Manga is not a crime
March 15, 2012 11:13 PM   Subscribe

About two years ago, Ryan Matheson visited Canada. Canadian customs checked out his notebook computer and found a Japanese manga on it which the customs official decided was out of line. Matheson was charged with possession of, and importation of, child porn. After two years of legal maneuvering, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund just announced that Matheson "has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada. As a result of the agreement, Matheson will not stand trial." He also won't be listed as a sex offender, in Canada or anywhere else, and he won't have a criminal record.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (201 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Manga is not a crime

ok cool but in most jurisdictions loli is
posted by p3on at 11:18 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought for sure this was a "related/previously," but I was probably thinking about this.

Anecdotal: my dad got stopped at Canadian customs and given a full-on "step into my office and sit down" treatment for 2 hours at the border for no (apparent) reason.

The actual reason? He had a print-out of an email his contact in BC had written him with directions to his house, which included the phrase "Border officers are a bunch of dicks."

(He was going to BC to pick up a turntable he bought on ebay)
posted by ShutterBun at 11:20 PM on March 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


p3on: "ok cool but in most jurisdictions loli is"

Is it? Drawn depictions of underage sex? In the US, it's not, AFAIK.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:27 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the CBLDF's press release, Executive Director Charles Brownstein said that the case "underscores the dangers facing everyone traveling with comics, and it can establish important precedents regarding travelers rights. It also relates to the increasingly urgent issue of authorities prosecuting art as child pornography."

I can't remember if, under Canadian law, the depiction of children having sex is considered child pornography. I have hazy memories of the case of an obvious pedophile possessing such material, but can't remember if he was convicted or not.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:29 PM on March 15, 2012


So he gets off, but on a plea? Doesn't that actually mean that yes, manga is a crime?

My wife and I honeymooned in Victoria and a couple years later we decided we wanted to go spend that weekend in Vancouver. She booked us into a hotel in the heart of the Gaslight with a sex tourist reputation which neither of us knew about.

At the border, the customs guy was all, "I see you are staying at Hotel N," stern look. "What is your reason for visiting Canada?"

We looked at each other, blushed and giggled a bit and told him it was for our anniversary.

He looked totally shocked, and waved us through. We were totally puzzled. When we got there, we decided it was the wrong part of town for us and relocated immediately.

A year later, we heard this place was one of the places the Pictons were picking up victims.

Despite this, the expression on the customs guy's face is one of my favorite memories of all time. He totally thought we were going to score some ladies or men of easy virtue and suspect needle usage habits, and just waved us on in.
posted by mwhybark at 11:34 PM on March 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


mwhybark: "So he gets off, but on a plea? Doesn't that actually mean that yes, manga is a crime?"

Apparently he's not pleading guilty to a crime, but to some sort of "code violation".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:35 PM on March 15, 2012


Anecdotal: my dad got stopped at Canadian customs and given a full-on "step into my office and sit down" treatment for 2 hours at the border for no (apparent) reason.

Yeah they're dicks. I think they're jealous of the US customs guys and feel the need to compensate for their lack of big showy guns or something. When I moved back from Japan I got given the third degree at customs; like "where are you staying? Oh, with your girlfriend? Odd that she'd stay with you when you were out of the country so long. And you don't know the address?" blablabla. Like lady, I'm holding a Canadian passport! What are you gonna do, deport me to here?
posted by Hoopo at 11:35 PM on March 15, 2012 [27 favorites]


As a result of the agreement, Matheson will not stand trial." He also won't be listed as a sex offender, in Canada or anywhere else, and he won't have a criminal record.

He is, however, on the hook for a sizeable legal bill.

The [CBLDF] is currently seeking funds to help pay off the $45,000 debt Matheson incurred as a result of his case, and to create new tools to prevent future cases.
posted by zamboni at 11:38 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


All customs officers are dicks or they wouldn't be doing a job where they get to judge people all day every day.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:39 PM on March 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is it? Drawn depictions of underage sex? In the US, it's not, AFAIK.

As Canadians will point out, Canada is not actually a part of the U.S. It's not at all surprising that a country without a first amendment would have different rules on "lolicon". Also the government is still allowed to outlaw "Obscenity" in the U.S, but it has to be based on "Community Standards" - just a few years ago during the bush administration they did try to prosecute some internet pornographers over some anal fisting or something like that. It's not inconceivable that someone could be prosecuted for Lolicon in the U.S if the prosecutors thought a jury could be convinced it's 'obscene'
posted by delmoi at 11:40 PM on March 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Is it? Drawn depictions of underage sex? In the US, it's not, AFAIK.

it is in australia

Also, in December 2008, a New South Wales Supreme Court judge, Justice Michael Adams, ruled to uphold a magistrate's decision that a pornographic cartoon parodying characters on The Simpsons (Bart & Lisa) was child pornography, because "[i]t follows that a fictional cartoon character, even one which departs from recognisable human forms in some significant respects, may nevertheless be the depiction of a person within the meaning of the Act."

posted by nadawi at 11:43 PM on March 15, 2012


just a few years ago during the bush administration they did try to prosecute some internet pornographers over some anal fisting

c'mon, the Bush admin was just trying to protect its monopoly.
posted by chavenet at 11:43 PM on March 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


They 'check out' your notebook computers now? I had no idea. And no sir, I don't like it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:47 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't Pornography in general highly restricted in Australia? I remember hearing about some law that said all topless models had to have a minimum bust size, or else it might be taken as 'child porn'
They 'check out' your notebook computers now? I had no idea. And no sir, I don't like it.
This has been pretty standard around the world since 9/11. Just encrypt everything, put it on dropbox/S3 and put in a fresh install of your OS before you travel internationally.
c'mon, the Bush admin was just trying to protect its monopoly.
oh come on, that was only at gitmo. And I mean, sure Dick Cheney watched tapes of these torture sessions, so it's not like...
posted by delmoi at 11:51 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


At my university we were issued a warning that if going to US for a conference to not take your laptop, instead take your conference presentation on a flash drive. This because 2 grad students and a prof had their laptops confiscated by US customs, and never got them back, at least one lost all their research. This was a couple years ago.
posted by chapps at 11:52 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Manga is not a crime

ok cool but in most jurisdictions loli is

Is it? Drawn depictions of underage sex? In the US, it's not, AFAIK.


It actually kind-of is, "thanks" to the PROTECT Act. However, as far as I know only one person was ever charged with this in a case which didn't also involve actual child porn, and the judge ruled that this was unconstitutional ("The Supreme Court outlined in Miller a three-prong test for the trier of fact to use in determining what constitutes obscenity. The Government has failed to provide any authority that indicates Congress can usurp the function of the fact-finder by doing away with portions of the Miller obscenity test in regulating visual depictions not involving the use of actual minors. Pornography can only be banned if it is obscene or involves the use of actual minors. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. at 240. Subsections 1466A(a)(2) and (b)(2) require neither and are therefore overbroad and unconstitutional.")

You can still get nailed for obscenity under the Miller test, though; the guy in this case eventually took a plea bargain with that charge.
posted by vorfeed at 11:52 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Manga is not a crime

ok cool but in most jurisdictions loli is

Is it?

As Canadians will point out, Canada is not actually a part of the U.S.


As an American I will point out p3on didn't suggest it was.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:00 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


A friend of mine is an Australian lawyer. One of her clients was charged with attempted possession of child pornography after he purchased a Japanese manga DVD over the internet, and it was deemed to have depictions of child pornography. As I recall the case was eventually dropped because the prosecution wouldn't have been able to prove intent (I think actual possession doesn't require intent, but the DVD had been confiscated by Customs). So this is a very real thing in Australia and, giving this guy the benefit of the doubt, you probably shouldn't try to import DVDs unless you're very clear about their content.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:02 AM on March 16, 2012


Last I heard, drawing had become a crime in the USA too - not just of under-aged figures, but drawings of a person that could be interpreted as under-aged, by someone who isn't you (or the artist), and who may be quite hostile to you.

Drawing cars and spaceships is still safe though. But maybe be careful about selling model rocketships in Alabama... lest they be misinterpreted. (Is that law still on the books? It presumably wouldn't survive challenge after Lawrence v. Texas though)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:13 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I moved back from Japan I got given the third degree at customs; like "where are you staying?

I'm assuming this is at YVR. It's such a shock to the system (as is stepping onto an Air Canada plane). I'm usually traveling back with my wife and two kids, and the border folks are dicks.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:20 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


A year later, we heard this place was one of the places the Pictons were picking up victims.

Despite this, the expression on the customs guy's face is one of my favorite memories of all time. He totally thought we were going to score some ladies or men of easy virtue and suspect needle usage habits, and just waved us on in.


Seriously? I doubt that was what he was thinking. Come on man, have some more respect for the 'Gaslight' district of Vancouver.
posted by mannequito at 12:22 AM on March 16, 2012


People freak out about CP. In a past job I had to deal with a guy who would scan the pictures of kids underwear models from the Kmart catalog and post them on his website (hosted by my ISP employer).
He would accompany the pics with some lascivious text, but not actually threats/intent.
It would set off the christian right no end, who would then DDOS our helpdesk till we suspended the account. A few weeks later, it would all repeat with a new username.
Eventually, we got the user's local cops to agree to field complaints and it all stopped.
So yeah, loli manga probably isn't child exploitation, but it aggravates a lot of people who are very energetic in protecting children.
posted by bystander at 12:23 AM on March 16, 2012


bystander: "So yeah, loli manga probably isn't child exploitation, but it aggravates a lot of people who are very energetic in protecting children."

These people are not "energetic in protecting children". They're moralists and fanatics.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:46 AM on March 16, 2012 [19 favorites]


Similar bullshit at YVR for me afew years back. Bless my lucky stars it never came to any court type stuff, just the erasure of my entire porn stash by some law enforcer person in Ottawa and lack of that machine for about 6 months.

Two things about this.

