time you see it and get off on it. If you want to indulge in it, and you are not harming anyone, fine -- but I feel it is unhealthy, cancerous. It's not something kind to do for yourself, even if it gives you immediate gratification.

    And if we, as a society, can support the right for this type of porn to flourish and be distributed -- we are not separate, without responsibility, off-the-hook. How quaint to say, "I support the right to view drawn child porn, but I hold no responsibility for my fellow man or woman or child who may be psychologically crippled or physically harmed as a result of it."

    blog thread closed.

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