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Tony Grist

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Fandom [Aug. 4th, 2007|12:12 pm]
Tony Grist
Fandom- I don't get it.

Why would you want to mess with someone else's characters when you can create your own?

Does J.K. Rowling take pleasure in badly written stories about her characters having sex?  I doubt it.  Why- If you admire and enjoy her work - would you want to disrespect her so? 

Isn't "fan" a bit of a misnomer?

But lets move from the general to the specific. An artist just got banned by LJ because of an image she posted of Harry and Snape.

Only the banning seems ineffective because she's bounced back and the image is viewable. (I'm not giving links. I don't want to give her any more publicity than she's getting already).

I clicked. I was expecting an image of them kissing. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

The characters were clearly modelled on Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman. Isn't this defamation of character or libel of something?

Even more to the point:  British comedian Chris Langham is about to go to prison for downloading images which (I assume ) are comparable to this. 

So- forget morality- LJ needs to guard itself against prosecution.

But I don't want to forget morality. You take characters from a beloved children's book and you produce an image of them that any paedophile would be proud to own (you can quibble over whether Harry looks underage or not if you want to be legalistic and miss the point) and  I can't think of any grounds on which I'd be prepared  to defend you.

A lot of fans are up in arms and banging on about censorship.  I just watched a video of a girl give a little self-righteous speech then attempt to burn her LJ shirt with a blow torch .  Fine. Off you trot to some less scrupulous site and good luck to you!  As it happens, I'm perfectly happy to see you go.

[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2007-08-04 02:39 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 02:58 pm (UTC)
I thought you'd approve. :)

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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2007-08-04 03:05 pm (UTC)
I still remembering vividly selling art at an anime convention where vendors had sold NC-17 graphic novel pornograph involving rape (including tears and blood) of a boy who looked to be in six or seven by an older man... to teenage girls not yet seniors in high school.

Underage girls. Buying porn. Of underage boys.


The following year, the comcon clamped down on those vendors. It must have occurred to them that, however this activity is considered in Japan, in America selling pedophilia porn to minors can get you in serious trouble. :,
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 03:21 pm (UTC)

It's like fandom lives in a fool's paradise.
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[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-04 03:23 pm (UTC)
Age of consent in Japan is 13. And fictional characters have no age, regardless of what they look like.

In America, any teenager can walk into Borders and buy a copy of Anne Rice's "Beauty" series (originally written under the pseudonym "A. N. Roquelaure), which are BDSM sexual fantasies in graphic detail. Fanny Hill is, of course, widely available and in the public domain.

It is endlessly bizarre that we have such drastically different standards for textual and visual depictions of the same thing--I don't know if it's because the lawmakers assume reading is automatically "less crass" than looking at pictures, or what.

Our actual laws on "obscene depictions of abuse of minors" might surprise you--it's likely that those graphic novels only crossed the line in one or two pages, and if they whited out a few panels, there would be no violation at all. It's possible that there was *no* legal violation at all, and the content just squicked the convention management.

You are, of course, welcome to dislike what other people enjoy reading, writing or looking at. But that doesn't make it illegal, or "wrong." The laws are written broadly to allow for a wide variety of tastes.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2007-08-04 03:38 pm (UTC)
I sat for a while with those teenagers and talked with them; they showed me their purchase and I asked them, "Why do you like it?"

The one with the book said, "Well, it's always the girl who gets raped. It's nice to see guys finally get theirs." The others sitting with her nodded (and in one case, cheered).

I think anything that promotes this kind of attitude is "wrong." Whether or not it should be illegal is one thing; but as an adult human being, I feel it's my duty to disapprove of such attitudes. People travel in packs; the more people who espouse an opinion, no matter how insane, the more safe people feel espousing it. I don't want their to be safe places for people to feel righteous about little boys getting raped to make up for previous oppressions of women.