1) Porn is from the Internet, how the hell are you supposed to keep up on all the laws in every country you are passing through? Well, now I know Canadian law, and I guess I cannot bring this evil porn I currently have stashed into the country because I'd be a sex offender or criminal smuggler or whatever.

2) Entering YVR really does feel like coming into a prison. And it kind of is. The customs and immigration into North America generally make me feel more threatened and unsafe than any other place I have been through - including places like Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and the like.

3) Here is my observation about the secondary screening check. Just anecdata, but you'd never hear the real truth anyways. They have a very diverse crew working there (hooray, Canada, right?) which is a typical reflection of our multicultural country. But then, they seem to very intentionally pair off "confrontational" or "unsympathetic" agents with people being screened. So me, the middle aged white guy, gets the very butch lesbian who right away starts looking to find my porn. The African family gets the ex-mercenary white guy who is rooting for their turtle meat. The old Chinese woman gets the young Sikh guy. I have had to stand in that secondary line almost every time I come through, and I've been quite attentive to this. When an agent is free they will pick their target, and it isn't purely "next person in line". They make sure they are getting an "enemy" type - it is a kind of insidious racism / sexism / classism that really irks me.

4) International travellers, you HAVE TO find a cloud solution for your porn, it's just too dangerous to bring it across an international border these days.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:48 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also the government is still allowed to outlaw "Obscenity" in the U.S

Yep. Even drawings. And it doesn't have to be child pornography. It just has to be sufficiently shocking, by the standards of a State Attorney and jury.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:49 AM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Anecdotal: my dad got stopped at Canadian customs and given a full-on "step into my office and sit down" treatment for 2 hours at the border for no (apparent) reason.

thegolem and I had a similarly chilling encounter when we took a day trip from Maine to Montreal back in 1992. No one was charged with anything, but Canada just has a genial, benign reputation. It's just that we didn't expect the full Gestapo treatment going in. Then again, I guess there are plenty of Maine stoners for them too look out for.
posted by vhsiv at 12:51 AM on March 16, 2012


Immigration people can be complete dicks. Before we got married, we visited Chicago, and because I don't think sometimes (also because separate lines is SOP even for family members in Japan), I went through the citizens line, and she went through the line for suspected terrah-people. Unfortunately, we'd written my aunt's house as the place we'd be staying (because it was the truth). They detained her for half an hour, demanding to know from a Japanese person who barely spoke English why she wasn't staying at a hotel. I had no idea where she was the whole time. One of the reasons we went to Chicago, other than meeting the family, was to see if maybe someday she would be okay with living there. Not the best first impression.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:09 AM on March 16, 2012


Good god, dephlogisticated's "Sufficiently shocking" link is unreal.
posted by marienbad at 1:12 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


People freak out about CP.


Kind of. If they are "barely legal" it's cool, even if the women depicted are wearing braces, baby bibs, clutching teddy bears,sucking pacifiers, and "performing" on a bed made up with stuffed animals and Disney Princess sheets. As long as they loudly declare "I'M EIGHTEEN" while knocking their knees in their schoolgirl skirts, pooching out their lower lips, and shuffling their feet, it's cool.


Not that I am anti-pornography, but there is a hugely disingenuous divide between the condemnation of child pornography and the culture within pornography and the consumers thereof that greatly values childlike appearance and infantile trappings.

I am just thinking here of U.S. law (I recall when the law changed. A friend was working in a video shop- any tape where the girl acted like she was underage and did not did not declare "I AM ONLY EIGHTEEN!" had to be pulled)

In Canada you can thank R. v Butler among other things.

I personally have had little trouble at the border, but the fact that I work in security and generally travel with two or three lawyers probably doesn't hurt.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:26 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]



Drawing cars and spaceships is still safe though.


I DON'T WANNA DRAW CARS AND SPACESHIPS I WANNA DRAW MONSTERS AND NEKKID WOMEN


is that so wrong?
posted by louche mustachio at 1:32 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are always surprised when I tell them that of all the borders I have crossed, Canada was the only one where I had trouble, and also the only one where the agents were rude and obnoxious. Once you get in, though, it's a lovely place.
posted by Nothing at 1:39 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Does Canada maintain it's high levels of fabled politeness by sentencing rude people to Boarder Crossing?

Also, if loud moralists were really interested in protecting children, I imagine they would spend more time urging that the family members and trusted officials who seem to perpetuate the bulk of actual child abuse were more harshly treated, instead of getting worked up over comics (not to mention poverty, malnutrition, crippled educational systems, etc), but, hey....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:22 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, there is a lot of manga which is pretty repellent, so it's not exactly a righteous defense.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:24 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read that "sufficiently shocking" link and got from there to an interview with Diana:
Do you hold any ill will towards the officer who, by all accounts, made a personal vendetta against you?

Yes I hate all of them. I was forced to move to Florida in the middle of fourth grade and I never got used to the racism and the heat and the police. It was like being pulled over on your bike all the time, what's your name, are you a runaway?

[...]

In the future I want to make a graphic novel all about the court case and how living in Florida is what made me rebel and took my art in the direction that lead me to jail.

I will show how horrible the Largo police were, beating up drunks on the street, and how it is basically a police state. The police got the fire department to have our family evicted from our house with only one week’s notice and then they bulldozed the house down.
sounds about right
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:56 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, there is a lot of manga which is pretty repellent...

All the more reason it should be protected.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 3:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't know why they don't just monitor us all 24/7 via mandatory viruses. I mean sure, it'd probably slow your computer down with all of the different versions for each jurisdiction, but then we'd finally be safe.
posted by lucidium at 4:19 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not see anything hypocritical about enjoying the experience of things that one believes to be immoral.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:24 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep. Even drawings. And it doesn't have to be child pornography. It just has to be sufficiently shocking, by the standards of a State Attorney and jury.

Yeah, and I believe there was a case recently in the U.S where someone was charged with something or other for importing manga.
posted by delmoi at 4:40 AM on March 16, 2012


On the other hand, there is a lot of manga which is pretty repellent...

All the more reason it should be protected.


Surely there is some point at which "repellent" shouldn't be protected, though?
posted by dubold at 4:43 AM on March 16, 2012



I do not see anything hypocritical about enjoying the experience of things that one believes to be immoral.


Hello Senator, thanks for joining us here today.
posted by dubold at 4:43 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surely there is some point at which "repellent" shouldn't be protected, though?

No, there is no such point.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:44 AM on March 16, 2012 [25 favorites]


I traveled to Canada with my grandmother when I was ten years old, so this would have been about 1987. The border officials searched us for two hours. They took everything out of my grandmother's car and even disassembled the seats. When they went through my backpack, the customs official found a little cardboard jewelry box. Her eyes met mine with a clear "Ah ha, Ive caught you now!" expression. She was visibly disappointed when she discovered that the box contained little toys, though of course she inspected those thoroughly too. You never know what a little girl and her grandmother (herself a native of Canada) might be up to on their way to visit relatives in Montreal.

I support free speech to the ends of the earth but I will shame the hell out of lolicon people and those who minimize the horror that is child pornography. There's a creeping normalization of that shit on the Internet, even in this thread, and I won't let it go by without comment as if it's remotely okay. It isn't.
posted by gentian at 4:45 AM on March 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder if the admins of that Rule 34 site can sleep at night.

Not so much from any kind of guilt as from wondering if it's today when their doors will be kicked in.
posted by delfin at 4:49 AM on March 16, 2012


I'll leave this here for anyone tempted to feel glib about child pornography. It's not a fun article.
posted by gentian at 4:49 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You should have probably left that in a thread about child pornography. We're talking about cartoons that look like child pornoraphy, the production of which involved no children.

This line gets repeated a lot in discussions of this nature, because people keep leaving things like that.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:51 AM on March 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


I know they're not exactly the same thing, but it would be disingenuous to pretend that these worlds do not overlap.

This is upsetting me and I think I need to step out of this thread.
posted by gentian at 5:20 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Only tangentially related, but what's the font on that MANGA IS NOT A CRIME sticker?
posted by Tom-B at 5:27 AM on March 16, 2012


Serious question: what happens if I go to Canada with NO porn but lots of BDSM gear? Specifically leather and metal restraints, hoods that lock on, whips, crops, floggers, large quantities of rope, dildos, etc.
posted by desjardins at 5:38 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pursuing people who keep CP on their computer is not entirely about their support of exploitation of real children, but also their desire to get off with images of children, real or not. It shows you are potentially a dangerous predator. Having lolicon on your computer suggests that you have a fetish for children, and I fully support Canadian Customs in trying to keep people who like that crap away from my kids and out of my country. I wouldn't say I'm particularly "energetic about protecting children", as much as I am supportive of my government taking steps to protect me and mine.

I've had my own experiences with Canadian Customs that left a bad taste in my mouth, having my very real and valid ID passed around the office to be rudely scrutinized in my presence. "Does this look legit to you? I think it's a fake. What kind of name is that?". I think they were just trying to keep me squirming while my friend had his car torn apart, but it was disconcerting to say the least. This was a couple years post September 11, and we'd had zero issues being admitted into the US. My travel companion was a member of the Canadian military- not that he should get special treatment, but you'd think that would afford him more politesse, and perhaps some lend some credit to our citizenship. Welcome home, eh?
posted by sunshinesky at 5:41 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Illegal or not, people who consume/create/traffic in loli are shitbags who probably shouldn't be allowed around children.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:45 AM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


sunshinesky, child porn is no more likely to make someone a dangerous predator than regular porn is likely to make someone cheat on their partner.
posted by rebent at 5:49 AM on March 16, 2012


sunshinesky, child porn is no more likely to make someone a dangerous predator than regular porn is likely to make someone cheat on their partner.

If you're not interesting in molesting children, child porn is of no interest to you, and is in almost every case actively disgusting and outrageous to you. The fact that somebody possesses kiddie porn or loli indicates an interest in sex with children.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:51 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Do you really believe that, rebent? Even if it's true, I'm not willing to take the chance with vulnerable children.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:52 AM on March 16, 2012


And a more accurate analogy would be "than regular porn is likely to indicate that someone likes sex", which exposes the silliness of the claim.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:52 AM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


"I'll leave this here for anyone tempted to feel glib about child pornography. It's not a fun article."

