Handley pleads guilty

As reported yesterday, Christopher Handley, the Iowa man arrested for owning drawn material depicting children engaged in sexual acts, has pleaded guilty to possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material. Handley was arrested after Customs intercepted a package from Japan containing the questionable material specifically “Japanese manga drawings of minor females being sexually abused by adult males and animals.”

Pursuant to his plea agreement, Handley today pleaded guilty to one count of possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1466A(b)(1), which prohibits the possession of any type of visual depiction, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct that is obscene.

Handley also agreed to plead guilty to one count of mailing obscene material and to forfeit all seized property. Handley faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release.


The CBLDF had supported Handley as a special consultant, and has released a statement, reproduced below.

Although no one likes a kiddie fiddler, that is not the issue here — Handley did not have a record as a sex offender. As Dirk Deppey observes (albeit with a very disturbing, NSFW panel from LOST GIRLS), anyone owning a copy of LOST GIRLS might be guilty of the same crime Handley committed. In fact, we just got a package from a manga publisher and have no idea what is in it — is it something we could go to jail for? Current US law prosecutes drawings of child pornography the same as photographed material, and that is troubling on many levels.

Don’t get us wrong, we find the loli-con, child sex branch of manga and anime very disturbing and troubling. (Hell, we find Ray Caesar’s work disturbing and troubling.) But it isn’t the same thing as actual child pornography.

Brigid has more. ANN has a long forum discussion. Here’s Neil Gaiman on why the case matters. Lawrence A. Stanley has more on the legal difference between obscenity and child pornography.

Here’s the CBLDF release:

According to a press release issued by the Department of Justice, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has learned that Christopher Handley, the Iowa manga collector, has pleaded guilty “to possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material.” CBLDF had served as a special consultant to Mr. Handley’s defense. The government’s press release states, “Handley faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release.” Additionally, he forfeits all property seized in his prosecution.

The CBLDF became special consultant to Mr. Handley’s defense team last October. In this limited role, the Fund facilitated access to First Amendment experts; recommended expert witnesses on manga; and funded expert research pursuant to an eventual jury trial. The CBLDF spent $2,400 on that research, and had allocated up to $15,000 for expert witness expenses.

“Naturally, we are very disappointed by this result, but understand that in a criminal case, every defendant must make the decision that they believe serves their best interest,” CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein said. “Because the set of facts specific to this case were so unique, we hope that its importance as precedent will be minimal. However, we must also continue to be prepared for the possibility that other cases could arise in the future as a result.”

Brownstein adds, “Mr. Handley now faces the loss of his freedom and his property, all for owning a handful of comic books. It’s chilling. The Fund remains unwavering in our commitment to be prepared to manage future threats of this nature wherever they arise. This is the unfortunate conclusion of Mr. Handley’s case, but it is not the end of this sort of prosecution. For that reason, the Fund stands steadfast in our commitment to defending the First Amendment rights of the comics art form.”

Comments

  1. I already commented on the Newsarama thread. But to summarize…

    Whether’s it’s technically child porn due to the fact that it’s drawn and not photos might be an issue.

    But the fact that someone gets their kicks off of child porn. Drawn or otherwise…is an issue for me.

    I’d like to know those people aren’t around my kids. In their schools…whatever.
    Maybe it’s because I’m a father of two 6 year olds…but this case IS relevant to the protection of my kids.

    I have no problem with them confiscating the material and keeping it out of our country. I also have no problem with that person being put on a list of potential sexual predators.

    Not very liberal of me…but as an admitted over protective father…I don’t care.

    Drawn or not…it’s child porn. And that scares me.

  2. Very disappointing.

  3. michael says:

    As much as I despise child porn and all it relates to those who ‘enjoy’ it, the fact that we can prosecute someone for a drawing, hopefully, not based on anything real, is horrifying.

  4. The Beat says:

    Scott: I get that…but I definitely have some lolicon material in my house or office. Does that mean I’m a child molester? Is Phoebe Gloeckner? Is Ivan Brunetti? Johnny Ryan?

  5. So if we are now criminalizing possession of depictions – not photographs or videos or films, but drawn or painted depictions – of children engaged in sexual acts with one another or with adults because, at least with adults, those acts are considered obscene and illegal (and I agree, kids with adults is definitely sickening) why are we drawing the line there? The last I checked, murder was illegal so shouldn’t we be prosecuting the hundreds of thousands of Americans who own DVDs such as “Scarface” or “The Terminator,” videogames such as “Grand Theft Auto,” novels such as “The Godfather,” comics such as “Preacher” and “Punisher,” as well as any number of other things which depict violent, brutal, bloody murder?

    After all, as Scott Sava says few people want someone who enjoys any kind of representation of children engaged in sexual acts with adults spending time around children. But as I said, why stop there? Why let adults who have seen brutally violent films educate our children? Why let adults who enjoy typically violent comic fare like “Punisher” stay out of jail?

    I’m just not sure I understand the difference, and it is tempting to label this kind of thinking – and I do mean this kind of thinking, NOT Scott Sava in any way (no insult or disrespect intended, Scott) – hypocritical.

  6. Haven’t had a chance to go through all of the links yet, but here’s my .02 off-the-cuff – speaking as one who tries to examine the flipside of conventional morality in my work, I’ve pondered this specific issue at length.

    Best I can figure, it’s not an issue about whether someone is sexually attracted to children, the issue is whether or not they act on it. People can’t control what they’re attracted to, and it wasn’t so long ago that homosexuality was largely thought of as repugnant and immoral in the same way as pedophilia – in many places, it still is.

    While there are myraid issues at play with the subject of pedophilia and pederasty, the main difference (and I realize that I’m simplifying the issue severely here) is that children cannot consent to sexual contact with an adult.

    If this guy isn’t actually molesting kids and is reading manga books about cartoon characters who don’t exist, I say more power to him. At least he’s trying to find an outlet for his urges that doesn’t involve ruining a child’s life. And he probably hates himself more than you do anyway.

    Whether or not we find him repugnant has no bearing on the legal issue. Also, it’s funny how the initial reaction is to brand this guy a child molestor, but was this even pornography? Does anyone know?

  7. Hey Heidi…
    Honestly…my question to you is…WHY have that material?

    Why do we need it?

    Granted…you get SENT things. But to keep kiddie porn…why?

    Yes I don’t think child porn (drawn or whatever) should be “protected” by the law. Why?

    Just shouting censorship doesn’t really make it right.
    Why do we NEED kiddie porn?

    That’s my point.

    The punishment of 15 years for possession? No. That’s just wrong.
    But…I think people who buy these types of books should be documented.
    Don’t you?

  8. @ Scott

    “But…I think people who buy these types of books should be documented.”

    They shouldn’t – 4th amendment, right to privacy. Substitute the word “comics” for the phrase “types of books” in that quote and picture the implication of that.

    It boils down to any number of very apt but cliche comparisons to Orwell and the Nazis. Most people choose not to believe that we can slide down that slippery slope, but I assure you, it’s very, very easy.

  9. THanks KEvin.

    I understand the whole slippery slope thing.
    But you have a neighbor who collects child porn. You don’t know that.
    He offers to watch your kids so you and your wife go on a much needed night out.
    He’s alone with two children and you don’t think it MIGHT be an issue?

    The thing is…whether collecting child porn MAKES you…or PROVES you are a child molester…isn’t the point.

    What the point is…it sure as heck makes you more apt to act on those feelings/desires than someone who doesn’t collect child porn.

    Does that make sense?

    If it does…then I’d like to know if my neighbor has a fetish for these things.

    Children aren’t able to consent to sex. They can’t defend themselves.
    As parents…we need every opportunity to protect them.

  10. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Scott, you’re saying that Heidi MacDonald is more apt to molest children than anyone who doesn’t own Lost Girls. This is insane.

  11. Scott, I understand where you’re coming from on an emotional level, but the fact of the matter is you can’t condemn someone for a crime they haven’t committed. Once we start dealing in hypotheticals instead of realities we open the door for far worse things.

    The reality is that you don’t have a right to know what’s in this guy’s book collection, but hypothetically if you want to leave your kids with him for the night, the onus is on you to find out and judge whether he’s dangerous or not. And while parents do need to protect their children, THEY have to take that responsibility.

  12. I understand that in some US States it is still illegal for consenting homosexual adults to have anal sex in the privacy of their own home. So owning yaoi there is tantamount to being a queer?

  13. I don’t think I’d suggest imprisonment for owning a book.
    I’m simply saying…if a potential baby sitter owned Lost Girls…or other child porn books…I’d like to know about it.

    True…the HOW is not really worked out.
    And I’m not apt to go so far as to figure that out.

    I’m just asking…why do we need to “protect” this type of material?

    I’ve read Gaiman’s explanation. And while long and well thought out…I don’t agree.

    Protecting child porn doesn’t make us a better society.
    Can someone please explain how child porn makes our lives better?

    Why we need to “protect” it?

    Tom…
    Honestly I’m not going to touch that question.
    What am I supposed to say?
    Heidi’s a potential child molester?

    But I DO have to stand by my statement. If she was a neighbor of mine…and I knew she had those books…I would steer clear.

    I’d have to hope ANY parent would.

    So then the question again is…why do you need child porn on your shelves?

    I’m not trying to offend anyone. But I think I have a valid point.
    As a parent…shouldn’t laws be made to protect children?
    Isn’t that more important than letting child porn be acceptable?

  14. Mario – That’s wrong. The United States Supreme Court struck down all state laws against consentual adult sodomy; homosexuality is no longer a crime anywhere in the nation.

  15. OrionFury says:

    Is the book in question in the case pornography, or is the imagery part of a story? Are the characters in it children, or are they of age, and due to the nature of the source, are force to be drawn in such a way that to those outside the source see them as children? Was he aware of what was in the books?

    I have a child as well, and hope to have another soon. I do not want them to be abused by anyone just as much as you, Scott; but I am not going to damn someone to a life of hell without knowing the details of it, if they truly do deserve to be damned, for a pedophile is a label that can never be removed.

  16. Synsidar says:

    This blog post on the subject of comics art and obscenity is long, but analyzes the different legal perspectives re the content of text and images.

    SRS

  17. OrionFury.
    Totally agree.

  18. No one? Come on, I really do want to know. If owning DEPICTIONS of children having sex with adults – depictions, not ACTUAL children – is illegal because the act depicted is illegal, then why is it not illegal to own depictions of other criminal acts such as murder or rape or assault?

  19. The Beat says:

    Back from lunch have removed some name calling. And thanks everyone for the fact that “H*idi M**Donald ch**d m**ester” will now be a googleable term!

    Scott, I understand that you want to protect children who cannot protect themselves but equating someone who owns LOST GIRLS with someone who might sexually abuse children is stretching things a bit.

    I read and collect various kinds of manga and other comics because I’m interested in comics and their history, not because of any fetishes. So do other people. And people create it for various reasons. Remember Nymphet?

    http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/06/08/nymphet-creator-speaks/

    Read the creator’s comments again — and yes she’s a she.