You could always think such things. What confuses me is when it became okay to say them out loud without shame.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2007-08-04 03:53 pm (UTC)
I don't want their to be safe places for people to feel righteous about little boys getting raped to make up for previous oppressions of women.

Well said. Using past injustices to justify current ones is (to use one man's terminology) parasitical, tasteless, and crass.
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[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-04 04:06 pm (UTC)
Which might be a reason to restrict such content from minors, who may use graphic content (of any kind) to justify their immature rages, prejudices, and other attitudes that they should be moving through rather than reinforcing.

But none of this drama has included any notion of "restrict these journals to adults only." None of the discussion has mentioned "this might have negative effects on minors, and therefore we need good controls to keep them away from this stuff." This has not been treated like alcohol or driving--something adults are free to do, but minors aren't, or are heavily restricted at, because they are too immature to be trusted with the full consequences.

I know plenty of adult women who read that kind of graphic novel. None of them are reading it "to see the guys finally get theirs."

Part of the complexity of these laws is that every situation is *required* to be judged individually. It's *not* part of these laws to say, "there's this graphic rape comic book, and this piece of art is a similar style, catering to a similar audience, so it should be banned too."

Note that neither of the suspension pics dealt with rape, nor even with "graphic sexuality" as defined by law. (Masturbation is not "sex" according to the legal definitions. Don't ask me why.) So they're saying these pics were offensive by community standards (but *repeatedly* refuse to tell us which community's standards they're using--certainly it's not the one where their servers are hosted, in downtown S.F.), AND have no serious artistic merit.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2007-08-04 11:06 pm (UTC)
I am thinking about your reply, and while considering it I want to offer this thought, which is important to me: young people are impressionable. I remember as a teenager how much I looked up to my chosen idols; I remember my peers choosing their own heroes and having the same reactions.

Keeping the work out of the hands of minors is one part of the responsibility we have to them. The other part has something to do with being good role models. Drawing things that they can believe justifies feelings like the ones they espoused to me... I don't consider that good.

We can't be perfect, of course. But I do think we should think about how we will present to others who are looking up to us.
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[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-05 12:25 am (UTC)
This may seem like an oblique reply.

But I do think we should think about how we will present to others who are looking up to us.

In my religion, the erotic is sacred. Holy. Sex is the highest and most divine act a human can participate in.

A violent rape is a desecration of a sacred act. And it's also a reminder, that even the most depraved and psychotic of humans reaches out for that touch of sanctity, desires the divine spark that's the core of human sexuality.

Removing the sexuality from violence, from friendships, from a child's self-awareness while growing up, in our fic or our art, is profaning it. Is removing it from higher purpose, or its possibility of connection to sanctity.

It's only by teaching children to perceive and value the erotic, that they can know what a travesty rape is, that they can understand why it's more of a violation than a stabbing.

And while they shouldn't be flooded with images they can't understand, or led to believe all manifestations are appropriate in all settings--and therefore, need carefully restricted access to some materials--they can't understand sexuality if it's all kept away from them.

And we can't teach them the difference between "a violation" and "a choice" if we don't know it ourselves. Can't teach them the difference between "a mental illness" and "a fantasy--fun to think about but not to do" and "a fantasy OK to be played out between consenting adults" and "a thought to be carried out in real life" if we aren't aware ourselves what those differences are.

I have to be a filter for my children's experiences. In order to do that, I need a much broader awareness than I want them to have.
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[User Picture]From: mswyrr
2007-08-05 07:48 am (UTC)
Wasn't there rampent sexualization of young women/girls at the anime con, too, though? That's a rhetorical question; I've seen anime, of course there was.

Those girls feel the oppressive weight of the male gaze at increasingly younger ages, and they see and hear of girls like themselves becoming victims almost every day. Some of them have been victimized themselves.

I don't think their reaction is right, but I think it's terribly understandable. And I think doing something to decrease the psychic trauma would be more beneficial longterm than taking from their hands one of their ways of expressing their anger.
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