...and one that has no place in a discussion about art.
posted by markkraft at 5:57 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Try making all these comments again, but with depictions of children and violence.
posted by BeReasonable at 6:08 AM on March 16, 2012


He was stopped under the obscenity laws, which are a lot more restrictive than most people think: it doesn't matter if the subject is fictional. The specific child porn provisions state: "any written material or visual representation that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years."

There has been at least one case where even just text has gotten people arrested. In 1993, a guy was arrested for writing a "child porn" story involving high school kids, fictional ones. He was convicted of distributing child porn (uploading it to a bulletin board), and got 2 years probation.

Canadian customs has been aggressively looking for child porn in the past few years. There have been a couple of very high profile arrests, involving real porn, recently, including the bishop of Antigonish. To CBSA, it doesn't matter if the porn is real or fictional.
posted by bonehead at 6:13 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was kinda hoping that the last link was real porn FEATURING the bishop of Antigonish.

This is one of many reasons why I didn't go to a good college.
posted by delfin at 6:23 AM on March 16, 2012


Even if it's true, I'm not willing to take the chance with vulnerable children.

Yep, it is thinking like this that is ushering in the police state slowly, slowly.

It's the same with the multitude of restrictions on sex offenders - registries, living conditions and locations, etc. The threat to our children merits precrime psych profiling.

I am a father of two young children, and I think freedom of thought and the presumption of innocence is worth a couple dozen dead kids.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:26 AM on March 16, 2012 [20 favorites]


If you're not interesting in molesting children, child porn is of no interest to you, and is in almost every case actively disgusting and outrageous to you. The fact that somebody possesses kiddie porn or loli indicates an interest in sex with children.

Bullshit.

This is the same argument that dictates that people who watch torture porn want to torture and/or be tortured; that if the porn in question fetishizes non-consent, then the viewers are interested in doing so non-consensually, and not BDSM play-rape either; and that he who seeks a short woman with small breasts and a childlike demeanor is really looking for a relationship with a little girl.

The set of short women with small breasts and childlike demeanors is enormous. Your views are also offensive to them, because they deserve as much sexual freedom as anyone. If that means they want to engage in age play, and pretend they're underage for the purposes of a scene, does that make their partner a pedophile? If they upload some video of it, who is harmed?
posted by LogicalDash at 6:27 AM on March 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


If you're not interesting in molesting children, child porn is of no interest to you, and is in almost every case actively disgusting and outrageous to you. The fact that somebody possesses kiddie porn or loli indicates an interest in sex with children.

Wildly false. Almost unbelievably so.

And a more accurate analogy would be "than regular porn is likely to indicate that someone likes sex", which exposes the silliness of the claim.

Also false (and lying does not expose the silliness of anything other than the liar). There are plenty of people who enjoy porn but have serious issues about actual physical sex, and many more who simply enjoy porn of things that they wouldn't actually want to do themselves.

Do you really believe that, rebent? Even if it's true, I'm not willing to take the chance with vulnerable children.

Uh? Perhaps you could clarify what is meant by "it's true" and "take the chance", because on first blush it looks like you just said that even if it is the case that loli stuff does not indicate any predatory urges so we know that possessors are not more likely to molest children, we should still convict them for having it because maybe they're more likely to molest children.

Look, we all want to protect children (except for the people who want to molest them, but let's go ahead and assume that nobody in the thread is pro-molestation until proven otherwise), but people who are having moral outrage issues need to step out and take a breather. We can discuss this subject like intelligent adults.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:28 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


If you're not interesting in molesting children, child porn is of no interest to you

Isn't this like saying "If you're not interested in murdering people, violent movies and video games are of no interest to you?"

I think shit like this is gross but I also think it's scary and fucked up that simply possessing an image is grounds to be arrested.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


> sunshinesky, child porn is no more likely to make someone a dangerous predator
> than regular porn is likely to make someone cheat on their partner.

Make? I don't need "A causes B" in either case. "A correlates with B IMHO" is plenty enough for picking out skanky individuals who shall not hang around with (in the case of collectors of child porn and/or loliporn manga) any child I have any responsibility for, or with (in the case of regular porn, out of respect for my own partner) me, if I know about it. N.b. I am not any sort of government agent charged with enforcing any laws or restrained by any constitution or any formal standards of evidence. The world must construe according to its wits.
posted by jfuller at 6:38 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


actually i'm kind of okay with the increasing acceptance of censorship in the american left

mainly because there are a shit ton of people i am gonna sic the feds on just as soon as it becomes doable
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:40 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Illegal or not, people who consume/create/traffic in loli are shitbags who probably shouldn't be allowed around children."

You hear that, Moto Hagio?
posted by markkraft at 6:41 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Criminal intent isn't necessary under Canadian Law: "the motives of an accused are irrelevant.". Possession is all that matters. It doesn't matter if the possessor wants to commit the (illegal) acts, they just have to have the material.

This was put in place, I presume, to catch people who distribute for profit. It's certainly been used to limit sales and as an excuse to persecute women's bookstores particularly.
posted by bonehead at 6:43 AM on March 16, 2012


jfuller:

Make? I don't need "A causes B" in either case. "A correlates with B IMHO" is plenty enough for picking out skanky individuals who shall not hang around with (in the case of regular porn, out of respect for my own partner) me, if I know about it.
"

Have fun living a long, lonely life.

Your logic is terrible. You are saying:

If someone watches porn, and I have a partner, that person is skanky.
posted by rebent at 6:46 AM on March 16, 2012


Make? I don't need "A causes B" in either case. "A correlates with B IMHO" is plenty enough for picking out skanky individuals...

I am not any sort of government agent charged with enforcing any laws or restrained by any constitution or any formal standards of evidence.


Sure, um.. great. Two things strike me about this comment: First, you're skirting the discussion since this isn't post isn't about personal behavior on the enforcer side, it's about the very government agent you're distancing yourself from. You don't want kids you're responsible for to have chocolate, don't give them chocolate. Secondaly, the correlation thing is a bit scary as well because where do you stop? Persons of Native Americans descent here in the US [A] are much more likely to have a drinking problem [B]. Are they therefor inherently less likely to deserve a drivers license? Or less suitable for the kids you have responsibility for to associate with? That train of though derails pretty quick to me.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:46 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those spelling/grammar errors are painful, I apologize as I head off to the coffee machine.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:49 AM on March 16, 2012


There was also this incident from last year when Tom Neely and the late Dylan Williams were crossing the border to go to Toronto Comics Art Festival.

I have some hope that the increasing visibility of these cases (and comics in general) will prevent this from happening more, but I also think it may get worse before it gets better.
posted by darksong at 6:51 AM on March 16, 2012


While we gear up to denounce this guy as an icky child molester or whatever, is there any info about what manga these images were from and whether it actually was lolicon or shotacon or other ickiness? There's a lot of deeply skeevy manga out there (nonetheless worthy of free speech protection) but going just off the info in that article it's interesting how many comments assume a)the material was lolibait and b)the border patrol wasn't overreacting. For one thing, Japanese obscenity codes are/were focused on forbidding the display of pubic hair and genitalia. (Tentacle sex scenes=created in part to circumvent bans on depicting penises.) Depending on a manga artist's drawing style, that leads to blurry sex scenes involving cutesy, big-eyed characters with hairless, apparently prepubescent genitalia.

Not arguing that that isn't exactly the appeal for many people, including real pedophiles, or that many artists deliberately play to this audience, but that doesn't make everything with that aesthetic child porn. If that's even what those images WERE.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:52 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nobody wants to hang around your kids, trust me.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:53 AM on March 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yep, it is thinking like this that is ushering in the police state slowly, slowly.

You know, I really value my autonomy and am generally wary of laws which serve to tell folks what they can and can't do outside of clear cases violence and abuse. However, I have a great deal of trouble suggesting that someone who possesses that kind of pornographic material does not pose a measurable [violent and abusive] threat against a group of people who are incredibly vulnerable and at risk.

I'm really surprised at the CP sympathisers I'm seeing here today. Maybe I'm not enough of a libertarian to continue reading this discussion?

CP is CP whether or not it has real, live children. Whether or not they're being exploited- clipping underwear ads of kids is still all kinds of sick. Keep that shit in your head, and I'll leave you alone, but the moment you take any action (including downloading suggestive material) on a fetish which prizes the vulnerability and sexuality of a child is disgusting, reprehensible and definitely worth of keeping you the hell out of my country. At least try a little harder to keep that shit under wraps if you're so goddamned innocent.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:53 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sunshinesky, I don't see any "CP-sympathisers" in this thread. You're acting like he was planning on posting his manga on billboards. Nobody is forcing anything on you.

But by the logic that "CP is CP" whether or not children are actually abused, I'm guessing you were one of the people screaming for videogames to be banned after Columbine? Because violence is violence and it's sick whether or not somebody is actually hurt, right?
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:59 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think it's difficult to discuss this in overbroad terms. While some people will feel that absolutely any image is okay, and others will feel like any image suggesting child sex, rape, etc. in any way at all should be banned, most people are somewhere along the continuum.

In this particular case I felt I had to look up the image in question to get some idea of what is being discussed, and sort of steeled myself. I found a link in this article (7th paragraph; not great clicky for most work, obvs). I was surprised how utterly tame it is (from my position on the continuum, at any rate), and it certainly makes a big difference in how I view the efforts of the Canadian authorities.
posted by taz at 7:02 AM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


However, I have a great deal of trouble suggesting that someone who possesses that kind of pornographic material does not pose a measurable [violent and abusive] threat against a group of people who are incredibly vulnerable and at risk.

Doesn't a measurable threat require something with like, numbers and evidence and not just appeals to emotion and calling people that don't agree with you "sympathisers" of child porn?
posted by ndfine at 7:03 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


(To be clear, the article I linked above is fine and SFW, the specific link for viewing the image may not be, depending on your work.)
posted by taz at 7:06 AM on March 16, 2012


Maybe I'm not enough of a libertarian to continue reading this discussion?
not enough of an anarchist/anarchosyndicalist
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:06 AM on March 16, 2012


I see enough claims that possessing CP isn't enough proof that you're a predator that I'm willing to call it "sympathy".