    As I said, I find this entire moe/lolicon/child woman art trend highly disturbing, and it baffles me that so many WOMEN (here and in Japan) work in this mode. But if I found out my neighbor was drawing it it wouldn’t make me move away.

  20. Rich Neves says:

    US law, as it currently stands, makes this type of material illegal. Whether or not it should be is apparently something we can argue about until we all turn blue in the face and fall over, but the simple fact is that our elected officials deemed it was “bad stuff” and made it illegal.

    I agree with you Scott, that there is no “need” for child pornography in the world. However, you could take Matt’s argument and apply that same principle to pornography in general and depictions of murder, rape, incest, theft, etc. that are prevalent in all forms of media. So I think that can be a dangerous argument that get’s us on that slippery slope mentioned earlier.

    That said, I am also a (overprotective perhaps?) parent of two children. And I don’t want sex offenders near them either, but let’s be honest here, are you really going to let someone watch your children based upon if they are in some database? I would like to think that you would get to know the neighbor pretty damn good before they watched your kids. So your babysitter analogy is really a poor one. Now, if you said teacher or camp counselor or coach, that would make more sense. Unfortunately, we need to rely on judgments made with incomplete information and that of others in those situations unless we want to lock our kids in the basement.

    As to whether possession of “lolicon” materials are equivalent to real child pornography when as an indicator of someones capabilities to be a pedophile, I haven’t a clue. Though my gut tells me that the more realistic the artwork, the more likely it is.

    The real question that needs to be asked is where is the line drawn? Hentai (and other comics) frequently depicts what appear to be “young” girls participating in sexual acts, but because they look young, are they? Or are they really a 3000 year old demon in disguise? Does stating that they are “university students” cover you? And would that make a difference legally? And what about drawings of say, the Simpsons characters having sex? Or the Disney princesses? (though there would also be some copyright issues with those two examples).

  21. OrionFury says:

    @Matt Kish I will agree with you on that part, it is a weird logistic, I think it stems from the pedophilia is considered to be a far worse crime than assault, rape, and murder. The lost of innocence occurs with pedophilia, not other crimes, not to the same extend.

  22. Rich Neves says:

    Just wanted to add this to answer the question of legality…

    “(8) “child pornography” means any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where— ”

    From (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002256—-000-.html)

    And in another section of the law there is this gem…

    “(c) Nonrequired Element of Offense.— It is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exist. ”
    (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1466A.html)

  23. Synsidar says:

    No one? Come on, I really do want to know. If owning DEPICTIONS of children having sex with adults – depictions, not ACTUAL children – is illegal because the act depicted is illegal, then why is it not illegal to own depictions of other criminal acts such as murder or rape or assault?

    Illegal acts aren’t necessarily obscene acts.

    As for the special attention paid to artwork:

    We think that images and words bear different relations to true reality. So, in McEwen, the Australian case about Simpsons porn, the judge concluded that “all persons depicted in written works are necessarily imaginary” because their images exist only in the reader’s mind, whereas an image can present an actual person or an imaginary one. This collapses images of people (whether on paper or in the viewer’s mind) into the real people themselves.

    This magic-spell quality of images is a major component of obscenity law, but it’s also apparent in copyright discussions of substantial similarity. Substantial similarity in the visual field just is; there is no way to break it down or describe it.

  24. Thanks Heidi.
    I appreciate you explaining that.

    I just don’t think I’d have something like this on my shelves. For collector purposes, historic, or because I love comics.
    Everyone makes their own reasons for having these types of books.

    I just can’t personally come to a rational reason why it’s deemed “acceptable” to have these. Much less need to protect them.

    Again. Not trying to offend. And thanks for not taking it personally.

    I may be coming at this from more of an emotional standpoint…but I do think “Defending those who can’t Defend themselves” is a valid position to be in.

    Thanks again.

    And thanks Rich for that.
    Nice to know the actual law here.

  25. I think it’s important to point out that it’s only punishable under the law if it rises to the level of obscenity. For it to be considered obscene, it has to meet all three points of the Miller test.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_test

    Just showing children engaged in sex does not necessarily mean that it’s legally obscene. For instance, using the Miller Test as an example, Lost Girls wouldn’t meet the legal requirements of obscenity.

  26. Rich Neves says:

    You’re welcome Scott.

    I just read the article by Lawrence Stanley that is linked above (well, about 80% of it, I gotta get back to work…) and if you haven’t already, you should. It is excellent, well written, and a bit scary when you consider the possible outcomes.

  27. For the record, I see no need for this material to exist, and I believe people buying it should be dealt with. I don’t know how… I don’t think a lot about it, but I don’t like it.
    But… I’ll play devil’s advocate here.

    Let’s say instead of actual photography of kiddie porn, you had on your bookshelf computer generated imagery of kiddie porn. Created to be indistinguishable from the real thing. You all know the technology is there today. It probably exists already. Does that make it better? No kids were hurt or abused in the making of it. It’s just imaginary art. The only difference is that it’s better quality (if you can call it that).
    Is it still just ‘art’?
    And does that make it okay?

  28. “Defending those who can’t defend themselves”–how is that a valid position? There’s no one to defend. These are drawings, nothing more. Some kid wasn’t taken out and raped or molested so that a comic could be drawn of the act.

    Helping molestation victims, defending children from actual physical, sexual or emotional assault: that’s a real task, and it requires action. Condemning some comic, or lazily going after someone who owns the material–that’s not a statement on anything other than the blanket morality of people who should mind their own fucking business.

    This case had nothing to do with the victims of sexual abuse. It had everything to do with fear, emotion, and ignorance. The people out there who actually fuck kids, the people who film it–they’re laughing their ass off at right now. Because all we did was waste our court’s time with some random dude who jacks off to nasty shit. This helped no one.

  29. maija says:

    So I guess we won’t be seeing Judy Bloom books turned into comics any time soon.

  30. Rich Neves says:

    @SA:
    Legally, No. See my post above and the links to the laws.

    Morally, no. If it is indistinguishable from the real thing, it might as well be the real thing.

  31. The Beat says:

    Hm, why did I know there would be a long comment post on this topic?

    For a little perspective, here’s a link I spotted today via Andy Diggle’s twitter feed: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0521/1224247034262.html?via=mr

    From Reuters report:
    The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, chaired by a High Court Judge, said priests and nuns had flogged, starved and, in some cases, raped children in Ireland’s now defunct network of industrial and reformatory schools from the 1930s.

    Religious authorities knew about the abuse but covered it up. The Irish government colluded in the silence.
    There is more evidence that the Catholic Church has harmed more kids than a single panel of a weirdo hentai manga ever did. Does that mean we should ban churches? Protecting the children is a difficult business.

    Just to answer a direct question, I don’t think child pornography should exist, period, but the evidence seems to show it’s a symptom not a cause. And I don’t think Lost Girls, for instance, is pornography.

  32. Synsidar says:

    Just one perspective on why LOST GIRLS might be pornographic, but isn’t pornography.

    SRS

  33. Let’s say instead of actual photography of kiddie porn, you had on your bookshelf computer generated imagery of kiddie porn. Created to be indistinguishable from the real thing. You all know the technology is there today. It probably exists already. Does that make it better? No kids were hurt or abused in the making of it. It’s just imaginary art. The only difference is that it’s better quality (if you can call it that).
    Is it still just ‘art’?
    And does that make it okay?

    The art exists to draw photorealistic depictions of any number of crimes, including murders and rapes and torture, too.

    Does this make them never art?

    Does the nature of the content make them not okay?

    Does depicting something (for whatever reason) make it the same as committing the crime depicted?

  34. Blackeye says:

    I’m surprised there isn’t more outrage over “Lost Girls.” Is it because it’s by the revered Alan Moore? Why did he write that kind of story? The girls in the story are through history, very young girls, correct? So what kind of bizarre fantasy is Moore living through his writing? How is this even defensible? I hope people that own this, feel ashamed and embarrassed? It’s certainly morally objectionable, if nothing less.

  35. Mark Coale says:

    As someone who does not and likely will not have children, I am always fearful of the “what about the children?” argument.

    Not defending kiddie porn, but I am always fearful of the slippery slope? There are certainly people who would object to gay or inter-racial or inter-faith depictions in popular culture.

  36. I’m screwed!
    I have Waller and Worley’s, Omaha The Cat Dancer in my house right now.
    It’s chock full of bestiality.

  37. Why does one need to make illustrated child porn?

    Phoebe Gloeckner work is semi-biographical. I suspect there were multiple reasons for her to do it. To give people a more detailed understanding of the issues is possibly one of many reasons.

    Robert Crumb felt the need to break taboo’s and poke fun at a typical 50s “Leave it to Beaver” family by suggesting they slept together. It’s humor that some people found funny at the time (and still do).

    Alan and Melinda wanted to do a literary story about sex/porn vs the almost always crass porn. They used 3 literary children characters, depicted as being much older, to do so through a series of flashbacks which included their first experience while they were children.

    I should note that I own 2 of the 3 above books and I ain’t a fucking pedophile.

    I can’t explain the books involved in this case as I haven’t seen them. I suspect very few people reading this has either, so we probably shouldn’t be making too many assumptions about them and Mr. Handley.

    Regardless, as Neil Gaiman once said regarding this very case: “The Law is a blunt instrument. It’s not a scalpel. It’s a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.”

    The reality is, not everybody looses their virginity after the age of consent. Sometimes those stories are worth telling. Sometimes a creator feels a need to tell them as was a powerful turning point in their lives.

    I could tell a humorous one right now that happened to a member of my family. Or rather I would tell you, but I don’t want you all to end up in jail potentially for a maximum of 15 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release. Plus assumed to be a potential child molester by your community.

  38. Mariah says:

    I would just like to point out that an element that has been so far glossed over is that one person’s porn is another person’s art. What is obscene to one person can be entirely harmless to another. Art and stories come with a huge degree of interpretation. And it’s one of the reasons why censorship in general is a tricky issue.

    I seriously balk at the idea that’s been suggested that owning a book like Lost Girls, or Gloeckner’s work, or a piece of questionable Manga makes one a potential pedophile, a defender of pedophilia, or the rest. Those are emotional reactions to a subject that, because it IS so slippery, deserves to be looked at with less knee-jerking. I mean, I own any number of art books by people like Klimt, Renoir, Mucha, and others…full of nudes. Does that make me unfit to have or take care of children? Why would these works be exempt, but others not?

    It’s easy to say that it’s “obvious” what does and does not constitute porn. Except it varies from person to person, just like what is and is not obscene. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is a wonderful story about growing up and coming out. And people have attempted to ban it. Judy Blume has written some of the most important books for young adults and she’s one of the most banned authors. Are these people pedophiles or contributing to pedophilia because they have depicted sexual situations with characters under the age of consent?

    Book banning does not stop children from being molested. Because it’s not the reason why people molest. I’ve worked with kids, you have to have something much deeper wrong with you to be sexually attracted to children than reading Lost Girls. There’s a reason we should be punishing actions and not thoughts. Because if we start thought policing there is literally no limit to what you can be punished for.

