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April 8, 2006 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Under Age Text? "Former senior public servant Nick Gill was sentenced to 14 days' jail, suspended on the rising of the court, and fined $3000 after being found guilty of having 66 stories, featuring mostly young boys, on his desktop computer." All text. There were no images to found. Australian fans of Harry Potter should probably rethink that slash masterpiece, and toss out their copies of Lolita and the latest VC Andrews novels.
posted by FunkyHelix (76 comments total)

 
...to be found. Dammit.
posted by FunkyHelix at 5:29 PM on April 8, 2006


now, is this thoughcrime or precrime?
posted by wakko at 5:31 PM on April 8, 2006


It would be nice if the article mentioned the crime.

Lousy lazy reporters...
posted by Bugbread at 5:34 PM on April 8, 2006


thoughtcrime.
posted by kaemaril at 5:34 PM on April 8, 2006


Glad I don't live in australia. Or New Zealand.
posted by delmoi at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2006


i spel gud
posted by wakko at 5:49 PM on April 8, 2006


What the hell is wrong with people today? Answers on a postcard.

Let's not have any writing at all except about kitty cats and how great the government is. That's what we want. That's what we need. That's what we deserve.
posted by Decani at 6:05 PM on April 8, 2006


Australian fans of Harry Potter should probably rethink that slash masterpiece, and toss out their copies of Lolita and the latest VC Andrews novels

Not to mention any murder novels or documentaries and newspapers that detail any terrible crimes. Afterall, it should be obvious to any person that material like this is legally and morally wrong and taboo. Furthermore, there is also the potential that the written word may encourage someone to act out what they've read.

Truly sickening. Fortunately it is only the Northern Territory.
posted by zaebiz at 6:17 PM on April 8, 2006


If punishing those for possessing child pornography in the way of photographs and video is meant to curb the demand for the production of more exploitative material by demonstration of said punishment, what exactly does this do? Who is the potential physical victim here?

Guy makes dirty kiddy porn video. Jerks off, passes the video around to his friends. Guy goes out and makes another video. Victims: Kids in the videos.

Guy takes dirty pictures of kids. Fifty people download them from his FTP server and put them on their servers. Where do more pictures come from? Guys taking pictures again and again. Victims: Countless kids in the pictures.

Guy writes a dirty fiction story involving kids. A thousand people download, read, wack off. Guy gets good response to fiction, writes more. Victims: No one, unless you pick a study and some statistics and extrapolate.

Before we go around punishing people for what's in their heads, let's ask ourselves this:

How do you punish someone for what they haven't done?

And from a more pragmatic perspective, what did this punishment actually solve? Is he suddenly not going to like dirty stories involving little kids anymore?
posted by Mikey-San at 6:28 PM on April 8, 2006


This is just the logical extension of a nearly unnoticed shift in the policing of child pornography in recent years. Twenty years ago, the authorities focused on arresting people who actually exploited children -- the makers of pornography. Then, with the advent of the Internet, those people became harder to find, while the illegal materials became easier to find. So the highly-publicized legal efforts went into arresting the people who consumed the images, rather than the people making them (though the distinction between the two was often blurred by law-enforcement officials bragging about busting "the biggest child porn ring in history" every six months or so, and a credulous press that didn't look closely at these operations and was happy to reprint press releases if it meant a steady stream of reporting-free salacious headlines.) Then wholly synthetic digital images that didn't exploit actual children were made illegal, because they looked just like the illegal images, and supposedly encouraged illegal thoughts. Basically, once you've entered that legal terrain -- which the US did about ten years ago -- it's not a huge jump to arresting people for writing illegal ideas into their diaries.
posted by digaman at 6:31 PM on April 8, 2006


I think the Australian media is pretty much for sale.

The CIA is allowed to post news items as psy-ops in foreign press, but not (last I heard, probably changed by now?) in American press.

True though it may be this is divide and conquer shit.

They should do the Republic a favor for its cohesion, instead of ruling like ruthless profiteers, and simply kill outright anyone accused of this type of thing. No media necessary really.

Gonzales was questioned in the last week, caught it on C-SPAN a couple days ago, about the fact that law enforcement at local, state and national levels works closely together, and that the FBI is purported to work with organized crime to arrange and allow hits.