And no, I'm not "one of those people". I don't believe most folks playing violent games are violent people. It's a legal outlet. I also figure that in general, victims of violence might have a better chance of protecting themselves or pursuing their assailant than a child who is involved in an unfair power dynamic. They might trust their abuser simply because they're an adult, or may not want to come forward due to shame or inability to discern abuse from normal behaviour.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:07 AM on March 16, 2012


To be clear, I don't think this extends to "rape" porn, because I understand that to be a valid fetish which can be explored safely, although it could potentially involve a victim who may feel too much shame to report or have an inability to defend themselves.

I don't consider CP to be a valid fetish, and while using media to explore it is safer than participating outright, I don't consider that it's something that can be otherwise safely and legally indulged (as a rape fetish), so I worry about the repercussions of going easy on someone who is found to possess the shit.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:13 AM on March 16, 2012


> the image in question

Wow, that's like, a stick figure kama sutra poster. I almost hope he had something worse on his computer, because I can't believe this amount of time and effort was wasted over that.
posted by lucidium at 7:13 AM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow. The logic behind "Is in possession of fictional materials which depict or describe (or can be taken to depict or describe) sex involving minors == Predator" is beyond my ability to comprehend.

But apparently that makes me a "sympathizer".
posted by kyrademon at 7:16 AM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I LOVE that the images deemed obscene by Canadian border control in taz's NSFWlink are all direct, deliberate homages to classical Japanese art.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:17 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am fully willing to admit, I should point out, that it's not entirely clear what kind of images this man had, so I'm not really commenting on his particular case. Just in theory since lolicon was brought up.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:19 AM on March 16, 2012


Wow, that's like, a stick figure kama sutra poster. I almost hope he had something worse on his computer, because I can't believe this amount of time and effort was wasted over that.

Yeah, I followed the link expecting something pornographic involving children, but all I saw was a sex positions chart using cartoons with two characters of roughly the same height and size. I would describe the characters as humanoid, but that's about it. I would be way more worried about the mindset of the customs official and prosecutors in this case than I ever would about Mr. Matheson.
posted by ndfine at 7:19 AM on March 16, 2012


To be clear, I don't think this extends to "rape" porn, because I understand that to be a valid fetish

Careful, some might suggest that you're a Rape Porn sympathiser.
posted by panboi at 7:19 AM on March 16, 2012


i have called the cops on everyone in this thread including myself

even the driver gets in trouble
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:20 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's ok, panboi, I'm the one who came out to call people "sympathisers".
posted by sunshinesky at 7:21 AM on March 16, 2012


CP sympathisers? Really?

Come, on: I also advocate that possessing The Turner Diaries be legal, so I am a Racist Sympathizer, right? I mean, who'd want to see that except a hateful, racist creep? And really, who else would, I wouldn't want the guy around my kids.But I believe in free speech. Not in free speech except for this one hot-button issue which I personally find icky.

And no, I'm not "one of those people".

Yes, you are. One of those people who wants to make their taste law.

And I understand that some stuff is so nasty you just react viscerally. But I'm at a loss to understand it when you then say that you think "rape" material is fine. but "CP" is not. So, tell me, it's really OK to depict an 18 year old being beaten, tortured and raped as she screams in agony, but not OK to depict two 15-year-old screaming in pleasure? This makes sense how?
posted by tyllwin at 7:21 AM on March 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


I have hazy memories of the case of an obvious pedophile possessing such material, but can't remember if he was convicted or not.

R. v. Sharpe.
posted by Dasein at 7:22 AM on March 16, 2012


But I'm at a loss to understand it when you then say that you think "rape" material is fine. but "CP" is not.

Because rape fanatasy is something that can be explored in real life, with two consensual parties and a safe word.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:24 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just can't understand how porn that explicitly depicts rape is alright and totally valid but a nude cartoon that appears under 18 = deportation. How are people attracted to rape on a higher moral platform than people attracted to minors?
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:25 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]



Because rape fanatasy is something that can be explored in real life, with two consensual parties and a safe word.


But so is underage fantasy, as evidenced by all the schoolgirl costumes in S&M shops. Keyword "fantasy". Nobody is actually underaged, just as nobody is actually being raped. So again, difference is...?
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:27 AM on March 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Doesn't a measurable threat require something with like, numbers and evidence and not just appeals to emotion and calling people that don't agree with you "sympathisers" of child porn? "

Measurable by everything except evidence, numbers, metrics, statistics, and actually committing the crime. It's a bit like Minority Report, only without any actual forethought.

But if drawings of potentially risque underage people are a public danger, can't we at least agree that any fictionalized depiction of murder -- generally considered to be the most serious crime worldwide -- should be a serious felony offense?
posted by markkraft at 7:28 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Underage fantasy is something that can be explored in real life, with two consensual parties and a cheerleader costume. So what? In either case, doing it in real life is a disgusting crime.

How it is logical that "CP" -- and I resist that label for the material in question -- viewers are child rapists but "college coed rape" viewers are not coed rapists?
posted by tyllwin at 7:30 AM on March 16, 2012


I don't know, markkraft - I mean, you could pretend to murder someone, with two consensual partners and a safeword. It's not completely impossible, like asking your partner to wear a schoolgirl uniform.
posted by kyrademon at 7:30 AM on March 16, 2012


The lesson here is that the people changing the diapers of adult babies are child-rapists-to-be and should rot in jail. Unless the diaper-changers are dressed in cheerleader uniforms at the time?
posted by nicebookrack at 7:34 AM on March 16, 2012


Oh yeah, because dressing in a cheerleader outfit makes a woman look like an 8 year old.

Ok, guys, see you next time.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, Canada. Where the /idea/ of sex with figures /appearing/ underage is a crime.

Seriously, I recall that they shut down an exhibit of drawings and paintings, and arrested the artist, for depicting "child sex". The irony? The artist was working out his demons related to his own sex abuse.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


The problem, in part, is that whether or not something qualifies as child porn is sometimes really arbitrary, particularly when it comes to comics and even more particularly when those comics are super-stylized, as most manga is.

If you aren't used to looking at the slim-figured, tiny-breasted, body-hairless figures of a certain brand of mainstream female manga characters -- including those who're canonically supposed to be adults -- they could easily look like adolescents. Most border patrol officers aren't reading a lot of manga and have no context for what they're looking at.

And you know, I am personally not a fan of this brand of comics, to say the least. But I don't think someone deserves to be sent to jail for owning racy mainstream manga. That just seems completely insane to me.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:38 AM on March 16, 2012


In this particular case I felt I had to look up the image in question to get some idea of what is being discussed, and sort of steeled myself. I found a link in this article (7th paragraph; not great clicky for most work, obvs). I was surprised how utterly tame it is (from my position on the continuum, at any rate), and it certainly makes a big difference in how I view the efforts of the Canadian authorities.

Taz, thanks for looking it up and linking us to it. I had written my above comment without seeing the artwork in question, and now that I HAVE seen it I'm rolling my eyes even harder at this entire situation.

Of course, I'm also a little terrified that we've come to a place where drawing a cute picture of two people having sex (which I have absolutely done at least once in my life) and trying to move it across an international border could put me in Ryan Matheson's position.

Enforcing laws in this manner doesn't help anyone.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:47 AM on March 16, 2012


Oh yeah, because dressing in a cheerleader outfit makes a woman look like an 8 year old.

There are healthy adult women who are 4'10" and skinny. If they want to wear a resold schoolgirl's outfit and bang dudes in a recreation of their old classroom, it's none of your business. If they upload video of it in the U.S., it is only subject to the same obscenity laws as everything else.

I think that's how it should be. Do you disagree?
posted by LogicalDash at 7:47 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you disagree?

Not at all, I think my sarcasm may have been missed.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:58 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, because dressing in a cheerleader outfit makes a woman look like an 8 year old.

Slight topic derail: I had a college roommate who at 24 years old was very pretty, very short (under 5 feet), slim (90lbs soaking wet) and flat-chested. Unless she made a special effort with heavy makeup and padded bras, in jeans & tshirt she looked twelve at the oldest. She was also an intelligent, funny feminist who had a regular supply of boyfriends. I'm not privy to her sex life, but I'm going to assume that some of the guys she dated were attracted to her because she looked so young *even though they would not have sex with children* and that she as an adult was OK with that, whether or not she ever wore cheerleader outfits. Because the alternative suggestion that she only date people attracted to her *in spite* of her appearance, because otherwise they're sick pedos, is really depressing.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:01 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I want to second the link LogicalDash just posted. It's got some really great writing, especially relevant (insofar as US law goes, because ya'know the US is not Canada, or vice versa) is the third paragraph in section II that begins:

Congress may pass valid laws to protect children from abuse, and it has. E.g., 18 U. S. C. §§2241, 2251. The prospect of crime, however, by itself does not justify laws suppressing protected speech. ...
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:02 AM on March 16, 2012


But... the sarcasm means that you don't think that women can pass for children that way... and my point is that they can, or close enough for pornography anyway. It fooled some pretty serious anti-porn crusaders.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:02 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, because dressing in a cheerleader outfit makes a woman look like an 8 year old.

Ah, are we talking only about 8 year olds? That makes it harder for me, because of course that increases the squick factor. But I'm still on the free speech side if no actual 8-year-olds are involved. I don't want the creeps around my kids, of course, either way.

But a cheerleader outfit can easily make a 20-year-old look 4 years younger. And usually in these discussions, the argument is that "underage is underage"

But I still don't get why one horrible crime is so different from another.
posted by tyllwin at 8:05 AM on March 16, 2012


I for one am more creeped out that the average age of the cast members of Glee is quite a bit beyond that of the characters themselves (which are often portrayed quite obviously as sexual objects/targets). That is to say that I'm more creeped out by that than when I used my phone (I'm at work) to view the image that has caused such a ruckus.