    And further, there absolutely is value in stories that depict human sexuality at whatever age. Because we don’t just have some “on” button at puberty, because some people have been molested and find an outlet in using stories to discuss it just as others find it comforting to find they aren’t alone in that experience, and because people have sexual experiences at different ages. It’s one thing to show something and another to advocate it. And because I think books like that have value and I want them to continue to be available, I have to defend things I may not personally like. Because I don’t get to determine what is or is not acceptable for someone else.

  39. Synsidar says:

    How is this even defensible? I hope people that own this, feel ashamed and embarrassed? It’s certainly morally objectionable, if nothing less.

    There is artistry in LOST GIRLS, whether or not you appreciate the efforts. From Philip Sandifer, moderator of the ImageSexT roundtable:

    But despite what is, on the whole, a skeptical outlook on the text, all of our reviewers seem also to find a certain power in it. Even Hatfield notes that the text’s failures are somehow spectacular, and Kidd seems, in the end, to zero in on a degree of arresting spectacle within the text, noting that the text “forces us to look twice” before making the traditional “I know it when I see it” judgment of pornography.

  40. You know, I’m pretty sure my neighbor is a witch, and intends to hex my three year old little daughter. It’s the way she pets her black cat while smiling at her that tipped me off. I’m pretty sure (because of that little fact) that it would be perfectly acceptable to burn her at the stake. I mean, true, she may just be a fan of cat massage, but better to just burn her and be safe. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to kill her. Just cook her enough that she’ll be horribly disfigured for the rest of her life, and unable to function in normal society ever again. I see she has a lot of witch friends over for tea, too. I better spread the word about them. That way I can get my other neighbors enraged and afraid enough, so that they’ll help me burn up a whole lot of freaks I don’t know anything about… I mean witches.

  41. This is insane. Would everyone who owns a copy of Zap with Mr. Natural be required to register with the police?

    Nuts.

  42. chris7crows says:

    Anyone who thinks I should somehow be ashamed to have Alan Moore’s “Lost Girls” on my shelf needs to rethink their relationship to ink on paper.

  43. chris7crows says:

    (More correctly, Moore & Gebbie’s “Lost Girls.”)

  44. Tom Spurgeon says:

    “I hope people that own this, feel ashamed and embarrassed?”

    I feel this way about Secret Invasion.

  45. I understand laws against child pornography – producing it involves heinous crimes against children.

    I do NOT understand laws against depicting it in drawings or text. While it can be at the least vile and prurient, I think that we as a free society are obligated to protect even the most reprehensible expression of free speech, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone or advocate harm. Otherwise we are only “mostly free”, which is another way of saying “or freedom is subject to the whims of others”.

  46. Mariah said:

    “Book banning does not stop children from being molested. Because it’s not the reason why people molest. I’ve worked with kids, you have to have something much deeper wrong with you to be sexually attracted to children than reading Lost Girls.”

    I agree, but IMO the obscenity laws aren’t purely about whether porn can create a “monkey see monkey do” effect, although that argument does come out of it.

    A lot of it is along the same lines we’ve seen D’Orazio post about: if you’re against the thing itself, then you ought to be against the representation/depiction of the thing as well, irrespective of whether you think there’s a causative effect or not.

    It’s drawing lines in the sand, in essence: “X is not acceptable in theory or in practice.”

    Personally I believe humankind is wired to want to transgress pretty much any boundaries, even those created for the common good. Thus I agree with the poster who said that, given the reality that pedophiles do pop up for whatever reasons, society’s better off giving them some substitute thrill if there’s any chance that such a substitute prevents them from going after the real thing.

    That said, I understand why the setters of boundaries aren’t comfortable with even the representation of the objectionable thing. ‘Tis a knotty problem indeed.

  47. “…The reality is, not everybody looses their virginity after the age of consent. Sometimes those stories are worth telling. Sometimes a creator feels a need to tell them as was a powerful turning point in their lives…”

    That’s a good point. Also, I remember reading an article years ago in which Alan Moore wrote as if nobody loses their virginity after the age of consent (talking about how you’re not really an adult until after you have sex – which struck me as insulting to guys who choose to stay virgins instead of raping when nobody consents to sex with them). Does anyone else remember this and know where to find it again, or am I misremembering the author?

  48. Warren says:

    “… if you’re against the thing itself, then you ought to be against the representation/depiction of the thing as well…”

    So if I’m opposed to murder, I shouldn’t own Scarface? I’m opposed to rape, so Law & Order: SVU should be verboten in my household? Needless, to say I thought Valerie’s position on this was inane.

  49. Tom Spurgeon says:

    “It’s drawing lines in the sand, in essence: ‘X is not acceptable in theory or in practice.'”

    That’s funny, because that sounds like blurring lines to me rather than drawing lines. How is a depiction of an abhorrent practice the same as that practice “in theory”? It could be any number of things.

    As a Christian, I’m against murder; my Bible is full of murder.

  50. Mariah says:

    Gene-

    Except what does that actually mean? Do you ban any and all depictions of an objectionable subject, regardless of whether it is depicting it (such as Gloeckner or Bechdel) as autobiographical? Or depicting it as wrong and problematic? I don’t believe any subject should be taboo in that sense. And again, no one is pro-pedophilia who isn’t deeply troubled. No one is arguing that material isn’t screwed up and wrong. What they’re arguing is that to ban a depiction of it based on something that can be open to such varying interpretations would lead to banning all of it.

    Take homosexuality. There are many, many, many people who believe it is wrong and the “same” as pedophilia. They actively attempt to ban, and have successfully banned, films, movies, and books, that depict it. To them it is obscene. According to obscenity law language, the suggestion is that “the community” defines what is and is not obscene. What community? Which people in that community? If a community decides a work is obscene, is it really? What is their criteria? My point is that any number of things can be and are obscene to individuals.

    It’s easy to use words like “child porn” and pedophilia in these discussions because everyone who isn’t very sick is disturbed by that idea. And though there is a HUGE difference between work that discusses it and work that advocates it, that difference is NOT always easily defined. Because the line will be different for different people. That’s my point.

    I’m against murder, rape, pedophilia, homophobia, racism, classism, sexism, and a bunch of other things. Any number of them are depicted in films, books, and comics. Should American History X, Let The Right One In, or Boys Don’t Cry not be shown? So you absolutely can be against the actual act, and not against the depiction of it. And it’s horrifying to suggest otherwise.

  51. I wrote:

    “It’s drawing lines in the sand, in essence: ‘X is not acceptable in theory or in practice.’”

    And Tom S wrote:

    “That’s funny, because that sounds like blurring lines to me rather than drawing lines. How is a depiction of an abhorrent practice the same as that practice “in theory”? It could be any number of things.”

    No, the line is between “acceptable societal behavior” and “unacceptable societal behavior:” therefore both the practice and theoretical representations of pedophilic acts are being put on the same side of the line– the “unacceptable” one– by people like those who chose to prosecute Handley.

    As we see in the definition of the obscenity laws cited above, the law doesn’t care whether or not a given allegedly-obscene work actually involved/caused real rape or murder or child sex or whatever: the representation itself is held to be illegal by virtue of its having offended “community standards.” That’s the law as it stands now, and it won’t be altered merely by pointing out the seeming hypocrisy that the Bible’s full of murder, incest, etc, since most communities are likely to agree that the Bible uses those potential obscenities to a higher purpose.

  52. Mariah asked:

    “Except what does that actually mean?”

    Well, what my original post meant was what it said: the people who create or support anti-obscenity laws aren’t in it just to prevent the actual obscenity from occuring. Possibly you didn’t mean to suggest that this was the only motive, but it kinda sounded like it.

    I would hope it’s clear that I’m not on the side of what I called “the setters of boundaries.” I just think that you do have to try to figure out what they think they’re protecting by banning allegedly-obscene works, even those that don’t involve nonconsensual sex acts.

    To that end I’ll even quote Valerie D’Orazio, even though I shouldn’t ’cause Heidi gives her more linkage than she gives me ***grumble gripe grumble***:

    “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.”– OS, 12-9-08.

    I might not agree with Ms. D’Orazio on a number of things but I do think she nails the difficulty of defending the obscene to those not already convinced of its relevance to everyday life/art. The mere mention of “freedom of speech” isn’t gonna do it, because if it could do it, the anti-obscenity laws would never have been written in the first place.

  53. Mariah also said:

    “What community? Which people in that community?”

    Either the loudest ones, the ones with the most money, or both.

  54. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I wasn’t addressing the law, Gene, I was addressing the clarity of the argument you praised. And I wasn’t making the hypocrite argument, I was suggesting the argument was fundamentally untenable. If you’re talking about in terms of the law, I’ll give that point to you gladly.

    BTW: Val’s statement that you quote in full may be an accurate description of how difficult certain kinds of dialogue can be, but it’s also ridiculously loaded and paints a crude picture of people in the middle on such issues. It implies that if you bring these arguments to the middle, you’ll be crushed because they’re ridiculous. Like it’s all well and good to talk about Homer Simpson/Lisa Simpson sex comics on the Comics Journal message board or at the CBLDF rooftop party in San Diego but if you bring it up to the lady who owns the accounting firm who’s sitting next to you at Rotary, well, you’ll see just how well that goes.

    My personal experience is different. I grew up in Middletown USA (the actual Lynd-approved Middletown) and I went to seminary with a lot of pastors, and I’ve had these kinds of discussions with folks from back home and on the appropriate collars and crosses mailing lists. A few of them do end abruptly but for the most part people on all sides and in the middle have a variety of opinions and are capable of thinking through a lot of issues with which they don’t agree.

  55. Pandaman says:

    “I’ve worked with kids, you have to have something much deeper wrong with you to be sexually attracted to children than reading Lost Girls.”

    Pedophilia is a sexual attraction/orientation your born with and can’t do anything about, much like homosexuality. A person should only be viewed as having something wrong with them or being a bad person if they act on their urges and actually molest a child. Not simply for having them.

    I am 21 and personally find girls 11-14 sexually attractive due to their cute, innocent, genuine, and playful nature that you don’t find with many adult woman, as well as their physical appearance. I’ve had the attraction all my life, even as a kid, and only ever saw it as not being considered normal because of current western society’s views on it and their mass hysteria and modern day witch hunt over the concept of child molesters.
    I myself was never molested as a child or else had anything abnormally effect my mental development. I would never hurt or molest anyone since I’m a decent person with a sense of morality, although I do not see my attraction as inherently wrong or unnatural and probably never will.

    Societies all throughout history and even today have seen actual relationships with younger people (and not just going after them for sex) as acceptable and even normal, with marriages for girls who are just starting or have started puberty (you know, the ages of 11-14 when someone goes through the natural development stages of being able to procreate) happening all the time. I do not believe that the younger person in these relationships where harmed all or even the majority of the time, depending on how good of a person their partner was. I also don’t believe that there where never cases where the girl didn’t choose the relationship herself or enjoy taking part in it.

