Log in

No account? Create an account
Eroticdreambattle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

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: elfwreck
2007-08-04 03:15 pm (UTC)

Part 2: Morality and Censorship

I don't tell you how to get off. I don't tell you whether it's okay to fantasize that you're Marc Antony with Cleopatra or reenacting the rape of the Sabines or pretending to be Judah and Tamar. I don't tell you you can't (or shouldn't) fantasize about being the evil landlord seducing the farmer's daughter, or the Man With No Name who's enthralled the town whore, or the lead singer of a boy-band with one of his groupies.

FANTASIES don't hurt anyone. We know damn well what the difference is between fantasy and reality--and that's part of why a lot of slashfic doesn't appeal to many people; the twists involved in creating an erotic fantasy mean that even if it's in-character and very plausible (i.e. a lot of House/Wilson stories), it just leaves some people cold.

So if, in my mind, I want to pretend to be one or the other side of "the nasty potions master seduces the young hero" or vice versa... none of your business. If I want to share that fantasy with other people who like it, again, it's not doing any damage to you, them, Snape or Harry. (Especially not to Snape or Harry, who don't even breathe.)
Don't like an erotic look at Harry Potter's universe? Don't read 'em. They tend to be labeled. Don't think there should be an erotic look at the Potterverse? Why not? By the end of the books, he's 17... I know what *I* was doing, sexually, at 17, and it wasn't "a single kiss with a friend I'd known for five years." Why would you think the Potterverse is any more celibate than this one?

I don't think anti-abortion-rights speeches are moral; I think they cause great harm to women and families. I don't think "all unbelievers are going to hell" rants are moral--and I *know* those have caused damage. But I'm not trying to get them removed from the web, because I believe in people's rights to have, and share, their opinions... even when I find those opinions offensive, disgusting, or delusional.

I'll be trotting off to a site that doesn't think "if I find it squicky and offensive, it must be illegal. Or at least immoral. Don't want any immoral stuff on our site."

Umm... why did you friend me, if you feel this way? Is my slash affiliation that well-hidden? (These days, I suppose it might be; my interest list has been stripped since the first strikethrough.)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 03:52 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

I don't remember why I friended you. I guess you'd written something I liked. Or maybe you friended me first. I don't remember which way round it was.

I don't hate Fandom. I don't understand it. But I don't hate it. In fact I'm interested in it and would be glad to know more. It's a cultural phenomenon and cultural phenomena interest me.

I've no problem with people trading sexual fantasies- but I think if I were hosting a site and found people were trading fantasies on it that were arguably illegal I'd have no problem telling them to go do it someplace else.

I can see why Fandom is cheesed off with LJ for not giving it better warning. But anyone who wasn't living in the cloud-cuckoo-land of Potter Fandom wouldn't have needed a warning. They would have known in advance that that image was sailing very close to the wind.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2007-08-04 03:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

Bear in mind that there's more to fandom (and fandom writing) than slash. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 04:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

I do. Indeed I do. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-04 04:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

They would have known in advance that that image was sailing very close to the wind.

There's a *big* difference between "sailing close" and "crashing into." We've been asking--begging--for MONTHS, to know what the standards are. What's acceptable, what's borderline, and what's over the line. LJ's attitude has been "if you can't tell, then you must be over the line."

Not their statements. Their actual statements have been vague to the point of useless. When pressured, they talk about depictions of 7-year-olds being raped as unacceptable content. They refused to answer questions about late-teenage graphic content.

Stupid fandom, for believing they'd follow their own stated violation procedures and warn people that content was unacceptable before suspending accounts.

Know the picture is iffy? Yes, we could go there. It would offend many people, and it's got sex in it, and that's always iffy in any U.S. setting. However, we don't think it's illegal. (And I could rattle on for many paragraphs about why, but that's not exactly relevant.)

But the policies stated indicate that borderline TOS violations will be given a chance to remove the offending content. This wasn't.

...if I were hosting a site and found people were trading fantasies on it that were arguably illegal I'd have no problem telling them to go do it someplace else...

And we've told them that if that's what they want, all they have to do is SAY SO. Tell us this is not a fandom-friendly site, and we'll migrate.

Which we're doing, because while some of us were either dense or hopeful enough to think that their past policies were still in place, we're now aware that they're actively judging things according to the Miller test, without regard to legal precedent and without being willing to explain their standards.