A collection of text files such as this is worse than murder, because there could be good reasons to kill people. For example, if someone exhibits signs of being one of these types who is sexually attracted to children, he puts all the families in danger. This is because it's been shown that these people don't rehabilitate. They just commit their sick crimes, again and again. That type of person should be killed. It's definitely a type of Darwin Award as well, because anyone who can't figure out to mate with adults in whatever species they come from, apparently isn't up to the task of reproduction.

Furthermore the fact that these creeps trade their sick pornography on the internet casts shame on the whole of it. If it wasn't for this type of thing, we would probably still be in the dot com era. It's possible that the damage from this is several times worse than that from terrorist attacks.

there is also the potential that the written word may encourage someone to act out what they've read

And I think that in the context of this message, I have to argue that that's false. Because, I could say "Peace," put it on a sign, but that will never, ever, end war at all. However, I can put "Kill" on a sign, and sure enough, you will immediately find all manner of examples of people acting on the word.

I would say that if you manage to suss out one of these perverts, you pretty much have a free pass at killing the sick bastard. Nobody's going to give you any trouble about it.

That's because, rightfully, there is absolutely nothing in the Western Philosophy and Theology which condones their behavior. Nothing. We exist in a mindset to rise above such filth, which is not even of a natural order, but far worse.

For example, I think that if we saw Michael Jackson used like the soldier in Fallujah, perhaps at his home in Bahrain, burnt up into a char crisped husk, and dragged around to the glee of the citizenry, and then finally hung up for all to see, just a burnt brick, I think that the majority of Americans would find it amusing, or uplifting. That's what Justice is all about.

I can remember I didn't believe such things as these in the past, and I even believed that the number of people believing something doesn't change its truth. In fact on these matters I have been re-educated.
posted by nervousfritz at 6:31 PM on April 8, 2006


there is also the potential that the written word may encourage someone to act out what they've read

Aristotle actually thought the opposite -- it seems the western governments agree with Plato more.

sigh.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:36 PM on April 8, 2006


there is also the potential that the written word may encourage someone to act out what they've read

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 18:22)

Better lock me up, then, after reading this. There's no way I'm not gonna run out and "kill me some homos".
posted by Mikey-San at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2006


"Is ball-gag one word or two?" (and the three following that one)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:55 PM on April 8, 2006


Well said, digaman. This isn't a dangerous road that's being walked down, it's a dangerous road that was already walked down ten years ago while everyone cheered. I believe someone was playing a trumpet.

We've already established that just being a deviant is a jail-worthy offense. Now we get the fun part. Let's see who else among us qualifies as a deviant! Whee!
posted by Simon! at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2006


This is unbelievable. There are all sorts of graphic stories and novels that depict violent sexual acts and the readers of that sort of material don't go to jail. I wonder if they'd send someone to jail for owning a novel about bigamy.
posted by Devils Slide at 7:12 PM on April 8, 2006


If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

There's no way I'm not gonna run out and "kill me some homos".

nowhere in there does it say YOU get to put them to death. in fact, any halfway astute reading of the bible reveals phrases like "they shall surely be put to death" refers to soul death (eternal separation from God) not physical death and cannot be reasonably seen by the rational reader as a command to commit murder. so stick your tired, ignorant "the bible says to kill homos" screed up your scrunched little pooter.
posted by quonsar at 7:32 PM on April 8, 2006


So what you're saying, nervousfritz, is that Michael Jackson made my stock options tank?
posted by ryanrs at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2006


The point was that I'm not going to read that verse and go kill homosexuals. There is always a statistical deviation that will interpret these kinds of things as something to go out and do, but summarily punishing for reading or possessing the works themselves is a dangerous slope. (And as digaman pointed out, it's already been traversed.)

