L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

17 December 2008 Blog Home : December 2008 : Permalink

I May Own Child Pornography

Right that got your attention, Mr & Mrs Reader, didn't it! It's worse. You may own some too, especially if you are sent amusing smutty jokes by friends. Let me explain.

First of all what I don't have. I don't have - unless someone has hidden them somewhere without telling me - what most people would call Kiddie Porn. There are no pictures of nasty old men buggering prepubescent young girls and boys. Not are there pictures of kiddies having sex with each other or anything like that. Furthermore I don't believe I have any pictures of little kiddies running around naked on the beach or in private gardens, though I haven't gone through all my photos, digital and film, to confirm this.

But yet I'm alomost certain that I possess something that may be considered Child Pornogrpahy. You see I'm on a
mailing list where various people send around jokey cartoons and videos and the like. Rather like Judge Kozinski in LA LA land as it happens. One of the jokes I was sent is an animated and modified version of the 2012 Olympic logo, which looks like Lisa Simpson giving someone a blow job.

So what you say? This is what:

A NSW Supreme Court judge has ruled an internet cartoon in which lookalike child characters from The Simpsons engage in sexual acts is child pornography.

In a landmark finding, Justice Michael Adams today upheld a decision convicting a man of possessing child pornography after the cartoons, depicting characters modelled on Bart, Lisa and Maggie engaging in sex acts, were found on his computer.

You see Lisa Simpson is a cartoon child and hence, in Australia, a depiction of Lisa Simpson giving someone a blow job is henceforth defined as child porn.

It isn't just those weird folk downunder that are in potential trouble. There is a guy in Iowa who is being prosecuted too. His alleged crime was ordering some Manga printed in Japan which apparently include drawings of some young looking girls having sex. Neil Gaiman feels very strongly about this because he thinks its a slippery slope. First off here's his response regarding the Australia case:

I think it's nonsensical in every way that it could possibly be nonsensical. The Simpsons characters aren't real people. They definitely aren't real children. (Given that they first appeared in the late eighties, they're also all over eighteen now...)

The famous 1967 Wally Wood "Disney Memorial Orgy" poster (http://flickr.com/photos/25308024@N08/2509508040/sizes/o/>(possibly not safe for work, might prompt embarrassing questions from small children, do not click on this if a small reproduction of cartoon characters doing softcore filthy things upsets you)is a parody of Disney's image, an attack in cartoon form on the idea of consumerism and the innocence of cartoon characters, as the Disney characters let their hair down and indulge in a memorial orgy for the late Walt Disney. The idea that you could be arrested in the Western World for having that image in your computer is mind-boggling, let alone for owning Lost Girls, or for doodling members of the Peanuts gang doing things they tended not to do in the Schulz comics, or for reading Harry Potter slash, or owning the Brass Eye Paedophilia special. And, I should warn members of the Australian judiciary, fictional characters don't just have sex. Sometimes they murder each other, and take fictional drugs, and are cruel to fictional animals, and throw fictional babies off roofs. Crimes, crime everywhere.

And then regarding the Iowa case he makes the point explicit and simple:

The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.

This is, surely, the basic point of free speech. Neil might (or might not) be surprised to find himself saying stuff very similar to Ezra Levant, but he is saying very much the same thing. Indeed here he defends a truly despicable piece of Islamic ranting:

Dear reader, don't get me wrong. I don't believe it should be against the law to have this much hate in your heart. I'd want to make sure that Al-Hayiti's calls to violence (cut an apostate's neck, kill Hindus and Buddhists, etc.) didn't meet the standard of criminal incitement, and I'd hope that CSIS was attending his sermons to make sure he wasn't going even further off the cuff. But plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism, misogyny, anti-gay bigotry, etc., ought to be legal. The answer is denunciation, debate, marginalization, etc. -- not government censorship.

But yet many people don't seem to get the point. Take Lorraine Adams and her review of "The Jewel of Medina" a book about Mohammed and his child bride:

Should free-speech advocates champion “The Jewel of Medina”? In the American context, the answer is unclear. The Constitution protects pornography and neo-Nazi T-shirts, but great writers don’t generally applaud them. If Jones’s work doesn’t reach those repugnant extremes, neither does it qualify as art. It is telling that PEN, the international association of writers that works to advance literature and defend free expression, has remained silent on the subject of this ­novel. Their stance seems just about right.

Lorraine Adams should be sent to the Neil Gaiman reeducation camp to have the point blugeoned into her. Free speech means the right to produce insulting pureile rubbish. There are no exceptions because once you start having exceptions you end up being like australia and convicting people of owning lewd Simpson's cartoons.