Maybe this is neither here nor there, but it is ...a thing. I guess you could argue that the target audience is for teenagers but demographic numbers show that adults are quite into the show. *shrug*...
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2012


The prospect of crime, however, by itself does not justify laws suppressing protected speech. ...

This is one of the key differences between the US and Canada. This isn't the way things work in our law. Canadians, or at least our Parliaments, do not value freedom of speech as highly as Americans do. We have hate speech laws too, for instance, which would be impossible in the US. Security of the person and privacy are equally important rights in Canada, an the lines of acceptability get drawn differently here.

Canadian obscenity law has a checkered past---it's been used, is still used, to selectively persecute homosexuals, especially lesbian publications and bookstores, for example. The police have been criticized for their homophobia and mis-application of the law, both by judges and in the media--that last link, the Little Sisters Bookstore decision notes specifically that it's illegal to use moral grounds, vis homosexual descrimination, to prosecute obscenity. Given these equality protections, there's no great clamor to change our laws, as there was through the 90s when it was being used as a "moral" club to persecute "deviant" consensual behaviour.

All that said, Canada historically disagrees with the US on the limits on speech be it obscenity or hate speech. It's one thing that really separates our countries, and I don't see it changing any time soon.
posted by bonehead at 8:25 AM on March 16, 2012


I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:25 AM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


When it comes to actual crimes against real-life children, the perps often receive a get-out-of-jail-free pass. Especially if they have political, social, or occupational clout.

We all know about the process of shuffling priest molesters from parish to parish.

And then there's Jerry Sandusky. When one of his alleged rapes came to light--through a direct eyewitness, mind you--university authorities took the bold step of confiscating his keys to the shower room. These authorities may be jobless right now, but they're scott free, and Sandusky is cooling his heals at home, the only crimp in his lifestyle being occasional rashes from his ankle bracelet. When will he be tried, and possibly convicted? Nobody knows. The system grinds on in its slow fashion. And Sandusky stays (relatively) free.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2012


Nothing should be censored. I even have a hard time with the "no yelling fire in a crowded theater" because dickery comes in all forms.
posted by Kokopuff at 8:31 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.

The whole point of what most of the people in this thread are saying is that the image in question wasn't even CP manga to begin with, and that the distinctions are often completely arbitrary.

I want to fight on this hill because I make comics for a living, as do many of my friends, and if vague laws are going to be enforced in ridiculous and inconsistent ways it DIRECTLY affects me and my professional community.

(What I'm never surprised by is the tendency to make sweeping, dismissive judgements in conversations like this one.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:36 AM on March 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


"I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on."

Because free speech should only apply to things that don't bother anybody!
posted by kyrademon at 8:39 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the material, taz.

I don't take much issue with Canada's expression laws, but it would be nice if they weren't enforced in part by people who were too dumb for the police and too lazy for the army.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:40 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's illegal to use moral grounds, vis homosexual descrimination, to prosecute obscenity
cool but obscenity is a moral judgment though
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2012


CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein talks to Tom Spurgeon about the case and discusses the images in question.

(I guess I should point out that Brownstein and I are on the Small Press Expo board together.)
posted by darksong at 8:44 AM on March 16, 2012


I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.

Why defend freedom of icky speech

The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don't. This is how the Law is made.
posted by zabuni at 8:44 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's worth is so long as it protects a single child from filth like this!
posted by stet at 8:47 AM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


obscenity is a moral judgment though

In principle, that's true; protection of public morality was the reasoning used for prosecuting obscenity in Canada, particularly before the Little Sisters judgement. "I'll know it when I see it" sort of stuff.

My sense, however, is that the courts and parliament have been evolving obscenity to mean depictions of stuff that is non-consensual and that which breaches other human rights as the legal baseline now. So, still a moral judgement, but one rooted in the rights described in the Charter, rather than an ill-defined "public morals" clause. The CP provisions are statutory though and provide little room for interpretation.
posted by bonehead at 8:55 AM on March 16, 2012


I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.

Oh? Why? It's not some love of mine, but it just frequently comes up. If it were the Turner Diaries, a hateful thing, much more objectionable than the silly little drawing in question, would it be as surprising? If I were standing up for Fred Phelps, would the hill make more sense? Cause I'll stand up for those just as quickly.

Sadly, the real chink in my armor is that I'm not actually absolutist -- if you were to ask me if there's ever a point at which I'd make it illegal, I'd have to drop my eyes and mumble "yeah, probably."
posted by tyllwin at 8:55 AM on March 16, 2012


The Turner Diaries are illegal in Canada, btw.
posted by bonehead at 8:58 AM on March 16, 2012


what about that photo of the vietnamese kid running from the napalm
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:59 AM on March 16, 2012


CP is CP whether or not it has real, live children. Whether or not they're being exploited- clipping underwear ads of kids is still all kinds of sick. Keep that shit in your head, and I'll leave you alone, but the moment you take any action (including downloading suggestive material) on a fetish which prizes the vulnerability and sexuality of a child is disgusting, reprehensible and definitely worth of keeping you the hell out of my country. At least try a little harder to keep that shit under wraps if you're so goddamned innocent.

This is a weird position to take, and it doesn't stand up to any scrutiny. You (and a lot of other people in this thread) are apparently arguing that possessing media that depicts an action is equivalent to explicit endorsement (and possibly active participation in) of that action IN REAL LIFE. That... is a tall hill to climb. Do you watch movies where the dashing protagonist kills a bunch of people? How about music with lyrics about cheating on spouses? Because by your logic, that makes you a murderer and an adulterer. Would you care to explain how this these two cases differ, without using an argument that can be paraphrased as "won't someone please think of the children?" Meanwhile, do you tear the cable out of the wall every time Johnson & Johnson runs an ad for baby shampoo? Because, ohmygod, it's a CHILD who is NAKED, which must mean everyone watching it is into that kind of thing.

I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." --H.L. Mencken
posted by Mayor West at 9:02 AM on March 16, 2012 [23 favorites]


OK, so in the interests of justice (or at least a sane arguing position) I delved into the apparently depraved depths of the Internet to find out just what he got arrested for.

It was a version of a Japanese classical art print on sex positions, the Shijūhatte, which is itself a parody of an even older print on the methods by which a sumo wrestler can obtain victory, done in the 'super-deformed' style.

You can view it here (NSFW page or site), along with the original, and the print about the sumo, so you can compare them all and make your own decision.

I think it's a bit weird, but not particularly pornographic.

But dammit, if we're going to claim a hill to fight on, let's make sure we know what the hill is!

(This is your warning: the site, sankakucomplex.com, has a number of articles and pictures on the relative-to-the-US-and-Canada odd fetishes and costuming appearances; it is probably not safe for work in most cases and some of you should not click the link at all lest your heads explode from your blood pressure going through the roof.)
posted by mephron at 9:11 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I don't think this extends to "rape" porn, because I understand that to be a valid fetish

Actually, you would be dead wrong, in Canada at least. Heavy Metal Magazine was heavily censored in the 80s and 90s. I remember buying copies with huge chunks ripped out by our friends at Customs. The problem was a set of sci-fi comics, Duuna, which explicitly showed rape.
posted by bonehead at 9:16 AM on March 16, 2012


I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.

First they came for a wisp of cotton candy over a paper cut, and I did nothing.
posted by delfin at 9:19 AM on March 16, 2012


>"I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on."

Because free speech should only apply to things that don't bother anybody!


I would be curious if the "pro-free speech" folks in this thread have children or not. Also, maybe it's a cultural difference, as Canada tends to be less libertarian in outlook than the US, so we're more comfortable to some reasonable limits to expression such as hate speech or Holocaust denial.

I don't understand how the manga on the guy's computer was not pornographic and did not portray children. Is there a link to this, as the OP's link wasn't all that clear about it.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:28 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


@kokuryu do you have evidence the kochs are funding this or do you mean a different kind of libertarian
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:31 AM on March 16, 2012


I'm going to have to use an AskMe, aren't I?
posted by desjardins at 9:36 AM on March 16, 2012


KokuRyo, yes, I have a daughter.

I'm not arguing that it's cool or that I'd have been OK with a creep hanging around with her when she was 12. There's a huge difference in "people I want around my daughter" and "people I want in prison."

She's in college now. And I personally see zero difference in CP and porn that glorifies coed rape. I'd like to see the extremes of both reined in. An argument of "consensual 16 year olds is horrible, but raping 19 year olds is fine" seems insane to me. I'm more concerned with how graphic or inciteful the material is.

Which brings us to the (NSFW) material in question :

It's not, IMHO, porn at all, it's just silly. They're not even children, really -- they're toons.
posted by tyllwin at 9:46 AM on March 16, 2012


So having that on his laptop caused this guy all sorts of grief going through customs? Wild.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:50 AM on March 16, 2012


It was a version of a Japanese classical art print on sex positions, the Shijūhatte, which is itself a parody of an even older print on the methods by which a sumo wrestler can obtain victory, done in the 'super-deformed' style.

Having looked at the image in question, I would question whether the characters depicted were even children. Super-deformed characters have big heads incomparison to their bodies; they are like cartoon bobble heads.

I have a big problem with banning drawn images of under-18s - or textual depictions of minors - having sex, because no one can ever draw an objective line between art and "gross". When real minors are involved in the production, there is a clear crime that has been committed -- frankly, I would ban the use of under-18 models in every context except when supervised by their parents, because the sexual harassment and abuse of minor girls in the fashion industry is just as serious a problem as sexual abuse elsewhere.

But my first exposure to the use of the child porn laws against works of the imagination -- and Canadian laws specifically - was in the prosecution of Eli Langer for his paintings which were (in part) about child abuse.

I have read textual material which could be legally construed as child pornography; as a creative writing student in high school, I wrote textual material which depicted underage sex -- and I would have drawn it as well, if I had any ability to draw. Novels that I read as a teenager depicted under 18-sex explicitly, though I think anyone would be hard-pressed to claim that Entries from a Hot Pink Notebook lacks artistic merit. (Really awesome novel, must read for every teen and everyone else too).