But thanks for the kind, not-at-all knee-jerk words.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:42 PM on April 8, 2006


i understood your sarcasm just fine. i've just been dying to use the phrase "scrunched little pooter" in a comment.
posted by quonsar at 7:44 PM on April 8, 2006


Quonsar, while I applaud your enlightened reading of the bible, I'm not sure it's the norm. Having just quit a company that was predominantly fundamentalist, born again Christian, I can assure you that most of them would interpret this as physical death and not spiritual death.
posted by Timberman at 7:48 PM on April 8, 2006


yes, well they aren't thinking are they? everyone dies. even heterosexuals.
posted by quonsar at 7:52 PM on April 8, 2006


You know who else dies, guys? Kids. Little ones. Because of text files.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:54 PM on April 8, 2006


Is there any kind of appeal process possible?
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on April 8, 2006


This is fucking bullshit. Stories are fiction. Does this mean if I write a story about killing someone, I should be arrested for murder?

Fucking hell.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:10 PM on April 8, 2006


You are ALL guilty!

Turn yourselves IN, PERVERTS!
posted by HTuttle at 8:14 PM on April 8, 2006


Actually, here's a fun question:

We all read the summary, and at least most of us read the article itself. We've read the comments here, and thought about all of it. At some point, it's possible that someone imagined some of this fictional text while putting it all into perspective.

If you did, was that the same as being a kiddie porn pervert? CAN YOU CONTROL YOURSELF, INTERNET, or should you be arrested for imagining fictional pornography?
posted by Mikey-San at 8:18 PM on April 8, 2006


Then, with the advent of the Internet, those people became harder to find

How so? I would have thought that the internet made active child abusers somewhat easier to find.

Pre-internet, child sexual abuse was a somewhat solitary vice. Come the net, people with all manner of unusual pecadillos were able to make contact with each other, and in so doing, exchange stories, materials, etc.

The reality is, twenty years ago, nobody really gave much of a fuck at all about child pornography or sexual abuse. We didn't really talk about it, and consequently it was much easier to ignore it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:30 PM on April 8, 2006


This is because it's been shown that these people don't rehabilitate. They just commit their sick crimes, again and again.

Not really, NervousFritz. Paedophiles are just like every other category of person, insofar as they actually constitute a wide spectrum of behaviour from those who kidnap, rape and murder children, to those who may fantasize about sex with children but don't act upon it.

Criminalizing photographs of children being sexually abused makes sense because it's both evidence of a crime being committed, and it's an offence against the abused child twice over -- first in the commission of the act, and secondly, in the distribution of it's depiction.

Criminalizing textual fantasy though, is much harder to justify. As far as I'm aware, there's no conclusive evidence one way or another that it either leads to more children being abused, or that by providing a safe masturbatory outlet, it prevents children from being abused.

I'm completely with you when you talk about cracking down on real instances of abuse -- including those who distribute photographs of children being sexually abused. But seeking to regulate what we can write and read is just a tiny step away from trying to regulate what we can legitimately think about -- and for me, regardless of how I feel about paedophiles, that's a step too far.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2006


Nervousfritz, are you serious? Because, frankly, I enjoy reading about certain completely illegal and reprehensible activities, purely for my own prurient interest and with no "literary merit" as an excuse. I have never engaged in these activities in real life myself and have no intention of doing so. This is because, like many people, I have a reasonable grasp of the difference betwen "fantasy" and "reality".

Should I be locked up as a danger to all families?
posted by kyrademon at 9:00 PM on April 8, 2006


Peter, I did a lot of research on the history of the law around this issue for an article I wrote for Wired called The United States of America v. Adam Vaughn.

I would have thought that the internet made active child abusers somewhat easier to find.

In the pre-Net era, child porn was basically magazines and films. In moving through the postal system, they left a paper trail right to the person who ordered them. It so happens that, in the early days of the Net, some of the first people to take advantage of the ability to anonymize oneself online via proxies and what not -- particularly back then -- were hardcore sysadmins and other tech guys with a taste for these images. Now most child porn comes from Eastern Europe, and is passed through many layers of anonymizing as it makes its way here. As I show in my article, the Net definitely makes it easier to find consumers of these images -- "shooting fish in a barrel," as its been described, or "one click, you're guilty," as an FBI says in my article -- but it also makes it harder to find the actual abusers, because they're hidden behind layers of anonymity with no paper trail.

The reality is, twenty years ago, nobody really gave much of a fuck at all about child pornography or sexual abuse.