    I know that by saying this stuff I will be instantly shunned and hated by everyone here, but it’s something that really needs to be said given posts like what I quoted and the general attitude of the people here. As for lolicon, it’s something I have loved and collected since I was a kid and still do. It is drawings on paper that harm no one, and making it illegal would essentially be thought crime, the same as it would making any other kind of fictional work illegal. If people want to ban real child porn and go after the people behind it then fine, as the stuff hurts actual real life kids and is morally wrong for that reason.

    But to try to lump in purely fictional material as being the same thing is ludicrous. Not only because it polices freedom of speech and expression, but because comparing this stuff to actual child porn and thereby saying that they are equally wrong for the same reasons is an insult to real child porn victims who actually exist and suffer real emotional trauma over what people did to them. It dilutes the meaning of what child porn is and why it’s wrong and instead turns the whole concept into a mockery of overzealous government regulation.

    Also, the entire concept of obscenity laws as they apply to anything that is not child porn or someone doing or showing something offensive in public are inherently a slap in the face to the First Amendment and how it was originally supposed to be perceived. The only exceptions to it should be those that cause real, direct harm to other people and not ones that exist because something offends people or threatens their view of what a “wholesome society” should and should not be allowed to do. It undermines the concepts of real freedom of speech and expression and every time the Supreme Court pretends that such laws are legitimate while giving no real fair or meaningful reason as to why, they commit great acts of hypocrisy and injustice. They show over and over again that America as a country isn’t interested in upholding the constitution as it applies to everyone or protecting the rights of the minority, and instead are only interested in satisfying the whims of the majority and either discouraging or outlawing anything that thy disagree with or find offensive. Obscenity laws are merely mindless drivel that bans things for the sake of banning them and offers nothing in the way of fair or intelligent legislation.

    If any of you have actually read up on obscenity and the Miller Test, it’s basically saying that no one has the right to have, create, or distribute any kind of content or do anything sexual related unless it can withstand passing the majority’s threshold for what they find offensive. Now how is that not a clear cut case of a law that’s intruding upon other people’s rights again? Because the Supreme Court says that speech and expression that directly harms no one isn’t and shouldn’t be a right? Please.

    This new story is merely one of the many idiotic results of obscenity laws continuing to exist as an ugly stain upon the country as a whole.

  56. Pandaman says:

    “The mere mention of “freedom of speech” isn’t gonna do it, because if it could do it, the anti-obscenity laws would never have been written in the first place. ”

    I for one look forward and hope for the day where people can understand that just because they don’t like something doesn’t mean they have to try and ban it. A day where freedom of speech does mean something and people respect it to it’s full extent.

    Like I’ve already said, something should not be illegal unless it directly hurts other people and there is an absolute need for it to be. Obscenity laws on their own do not meet those specifications by any stretch of the imagination.

  57. “Pedophilia is a sexual attraction/orientation your born with and can’t do anything about, much like homosexuality…I am 21 and personally find girls 11-14 sexually attractive due to their cute, innocent, genuine, and playful nature that you don’t find with many adult woman, as well as their physical appearance.”

    Homosexuality isn’t much like pedophilia. It doesn’t include being turned off by someone just because she or he has made it to full-grown adulthood, has custody of himself or herself instead of being very vulnerable to parental coercion, has had plenty of time to think about his or her own sexual tastes and learn about ways to protect himelf or herself from risks of sex, and is better able to give informed consent.

    When my state legalized gay marriage, a lot of old couples finally got married after decades of being in love with each other. Obviously none of them went “sorry, you reached age N, that means you’re not cute, innocent, genuine, playful, and pretty enough for me anymore, if you wanted to keep me you shouldn’t have grown.”

  58. jenna says:

    It is strange to call something a crime when there is no victim. Who is the victim in a drawing? If we start to define a crime as something that can be committed without anyone actually suffering from it, we will all be in trouble eventually.

    No victim, no crime. It is a good rule. If society goes to far on this pedophile hunt, we might end up getting the opposite result. New generations loves to change the world, and often goes to far when they react upon the old ways of doing things. If we wish to protect our future children, we need to make solid law, that can take some logical pounding without cracking, Victimless crimes weakens the system.

    Making to absurd rules makes people like Pandaman (who does not seem to understand the difference between informed consent and consent) sound sane.That is dangerous. Much more dangerous than a drawing could ever be.

  59. “Making to absurd rules makes people like Pandaman (who does not seem to understand the difference between informed consent and consent) sound sane.That is dangerous. Much more dangerous than a drawing could ever be.”

    That reminds me of how some people seem to think ‘transgressive = sexy.’ It seems to be an effect of harmless sexual stuff like interracial marriage, love marriages, etc. getting labelled “transgressive” by racists, arranged-marriage fans, etc. Now these days if some people don’t happen to be aroused by breaking customs of their time and place (if someone’s only turned on by people in his or her own age group, if someone isn’t turned on by BDSM, if a couple want to save sex for the 5th date or marriage and be faithful to each other, if Phil Foglio doesn’t want to put violence and pain into the sex scenes in xXxenophile, etc.), some others dismiss them as boring vanilla pod people.

  60. Scott Sava asks “do we really need this material?” but that’s the wrong question. We _don’t_ need most of the things we have that we enjoy. We don’t need alcoholic beverages, we don’t need violent movies, we don’t need video games, we don’t need lolicon or hentai, and we don’t need fantasy web-comics about a young man who dreams of pointy-eared princesses and trolls and cat-women and flying dragons. (Or of anarchists in space or nearly-naked college girls from the future.)

    Nonetheless all of these things enrich the lives of the people who enjoy them, without violating the persons or property of anyone. But each of them also has a cohort fear-motivated people wishing to stamp them out, and punish anyone who enjoys them.

    I have children too, although they’re teens now. I can protect them against sexual molestation, but my worry is that I can’t protect them against a state that might someday throw them in some dungeon for reading the wrong kinds of literature or viewing the wrong movies.

    I don’t care for the kind of material Handley will have his life ruined over (in fact, LOST GIRLS makes me a bit queasy), but I do like other things that are on _somebody’s_ shit list, and I know my right to enjoy them unmolested is better assured when people like Handley, who have in no way harmed actual children, have their right to consume the material of their choice respected.

    And most especially, when the notion that people should lose their freedom on the basis of future crimes they _might_ commit, is never seriously considered as anything other than a fictional theme.

  61. Pandaman says:

    “Homosexuality isn’t much like pedophilia. It doesn’t include being turned off by someone just because she or he has made it to full-grown adulthood, has custody of himself or herself instead of being very vulnerable to parental coercion, has had plenty of time to think about his or her own sexual tastes and learn about ways to protect himelf or herself from risks of sex, and is better able to give informed consent.

    When my state legalized gay marriage, a lot of old couples finally got married after decades of being in love with each other. Obviously none of them went “sorry, you reached age N, that means you’re not cute, innocent, genuine, playful, and pretty enough for me anymore, if you wanted to keep me you shouldn’t have grown.””

    It’s the same as pedophilia in the sense that its a sexual attraction (or orientation) that you where born with and can do nothing to change. Ask any gay person and they will tell you the same thing. And I am telling you now, as someone who admittedly is attracted to (at least the concept) of younger girls, that it is something I’ve had for as far back as I can remember and can’t change. Sexual attractions are not things that you can choose and they do not determine what kind of person you are.

    Also, I wouldn’t necessarily stop liking a girl just because she became older. The attraction is about the mindset and personality of the girl, like I said. As long as that doesn’t change, the attraction wouldn’t either. It’s the same situation as any regular couple. It’s just that the qualities I find attractive don’t normally manifest themselves in adult woman, either because of society’s influence on them growing up or other factors. Along with the other qualities in a girl that I mentioned being attracted to and seeing as important, it’s the view of sex as being more significant and meaninful and not something that should casually be done outside the context of a meaningful relationship. Most of the adult woman I meet don’t have this quality either. They have either been in many previous relationships and don’t see the concept as any big deal anymore, or simply just don’t see it the same way.

    I hate how society views sex as casual and insignificant in general. Usually a girl at 11-14 isn’t going to of had her personality and ways of thinking shaped by society as much yet (as the years following are when a lot of that takes place), so theoretically it would give a chance for another person in her life to become more of a positive influence that would either take the place of society’s negative influences or a peer groups, or at least enable her to see many different things in life from more perspectives than she might otherwise have. That is essentially part of the appeal as well, serving as a mentor type person in a girls life and merely just being there for her, helping her out with her problems, sharing ideas, and so on assuming you both legitimately care for each other. I see it as a very romantic concept.

    I know you all will probably misinterpret that as me saying “If I was able to have some kind of influence on a girl then I would have the chance to convince the girl to have sex with me instead of society telling them not to, hur hur”, but that’s not it at all. I personally was raised in a home school environment and never went to high school, and because of that my personality is different from the norm, in some ways matching the same personality traits and qualities that I am attracted to. It’s about finding a person you can relate to on a deeper level and find similar traits and aspects as you see yourself as having, on tons of different subjects and ways of thinking. It is possible for me to be attracted to adult woman, like I said, but they usually have to have the personality traits I mentioned and simply come across as more youthful, genuine, and maybe even slightly introverted. These traits are pretty hard to find though, and this along with my sexual preference and the fact that I never went to high school means that so far I have not been in a relationship or have had sex, or even tried to date.

    As far as informed consent, I agree that it would require the person to have a good understanding of the concept of sex and relationships and the aspects involved, as well as have a certain level of awareness and emotional maturity. Going beyond simply the aspect of informed consent and into the aspect of what I would consider a good relationship to have. both people would also have to actually care about each other in a meaningful way, have things in common, be able to connect on a personal and emotional level, etc rather than it just being about sex. This holds true for relationships of people of any age.

    However, some people are very capable of understanding these things at least to a certain extent far before they turn 18, and some people aren’t. It all depends on the individual person. 18 is pretty much just an arbitrary number and is not some magical age where a person suddenly gains all this insight and knowledge that they didn’t have before. I could of given you this same definition of what a relationship should be way before I turned 18, and many other people could too.

    There is also a certain social factor involved. How parents and the current society as a whole a person is living under view sex and relationships and how much they tell them and encourage or discourage about what they do with it plays a pretty big role in the persons development and thinking. So say a society that was much more open and excepting of the idea of relationships with bigger age differences (like many where in the past) would probably produce more younger people who fully understood the concepts better and viewed them differently.

    Basically what I hope to accomplish by posting this stuff is to give you guys a sense of what it’s like to see things from a different perspective. To understand that there are people out there who, because of their sexual preference, attractions. and beliefs, would fall under the category society dubs “pedophiles” whom they hate and demonize. But not everyone out there who have this attraction are sex crazed, child molesting scum like so many people seem to think. A lot of them are just ordinary people who simply ended up with a mind that thinks a certain way, stuck in a world that judges them as terrible people based on assumptions that are false and the way they think based on sexuality/sexual attraction that they can’t do anything about.

    “Making to absurd rules makes people like Pandaman (who does not seem to understand the difference between informed consent and consent) sound sane.”