But "artistic merit" is too slipperly a concept for me, so I don't want to see that part of the law. I think that laws against child pornography should fixate on the actual crime committed: the abuse of a child, and the support (through demand) in the abuse of a child.
posted by jb at 9:51 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow, based on the accusations, I assumed much worse. Now that I've seen the comic, it reminds me of an NSFW version of Love Is....
posted by deathpanels at 9:57 AM on March 16, 2012


Love is isn't really safe for work.
posted by jb at 10:03 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're not interesting in molesting children, child porn is of no interest to you, and is in almost every case actively disgusting and outrageous to you. The fact that somebody possesses kiddie porn or loli indicates an interest in sex with children.

Even if that were true, an interest to commit something that is a crime is not the same thing as the actual crime. Otherwise a book of lock picking techniques and a bunch of crime novels about burglary is in-disputed proof of a criminal career and completed theft.

Because rape fanatasy is something that can be explored in real life, with two consensual parties and a safe word.

You've never heard of ageplay?

Even beyond that, let's say the manga was an explicit "high school girls fucking" story about lesbian school girls between the ages of fifteen and sixteen. It's quite legal to be a lesbian school girl, so would it be okay for a minor to possess the manga but not an adult? Frankly as a teen it was illegal to draw myself having sex, or write a steamy love letter to my boyfriend suggesting what I'd do with him.

I became sexually active at 14, with a 16 year old. For my cultural cohort this is not that precocious, and as part of trying to be responsible about it, I was exposed to a ludicrous number of legal regulations intended for my protection. Laws preventing child-to-adult sex make a degree of sense, because children are not legally allowed to have the same autonomy as adults are, both physically and in the matter of property and employment, but drawings? Jeeze, that's stupid. Especially chibi porn.

Serious question: what happens if I go to Canada with NO porn but lots of BDSM gear? Specifically leather and metal restraints, hoods that lock on, whips, crops, floggers, large quantities of rope, dildos, etc.


None of these objects are illegal. Customs officials are within their rights to stop and interrogate you, but all manner of restraints are fair game. Or border porn laws are more regressive- for example squirting porn is okay inside the country, but not brought over the border. They might balk at the dildo, but we can openly sell dildos for sexual pleasure without emblazoning "for novelty use only!" in all the Canadian municipalities I've bought dildos in. Call one of Canada's help lines for a clarification.

You cannot, however, bring in a used mattress unless you get it certified.
posted by Phalene at 10:07 AM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Holy shit you guys there's a total difference between short, slim adults and children. When you're defending porn starring the former and claiming that as a defense of porn including the latter that is incredibly fucked up.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:14 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


You cannot, however, bring in a used mattress unless you get it certified.
posted by Phalene


though they tend not to notice if the used mattress is in a van load with a whole lot of furniture and books and clothes.

Funny story - we moved back to Canada from the US without knowing that we should have checked out the customs laws on the value of the goods we were bringing in. So when we got to the border, the officials were all like, "didn't you make an inventory of your moving van, like you are supposed to?" and we were like, "Um, noo, we were too busy packing..." and then they said, well, if your stuff is worth more than $10k you have to declare it.

Turns out that we just needed to declare if we were bringing in any one thing that was worth more than $10,000 (like a piano or a car). Thinking of our mixture of cheapest Ikea and Goodwill-sourced furniture, we started laughing. We didn't declare anything.
posted by jb at 10:18 AM on March 16, 2012


so on a similar note, but i'm kind of curious as to whether the method of transmission for "hate speech" in canada matters. do they have cyberbullying laws, and are they enforced?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2012


There's also a total difference between actual living, breathing, not-to-be-molested children and splashes of ink on paper. I'm a lot more comfortable giving the latter the benefit of the doubt when it comes to borderline cases.

And that's what this is LITERALLY about, isn't it? Not whether this piece of artwork is borderline CP or not CP, but about what the defender of Canada's border line considers borderline.
posted by delfin at 10:21 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm mostly shocked to see people defending CP without shame honestly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:25 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit you guys there's a total difference between short, slim adults and children. When you're defending porn starring the former and claiming that as a defense of porn including the latter that is incredibly fucked up.

No one is defending porn including children.

the line we are arguing about is regarding porn including imaginary children. Frankly, I'd have no problem banning drawings of real specific children as well any photographic images of child abuse, given that they are real.

But I can't draw a line between important works of imaginative art which depict imaginary children in sexual ways/circumstances, and lolita manga (which I might find personally distasteful, but I also find almost all sex in action books distasteful) -- and if I can't, I certainly don't want the blunt and often crudely applied force of the law trying to do so.

More borderline art - what is Lost Girls by Alan Moore? He calls it porn, but (while I've only read the first issue) I would not claim that it has no artistic merit - and reading the summary on Wikipedia it clearly has a very sophisticated message about child (really teen) sexuality - dealing with both voluntary and involuntary sex and the differences between them.
posted by jb at 10:27 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit you guys there's a total difference between short, slim adults and children. When you're defending porn starring the former and claiming that as a defense of porn including the latter that is incredibly fucked up.

You're the guy who said that interest in and possession of cartoon porn indicates a sexual interest in children. Stop projecting.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I interpreted Pope's comment as "people who possess cartoon images of children having sex are interested in having sex with children", which I think is a fair statement to make.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:34 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


No. Interest in the depiction does not = interest in the act.
posted by broadway bill at 10:38 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tell me definitely what "Child porn" is, PG, and I'll tell you if I defend it. I defend this. I defend Nabokov. I even defend Moore's Lost Girls, though I don't like it. There's plenty I won't defend, though. To begin with I won't at all defend anything featuring actual children involved in actual sex.

a fair statement to make.

So, you actually think that him possessing this illustration is ipso facto proof that that he wants to have sex with children?
posted by tyllwin at 10:39 AM on March 16, 2012


I interpreted Pope's comment as "people who possess cartoon images of children having sex are interested in having sex with children", which I think is a fair statement to make.

Well, again, you're leaving some things unsaid. You're both saying "people who possess cartoon images of children having sex are interested in having sex with children, and should be treated as if they have done so by law enforcement." Which is pretty shitty policy, in general.
posted by Mayor West at 10:40 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah, I agree with that statement entirely, Mayor West.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:47 AM on March 16, 2012


I have no idea why I am arguing about this. It seems rather pointless. Anyway, back to creating Omaha the Cat Dancer slashfic!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2012


The creepiest manga otaku don't want anything to do with real people anyway. They think reality and real things are "3D pig disgusting".

No, I'm not joking. Such a mindset is called 2D complex, or nijikon.
posted by PsychoKick at 10:57 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: Well, yeah, I agree with that statement entirely, Mayor West.

Wow. Have you really thought that through, entirely? Then it would seem likely you also agree entirely with this:

"people who possess cartoon images of children being murdered are interested in murdering children, and should be treated as if they have done so by law enforcement."

I've only replaced one cartoon depiction of a heinous crime with another equally heinous crime, so logically you're for censoring both, right?
posted by gilrain at 10:58 AM on March 16, 2012


I interpreted Pope's comment as "people who possess cartoon images of children having sex are interested in having sex with children", which I think is a fair statement to make.

I possess an image of a woman urinating on a turtle. I have no particular desire to go out and ruin an actual turtle's afternoon in a similar manner.

I'm mostly shocked to see people defending CP without shame honestly.

Which is somewhat of an inaccurate description of what's actually being argued. Child pornography is a nasty, nasty thing and mere possession of it can get someone's life ruined, their reputations destroyed and their mailing address changed to "pound-me-in-the-ass prison." Before we slap that label on a given image and apply related penalties, we'd better be able to agree without a shadow of a doubt WHAT THAT LABEL MEANS.

Is it strictly photographs and videos of actual children nude or engaged in sexual activity? Can pictures of underage children without clear sexual intent be put in the same category? (Paging David Hamilton, Jock Sturges, and anyone who's ever taken pictures of their three-year-old in the bathtub to Fotomat.) Do they have to be actual children, or are drawings equally culpable? (Paging 85% of the Rule 34 repository.) Writings about minors having sex? (Too much literature to list.) Private pictures/drawings/writings between consenting minors who are old enough to legally boink but are not 18 yet? How about if they're married with parental consent, but STILL not 18 yet?

WHERE THAT LINE IS DRAWN and BY WHOM is what's important here. If he'd had photographs of an actual nine-year-old being sodomized on his hard drive, this wouldn't be defended by anyone here. What makes this case interesting and worthy of debate is that this guy has spent two years fighting off charges and racked up a large legal bill over a piece of artwork that is comparatively innocuous, kicked off solely by a Customs agent's opinion that it's equally as culpable as a kindergarten fisting video.
posted by delfin at 10:59 AM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't quite understand how people can look at this situation and accept what a waste of time it was, and still think that anyone arguing against this level of policing is just doing it because they're "defending child porn".
posted by lucidium at 11:02 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I interpreted Pope's comment as "people who possess cartoon images of children having sex are interested in having sex with children", which I think is a fair statement to make.

Except it's not.

TMI disclosure: I'm into loli manga, but in no way interested in having sex with children. I was molested as a child, I know firsthand how damaging it can be and wish it on nobody. When I read these comics and stories (never actual pictures of actual children, which are a whole other very different actually criminal thing), I'm projecting myself in the adult role and the child role and playing with the power dynamics in my head. I'm recontextualizing past abuse in ways that are arousing, positive and empowering, and most importantly ways that HURT NO ONE. It's as therapeutic as porn can be.

I'd really hate to have to explain all this to some border patrol dickhead rifling through my stuff for hints of thoughtcrime, though. I know it's way more difficult, but maybe we should stick to fighting the innumerable criminal acts perpetrated against actual living breathing children instead of getting all twisted over ink and pixels.
posted by Freyja at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2012 [31 favorites]


KokuRyu: I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.
[...]
KokuRyu: So having that on his laptop caused this guy all sorts of grief going through customs? Wild.

