Define obscenity, then define god while you’re at… or love… or infinity

My friends’ page brought an interesting and infuriating case to my attention today:
Read about it here and numerous other places.

Essentially, a man in Iowa was arrested for importing manga from Japan deemed obscene. The collective opinion seems to be that, in this case, “obscene” means illustrated kiddie porn. As is to be expected, numerous people from both sides are up in arms. The difficulty in defending the right of someone to own illustrated child pornography lies in the fact that many will assume you are defending the right to molest children. Clearly, anyone who stops for a moment and applies logic to the argument will see this is not the case. Molesting real children and owning fictional representations of children engaged in sexual acts is not the same thing. Below is something I posted on another journal that should help elucidate my feelings:

The reason child pornography is a crime is because it endorses the victimization of a child. A child is molested and photographed. This is a crime. The ownership of this photograph makes the owner a criminal by proxy. The owner is aware a child was victimized and endorses this activity.

Illustrated child pornography is a victimless crime, its victim is fictional. To charge someone as a criminal for the ownership of pornography featuring fictional characters is to charge this person with thought-crime. The assumption is an owner of illustrated child pornography is a pedophile and therefore a baby raper. Yet, being a pedophile is not a crime. The act of molestation or molestation-by-proxy is the crime. Ownership of fictional material does not equate sexual action in reality.

Any time the court is brought in to decide our freedoms and define what is acceptable art, we open the gates for a multitude of freedoms and artistic expressions to be reviewed and potentially criminalized. Do we want to open up that debate because of a victimless “crime?”

Many others with much more credibility than me have discussed this much more eloquently elsewhere: (I highly encourage reading their rants especially if you disagree with my stance)
Neil Gaiman’s Thoughts
Carl Horn of Dark Horse

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is always accepting donations and doing their best to make sure the comics community is treated fairly. Feel like donating?


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