Well, that's not quite true. There were several child-porn scandals in NYC starting in the 1970s, and of course there was mass hysteria about the infamous McMartin case and other alleged incidents of "ritual abuse" that turned out to be prosecutorial fictions. So, child abuse has been an issue of concern for about 20 years.

As it should be, of course. But the vast majority of child abuse is perpetrated by the families and friends of the victims, not Internet stalkers or Czech pornographers.
posted by digaman at 9:05 PM on April 8, 2006


sorry, typing too fast:

*shooting fish in a barrel," as it's been described, or "one click, you're guilty," as an FBI guy says in my article
posted by digaman at 9:06 PM on April 8, 2006


Oy! Typing way too fast. I meant to point out that the McMartin case was in the late 1980s, of course.
posted by digaman at 9:07 PM on April 8, 2006


Pre-internet, child sexual abuse was a somewhat solitary vice.

NAMBLA's been around since the 1970s, and Wikipedia tells me there was a group called the Paedophile Information Exchange in the UK from 1974 to 1984. In fact Wikipedia has a whole article on organized pedophile activist groups, the formation of which seems to coincide more closely with the Yippie-era sexual revolution than with the Net.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:23 PM on April 8, 2006


I feel sickened at this news. The courts have gone too far in this case.
posted by chudmonkey at 9:23 PM on April 8, 2006


NervousFritz: I would say that if you manage to suss out one of these perverts, you pretty much have a free pass at killing the sick bastard.
Go to it, son. Go and make the world a safer place. I might even visit you in jail.
posted by kaemaril at 9:32 PM on April 8, 2006


Seems like a decision of a kangaroo court to me.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:08 PM on April 8, 2006


New Zealand? Why yes, child porn stories - any "publication" - are illegal in New Zealand.

Some publications are specifically prohibited by the Act, including any publication that promotes or supports:

* The sexual exploitation of children
* Sexual violence or coercion
* Torture or extreme violence
* Bestiality
* Necrophilia
* Urophilia
* Coprophilia

In assessing publications, the Act requires the Classification Office to place particular weight on the extent and degree to which, and the manner in which, publications deal with:

* Torture
* Cruelty
* Violence and sexual violence
* Sexual conduct with or by children
* Degrading, dehumanising or demeaning conduct
* Representations of a particular class of person as inherently inferior by reason of a prohibited ground of discrimination
* Promotion of criminal acts
* Exploitation of children's nudity


I recall a quite recent case where a man was convicted for importing a book of short stories from the Netherland. Said short stories depicted sex with boys in a way the censor determined breached the The Films Videos, and Publications Classification Act. Incidentally, our chief censor is an out gay man, which causes conniptions in certain quarters.

(Top marks for wordplay, Sam...)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:35 PM on April 8, 2006


Terrists make txtfiles. "War on the Literate" tonight on the five'o'clock news.

Sure, but why would he collect so many of the sam genre?
posted by IronLizard at 11:19 PM on April 8, 2006


I'm investing in the irony-o-tron. I'm seeing signs of a huge untapped market here.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:34 PM on April 8, 2006


I know a married adult female who collects stories of young boys. She also collects yaoi manga and anime, with visual depictions of young -- often underage -- teens having sex.

It's one of her sexual kinks, and although she certainly does not victimize young boys, I suspect she is the way she is because she was sexually molested as a child by a teenager, and has a lot of conflicting/ambiguous feelings about it.

Given the complete lack of evidence of any sexual wrongdoing in this case, or even posession of child pornography, I have to wonder whether this Nick Gill is really all that different.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:30 AM on April 9, 2006


"NAMBLA's been around since the 1970s..."

Yes, but from what I have heard, NAMBLA and their members are very different from what most people think of when it comes to pedophilia.

Studies indicate that most pedophilia is clearly non-consentual, committed by a heterosexual males against coerced/forced kids, whereas NAMBLA is primarily an organization for homosexual daddies and underage gay twinks, who want to have sex with each other.

Think Queer as Folk's relationship between the nearly 30-year-old Brian and Justin, an underage runaway (or, for those of you who know the British version, between Stuart and the 15-year-old Nathan), make it even fetishier, and you get the general idea. Of course, both of these series are/were pretty wildly successful television shows, whereas NAMBLA itself is demonized.

