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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Going to Jail for Cartoon Offenses
A few days ago some poor schmuck was convicted for owning a collection of Japanese lolicon comics.  (He plead guilty in May 2009)

Yes, he's now got a criminal record, will spend six months in jail, lose his collection and his computer, and must undergo psychological testing and lie-detector tests designed to treat him for gender identity disorders and other mental health issues.  (source)

How the sweet fuck does that make any sense, to anybody?  There's no proof, or even suggestive evidence, suggesting that people who read/watch/play illegal activities go out and do illegal things.  What we have here is an attempt to protect imagined children from imagined threats.

I'm kind of used to this sort of bullshit in the Australian nanny state, like the time a man was convicted for posessing porn of the Simpson family) but this recent news is from one of the last bastions of free speech, the USA.

Neil Gaiman goes into some significant detail in response to a girl who asks him why this conviction is a problem, if it prevents even one minor from suffering sexual harm.

Quote by Neil Gaiman:
...that's what makes the kind of work you don't like, or don't read, or work that you do not feel has artistic worth or redeeming features worth defending. It's because the same laws cover the stuff you like and the stuff you find icky, wherever your icky line happens to be: the law is a big blunt instrument that makes no fine distinctions, and because you only realise how wonderful absolute freedom of speech is the day you lose it.

I do think his conviction is an outrage.  Sending someone to jail for fictional crimes is no different from thought control: don't think it, don't read it, don't write or draw it.  I think my vocabulary would be reduced to "fuck you, fuck you" if I were ever subjected to psychologists trying to help me get over my love of virtual crime.

Just so you know, these comics - which are sold in convenience stores in Japan, look like this:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/comics/Tenma1.jpg] [Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/comics/Tenma2.jpg]

Yeah, I've owned books like this.  I've even sold them to Americans like the poor guy we're talking about.  What now, assholes?  You're gonna arrest me 'cause I remember the art in these books? 

Get fucked.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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An interesting post from The Comics Journal, where Chris Handley's lawyer writes a rather intelligent letter:

Quote by TCJ:
He was a collector of all things manga.  Of the thousands of books and magazines found by the Feds at Chris’ home, only about twenty had questionable content and ultimately only seven were charged as clearly depicting the violent sexual abuse of obviously very young children.

Six months in jail, a record, and counseling, for seven books, out of a collection of hundreds.  That's unbelievable, and not a little depressing that the world's free-speech bastion is now a country where overreaction is de rigueur.
BLEARGH
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Member since Feb 2010 · 3 posts
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This nonsense grates me to no end. Freedom of expression is on it's last legs apparently and does it end with Manga or is everyone who owns a copy of Alan Moore's 'Lost Girls' gonna be hauled away by these self righteous morons because if that's the case they'll need to raid every comic shop worthy of being open.
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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: NEWS FLASH: NFGworld supports child porn comics and rape games!
According to The Register, it is now illegal in the UK to do mean things to imaginary children:

Quote by The Reg:
Henceforth, you will be committing an offence if you possess non-real, non-photographic images that are pornographic, "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character" and focus on a child’s genitals or anal region, or portray a range of sexual acts "with or in the presence of a child".

This kind of thing is shortsighted, protects no one, and creates a society where you're punished for things you might do.

So, for everyone who needs a summary, NFGworld is officially in favour of child porn comics and rape games.
BLEARGH
This post was edited on 2010-04-07, 12:50 by NFG.
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Member since Sep 2007 · 22 posts
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STAY WHERE YOU ARE. THE US BUREAU OF MORALITY WILL BE IN CONTACT SHORTLY FOR APPROPRIATE REEDUCATION.
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Author name #6
Member since Oct 2007 · 6 posts
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Living in the US for 10 years has just shown me that they have great marketing, but the product isn't as shiny as they hold it up to be. Freedom is quite restricted here, and free speech only applies when everyone agrees with you, unless you're a major hate group who everyone is afraid of, then you get your obnoxious actions protected under free spech.
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Member since Sep 2007 · 131 posts · Location: Canberra
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To me the whole thing just seems completely insane. All over the place there is depiction of illegal and unpleasent things that are allowed. How many movies have murder in them? How many have theft? Or any other number of crimes. Who's to say that there isn't somebody at home wanking furiously to the sight of somebody in these situations? If you start cutting out one group of illegal acts being displayed in a manner such as this then you have to do it to all of them it seems to me.

Now I understand the issues in place, and by no means am I encouraging child porn, but in a drawn sense if somebody is really that aroused by the concept and manage to keep that habit purely in a theoretical manner then I don't see there being any harm.

I think the reason I see a problem in this ruling is because I am a gamer. I enjoy playing games that allow me to go and slash people up in hilariously bloody and crazy manners. This does not AT ALL make me want to do this in real life. I have issue laying harm on anybody, and I'm aware of the lines between reality and make believe.
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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: personal responsibility, motherfuckers.
I discussed this briefly with Zumi the other day, and she brought up the idea that these sorts of things can lead to people taking action.  Heffer says she can tell the difference between real and imaginary, but Zumi suggested that other people might not.