    Like I said, I understand the concept of informed consent perfectly well. I just do not view any arbitrary age limit as magically granting a person that informed consent. It depends on the individual.

  62. “…Societies all throughout history and even today have seen actual relationships with younger people (and not just going after them for sex) as acceptable and even normal, with marriages for girls who are just starting or have started puberty (you know, the ages of 11-14 when someone goes through the natural development stages of being able to procreate)…”

    In real life, puberty often happened much later than ages 11-14 for girls, no matter how early their parents wanted to marry them off. When and where average lifespans were lower than they are here and now, more people suffered from malnutrition and disease. Higher infant mortality dragged down the average lifespan a lot, being less healthy meant people who made it to midde age did age faster somewhat, and being less healthy meant children grew more slowly and reached puberty later, like the average age of menarche in Germany in 1860 being 16 1/2 (for details, see http://www.dg.dial.pipex.com/documents/plowden02.shtml and http://www.plimoth.org/discover/myth/dead-at-40.php ).

    Also, in real life it’s common to not have all body parts grow at the same rate during puberty. I knew a kid who needed contact lenses in middle school and high school because his eye parts grew at different rates, then stopped needing them when all these parts caught up to each other. Likewise, not everyone going through the natural development stages of being able to procreate has enough of a libido to enjoy sex with someone else or enough hip width to give birth without severe injury by the time her parents want her married and her in-laws want a grandson.

    “…I do not believe that the younger person in these relationships where harmed all or even the majority of the time, depending on how good of a person their partner was. I also don’t believe that there where never cases where the girl didn’t choose the relationship herself or enjoy taking part in it…”

    At least you admit that not every kid enjoys being fucked ASAP. Meanwhile, I doubt that the majority of the time it’s harmless (see http://www.icrw.org/photoessay/html/intro.htm ).

    “…It’s the same as pedophilia in the sense that its a sexual attraction (or orientation) that you where born with and can do nothing to change…”

    No, homosexuality has a tiny bit in common with pedophilia and heterosexuality in that sense. It’s definitely not the *same* as pedophilia. Just ask every gay man who is attracted to full-grown adult men who already have full-grown personalities of their own, instead of complaining about them and wishing he could groom a boy to become his dream partner. Just ask every lesbian woman who is attracted to full-grown adult women who already have full-grown personalities of their own, instead of complaining about them and wishing she could groom a girl to become her dream partner.

    “…Usually a girl at 11-14 isn’t going to of had her personality and ways of thinking shaped by society as much yet (as the years following are when a lot of that takes place), so theoretically it would give a chance for another person in her life to become more of a positive influence that would either take the place of society’s negative influences or a peer groups, or at least enable her to see many different things in life from more perspectives than she might otherwise have. That is essentially part of the appeal as well, serving as a mentor type person in a girls life and merely just being there for her, helping her out with her problems, sharing ideas, and so on assuming you both legitimately care for each other. I see it as a very romantic concept.

    “I know you all will probably misinterpret that as me saying ‘If I was able to have some kind of influence on a girl then I would have the chance to convince the girl to have sex with me instead of society telling them not to, hur hur’, but that’s not it at all…”

    That sure seems to be it when you say stuff like this:

    “…How parents and the current society as a whole a person is living under view sex and relationships and how much they tell them and encourage or discourage about what they do with it plays a pretty big role in the persons development and thinking. So say a society that was much more open and excepting of the idea of relationships with bigger age differences (like many where in the past) would probably produce more younger people who fully understood the concepts better and viewed them differently…”

    “…18 is pretty much just an arbitrary number and is not some magical age where a person suddenly gains all this insight and knowledge that they didn’t have before…”

    It’s not an arbitrary number, it’s the age at which people in the U.S. and many other places gain custody of themselves and have a better chance of resisting coercion by someone else (like a couple of parents who have custody of a 14-year-old girl, so they have the right to keep spanking her until she stops disobeying them, so they can keep spanking her until she stops saying “no” and says “I do” to the “good provider” they picked to finish the job of raising her).

    “…A lot of them are just ordinary people who simply ended up with a mind that thinks a certain way, stuck in a world that judges them as terrible people based on assumptions that are false and the way they think based on sexuality/sexual attraction that they can’t do anything about…”

    In real life, it’s based on assumptions that are true about how many kids simply do not want to have sex as early as someone else is sexually attracted to them. Once someone reaches the age of majority and passes the child labor law limits, that person has a better chance of getting a job (even if it’s a low-paying one) and moving out of his or her parents’ place (even if it’s slummy) and being less vulnerable to arm-twisting.

  63. By the way, the supporting details for “Likewise, not everyone going through the natural development stages of being able to procreate has enough of a libido to enjoy sex with someone else or enough hip width to give birth without severe injury by the time her parents want her married and her in-laws want a grandson.” are at http://www.endfistula.org/family_planning.htm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3817009.stm among other places.

  64. Pandaman says:

    “In real life, puberty often happened much later than ages 11-14 for girls, no matter how early their parents wanted to marry them off.”

    That is the age when puberty happens now, and it’s been that way for a long time. Including periods when society saw relationships with younger girls as acceptable. Like I said, there are still counties in the world where the age of consent is lower.

    “When and where average lifespans were lower than they are here and now, more people suffered from malnutrition and disease. Higher infant mortality dragged down the average lifespan a lot, being less healthy meant people who made it to midde age did age faster somewhat, and being less healthy meant children grew more slowly and reached puberty later, like the average age of menarche in Germany in 1860 being 16 1/2 (for details, see http://www.dg.dial.pipex.com/documents/plowden02.shtml and http://www.plimoth.org/discover/myth/dead-at-40.php ).”

    That’s nice and all, but there where still plenty of societies that did not have these problems and still saw such relationships as normal.

    “Also, in real life it’s common to not have all body parts grow at the same rate during puberty. I knew a kid who needed contact lenses in middle school and high school because his eye parts grew at different rates, then stopped needing them when all these parts caught up to each other.”

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with my argument.

    “Likewise, not everyone going through the natural development stages of being able to procreate has enough of a libido to enjoy sex with someone else or enough hip width to give birth without severe injury by the time her parents want her married and her in-laws want a grandson.”

    I hear stories all the time about teenagers taking naked pictures of themselves and being charged with child porn, kids in middle school having sex, tons and tons of people in high school having sex, and so on. I wouldn’t necessarily say this stuff is healthy for these people’s development since it’s not being done in in the context of a genuine relationship, but it still happens all the time.

    “At least you admit that not every kid enjoys being fucked ASAP. Meanwhile, I doubt that the majority of the time it’s harmless (see http://www.icrw.org/photoessay/html/intro.htm ).”

    Your right, I never said that. Nor do I want to have sex with kids asap or whatever ridiculous assumptions you keep throwing at me. As for that website, that is not every case or how the lives of these people always turn out even today. Can an uncaring guy who doesn’t understand what love or a real relationship is marry some young girl, force to to quit school, give up her childhood, etc? Sure. But that’s not always the case. It is very possible for a younger person to be in a relationship, enjoy it and benefit from it, and still live a normal life. It has happened tons of times throughout history and even in modern times. Again, the main argument you have against it is based only on assumptions. If the older person is a decent human being who actually cares about the younger person, these problems you bring up would not be the result.

    “No, homosexuality has a tiny bit in common with pedophilia and heterosexuality in that sense. It’s definitely not the *same* as pedophilia. Just ask every gay man who is attracted to full-grown adult men who already have full-grown personalities of their own, instead of complaining about them and wishing he could groom a boy to become his dream partner. Just ask every lesbian woman who is attracted to full-grown adult women who already have full-grown personalities of their own, instead of complaining about them and wishing she could groom a girl to become her dream partner.”

    Like I said, I am perfectly capable of being attracted to adults. It’s just rare and depends on the persons personality. It’s just that what I’m attracted to is hard to find in adults. And I don’t want to “groom” anyone. Like I said, the person would have to display a good sense of knowledge and awareness of the subject and actually want the relationship on her own, without coercion for it to be acceptable or legitimate. In that sense it would work in the exact same way a relationship between two adults would work, only the younger person would naturally see the older person as someone they looked up to, etc. You can try and change the context of what I said all you want, but if your going to attack it I would prefer you take what I said in context, using only the scenario I was referring to.

    “That sure seems to be it when you say stuff like this:”

    Again, take what I said in context and only that without throwing assumptions at it. I never once said that I would see any kind of relationship where the the younger person did not want to be a part of it or did not fully understand the concept of a relationship as morally right.

    The comment I made about society’s beliefs playing a role in how a person would think is a pretty realistic assumption and had nothing to do with wanting to change anyone’s beliefs on the issue. It merely means that if a society is more open to the concept than more people (including younger) within that society would see it as normal as well. If the society rejects the concept, then more (but not all) people within that society are likely to follow suit. This is shown by studying tons of societies throughout history, including the current ones, like I’ve already said. Sex and relationships are merely a human construct. They have been around forever and so has the concept of puberty, when a person naturally starts to take an interest in the subject. It is dependent upon the society and how they view the concepts regarding sexuality that determine their stance on it. The society we live in now just so happens to be in a period of hysteria over the idea of younger people being interested in sex or wanting to get involved in relationships. But the concept is still legitimate, still happens everywhere, and will always (and always has been) be a part of humanity whether any given current society wants it to be or not. Many previous societies have seen it as normal and have not had any problems as a result.

    “It’s not an arbitrary number, it’s the age at which people in the U.S. and many other places gain custody of themselves and have a better chance of resisting coercion by someone else (like a couple of parents who have custody of a 14-year-old girl, so they have the right to keep spanking her until she stops disobeying them, so they can keep spanking her until she stops saying “no” and says “I do” to the “good provider” they picked to finish the job of raising her).”

    That age is a pretty recent concept as far as when society deems a person ready to take on the tasks and activities carried out by adults. It is in no way a magical number when a person suddenly becomes ready to do all of these things. Younger people have proven in the past to be capable of handing many more responsibilities and tasks usually done by adults in today’s society. And a lot of younger people than 18 are perfectly capable of resisting coercion. Like I said, it depends on the individual.

    “In real life, it’s based on assumptions that are true about how many kids simply do not want to have sex as early as someone else is sexually attracted to them.”

    Assumptions. You cannot make a blanket statement saying that everyone under a certain age isn’t interested in sex or relationships, as it simply isn’t true. The issue is far broader and far more complex than that, even if you don’t want it to be.

    “Once someone reaches the age of majority and passes the child labor law limits, that person has a better chance of getting a job (even if it’s a low-paying one) and moving out of his or her parents’ place (even if it’s slummy) and being less vulnerable to arm-twisting.”