As John Reinstein, the director of the ACLU Massachusetts, said, although NAMBLA "may extol conduct which is currently illegal", there was nothing on its website that "advocated or incited the commission of any illegal acts, including murder or rape". Additionally, NAMBLA's webpage states that "NAMBLA does not provide encouragement, referrals or assistance for people seeking sexual contacts" and that it does not "engage in any activities that violate the law. . . . [or] advocate that anyone else should [violate the law]."

In that sense, they're much like organizations that advocate legalizing marajuana, prostitution, or euthanasia.

The difference, of course, is that they're a bunch of sick, degenerate perverts... or at least those NAMBLA members who are of age are. The younger members are obviously innocent kids led astray.

While minors certainly need to be protected, it seems kind of ironic that our country has no problem saying that someone who is 11-years-old who kills someone should be tried for murder as an adult, while someone who is 16 or 17 can't reliably be allowed to choose for themselves who to love.

Really, it would be nice if there was a more reasonable, less arbitrary way to decide when someone is a responsible adult or not in these situations.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:17 AM on April 9, 2006


While minors certainly need to be protected, it seems kind of ironic that our country has no problem saying that someone who is 11-years-old who kills someone should be tried for murder as an adult, while someone who is 16 or 17 can't reliably be allowed to choose for themselves who to love.

Which is what makes nervousfritz's assessment so weird. Fritzy says anyone who has any thoughts about anyone under the legally prescribed age of (insert age of consent in the country you happen to be living in) should be killed. Besides advocating genocide of most of the population of Africa, Asia, lots of Europe...he doesn't know what the stories mentioned in the article were even about. They might have been about 17 year olds. Which, by the way, technically isn't pedophilia - there's another word for sexual attraction towards post-pubescent youth which escapes me for the minute.

Hell, what if the stories are about 10 year olds, and you do a search-and-replace to make them about 20 year olds, and they find the stories? Are you still in shit?

What if you do the reverse?

What if you read the stories about 20 year olds and just think about 10 year olds?

Very fucking shaky ground indeed.
posted by Jimbob at 1:52 AM on April 9, 2006


Jimbob, I find your argument insightful and persuasive and thinking about it I would say that for a crime to be a crime there needs to be a victim. A victim can be any legal entity, e.g. individual or organisation.

I think in this case the state of Northern Australia would probably define the victim of this crime to be Nick Gill himself. A position I disagree with wholeheartedly.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:12 AM on April 9, 2006


The alleged victim is that well known person, Society.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:31 AM on April 9, 2006


Jimbob writes "there's another word for sexual attraction towards post-pubescent youth which escapes me for the minute. "

ephebophilia?
posted by Bugbread at 3:13 AM on April 9, 2006


pederasty.
posted by Justinian at 4:39 AM on April 9, 2006


I think pederasty is used to refer to the act, not the attraction, and it's only for post-pubescent males.
posted by Bugbread at 6:03 AM on April 9, 2006


nervousfritz writes "For example, I think that if we saw Michael Jackson used like the soldier in Fallujah, perhaps at his home in Bahrain, burnt up into a char crisped husk, and dragged around to the glee of the citizenry, and then finally hung up for all to see, just a burnt brick, I think that the majority of Americans would find it amusing, or uplifting. That's what Justice is all about."

No, that's called mob behavior. It may satisfy some visceral need for revenge, but that's not the same thing as justice. It's the same sort of behavior which surrounded lynchings in the South, and the perpetrators felt the same sense of justice you claim.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:31 AM on April 9, 2006


I assume this decision makes "Queer as Folk" - certainly the UK version - illegal in the Northern Territory and all those who watched it certifiable perverts. I think the viewing figures in the UK ran into several million, so that's a lot of peole who need to steer clear!
posted by ibanda at 6:44 AM on April 9, 2006


Sure, but why would he collect so many of the sam genre?