That is, in a nutshell, why people choose this hill to fight and die on. It's never just drooling uber-predators who pay for these laws, especially not when you're banning works of pure fiction. As jb points out, just about every collector of sexually-explicit fiction has something which could be interpreted as illegal despite the fact that the characters are supposed to be over 18, and that's a problem. Many collectors of sexually-explicit fiction have something which involves teenage characters, too -- and pretending as if this is always and necessarily equivalent to "child porn" is also a problem. The extent to which we lie to ourselves about human sexuality is shocking.

Same deal with "people who possess cartoon images of children having sex are interested in having sex with children". If you really don't get that someone viewing image A may actually be exploring Issue B, I don't know what to say to that... this is one of the basics of sexual fantasy, and it doesn't stop applying just because one of the characters is a child. Fantasy is much more complicated than "possessing cartoons featuring X means you want to do X". At the risk of stating the obvious, someone who collects these comics may primarily identify with the child in the scenario, not the adult... and that's just one way this kind of fantasy might not fit a simple "you want to have sex with kids" conclusion (on preview: jinx!)

Without actual harm to an actual child, fictional fantasies involving children are -- by definition -- harmless. You may not like them, and I'd personally agree with you on that, but the idea that they necessarily indicate a desire to harm children is wildly inaccurate.
posted by vorfeed at 11:19 AM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


That's a brave thing to admit in a thread like this, Freyja, thanks for your comment.

I think people need to bear in mind that you really can't extrapolate much about a stranger's sexuality from your own experience. People hold fetishes for all sorts of reasons, sometimes complex, sometimes simple, sometimes baffling, sometimes obvious. Different aspects of sex work for different people in all sorts of ways, many of which you couldn't imagine without seeing it first-hand.

Anyone who thinks it's as simple as 'into loli = abuser' is being, IMO, far too reductionist to have useful answers on such a complex topic. Apart from anything else, it seems obvious to me (though I don't have the numbers to hand) that the number of people who are into underage imagery must be far more than the number of people who have actually harmed, or would harm a child.

Also, people who are glibly describing loli manga and similar drawn depictions as 'CP' are being disingenuous. There's a very important difference between them: photographic child porn is the direct result of a real, tangible crime.
posted by Drexen at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I want to say thank you, Freyja, for offering yourself as a personal illustration of the issue. It's very brave, especially considering a large number of commenters here have expressed the serious opinion that you ought to be arrested and jailed.
posted by gilrain at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


pro tip: If you're traveling from US to Canada frequently (I commute weekly), get your Nexus card (or Global Entry if for other countries). It's $60, and you have to go through an interview process (and thereby forfeit another chunk of your privacy to our betters), but you get to skip the whole customs process at the border.

Literally, you get off the plane, step to a Nexus kiosk for a retinal scan, receive a printout, grab your baggage, and hand the printout card to the folks that collect your customs forms on your way out. No interview, no waiting in customs line, no dealing with douchey border enforcers.

Be advised that there's no James Bond music playing for the retinal scan, which I feel is an oversight.
posted by LordSludge at 11:27 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


The most fascinating thing about this topic is how quickly it exposes the willingness of some self-identified progressives and leftists to use punitive measures against expression based on entirely uncorroborated moral intuitions. How easily these people would endorse sending others to reeducation camps if circumstances ever allowed them to.
posted by cheburashka at 11:38 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


put me down as another adult survivor of childhood molestation who finds therapeutic relief in artistic depictions of underage sex. no children are harmed (except the one in my psyche i'm trying to heal).

if you want to protect your kids against molestation, look in your own backyard, your own congregation, your own family reunions. nerds drawing pictures on the internet are not your top concern. stranger danger is out of control and it puts actual children in harms way because the people protecting them are spending so much energy looking for creepy, trench-coated molester-stache guy at the gas station and not at all being concerned at the tball coach that spoils little sally with a popsicle after every game.
posted by nadawi at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Pursuing people who keep CP on their computer is not entirely about their support of exploitation of real children, but also their desire to get off with images of children, real or not. It shows you are potentially a dangerous predator.

While I agree on that, it is still the possession of pictures of a crime (assuming CP and not manga comics) and not necessarily a crime itself. You can have tons of execution videos or pics on you computer and nobody would give a f... And while I agree that you want to take care that people having such stuff should not be around children, there is quite a with hunt for them.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2012


Really, that's the most fascinating thing? Nothing about human sexuality or the nature of government or what it looks like when rights get put to the test... just a lame little opportunity for you to imagine some bullshit stuff about liberals?
posted by fleacircus at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm always surprised at the people who choose defense of CP manga and comics as their hill to fight and die on.

Well, there's repellent squicky lolicon stuff out there, which would is tricky for folk to defend in abstract or in particular, unless you can bodge together a decent argument based on civil liberties or can argue from Freyja's position.

And then you've got the image the fellow got busted for:
http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2009/12/25/shijuhatte-the-48-positions-moe-style/
which honestly looks like bobbleheads or hello kitties going at it in low resolution.

We're persecuting a man for something which is as innocuous and difficult to masturbate to as those lame 'skeletons fucking in 12 positions' t shirts.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Freyja, thank you for your valuable comment and your courage in speaking up here. It's too easy to dismiss the audience for lolicon etc. as a homogenous predator not worthy of defense, or to gloss over the ways sexual abuse survivors use fantasy, porn, and role play in their own sexuality.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:14 PM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is a really fascinating discussion, but I'm afraid all I have to contribute is...

MetaFilter: I have no particular desire to go out and ruin an actual turtle's afternoon in a similar manner.
posted by sonika at 12:20 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every barbarous culture believes in heresy and witches.
posted by clarknova at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2012


it's a photoshopped turtle. sasha is nuts, but i don't think she's crazy enough to actually pee on a turtle.
posted by nadawi at 12:26 PM on March 16, 2012


It's turtles all the way down, I'm afraid.
posted by delfin at 12:33 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


How easily these people would endorse sending others to reeducation camps if circumstances ever allowed them to.

I don't know about that, but I will point and laugh at people who are fans of lolicon.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:39 PM on March 16, 2012


I will point and laugh at people who are fans of lolicon

Oh, something we can agree on then.
posted by tyllwin at 12:41 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really, that's the most fascinating thing? Nothing about human sexuality or the nature of government or what it looks like when rights get put to the test... just a lame little opportunity for you to imagine some bullshit stuff about liberals?

To be honest, I feel much the same way. I wish I could say I'm surprised at seeing so many mefites express rabid support for obscenity laws (which have always been little more than a club communities beat their outliers with), but the fact is that our own brand of moral-majority panic has become a major plank of the mainstream left since the 1980s, just as it always has been for the right. Civil rights are not valuable because they protect everyone, no matter how unpleasant or widely disliked; no, they're valuable because they protect the right people, and so the wrong people must be silenced. And of course there are good reasons why the wrong people are wrong -- there always are -- and of course that is sufficient reason to make them suffer -- it always is -- and the shame and lies and repression get more and more familiar with every passing year.

Listen, Dandelion. You're fond of stories, aren't you? I'll tell you one -- yes, one for El-ahrairah to cry at.
posted by vorfeed at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


fair is fair - everyone list all your weird fetishes so we can laugh at you. yes, even that one you only look at once a year and then blush for a week afterwards.
posted by nadawi at 12:43 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sure is a lot of slippery slope arguments here.

Canada (in the form of official law), and Canadians in general I think, are not so black and white on free speech. We generally accept that limiting free speech in some circumstances in order to better social order and welfare is acceptable restriction and risk. The argument that if you restrict anything, it will all go to hell is a fallacy. Canada has been wish-washy on free speech for a very long time and I challenge anyone to show a general degradation of free speech over a long period of time. I understand the argument of free-speech at any cost, but we as a nation do not subscribe to it. OTOH, PATRIOT-style acts have been very hard to pass here, woman and men have the right to be bare-breasted (but not armed), we don't hold people offshore in military prisons indefinitely and we don't tell you what gender mixes may wed.

Freedom comes in many flavours.

Also, as a foot note, it is important to note that the border service may limit the importation of something which is legal to possess. Importation is not the same as possession, and the CBSA is not a court. That they, or more importantly a specific officer, may limit the importation of something does not necessarily make it "illegal". Crossing the border in any country often leaves you open to a large number of somewhat arbitrary rules.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2012


One of my favorite manga lately is Gunslinger Girl. It's a scifi series about very young girls who are brainwashed and cybernetically enhanced to serve as efficient but short-lived government assassins, then assigned adult male handlers who direct them at targets. It's an action series with lots of violence and little sex, but the focus is character study of the relationships between the girls, who are both brutal child soldiers and emotionally  damaged children, and their often-reluctant handlers, who are encouraged to build and use father-figure-protector bonds to manipulate the girls into compliance and loyalty. The kind handler treating his charge with tender affection is heartwarming until you remember that her loving obedience will lead to more missions will lead to her earlier death; the ambivalent handler treating his charge with guilt and brusque detachment is reasonable until you remember that he's the only emotional support she has.

The series originated as sexually explicit indie lolicon comics, and it would not be as powerful if it weren't totally exploiting an aesthetic overlap between lolicon and child abuse: the art style, the cute little girls with big guns and inappropriately adult behavior, the co-dependent relationships.