    That’s nice. But like I said, the “age of majority” has been many things throughout history, is an arbitrary age, and the age being 18 is a pretty recent concept. And like I keep saying, a person’s mental development and what they are and aren’t ready for or capable of understanding (including tons of concepts outside of sex) depends a lot on the individual. Not a magical number. Society simply enacting a law saying that no one under a certain age can do certain things or have the mental capacity to understand them and therefore are not allowed to take part in these activities is simply a groundless, bandaid type fix for an aspect of human thought and behavior. It does not in any way simply conform to society’s proposed solution just because they want it to. Humans are all individuals who grow and mature and gain insight at their own pace, with their own personalities and ideas, independent of how the people who make blanket laws want everyone to think or behave. Humans are not puppets, and this is never going to change.

  65. Pandaman says:

    “By the way, the supporting details for “Likewise, not everyone going through the natural development stages of being able to procreate has enough of a libido to enjoy sex with someone else or enough hip width to give birth without severe injury by the time her parents want her married and her in-laws want a grandson.” are at http://www.endfistula.org/family_planning.htm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3817009.stm among other places.”

    Not everyone, no. But like I keep saying, this does not apply to everyone or even to the majority when it comes to your statement regarding libido. Childbirth maybe, but most people understand and believe that sex and relationships isn’t always and doesn’t have to be about reproduction. A relationship like I was talking about would still easily work even if the younger person couldn’t give birth without injury (even though the person would only be a few short years away from being able to do this). Homosexuals can’t give birth at all, and they are still perfectly capable of healthy and meaningful relationships, even if they involve sex.

  66. Pandaman says:

    Also I like how the sources your using to try and counter my arguments all involve third world countries who don’t have sufficient medical care or proper knowledge about many of the subjects related to sex. Your comment regarding girls not having libido upon reaching or starting puberty are also completely unfounded and simply untrue.

  67. “…’Also, in real life it’s common to not have all body parts grow at the same rate during puberty. I knew a kid who needed contact lenses in middle school and high school because his eye parts grew at different rates, then stopped needing them when all these parts caught up to each other.’

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with my argument…”

    It has everything to do with your argument. Reaching puberty doesn’t always mean feeling ready for sex with someone else, no matter how normal one’s society says it is (and no matter how much that society pressures one to be married that early).

    “…Nor do I want to have sex with kids asap or whatever ridiculous assumptions you keep throwing at me…”

    Hey, I’m not the one who first called you a pedophile and said you were sexually attracted to 11-14 year old girls when you’re 21 instead of 11-14 yourself, you are.

    “…Again, take what I said in context…”

    I did. You said it in the context of wishing you could get away with shaping someone else’s growing personality to fit your desires than trying to find someone else who already has a full-grown personality that meshes well with yours, and praising societies where and when girls got married off early enough for their husbands to pick up where their fathers left off raising them.

    “…Many previous societies have seen it as normal and have not had any problems as a result…”

    “…Also I like how the sources your using to try and counter my arguments all involve third world countries who don’t have sufficient medical care or proper knowledge about many of the subjects related to sex…”

    Make up your mind, which are you claiming?

    Meanwhile, it’s not just a Third World thing. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/feb/22/ukcrime.gender and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/magazine/04berlin.html?_r=1 for First World examples.

    “Childbirth maybe, but most people understand and believe that sex and relationships isn’t always and doesn’t have to be about reproduction.”

    Of course sex doesn’t have to be about reproduction. That is, among other things, one of the reasons why puberty is no excuse for a society to enourage adults to go have sex with kids.

    When you said “Societies all throughout history and even today have seen actual relationships with younger people (and not just going after them for sex) as acceptable and even normal, with marriages for girls who are just starting or have started puberty (you know, the ages of 11-14 when someone goes through the natural development stages of being able to procreate) happening all the time,” you sure seemed to be using the possibility of reproduction as justifying a society pushing kids into marriage that early. I responded to that statement you made.

    “…Your comment regarding girls not having libido upon reaching or starting puberty are also completely unfounded and simply untrue…”

    What’s completely unfounded about knowing that some people don’t feel ready for sex with adults as soon as they feel ready for masturbation? I sure didn’t myself, and some other people (male *and* female) I’ve discussed this with haven’t either.

    “…Society simply enacting a law saying that no one under a certain age can do certain things or have the mental capacity to understand them and therefore are not allowed to take part in these activities is simply a groundless, bandaid type fix for an aspect of human thought and behavior…”

    It’s not a groundless bandaid, it’s erring on the side of caution.

    For example, at the wedding of a 13-year-old to a 23-year-old it’s usually impossible to tell whether the kid says “I do” because he or she actually wants sex with the 23-year-old, or because he or she doesn’t want it but literally can’t afford to disobey relatives pressuring him or her into sex. If the local authorities break up the arrangements just in case the kid doesn’t want it, but the kid does want it, the kid feels sexually frustrated for some years. If the local authorities don’t break up the arrangements just in case the kid does want it, but the kid doesn’t, the kid gets *raped*.

  68. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Where do you think a 13-year-old and a 23-year-old register?

  69. Pandaman says:

    “It has everything to do with your argument. Reaching puberty doesn’t always mean feeling ready for sex with someone else, no matter how normal one’s society says it is (and no matter how much that society pressures one to be married that early).”

    If you read my posts, I explained the conditions where the relationship would be appropriate and when it would not.

    “Hey, I’m not the one who first called you a pedophile and said you were sexually attracted to 11-14 year old girls when you’re 21 instead of 11-14 yourself, you are.”

    I said I had the attraction and that society’s views of anyone being attracted to people below 18 would cause that person to be labeled as a pedophile. I never said that I would act on the attraction or said that it was morally right to do so if they did not understand the concept of a relationship and didn’t want it themselves without coercion. The current society’s views would also play a factor, as the person would be subject to a life of ridicule and being told that any kind of relationship with an older person was wrong, even if they didn’t believe it to be.

    “I did. You said it in the context of wishing you could get away with shaping someone else’s growing personality to fit your desires than trying to find someone else who already has a full-grown personality that meshes well with yours, and praising societies where and when girls got married off early enough for their husbands to pick up where their fathers left off raising them.”

    That is not what I said at all. I said that a decent person with good intentions could be more of a mentor type figure in such a relationship and have a positive influence on the younger person in that way. Again, you ignore the meaning and context of my statements and only apply to them what you want to see. And a decent person would not be trying to reshape the persons views in any way that they didn’t want them to be shaped or “get away with it” or whatever other drivel your accusing me of. And I was not praising such societies. I merely said that many existed in the past that accepted relationships with younger people. Not every instance of such a relationship would involve the older person parenting the younger or running her life or whatever. I do not approve of arranged or forced marriages at all, which again was not always the case in every past society that accepted relationships with younger people.

    “Make up your mind, which are you claiming?”

    I’m claiming that past societies which did not have such problems saw it as acceptable and that there where many relationships where the girl willingly participated and was glad to be a part of it, as there still are today. Dying at an earlier age (which did not happen in every society that accepted it) would not necessarily effect a younger persons mental state or rate of development, and the conditions for such a relationship would be the same. Think ancient Rome, Greece, almost the entire history of Asian countries like Japan, many western countries up until the last century or so, or whatever. They would not necessarily have all these problems you are describing, and such a relationship could easily occur without them.

    “Meanwhile, it’s not just a Third World thing. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/feb/22/ukcrime.gender and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/magazine/04berlin.html?_r=1 for First World examples.”

    I really don’t see the point of you continually bringing up forced child marriages when I do not condone them or see them as morally right at all. Every single time I have said that it would only be appropriate if it was an actual consentual, meaningful relationship where both people actually care about and love the other person and could connect on many personal issues in a significant way. Yet you ignore my comments regarding this, misconstrue and deliberately distort any quote of mine you can, and continually link to stories of forced child marriage and incest as if they had any relevance to the discussion at hand. Why?

    “Of course sex doesn’t have to be about reproduction. That is, among other things, one of the reasons why puberty is no excuse for a society to enourage adults to go have sex with kids.”

    Society does not have to encourage anything. They just shouldn’t pretend that anyone under 18 is incapable of comprehending sex and relationships, having sexual feelings, being interested in the concept, etc. They also should not put a blanket ban on any relationship that does not meet their meaningless arbitrary age limit. So far you haven’t given me a single decent argument against the kind of relationship I’m describing other than society doesn’t accept it and bringing up forced marriages and the that girls that young would most likely be damaged by giving birth at such a young age. In the mean time, stories about middle school kids having sex are appearing on the news all the time, high school kids obviously are having it, etc. This stuff completely goes against your argument that people who start or are going through puberty would not have any kind of libido, which is completely false. Most people who start puberty also start to become aware of sex and start taking an interest in sexual matters, whether they admit to it or talk about it in public or not. How old where you when you first gained awareness or became interested in sex or sexually attracted to other people? For me, it was elementary school in 5th grade or so. And many of my classmates at the time also held an attraction for the gender of their choice and where starting to understand and be aware of the concept of sex. Maybe your different and didn’t discover the concept until you where like 15 or something, but that is hardly the norm. Obviously elementary school kids would not fully understand the concept of a meaningful relationship or all the aspects involved with sex, or have the mental awareness necessary for it, but it’s when that entire process starts, and it happens pretty rapidly. Not at 18.

    “you sure seemed to be using the possibility of reproduction as justifying a society pushing kids into marriage that early. I responded to that statement you made.”

    It wasn’t the possibility of reproduction. It was the possibility of a person at that age coming to understand sex and relationships and going through the process of gaining the mental development and awareness to do so. I was saying that there where plenty of cultures and societies that accepted and understood this idea and had many such relationships that worked out fine. Not all of these relationships would result in men wanting to procreate with them immediately or there being problems with girls being damaged by giving birth so young. Not all relationships would be the result of arranged or forced marriages either.

    “What’s completely unfounded about knowing that some people don’t feel ready for sex with adults as soon as they feel ready for masturbation? I sure didn’t myself, and some other people (male *and* female) I’ve discussed this with haven’t either.”

    That’s fine, but that doesn’t appear to me to be what you originally said. And again, not everyone is the same. There is also a huge difference between not wanting to have sex with some random adult and naturally coming to like someone and getting involved in a real, meaningful relationship.

    “It’s not a groundless bandaid, it’s erring on the side of caution.”

    You could make this argument for anything. Lets have a police state in the name of “erring on the side of caution”.

    “For example, at the wedding of a 13-year-old to a 23-year-old it’s usually impossible to tell whether the kid says “I do” because he or she actually wants sex with the 23-year-old, or because he or she doesn’t want it”

    There is far more that goes into a relationship than just two people wanting to have sex with each other, like I keep telling you. If the 13 year old could not properly display that they had a decent understanding of what a meaningful relationship was and what was involved in it, then they shouldn’t be marrying the 23 year old. They should also be able to show that they actually like and care for the other person and are not simply being coaxed into it. And if you really think about it, the kind of stuff your talking about can happen between people of any age. So and so person finds themselves attracted to another individual because they want to have sex, get married, the relationship ends up going badly, and they get divorced. It happens all the time and is one of the reasons why that doesn’t constitute a meaningful relationship.

    “but literally can’t afford to disobey relatives pressuring him or her into sex.”

