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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.