Maybe he's a fan of Harry Potter slash. Or one of the many fandoms online with a kid as one of the characters.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:53 AM on April 9, 2006


Well, that's not quite true. There were several child-porn scandals in NYC starting in the 1970s, and of course there was mass hysteria about the infamous McMartin case and other alleged incidents of "ritual abuse" that turned out to be prosecutorial fictions.

OK, I knew when I typed it that somebody would pull me on this. In reality, I was thinking about thirty years ago rather than twenty years ago. I was thinking about the early seventies in Munich, when I found myself in the studio of photographer Will McBride.

McBride's stuff skirts that line between art and porn, and at the time, I'd have defended it to the hilt. But that was before I knew that his book, Show Me was often used as a grooming tool by paedophiles.

And why was I in such a place? Well, I was a homeless sixteen year old boy in a foreign country. I'd been invited there by another boy of a similar age who clearly acted as McBride's tout.

In the words of News of the World reporters since time immemorial, I made my excuses and left, but in those days, the notion of having sex with children seemed almost de rigeur in some circles.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:04 AM on April 9, 2006


When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin' I hang my head and cry.


(shoots a man, just to watch him die.)
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:56 AM on April 9, 2006


"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

dude, this is totally misinterpreted. it means you shouldn't tell untruths to your brothers. "Don't lie to the dawgs like you lie to the bitchez" is a much better translation. It's the biblical version of the schoolboy code, or drinkin' buddies' code.
posted by teletype1 at 3:03 PM on April 9, 2006


It's much easier to control a population when you can make many of them feel guilty, or make many of them criminals in thought.

Step 1: Pedophile hysteria (check)

Step 2: Pass laws to combat pedophile secret army

Step 3: Make the definition fo the crime so ambiguous that anyone can be guilty (is that photo of your child sexual? IS that cute sundress too short?)

Step 4: Define thinking about "the underage" sexually as being an indication of illness that cannot be controlled and will inevitably lead to a crime (create thoughtcrime)

Step 5: Continually raise the age under which people are to be considered "children" for this purpose

And by the time your done, it's easy. You can accuse anyone, search anywhere and find "evidence" in anyones home. All the while whipping people into a "two minute hate" frenzy to show how much they hate pedophiles (superseding communists and gays) too.

It's really bizarre. Now, obviously most people will not feel attraction to prepubescent children - there is no evolutionary advantage to it and so it would be an aberration. But post-pubescents are well within the realm of our evolutionary drives. As such many, many people will find them attractive. That doesn't mean they shoudl act on it, of course. There are good reasons for society to not condone relationships between adults and the legally underage. But to pretend that it is fundementally sick and aberrant for someone to find a 17 year old attractive physically on occasion when there is so much evidence such feelings are common? It makes no sense.

How many people thought Britney Spears was hot when she hit it big at 15 / 16? Lot's and lots of them. By current standards they are all "sick" of course. I wonder if all those pictures of her (clearly sexually provocative) are now child pornography?

Hell, it is becoming socially common for people (especially the radical feminist left) to disparage any relationship with a large age gap as sick and creepy. Now you might not approve of a 50 year old banging a 22 year old - but pedophile? Get real.

It's crazy out there.
posted by soulhuntre at 8:18 PM on April 9, 2006


Looking forward to seeing this next week on SVU. I bet Stabler wails on the guy!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:19 AM on April 10, 2006


I know a married adult female who collects stories of young boys. She also collects yaoi manga and anime, with visual depictions of young -- often underage -- teens having sex.

It's one of her sexual kinks, and although she certainly does not victimize young boys, I suspect she is the way she is because she was sexually molested as a child by a teenager, and has a lot of conflicting/ambiguous feelings about it.


Reading this makes me cringe. I live in Japan, and regularly attend amateur comic markets which often heavily feature "yaoi" manga and materials. Some of these events draw women in the tens of thousands, the majority of whom range from high school age to mid-30s, and I'm pretty sure that the overseas fans of the same materials aren't all suffering from past molestation/child abuse issues. Some people enjoy these materials because they're just entertaining and/or smutty in a way that appeals to a large number of women. While certainly a small percentage of the people who enjoy and collect these materials may have some deep-seated personal issues relating to the themes, the majority are into the hobby because it's fun, pure and simple. I don't want to get onto a soapbox describing the history of the "boys' love" genre and how it developed in Japan, but suffice it to say that the old adage that if men love lesbian porn and no one thinks the less of them for it, it's a double standard to say that women can't love the idea of two cute men together.