    There you go again with the assumptions. The only aspects of the relationship that are relevant and meaningful is if the two people actually care for each other, can connect on an emotional level, have things in common, etc. Parents pressuring them into it should not be an issue and if that is happening, that is simply the fault of the parents.

    “If the local authorities break up the arrangements just in case the kid doesn’t want it, but the kid does want it, the kid feels sexually frustrated for some years.”

    Which is why the local authorities shouldn’t groundlessly break up any such relationship simply on the grounds that an arbitrary age rule isn’t being followed. And again, a relationship is about far more than just sex.

    “If the local authorities don’t break up the arrangements just in case the kid does want it, but the kid doesn’t, the kid gets *raped*.”

    If the “kid” doesn’t want the relationship, then they shouldn’t be having it and the older person shouldn’t be pressuring them into it. There are a lot of douchebags in society, but not every older person is like that. And really, why couldn’t a theoretical license type thing work? If a younger person can prove that they understand all the aspects involved and actually want the relationship, they could apply for a license that would allow them to be involved in one. You could have awareness and comprehension tests and everything in order to acquire one. That’s the first idea of how to deal with it that comes to mind anyway. In a country that claims to promote freedom of speech and expression, it seems better than a blanket ban.

  70. The Beat says:

    >>>I’m claiming that past societies which did not have such problems saw it as acceptable and that there where many relationships where the girl willingly participated and was glad to be a part of it, as there still are today.

    And some of them also condoned slavery, the idea of women as property and other things we consider totally backwards today.

    In places where lifespans were short and resource scarce, early marriage was (and is) encouraged, yes, and often at an age we consider “too young” today. An older age for marriage is actually considered “progress” by most societies, as is a non-reliance on child labor.

    Pandaman, you’ve definitely added something to this conversation, by showing us the thinking of some people who like this kind of material.
    But please, this isn’t your personal forum for promoting your own version of NAMGLA. You rightly guess that many will find this whole sexual attraction to the “unspoiled” a kind of arrested development on one hand, and creepy as hell on the other.

    Society passes laws to safeguard children because they are NOT developed enough, mentally, emotionally or physically, to make informed decisions. It’s true that numbers are arbitrary, but you’ll find few people who think 11 is old enough to make major decisions.

    In fact I think you’ll find many of the people reading this don’t even think 21 is old enough to know what you want out of life. But you certainly have spent a lot of time justifying your own attitudes.

  71. Pandaman says:

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46447

    Look at this stuff. It seems pretty obvious to me that society merely wants to do away with all legitimate research and discussion of the issue in the name of preserving their groundless, ignorant, and intolerant views. Just like with every past topic that society was originally against.

  72. Pandaman says:

    “And some of them also condoned slavery, the idea of women as property and other things we consider totally backwards today.”

    And yet slavery and woman not being treated equally actually have obvious logic and merit as to why they are considered backwards ideas. What I’m talking about does not. People merely hear of cases of child molestation or girls being abused and used for sex by older guys and groundlessly conclude that all relationships not meeting a certain age limit are wrong.

    “In places where lifespans were short and resource scarce, early marriage was (and is) encouraged, yes,”

    These where not the only places that embraced or accepted the concept.

    “and often at an age we consider “too young” today.”

    Which is a subjective and groundless argument.

    “An older age for marriage is actually considered “progress” by most societies, as is a non-reliance on child labor.”

    I am against child labor, certainly. I do not see any legitimate reason why a younger person who understands the concepts of relationships and can show a certain level of awareness and maturity should not be allowed to be in a relationship with an older person if they choose to.

    “Pandaman, you’ve definitely added something to this conversation, by showing us the thinking of some people who like this kind of material.”

    There are tons of people who like this kind of material who are not child molesters or collect child pornography or do anything that hurts children. There are many that even deny any real life connection or attraction. They are simply into anime and the culture behind it or are using a harmless outlet for their desires and simply want to be left alone, with the privacy and guarantee of freedom of speech and expression that a place like the US is supposed to provide. Nor just for the majority, but for the minority as well. And like I said, I know tons of other people who collect and are into this type of material. If anything, i represent someone whos views on the subject are at the far or extreme end of the fanbase, since I actually admit that the attraction carries over into real life. The vast majority of these people want nothing to do with the whole issue of pedophilia and child predators and don’t want to be seen as part of it.

    “But please, this isn’t your personal forum for promoting your own version of NAMGLA. You rightly guess that many will find this whole sexual attraction to the “unspoiled” a kind of arrested development on one hand, and creepy as hell on the other.”

    I merely wish that others like me would come out of the woodwork and express their views, so at least the general public would have a better understanding of the people they are going hysterical over and continually trying to demonize by whatever means they can. A lot of these people are a far cry from sex crazed, child molesting, creatures in the night type image that everyone seems to have. It is true though that there are people out there who get off on molesting and raping little kids, making videos of it, and distributing them everywhere. These are the kind of people society should be focusing their efforts on. With that said I did not mean to interrupt the general flow of this forum by posting what I did. I just wish more people could understand my position (and see that I and many others are not some despicable monster).

    “Society passes laws to safeguard children because they are NOT developed enough, mentally, emotionally or physically, to make informed decisions. It’s true that numbers are arbitrary, but you’ll find few people who think 11 is old enough to make major decisions.”

    But 18 is hardly the age where people reach the necessary awareness to make an informed decision either. Like I said, it depends on individuals.

    “In fact I think you’ll find many of the people reading this don’t even think 21 is old enough to know what you want out of life. But you certainly have spent a lot of time justifying your own behavior.”

    For some people they do not know what they want out of life at 21, for others they know much earlier, or are at least capable of understanding these kinds of situations and making decisions. And as far as my behavior, what behavior? I have not had any such relationship with a younger person or attempted to do so. And I certainly am not the kind of person who would try to take advantage of or hurt kids.

  73. “…In the mean time, stories about middle school kids having sex are appearing on the news all the time, high school kids obviously are having it, etc…”

    News flash: not everyone is the same. Plenty of other kids that age are not having sex. Even some of the kids yanked out of middle school or high school, by parents who want them to be housewives instead, don’t want sex with other people yet.

    “…This stuff completely goes against your argument that people who start or are going through puberty would not have any kind of libido, which is completely false…”

    My argument is that not everyone going though puberty has his or her libido developed enough to already want sex with another person.

    “…I really don’t see the point of you continually bringing up forced child marriages when I do not condone them or see them as morally right at all…”

    Except when you praise the societies that make them normal.

    “…Every single time I have said that it would only be appropriate if it was an actual consentual, meaningful relationship where both people actually care about and love the other person and could connect on many personal issues in a significant way…”

    Not every single time. Other times you’ve praised societies that encourage child marriage as normal, and in real life many if not most or all of those didn’t and don’t limit their encouragement to marriages between people who actually care about and love each other. Ancient Rome, Greece, almost the entire history of Asian countries like Japan, many western countries up until the last century or so, all had marriage customs that let family patriarchs arrange marriages and force them against the will of the bride and sometimes even against the will of the groom.

    “…There is far more that goes into a relationship than just two people wanting to have sex with each other, like I keep telling you…”

    Of course there’s more to a relationship than sex. At the same time, this discussion has been about sexual media and sexual relationships in the first place.

    “…If the 13 year old could not properly display that they had a decent understanding of what a meaningful relationship was and what was involved in it, then they shouldn’t be marrying the 23 year old…”

    He or she shouldn’t be marrying the 23-year-old. Since he or she would probably be punished for not displaying “I want and understand this” if the people who have custody of him or her still order her or him to have sex with the 23-year-old (whether a marriage in exchange for a bride price or one night in exchange for a crack rock or whatever), age of consent rules that take child labor laws and the age of majority are needed to protect him or her from getting raped.

    And now, the blogger herself speaks!

    “>>>I’m claiming that past societies which did not have such problems saw it as acceptable and that there where many relationships where the girl willingly participated and was glad to be a part of it, as there still are today.

    “And some of them also condoned slavery, the idea of women as property and other things we consider totally backwards today.

    “In places where lifespans were short and resource scarce, early marriage was (and is) encouraged, yes, and often at an age we consider ‘too young’ today…”

    Often at an age the brides themselves considered “too young.”

    “…An older age for marriage is actually considered ‘progress’ by most societies, as is a non-reliance on child labor.

    “Pandaman, you’ve definitely added something to this conversation, by showing us the thinking of some people who like this kind of material.
    But please, this isn’t your personal forum for promoting your own version of NAMGLA. You rightly guess that many will find this whole sexual attraction to the ‘unspoiled’ a kind of arrested development on one hand, and creepy as hell on the other…”

    Not to mention the obvious conflict of interest in being a significant chunk of the influence on the kid at the time he or she forms his or her opinions on adults having sex with kids, a la the dream posted here.

    “…Society passes laws to safeguard children because they are NOT developed enough, mentally, emotionally or physically, to make informed decisions. It’s true that numbers are arbitrary, but you’ll find few people who think 11 is old enough to make major decisions.

    “In fact I think you’ll find many of the people reading this don’t even think 21 is old enough to know what you want out of life. But you certainly have spent a lot of time justifying your own attitudes.”

    Brava! :)

    “…And as far as my behavior, what behavior? I have not had any such relationship with a younger person or attempted to do so…”

    She said “behavior,” not just “sexual behavior.” For example, posting stuff is behavior but even though it’s not sexual behavior. You have spent a lot of time posting stuff trying to justify your own attitudes with examples of people who did have such relationships.

  74. The Beat says:

    >>>And yet slavery and woman not being treated equally actually have obvious logic and merit as to why they are considered backwards ideas. What I’m talking about does not.

    Pandaman, you have chosen/had thrust upon you a difficult life. This is the point where Warren Ellis would simply say “Fuck off and die, shit eyes” and ban you but in a forum discussing free speech that seems a bit hypocritical.

    FYI, a second after I posted I realized “behavior” was the wrong word and substituted “attitudes”. (Yes, as god of this forum I can do that.) You sure posted here very quickly.

    You keep moving the goalposts. Child labor is bad, but age is just an arbitrary number where the kind of sexualized relationships you ‘re talking about are concerned? You can’t have it both ways. I’m sure some little kids would love sailing the seas as a commissioned officer. It’s all fun and games until someone loses as arm. The protection of children from those who would exploit them is basic tenet of the law as it exists now.

    I wish you good luck with refraining from acting on your impulses, and commend you for recognizing that tghat is how it must be.

    HOWEVER, as I said…NO MORE NAMGLA campaign SPEECHES. We get it.

  75. “…Pandaman, you have chosen/had thrust upon you a difficult life. This is the point where Warren Ellis would simply say ‘Fuck off and die, shit eyes’ and ban you but in a forum discussing free speech that seems a bit hypocritical…”

    Actually, I wouldn’t think it’s hypocritical. Preedom of the press belongs to he or she who owns one. ;)

    “…FYI, a second after I posted I realized ‘behavior’ was the wrong word and substituted ‘attitudes’. (Yes, as god of this forum I can do that.)…”

    Also, that’s part of your freedom of the press! :)

    “…HOWEVER, as I said…NO MORE NAMGLA campaign SPEECHES. We get it.”