Well, naturally I shot that line of reasoning down.  It always reminds me of the time my sister went for a drive in mom's car, hit some gravel on a corner, and stuffed it into a ditch.  My sister was devastated, but her friend was furious that someone hadn't come out there and cleaned the roads up.  The city, the government, someone was responsible for this accident!  I had to beat her and shake her before she could even understand, much less agree with the idea that you can't remove all the hazards from the world.

In the same way you can't clean gravel off every corner in the world, you can't remove all the stimuli from every form of media on the off chance it'll be the straw that breaks some imbalanced nutjob's back.

Personal responsibility, motherfuckers.  Have you heard of it?
BLEARGH
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Member since Sep 2007 · 131 posts · Location: Canberra
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So true! If you removed any and all stimuli from our environment that may lead to negative behaviour Today Tonight will have nothing more to report on! Not to mention the news.
Author name #10
Member since Nov 2007 · 121 posts
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I'd actually propose that the removal of everything 'dirty', every slightly illegal or subversive stimulus, would lead to boredom and rebellion against the overly-controlled homogeny of life, thus encouraging an increase in the intensity of any of these frowned-upon actions due to the lack of an outlet that can be applied in a safe environment such as the user's home. Literally getting it out of your system before the urge becomes too great. Of course, there will always be nutters who have trouble making the distinction, but this suggestion of guilt and a criminal record without a crime having taken place is truly unsettling.
"...either stop and think or fuck right off" (TheOutrider)
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Member since Apr 2010 · 6 posts · Location: Melbourne
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Note: I may be disagreeing with you all, but that doesn't mean I agree with the sentence this guy was handed or the laws behind it.

Quote by Heffer:
All over the place there is depiction of illegal and unpleasent things that are allowed. How many movies have murder in them? How many have theft? Or any other number of crimes. Who's to say that there isn't somebody at home wanking furiously to the sight of somebody in these situations? If you start cutting out one group of illegal acts being displayed in a manner such as this then you have to do it to all of them it seems to me.

Not really. AFAIK, in Australian, child porn and violent porn (rape, etc) are illegal, whether real or simulated. Non-pornographic representations of child abuse and other forms of sexual violence aren't illegal, which is why you can have movies with (non pornographic) rape scenes, but not rape porn. It's not at all a matter of it being illegal to depict illegal acts, it's a matter of what you're allowed to show in porn. (I assume the laws in the USA are similar.)


Quote by NFG:
In the same way you can't clean gravel off every corner in the world, you can't remove all the stimuli from every form of media on the off chance it'll be the straw that breaks some imbalanced nutjob's back.

Sorry, but that's called a Perfect Solution fallacy.


Quote by Vertigo:
I'd actually propose that the removal of everything 'dirty', every slightly illegal or subversive stimulus, would lead to boredom and rebellion against the overly-controlled homogeny of life, thus encouraging an increase in the intensity of any of these frowned-upon actions due to the lack of an outlet that can be applied in a safe environment such as the user's home.

And then, next thing you know, you have to break Wesley Snipes out of the cryogenic prison he's frozen in.

Quote by Vertigo:
Literally getting it out of your system before the urge becomes too great. Of course, there will always be nutters who have trouble making the distinction, but this suggestion of guilt and a criminal record without a crime having taken place is truly unsettling.

It's not at all a new or unusual concept. It's called a malum prohibitum crime (as opposed to a malum in se crime).
Author name (Administrator) #12
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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: malum prohibitum.
Quote by Dave S:
It's not at all a matter of it being illegal to depict illegal acts, it's a matter of what you're allowed to show in porn. (I assume the laws in the USA are similar.)

The issue isn't under what circumstances something is illegal, it's whether it makes sense to make it illegal to harm imaginary people.  Whether it's in porn, a video game or comic book, it doesn't make sense to me to face jail time for doing unspeakable things to people who don't exist.  No victim, no harm done.


Quote by Dave S:
Quote by NFG:
In the same way you can't clean gravel off every corner in the world, you can't remove all the stimuli from every form of media on the off chance it'll be the straw that breaks some imbalanced nutjob's back.

Sorry, but that's called a Perfect Solution fallacy.

Once again, you're correct, but perhaps not entirely, and probably not in this context.  The concept of a 'perfect solution falacy' is interesting, and such a thing certainly exists, but you have misunderstood me if you think that applies here.  We're talking here about banning ideas because some people might imitate them in real life.  I don't know if it's a good idea to announce to the world every detail of a serial killer's MO, or show how easy it is to tamper with your panadol, but I know for sure the idea of making it illegal to talk about these things is - IMO - a greater crime.

You can't cure shit by sweeping it under rugs.  Not talking about it doesn't make it go away.  Even if this were the crux of the discussion at hand, it's not: We're talking about imaginary people.

Banning things that are distasteful is already a pretty significant encroachment on my freedoms.  They're distasteful, they're not actually causing harm.