The fact that a percentage of these materials involve underaged characters often stems from the fact that they are based on popular mainstream material in which the characters are teenagers or children, the equivalent of fans of the Harry Potter books writing stories about Harry, Ron, & the rest. I don't think that because a woman (or man) might like a story about high school boys who play soccer, and thus find amateur books depicting the soccer team members in sexual relationships imagined by the fans entertaining, that this equates her to the same status as a criminal who preys upon children in the real world, nor does it have anything to do with a history of personal sexual abuse. Granted, maybe you know something about your friend that lends you conviction as to the connection, but I think many, many others would beg to differ.
posted by muscatlove at 7:21 AM on April 10, 2006


WEll people, thank you for this great load of comment. My name is Nick Gill, and I am the person about whom this thread started.
Just to paint the background picture, I am a gay man living in a very small town (population approx 20,000) in the middle of the Australian outback. There aren't many gay men here, and I don't have a partner.
I read pornographic stories designed for gay men (largely originating in America) on such sites as www.nifty.org - and do so unashamedly for sexual gratification.
Rather than use a web-browser, I discovered a couple of years ago that there were Yahoo Groups devoted to such stories, and by joining one, I could be sent stories by email without even having to use my web browser (all right, I admit it, I'm lazy).
I joined a couple of those groups, and thenceforward received a number of stories every day.
Now I don't know about you people, but I'm not always in the mood for pornography, so generally speaking these would pile up in my Outlook Express inbox until I got round to reading them. I had set up a message rule so that emails from these Yahoo Groups would automatically be routed to an Inbox folder I created called "stories".
Now, since text stories cannot constitute "child pornography" in USA, where the Yahoo Groups are hosted, a proportion of those stories dealt with individuals under the age of 18. I became aware of this, and personally find such material distasteful. But I didn't know that these things were illegal in Australia, and so, like thousands of other emails on my computer, they just sat there unlooked at. I read and enjoyed the stories I found to my taste, and left the others. During the year before my arrest, I have since calculated that I received some 1700 email stories of one sort or another, and deleted very few of them.
However, under Australian law, since I was aware that some of the stories on my computer dealt with sex between underage people, I was legally "in possession of child pornography", and have been dealt with accordingly.
Quite apart from losing my job and experiencing public humiliation, I am now required to be recorded on the Sex Offenders Register, and prohibited from employment in my field of expertise (Alcohol and Other Drug treatment) in which I was a member of the senior national advisory body and held the most senior position in the Northern territory's Health department.
I am very grateful to all of you who have taken the time to think and write about this, which I strongly believe to be a gross miscarriage of justice and violation of my human rights.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
posted by Turandottiness at 3:34 AM on April 11, 2006


I can't seem to find it, but how did they decide to check his PC? Was it a work computer? Did he take it in for repair?
posted by ?! at 5:46 AM on April 11, 2006


I wish I could find the Believer article online that deals with the "rehab" of a "child molester" (who slept with a 17 year old at age 20).
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 AM on April 11, 2006


Nick, for what it's worth, please know that there are a large number of good, decent, fair-minded people in the world who understand that you have been victimized by an unjust law. I admire the good humor and forthrightness exhibited in your post. I wish you the best of luck.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:39 AM on April 11, 2006


Turandottiness, Mr. Gill, I'm sorry for the injustice that's been committed against you. It's important for us to know the real stories behind the new reports and statistics so thank you for sharing your story with us. We pin "sex offender" and "child molester" labels on people who are neither, then pat ourselves on the back for protecting the children. I'm sorry you've become a victim of this mindless hysteria. Good luck.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:49 AM on April 11, 2006


Nick Gill: If you feel a petition may help, I am sure letting the users of Metafilter know would generate a massive response.
posted by Acey at 1:38 PM on April 11, 2006


Good luck, Mr. Gill. And by all means, if there is something we can help you with, let us know.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:08 PM on April 11, 2006