    The god of this forum has spoken, and spoken well.

  76. Tom sed:
    “I wasn’t addressing the law, Gene”

    Nor was I, exclusively. I was addressing the psychology that leads to the making of anti-obscenity laws.

    “I was addressing the clarity of the argument you praised.”

    “Praised” is inaccurate. I simply said her argument represented the psychology I described.

    “And I wasn’t making the hypocrite argument, I was suggesting the argument was fundamentally untenable.”

    I’ll grant that you didn’t use the word “hypocrisy,” but you’re still neglecting the notion on which I later elaborated: that the “murder” in the Bible is seen as serving some instructional purpose. If anyone tried to suppress the Bible on grounds that the fate of the Levite’s wife is as gross as your basic SAW movie, then “redeeming social value” would be the defense offered.

    ” but it’s also ridiculously loaded and paints a crude picture of people in the middle on such issues. It implies that if you bring these arguments to the middle, you’ll be crushed because they’re ridiculous.”

    Sure, the D’Orazio description is loaded. That’s why it makes a good example of the psychology I’m describing, and whatever her personal feelings, D’Orazio is correct in saying that the average “preaching to the converted” argument is not going to sway the average Rotary Club member.

    ” A few of them do end abruptly but for the most part people on all sides and in the middle have a variety of opinions and are capable of thinking through a lot of issues with which they don’t agree.”

    But are these the type of people who stump for/support anti-obscenity laws?

  77. Mark wrote:

    ‘That reminds me of how some people seem to think ‘transgressive = sexy.’ It seems to be an effect of harmless sexual stuff like interracial marriage, love marriages, etc. getting labelled “transgressive” by racists, arranged-marriage fans, etc. Now these days if some people don’t happen to be aroused by breaking customs of their time and place (if someone’s only turned on by people in his or her own age group, if someone isn’t turned on by BDSM, if a couple want to save sex for the 5th date or marriage and be faithful to each other, if Phil Foglio doesn’t want to put violence and pain into the sex scenes in xXxenophile, etc.), some others dismiss them as boring vanilla pod people.’

    There’s nothing wrong with not being turned on by “transgressive sex.” But the very act of society’s defining norms, based largely if not exclusively on majority rule, generates the potential for transgression, which in turn leads the minority to champion their thing(s), whatever it/they may be.

  78. “Nor was I, exclusively. I was addressing the psychology that leads to the making of anti-obscenity laws.”

    More accurately, the psychology that leads to the majority voting for people who make anti-onscenity laws, right?

    Remember everyone, “don’t care what anyone else thinks!!!” is many times a good idea but it’s not a good strategy for getting someone elected (and getting his or her opponents for the office not elected) in a democracy and/or republic.

    “D’Orazio is correct in saying that the average ‘preaching to the converted’ argument is not going to sway the average Rotary Club member.”

    I agree, she is correct here. Likewise, the “but it’s part of Japanese culture” argument isn’t going to sway the average Rotary Club member (“if they can have a culture we can have a culture too”).

    “There’s nothing wrong with not being turned on by ‘transgressive sex.'”

    Oh, I completely agree. I was just thinking of how sticking the “transgressive” label on harmless sex can create a “transgressive = sexy” reaction that lingers even after the rules get saner and itself labels non-transgressive sex (even formerly-transgressive sex) as “unsexy.”

    BTW,

    “…If a younger person can prove that they understand all the aspects involved and actually want the relationship, they could apply for a license that would allow them to be involved in one. You could have awareness and comprehension tests and everything in order to acquire one…”

    I wonder how many of the people who are attracted to 11-14 year olds would be happy with such license-holding 11-14 year olds (seems kinda like emancipated minors IRL), and how many would instead still feel “I prefer 11-14 year old minors due to their cute, innocent, genuine, and playful nature that you don’t find with many women and license-holding 11-14 year olds [since being more comprehending and aware lets them be more worldly and opinionated for themselves – the less comprehending and aware someone already is, the easier it is for someone else to shape his or her personality and ways of thinking]”…

  79. Mark said:

    ‘Oh, I completely agree. I was just thinking of how sticking the “transgressive” label on harmless sex can create a “transgressive = sexy” reaction that lingers even after the rules get saner and itself labels non-transgressive sex (even formerly-transgressive sex) as “unsexy.”’

    However, I should add that I *don’t* think the transgressive image of Practice X is the only thing that gives rise to transgression. There are passions that are, as argued above, are “hardwired” and therefore arise irrespective of what the culture thinks or doesn’t think about Practice X. In Platonic terms these would be the passions that are part of one’s soul, while passions that come about because they’re “trendy” would be those that are of a transitory nature.

  80. Back to the original discussion, I think it’s important to take Japan itself into account. From 1975 to 1995, when so called “pornographic” materials became widely available, the rate of sexual crimes has gone down. If this is the case, I believe that having these materials actually makes it so people don’t need to comit these crimes, they can simply observe them in a safe way where no one is a victim.

    “Within Japan itself, the dramatic increase in available pornography and sexually explicit materials is apparent to even a casual observer. This is concomitant with a general liberalization of restrictions on other sexual outlets as well. Also readily apparent from the information presented is that, over this period of change, sex crimes in every category, from rape to public indecency, sexual offenses from both ends of the criminal spectrum, significantly decreased in incidence.

    Most significantly, despite the wide increase in availability of pornography to children, not only was there a decrease in sex crimes with juveniles as victims but the number of juvenile offenders also decreased significantly.”

    From “Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan” by:
    Milton Diamond
    University of Hawai’i – Manoa
    John A. Burns School of Medicine
    Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology
    Pacific Center for Sex and Society
    Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822, U.S.A.

    Ayako Uchiyama
    National Research Institute of Police Science
    Juvenile Crime Study Section 6, Sanban-cho, Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo 102, JAPAN

    http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/online_artcls/pornography/prngrphy_rape_jp.html

  81. Kath, thanks for the link. The study seems solid, and I like how the researchers explain how they take into account the way not all rapes get reported to the police.

  82. I’ll look at that study closely, but for now I find it interesting that they briefly discuss police efforts to combat sex crimes but I don’t get the impression they track how much that’s responsible for any of the decrease.
    And while this joins other studies that shows a link between porn and the crime rate, I wonder how direct a link it really is. How much, for instance, should be due to that society’s enlightened attitude which allows for such freedom of speech – and may affect the crime rate in ways not tracked? Is the porn itself a red herring?
    And, do state boundaries even matter anymore with the Internet? Theoretically, the increased availability online of all kinds of porn should be having an effect on nations with high levels of online access.
    Questions, questions.

  83. Sariel Lunar says:

    I’m sorry if this is too long….

    Is anyone frightened by the similarites between this occurance and those of the Red Scare or Salem Witch Trials?

    Are they going to be asking this man to give up all his friends who own similar material (which by the way has not been determined to acutally be children and only look like children to the person that looked at it)?

    I am a Yaoi fan. All Yaoi I own clearly states that the characters are of legal age of concent for this country but they look younger. So by that standard any one who looks at porn of a woman who looks younger than she is but represents herself as an adult would have to go to jail for the same reason.

    If people actually looked at regular manga they would notice that most character are made to look younger than they really are. Naruto for instance has a character named Kakashi who is a teacher and is twenty nine. When you look at him he does not look that age at all. Another character is named Tsunade who is very elderly but uses techniques that make her look to be in her twenties. Should Naruto, which is a best selling manga in the US, be banned because Naruto has to train in swimtrunks during one manga?

    I hate pedos. As a victim of several of them as a small child I can never have a normal realtionship with anyone and am single and most likely to remain as such. I like Yaoi manga for the main fact that IT CANNOT TOUCH ME! I am not male and these images will remain in pure fantasy where I cannot be hurt again. I know my reasoning is flawed but when you’ve had the same thing done to you then talk to me about it. Until then you cannot tell me what to read unless you start to wear a Swastika and are going to kill me for my own personal thoughts and beliefs!

    Yes child pornography is wrong. Should it be punish. Of course. Is Pedophelia wrong? YES! Punish the jerk for touching a child. Reading Vampire Knight and the main character is showing a little too much leg means sending the artists and reader and publisher to jail. ARE YOU INSANE!!!!!!!!!! These are stories. STORIES! Apply you thought processes to romance novels. The book should be stopped because a character was a rape victim and has flashbacks of the incident which are described? Mystery books. HELL ANNE RICE! Armand was 16 when he was turned into a vampire. There were sexual situations for him before he was turned.

    People need to see the facts and not follow the leader like sheep because it may be a threat. GET THE INFORMATION PEOPLE! THINK WITH THE BRAIN THAT GOD GAVE YOU and try not to revert to the past where people preyed on the different because it may be a threat!

  84. Sariel Lunar says:

    Now that i’ve calmed a bit let me clarify an earlier statement. The majority of my Yaoi manga is of college age men and do not look like little children at all but could be mistaken for older teenagers still not 18. Example Junjo Romantica. The main character is 19 and looks around 17 to me. I like it for the story not the imagery. There is not however any YAOI involved in the Naruto story. I was using the manga as a reference for the age differences. If I’ve offended anyone with my outburst i am truely sorry but this is a scary topic.

  85. Jim Engel says:

    Photographs of children being violated or drawings of children being violated—the person creating it or enjoying it is equally guilty.

  86. “And, do state boundaries even matter anymore with the Internet? Theoretically, the increased availability online of all kinds of porn should be having an effect on nations with high levels of online access.”

    This is somewhat true, but it also matters how socially accepted the material is. In Japan, they have “pornographic” manga on bookshelves of regular restaurants for you to read while waiting. It’s sold everywhere. People read it on the trains in plain sight. Obviously, they know that it is not alright to commit crimes against children. However, because it is socially acceptable to find proper vehicles for these urges, the crimes don’t need to be commited.

  87. “However, because it is socially acceptable to find proper vehicles for these urges, the crimes don’t need to be commited. “

    Crimes against children don’t ever need to be committed.

    Has Japan changed a lot in the last 25 years? I was there in the late 80’s and I remember somebody in my squadron bought a Japanese edition of Playboy. It was funny because it didn’t show any of the girls below the waist. It contained nothing but above the belt photos…. and of course all those great articles.

    Since then I guess it’s turned into the land of non-stop, anything goes porn.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Heidi hosts an interesting discussion of the value of protecting unsavory content in the comments section of The Beat. […]

  2. […] Privacy laws, fourth amendment rights, and the comic book world are colliding in the case of Christopher Handley, an Iowa comic collection who pleaded guilty to the possession of obscene images, in the form of Japanese manga he collected. Now the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and big names like Neil Gaiman are involved as well. Heidi MacDonald at PW’s The Beat breaks it down. […]

  3. […] A lot of coverage and discussion about Christopher Handley and his guilty plea for possessing obscene material. More here, here, here, here,here … Good analysis here and here. […]

  4. […] Heidi hosts an interesting discussion of the value of protecting unsavory content in the comments section of The Beat. […]

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