I like dead baby jokes.  Cracking one in front of a woman who lost her baby to a possessed blender might make her feel bad, but I won't stop making them forever just in case such a mother is nearby.  It doesn't make sense, and leads to - as you say - a Demolition Man world.

Quote by Dave S:
It's called a malum prohibitum crime (as opposed to a malum in se crime).

I love learning something fun in Latin.  =D

These things we discuss are malum prohibitum for sure, but should they be?  My vote's on no.
BLEARGH
Author name #13
Member since Apr 2010 · 6 posts · Location: Melbourne
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Quote by NFG:
Once again, you're correct, but perhaps not entirely, and probably not in this context.  The concept of a 'perfect solution falacy' is interesting, and such a thing certainly exists, but you have misunderstood me if you think that applies here.  We're talking here about banning ideas because some people might imitate them in real life.

Hmmm, it's borderline. You were talking about it being inappropriate to ban this material just because it may trigger some nutjob to harm actual children, which is sort of mid-way between a reasonable argument ("This law is not necessary, as there is no evidence that cartoon child porn can trigger people to commit child abuse.") and a completely unreasonable one ("You can't stop child abuse entirely, so why bother?").

Quote by NFG:
You can't cure shit by sweeping it under rugs.  Not talking about it doesn't make it go away.  Even if this were the crux of the discussion at hand, it's not: We're talking about imaginary people.

Banning things that are distasteful is already a pretty significant encroachment on my freedoms.  They're distasteful, they're not actually causing harm.

That's the thing, are we talking about imaginary people? It seems pretty far fetched that the law would have been written to protect imaginary people. Isn't it more likely that the law was made in response to a belief (whether accurate or not) that such material could encourage abuse of actual children? If so, the imaginary people argument is a strawman. (Got to hit my wikipedia link quotas! :D) The only relevant question then, is does availability of simulated child porn increase the incidence of actual child abuse to a degree significant enough to justify its banning?

Personally, I feel more sorry for the guy who got done for Simpsons porn (which was presumably viewed for comedic value) than this manga collector (who was presumably collecting some pretty messed up stuff).

Quote by NFG:
I like dead baby jokes.  Cracking one in front of a woman who lost her baby to a possessed blender might make her feel bad, but I won't stop making them forever just in case such a mother is nearby.

I also wouldn't blame the hypothetical mother if she kneed you square in the nuts after you did so, as that's the risk you take. :D

Quote by NFG:
I love learning something fun in Latin.  =D

I wonder if it's used in law just to keep lawyers in their jobs? :D
Author name (Administrator) #14
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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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which is sort of mid-way between a reasonable argument ("This law is not necessary, as there is no evidence that cartoon child porn can trigger people to commit child abuse.") and a completely unreasonable one ("You can't stop child abuse entirely, so why bother?").

There was never any point where I felt I was favouring the 'you can't stop it so why bother' argument.  Rather, regarding my example of gravel on the road, I was encouraging personal responsibility.  Stop blaming the stimulus for a man's actions, and get back to blaming the man.  If we take away his child porn comics he'll snap during an episode of Family Guy, or he'll snap when his cheese talks rude to him. 

I suppose that does bring me around to the point of view you accused me of having: since we can not predict which stimuli will provoke the action, we have no hope of removing them all from view. 

Quote by Dave S:
...the law was made in response to a belief (whether accurate or not) that such material could encourage abuse of actual children...

You're right to link this concept with evidence of causation, but I am not aware of any studies or evidence that prove, or even find using reasonable methods, that one of these things leads to the other.

Games don't make people eat mushrooms and crawl into pipes.  Movies don't make people pick up guns and blow up buildings.  Porn doesn't make people rapists.

You can be sure of only one thing: nutjobs are crazy, and they'll do unpredictable things.

Your choices therefore are: remove all potentially stimulating content (and cheese) or accept the fact that you can't control everyone.
BLEARGH
Author name #15
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Member since Sep 2007 · 176 posts · Location: Kobe, Japan
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I just came across a quote which is rather humorous, ironic and takes us on a slight tangent, but is still ultimately related:

Quote by Kristin Wilson, Nintendo, Inc., 1989:
"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean, if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."

Regardless of personal responsability and the fact that most reasonable humans can tell the difference between reality and the virtual/drawn world, there is still the fact that media of any kind has an impact on our lives and some people are affected by it more than others.

Up until recently video games were the main focus of the thought police, ever since two crazy kids decided to shoot up their school in America (and long before this) people have claimed that games are making people crazy. The evils of games have recently been overshadowed by the evils of child pornography (real and imagened).

So the question is: Since the goverment and various comunity groups are so worried about the impact of games and media on our mental health/behaviour; why is there no decent, long term research into their impacts on a regular human being? Books and cartoon pron has been around for hundreds of years and video games (in one form or another) close to 60 years, that should be long enough to come up with something scientificaly sound instead of the paranoid thought police we have now.
“Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.” J. Postel
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