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  1.  (9973.41)
    Whether people become pedophiles due to nature or nurture is kinda beside the point. I've got my theories, but I don't really know how it happens. But I do know how it doesn't happen: by reading books with drawings that look like underage people having sex.

    That's what this case is really about. Drawings. That did not harm anyone.

    And a person who possessed them. And did not harm anyone.

    Don't let the question of whether pedos are disgusting (and whether maybe this guy is one, or if someone just put too many panty shots in his comics) get in the way. Just like you shouldn't let the question of whether Nazis are evil get in the way defending the right of someone to have a book that may present them in a sympathetic light. And the fact that racism is vile and untrue shouldn't affect whether or not Birth of a Nation should be banned. Freedom of speech doesn't mean anything unless it also means the freedom of icky speech. Neil Gaiman makes this point better than I ever could (google it).

    It should not be a crime to own a book that describes a rape. A comic book that explicitly presents the unique details and methods of a crime should not be suppressed. A movie graphically depicting the disembowelment of a human being is not banned, it's merely rated "R" and charged $9.50 per person to watch it. I have some rather uncharitable opinions about the people who enjoy watching movies of that kind, but I don't call for horrible things to happen to them because they have interests I find so... icky. I'm just glad they have splatterfilms to get their fix from. I understand the extra-special extra-defensive reflex that's triggered when children (or the idea of children) are involved; whether it was planted there by God or it evolved as an instinct or we develop it thru experience, it's deep-seated. But think about it: how is someone who secretly fantasizes about having sex with a 15-year-old girl (but never does it) fundamentally different from someone who secretly fantasizes about (and maybe openly plays video games about) blowing the brains out of dozens of people (but never does it)?

    Child pornography (by which I mean: photos of real children being sexually abused) is – and should be – banned for the protection of real children... not to suppress the very idea of children having sex, the thoughtcrime of imagining it. Even the US Supreme Court – not exactly the most liberal-minded crowd of people you can find – supports this principle.

    I don't know anything about this person who got arrested by Canada Customs except that he's apparently male and he's a U.S. citizen and he owns a laptop. I know even less about the comics that he was found carrying, beyond that they were "manga" (as if that meant anything definite). But I don't need to know any more, because it's enough to know that even the worst possible scenario that fits what he's been accused of - owning books with drawings that look like minors having sex - is not a threat to society. There is no victim. So there is no crime.

    EDIT: In the interest of disclosure, I should add some information: I am working on a biographic novel that includes a number of scenes in which illegal sexual activity of various sorts takes place. It also includes scenes in which abuse (also various sorts) takes place. Some of those are the same scenes, some are not. I have an obvious interest in this book not being banned anywhere. But if it is, why should it be? Because it describes abuse? Because it describes illegal sexual actvity?
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2011
     (9973.42)
    @Jason A. Quest

    $9.50 per person to watch it

    Where in the nation are you that you can get into a movie at full admission for less than $10? *boggle*

    Seriously though, you raise a good point. The distinction between a book that describes an incident, or a manga that depicts it, and a picture of a child being abused is that, in the one case, a crime was committed to produce the piece of media and, in the other, there wasn't. The ick factor is beside the point, the debate of what is and is not art is beside the point.
  2.  (9973.43)
    Where in the nation are you that you can get into a movie at full admission for less than $10? *boggle*

    $5 Tuesdays all day at the Nickelodeon, and there's not a single 3D projector in the entire place.

    I'd have more of an opinion on the original topic if I knew what the comics were. There's too many things it could have been to cry foul on this one.
  3.  (9973.44)
    Why does it matter what was in the comics? Legally, I mean. Sure, if it was something totally disgusting you should be free to condemn his taste in reading material and judge him personally for it. But at what point, exactly does it become appropriate for the government to put someone in jail for having disgusting taste in reading material? Would you be OK with a lesser sentence if the material was just kinda skeevy? Maybe a misdemeanor citation for mild creepiness?
  4.  (9973.45)
    I'd have more of an opinion on the original topic if I knew what the comics were. There's too many things it could have been to cry foul on this one.

    I'm down with that statement, it's very difficult to make such an uniformed decision.


    This whole topic makes me think about two contradictory and unsolvable questions:

    If drawings don't really count as actually hurting anyone, how come comics and art ( & stories & films ect.) have such a huge affect on our lives?

    and

    When we censor anything are we not just sweeping it under the carpet, pretending that the problem doesn't exist?

    It's an interesting topic all around, I am enjoying everbody's comments on this one and find myself agreeing with them all in one way or another, it's a tough one...