Good luck to you, Mr. Gill. You have been greatky wronged. I would think that had you read and enjoyed all the stories sent to your computer, and I would think that had you read none of them.
posted by kyrademon at 3:45 PM on April 11, 2006


(greatly, that is)
posted by kyrademon at 3:45 PM on April 11, 2006


Some publications are specifically prohibited by the Act, including any publication that promotes or supports:

* The sexual exploitation of children
* Sexual violence or coercion
* Torture or extreme violence
* Bestiality
* Necrophilia
* Urophilia
* Coprophilia


Topping From Below was thriller that made the Best Selling list around 1999. I have a copy around here some place. There was a dog fucking scene that lingers on in my memory.

And torture? My goodness, I guess NZ didn't allow any importing of American Psycho.

Sad. I think a little less of New Zealand now.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:40 PM on April 11, 2006


"Promotes or supports" is a twisty turny phrase, SLOG. You'd be amazed what can be consrued as doing neither.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:10 PM on April 11, 2006


PS: I have known socially people who work for the NZ censor's office, or consulted for them, and they left a reassuring impression. Having said that...

...Nick, I agree you have been unfairly victimised and the law is an ass.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:18 PM on April 11, 2006


Secret Life of Gravy, you don't know what you're talking about. If you're going to make a judgement on my country over this, at least have a look at what has actually been declared objectionable.

I watched American Psycho in cinemas, the book is widely available for sale. Online, even.

I've never heard of Topping from Below, but that's available as well.

Care to come up with any other examples to ridicule us with?

So, let me put it another way, you've got your high-horse's saddle on arse-backwards.

Real people make the decisions on what constitutes objectionable material, just because you can't trust your fellow countrymen with this sort of duty doesn't mean all countries are as fucked as yours.
posted by The Monkey at 6:36 PM on April 11, 2006


Yes, I think it's worth pointing out that some of the most outraged criticism of our censor comes from extreme conservative Christians who fear being unable to distribute their anti-gay hate material, and resent The Passion Of The Christ being given an R16 rating on grounds of violence. We don't have an absolute free speech environment here, and I wish we did, but on the whole we come pretty close.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2006


Real people make the decisions on what constitutes objectionable material, just because you can't trust your fellow countrymen with this sort of duty doesn't mean all countries are as fucked as yours.
posted by The Monkey at 9:36 PM EST on April 11 [!]

I looked at the law and I came up with a couple of titles off the top of my head which you assure me were not banned. Good. I'm glad that those who interpret the law are liberal. But the fact that there is even a law in place and the fact that human beings are not infallable-- that they may have their own agenda-- means these laws are open to interpretation and ripe for abuse.

I stand by what I said earlier. I've always admired New Zealand, but I think a little less of the place now.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:16 AM on April 12, 2006


Secret Life of Gravy, I'm really glad to hear that there's no censorship in the US. I wasn't aware of that, and I think a little more highly of that place now.

Oh, no... Wait.

Jesus, get some perspective. New Zealand censorship laws are designed to prevent things like... Kiddie Porn.

Oh, of course a free society should have all the kiddie porn it wants... You can get that over the counter in your local Kwik-E-Mart, right Laura?

No, of course not, 'cos it's censored and illegal. In both our countries.
posted by The Monkey at 5:23 PM on April 12, 2006


Nick, that is a sad, story. I believe you have been very badly treated and wouldn't blame you to be very bitter about the whole thing.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 7:54 PM on April 12, 2006


I wonder what would happen if someone forwarded all those dodgy emails on to the Northern Territory Magistrates would they then have to throw themselves into jail?
posted by Lanark at 11:12 AM on April 15, 2006


Lanark, I suspect the dodgy emails wouldn't get past email censoring filtering software, such as WebMarshal, which is used by some government departments. I'm in NZ and I've had emails to a mate at Inland Revenue rejected as "dodgy" for including the words bottom (as in, "The bottom line is...") and bust ("That idea was a total bust..."). Another friend, who worked in information systems for the UK tax department, told me the system used to reject emails which included sex, which was a problem for people who lived in Middlesex and Sussex, for example. Crazy.
posted by Pigpen at 4:53 PM on April 15, 2006


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