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Help Me Help the CBLDF

Intrigue
I covered it in this week's ST Editorial, but I'm also making the pitch here.

Christopher Handley, an Iowa collector of anime and manga was arrested on possession of child pornography. He is a completest with a collection of over 1,200 manga, and some of them — less than 10, actually — show depictions of children in sexual situations. Handley is being tried under the auspices of the PROTECT act.

Let's be clear. These are not photos of actual children. There is no evidence that actual children were used as models for the content of this manga. All of it is a work of fiction.

It is not the purpose of art to show us nothing but the bright and shiny side of life. Nor is every work of art a work of Art. The US First Amendment is not about protecting the "Good" or the popular speech. It protects the repugnant and squick inducing stuff, too.

What does matter is that the PROTECT act is being wielded in such a way, that, should Handley be convicted, would open the door to further prosecutions and restrictions on what people can and cannot create and what works of illustrated fiction they can and cannot read.



A conviction would have an impact on scholars of Japanese culture, especially those who research manga and anime. It would have an impact on scholars of erotica as well as manuscript and art collectors, including museums and academic institutions, because some historical works depict people who are clearly below the age of 18 in a sexualized fashion.

A conviction would impact what your Local Comic Shop, Large Chain Bookstore, or Local Library could safely stock.

A conviction would impact what works publishers can or cannot translate and import. It would impact the adaptations of classic literature or mythology from around the world they might publish. It would restrict what new, original works they could publish.

A conviction would mean that anybody who owns a first printing of DMP's excellent Desire, BLU's historically accurate Gerard & Jacques, or any edition of Top Shelf's Lost Girls is open prosecution under the PROTECT act. And these publishers would have to substantially revise any future editions of these works or cease reprints.


No actual children would see justice served by a conviction in this case.

For more information about this case and what is at stake, I direct you to the CBLDF's page on the case, as well as an interview Charles Brownstein did with The Comics Reporter earlier this year.

As I did back in 2007, I am throwing down a gauntlet. If, before year's end (12/31), I receive 40 emails with some sort of proof of a donation of at least $25 to the CBLDF, I will donate $1000. If I receive 80 emails, I will donate $2000. Proof of donation may be submitted to kadymae at sequentialtart dot com, or via a private message to this LJ.

If you are not a member, please join the CBLDF today. If you are already a member, please make an additional donation.

If you live in the US, you know that the First Amendment is the bedrock of all our other freedoms.

Thank you.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
smurasaki
Nov. 19th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
Argh. This borders on thought-crime, if it doesn't actually cross the line into it. It's one thing for real child porn to be illegal because the making of it is harmful to children. And frequently involves a whole host of other problems/crimes. Duh. Sensible. It's another to make drawings or other images of non-real minors in sexual situations illegal. Then you've made the assumption that the only reason people would want them is because they're a child predator. At least that's the only explanation I can think of, and that's pretty much an assumed-thought crime. And we really don't want to go there as a country.
kadymae
Nov. 19th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
Then you've made the assumption that the only reason people would want them is because they're a child predator.

Yes. This. Exactly.

Not because teen romance and teen sexuality has been a common and popular theme of art and literature for a very long time. Or because we see them all the time on TV and the movies.

That a person could get in trouble for drawing something that could be depicted in a movie or on TV is deeply frightening to me. (Lolita or the Tin Drum, anyone?)
shininghalf
Nov. 19th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Again, "yes this"; the whole 'virtual child porn' thing has always stunk to high heaven... Last time it came around I was somewhat into the Poser digital doll-theater**cough**art fandom, and the pols tried to float "we have to ban it because some of this CGI stuff is indistinguishable from the real thing!" First, no it's not; any amateur CGI connoisseur could tell in a heartbeat let alone what a trained forensic analyst could do, plus (and if they pull out "well how do we know the texture didn't use photos of a real child" or something) that's essentially "well we can't prove their guilt so we have to ban the grounds of suspicion!"---ie, guilty until proven innocent.

As well as what you said; there are numerous other reasons someone could want to depict such images, from artistic expression to therapy to a harmless constitutionally-protected degree of kink.
delibby
Nov. 19th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
Can I just give you a check next time I see you?
kadymae
Nov. 19th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
Sure thing
fairportfan
Nov. 19th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
I'm *very* short till at least the New Year - $25 is literally beyond my means (*any* amount is beyond my means *this* week), but i'll try to do something.
kadymae
Nov. 19th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
Any bit helps.
luxurias_slave
Nov. 25th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)
Can a person donate if they are not american? I have been collecting manga for awhile, and well, the idea of being prosecuted for owning 2 comics that would happen to be yaoi sickens me
minmorton
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
yes - they can - I just have (I'm UK based). You need a credit/debit card or a paypal account or similar - but you certainly can join online.
boji
Nov. 26th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
Hello, I too am someone in the UK who read this on Neil Gaiman's blog today and am horrified. I'd like to link back to this post in an entry on my LJ if I may. And yes, I'll be donating. Purse strings can't quite stretch to $25.00 at the moment though...
the_kestral
Nov. 26th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
I just read about this in Neil Gaiman's blog and not only will I be looking at a membership for myself but also possibly as gifts for a friend or two as soon as I verify they aren't doing it themselves.

Do you mind if I post links to this both in my lj and my myspace blogs to pass the word? The thought of what will happen to all of us comic book collectors should they find him guilty (and what that would mean to the artists in the industry) is frightening.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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