I don't usually read lolicon because it's not my thing and much of it really does squick me out. But Gunslinger Girl wouldn't exist without lolicon and lolicon tropes, and that's proof enough for me that this squicky material can contain artistic value. I would still be very cautious a volume making it through Canadian customs. First they came for the moe chibi not!kama sutra, and I didn't say anything because I wasn't a chibi-sex lover blah blah blah. Then they came for my tiny Italian assassins, and shit just got real.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:21 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Freedom comes in many flavours. -- Bovine Love

Indeed. But I note that your username is suggestive of relations with animals. A person who uses a reference to relations with animals in their username obviously has an interest in engaging in relations with animals, and animals are vulnerable and cannot give consent. The predominant flavour of freedom therefore requires that you remit $75,000 and a couple of years of your life. Furthermore, everyone should point and laugh at you, and should recommend to as many others as possible that they do the same. Enjoy the aftertaste, and come back any time.
posted by cheburashka at 1:44 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


posted by cheburashka

Where's pot and kettle when we need them?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:52 PM on March 16, 2012


To me, the most confusing thing about this entire situation is that people apparently keep their porn right there on their laptop's hard drive and not on an external hard drive clearly labeled "DEAR ELDERLY RELATIVES, IN THE EVENT OF MY UNTIMELY DEATH PLEASE DESTROY THIS WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE".

Is this not basic common sense?
posted by elizardbits at 1:52 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


elizardbits - i thought the exact same thing! but, then i saw the picture in question and realized that i'm pretty sure that fairly similar, innocuous to me, drawings are in my general purpose dump folder. of course, i don't think i'd cross an international border with anything personal on my electronics.
posted by nadawi at 1:55 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if I crossed an international border today, they'd find those execrable 50 shades fanfics on my desktop and quite rightly have me executed without a trial.
posted by elizardbits at 1:56 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what? I'm not actually defending CP comics because if they come for the CP, they will pretty soon start coming for Romeo and Juliet and Lolita and Gunslinger Girls. That may very well be a true and valid argument to make.

Furthermore ... the fact that not everyone who reads CP comics is a sexual predator who wants to have sex with your kids - while this is certainly true, as some very brave commentors here have very effectively demonstrated - is a side issue. A digression that has unfortunately taken over this thread because of a few posters' weird obsession with the rather ludicrous idea that no one could possibly have any interest in a fictional depiction of a sex act they were not intent on engaging in, in real life.

I actually think that people should be able to read fictionalized and imaginary representations of whatever the hell they want without being treated as criminals.

Period.

Whether or not these works have literary merit. No matter for what reason that they are being read.

They. Are. Fiction. No one is being harmed or exploited or damaged except fictionally. As in, not in reality. ANYTHING else about what they "might" do is purely speculation. Speculation that is, frankly, based on your own fantasies.

I understand why the slippery slope argument gets made. But honestly, I think even the VERY FIRST STEP on this slope, before it slips down, is a step way too far.
posted by kyrademon at 1:58 PM on March 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


I actually agree with you on things which are entirely fiction, kyrademon. I have a hard time seeing how we have a significant increase in social welfare or prevent an exploitation.

But as to the 'no one is being harmed or exploited', that does get tricky sometimes. It should be clear on drawn materials. But what if they were drawn from real life models? Does that make a difference? If I showed you two drawings, similar in 'offensiveness' but one was drawn from life and the other purely from imagination, such that one involved exploitation, does that now taint the drawing or should they still be considered the same? What of pictures of children that were taken innocently, but are presented as porn? What of a video take secretly in a child's bedroom, with nothing asked or done to the child, they were not bothered in any manner but engaged in sexual acts on their own (not even knowing they were being observed)? If we can assure that anyone viewing will never know who the children were, are they being exploited or harmed and, if not, should that footage be legal to distribute or possess (not the same, two different questions)? I know the hard core free-speech advocates might say yah, it should be legal. But if the argument is about exploitation or harm, it isn't so clear where the line is.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


i wonder about people who have such a strict never under 18 line when it pertains to fantasy - like, did you all lose your virginity over 18? or do you never fantasize about your pre-18 sexual beginnings? do you ever picture the first cock you sucked? the first breast you saw? are you now a pedophile because the person you're remember was the same age as you and thus, underage? what about when you remember your pre-teen tv crushes - for me, sara gilbert was one of my first lesbian crushes (and older than me). if i am titillated by darlene/becky/david slash, remembering myself as a child and the early confusion about sex, am i now a suspect pedophile?
posted by nadawi at 2:31 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


even the VERY FIRST OF STEP on this slope.... is a step too far.

As BL says above this is a not the way Canadian law gets written. We like exemptions so much we have exemptions to our exemptions. It's a deliberate feature of our law to leave as much freedom to the judges and officials as possible, so that they can tailor their actions to the circumstances as necessary. Sometimes that doesn't work well, as was arguably the case here.

However, I can guarantee that this will not reduce the ambiguity in the current laws. Absolutes in any direction make most Canadians nervous (eg Steven Harper) , including absolute free speech. Your sentiment is completely foreign to the way this country has always done things. There are no inalienable rights in Canada, always a balance of competing ones.
posted by bonehead at 3:26 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know the hard core free-speech advocates might say yah, it should be legal.

No, I don't think any of us would. I think we can take it as read that no-one is defending the right to involve real, actual children in pornography, whether or not it also includes drawing. This issue is about materials like manga (and especially the subject of the FPP) which don't involve actual children at any point in the production.
posted by Drexen at 5:43 PM on March 16, 2012


Well, I would say that the possession of child pornography should be legal--mainly so we stop getting those stupid "sexting" cases where kids get taken to court for sharing (admittedly ill-advised) naked photos with one another. But if the same photos are then distributed to creepy old guys, they shouldn't get to say it's okay because no adult had a hand in its production. If they had that excuse it would be too easy to, eg., pose as a minor to get kids to send photos. The photos would be indistinguishable, and proving that kind of fraud is nearly impossible. So yeah, keep the circulation of child pornography locked down, and if lolicons want to produce child-looking-pornography that actually stars adults, they have to get all the usual documentation from their actors.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:13 PM on March 16, 2012


It would make sense to make a Romeo-Juliet style exception on naked images of minors, as well as with actual sex. So 15 year old girl sends her nude photo to 15 year old boy, he's too young to be considered to be possessing child pornography. But a 30 year old could be charged for collecting photos of 15 year olds.
posted by jb at 7:25 PM on March 16, 2012


Long term goal, we should all be nudists.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:11 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Serious question: what happens if I go to Canada with NO porn but lots of BDSM gear? Specifically leather and metal restraints, hoods that lock on, whips, crops, floggers, large quantities of rope, dildos, etc."

It wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Come here instead. San Francisco beckons to you..!

Oh... I suppose you wanted an answer. Hm. I would try FetLife.com for that one. Very free, very inclusive... and it was created by Canadians, so they would have several communities of people who could answer your question.
posted by markkraft at 9:14 PM on March 16, 2012


To comment on one of the tangents, there seems to be growing evidence that this criminalisation of the icky actually puts children in greater danger.

Even just last week in Savage Love, a pedophile wrote in, expressing his fear that he might lose the battle to keep himself away from children if he couldn't get help or talk to someone, but he was too terrified of being thrown to these wolves if he sought any kind of help at all.

That right there points to real shit that society and people can be do that really saves kids, yet the people claiming to be protecting kids are the ones preventing it happening.

Another Gold-Star Pedophile
posted by -harlequin- at 9:19 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]




So, this might seem like an obvious question, but....

How many actual, confirmed pedophiles -- the ones that the police's time and attention should be focused on -- have been caught to date, as a result of cracking down on loli material? How many of these secretive pedophile trading rings have been brought down as a result?

I say this because regardless of whether you personally find loli repugnant or not, you should at least want police to focus their efforts on targeting those actually raping children, right?!
posted by markkraft at 9:22 PM on March 16, 2012


"Serious question: what happens if I go to Canada with NO porn but lots of BDSM gear? Specifically leather and metal restraints, hoods that lock on, whips, crops, floggers, large quantities of rope, dildos, etc."

It wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Come here instead. San Francisco beckons to you..!


Careful though - I know of at least one person was stopped at the US border for having too much sexy in their suitcase, and was accused of coming here "to work"...
posted by -harlequin- at 9:23 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"expressing his fear that he might lose the battle" - oops - that wasn't in this letter, (or if it was it was edited) it was from the expert's reply.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:27 PM on March 16, 2012


reminds me of gman's comment here where he recalled telling a Canadian Border agent, "not even the fuckin' Americans are this bad!"
posted by mlis at 10:00 PM on March 16, 2012


Something like this is grounded in the real world, and I can get behind it: Under age models risk creating 'hyper-sexualised French lolitas'. Here are real things, done to real children, with a widespread effect on our culture.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:00 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


1) Use proper full disk encryption.

2) "I'd like to take a look at your laptop". OK!

3) "Please give me the password"

4) "No".

Return to step 3 in a loop as needed.
posted by thewalrus at 2:49 AM on March 17, 2012


I'd like to know how successful that would be in real life. Somehow I think defying their authority like that would not have an ideal outcome.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:05 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're a Canadian citizen and don't have contraband on you, they can't deny you entry, they can just waste your time. Persons from other countries may be refused entry.
posted by thewalrus at 3:26 AM on March 17, 2012


and don't have contraband on you

But isn't that what is at issue - they want to see your porn. Would they confiscate the laptop for analysis if you don't open it up for them?
posted by Meatbomb at 3:56 AM on March 17, 2012


You can solve that using TrueCrypt: just act cooperative and hand over the password to your decoy OS. Put a "my passwords" file and a bunch of made-up business spreadsheets in there to justify the password protection.
posted by vorfeed at 10:46 AM on March 17, 2012


I'm really surprised at the CP sympathisers I'm seeing here today.
I'm mostly shocked to see people defending CP without shame honestly.

What reprehensible, disgusting and dishonest accusations. I don't get to make the rules around here, but saying this to other MeFites should forfeit your membership in this community.

CP is CP whether or not it has real, live children. Whether or not they're being exploited

A mind-numbingly stupid thing to say. It's not clear what exactly your dog is in this fight, but it clearly has nothing to do with protecting children.

Something like this is grounded in the real world, and I can get behind it: Under age models risk creating 'hyper-sexualised French lolitas'. Here are real things, done to real children, with a widespread effect on our culture.

You've invented the cause and effect here. You've also invented the effect for that matter; this "rise of the Lolita" is as real as every other parental moral panic. Remember rainbow parties?
posted by spaltavian at 1:02 PM on March 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


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