(I'm willing to rattle on about fandom indefinitely. More ramblings always available at metafandom, which currently is overwhelmed by this drama, but the archives touch on all sorts of subjects.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 04:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

The old-time British theatrical censor used to have a rule book which detailed the words you could say and those you couldn't, the things you could show and those you couldn't. In the end it got laughed out of court.

Rule books don't work.

There are so many imponderables- context, intention, artistic merit....

Great art will always cross borders and break taboos- but this ain't great art.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: serenanna
2007-08-04 07:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

You don't know, metafandom brought me over here out of curiosity, but I'd like to argue one point in what you've said, and that is the concept of great art.

Who says though what is worthy of great art and what isn't? Critics alone, artists alone, the history makers, or the non-artists that view it?

In it's time, the Venus of Urbino by Titian (I know I spelled that name wrong) for the Duke of Urbino was considered art solely made for the purpose of the Duke's pleasure. Is it art because it's painted, or is it porn because it's purpose is to eroticize the female form?

Throwing the fact that this was a work of fanart aside, would the same picture of two men, one appearing younger than the other, with that amount of nudity and sensuality, still be seen as obscene? Would it mean more being drawn in charcoal or painted in oils? Taking the context of the image portraying Harry Potter out of the picture, what makes this any different than any other homoerotic image?

Admittedly, I'm not even a fan of slash, but because of LJ's actions, it seems to put my writing at risk since I have written stories of a particular pair of 15 year olds in love, and yet my writing style is no different than any romance novel in any national book chain. Last I checked, they didn't card anyone for buying books, but on the internet it seems as if written word is suddenly given a lot more weight.

Also, just because it is fan-made does not mean the quality of writing in most fanfiction automatically on an amateur level. According to the reviews I've received, my stories are just as worthy of being published as any romance book . . . the only problem is that the worlds and characters aren't mine. Myself aside, professional authors have written fanfiction through know pseudonyms. In one quick Google search I found an article on professional, published authors and fanfiction in which Mercedes Lackey, a best-selling author, admits to writing fanfiction for City of Heroes, an MMORPG.

So really, I have to ask, what is the difference between art and obscene? Is it the medium, the context, or the opinion of one person? How about the difference between professional or not professional? Is it a degree in creative writing, being published by the mass market, or the opinion of who reads the author works?

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-05 09:49 am (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

That's a very big question. It's one we've been struggling with ever since Marcel Duchamp exhibited a ready-made urinal.

I was foolish to raise it.

It's probably unanswerable.

What annoyed me about this particular painting was the fact that it portrayed two characters from a children's book. I find this yucky. If it had been an image of two anonymous males it would have been fine.

I've been asking myself how far my tolerance runs. If I had come across the image by chance- in a book or a web site or on a gallery wall- I certainly wouldn't have run to call the cops. I'm a libertarian and against censorship. However by the time I found it, it was already controversial. There's been a lot of debate over whether the image is legal or not. My opinion is that LJ was wise to take it down before the issue could be tested in a court and that the artist was naive to think she could get away with it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2007-08-04 08:30 pm (UTC)

SAY SO. Tell us this is not a fandom-friendly site, and we'll migrate.

It seems to me that's what they/we are doing. Whether or not Polifilio or I or... understand or like fanfic is not important. I doubt that J.K. Rowling has any great objection to most of the fanfic that is being written. BUT, Pedophilic pornographic images are ugly and they can be and are used to stimulate the sickness of pedophiles. We fought this same issue out a few weeks ago. IF YOU WANT TO WRITE AND POST CRAP - GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!

'FANTASIES don't hurt anyone' this is another totally erroneous and stupid statement. The young jerks who buy guns and then go out and shoot up schools fuel their obscene behavior on their fantasies.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: bleachedrainbow
2007-08-04 09:54 pm (UTC)

Re: SAY SO. Tell us this is not a fandom-friendly site, and we'll migrate.

The young jerks who buy guns and then go out and shoot up schools fuel their obscene behavior on their fantasies.

That's hardly a useful comparison unless we're suddenly talking about trade in real children/people. If we're still talking about fictional characters and fantasy then I think a more useful comparison would be water pistols, paint-balling and replica guns.

Of course, it's still not a very useful comparison, but it wouldn't be a "totally erroneous and stupid" one. Just as you can't have sex with a fictional character you can't 'shoot up' a school with a water pistol. We'll, not with lethal results.

'FANTASIES don't hurt anyone' this is another totally erroneous and stupid statement.

Please explain cause and effect. Preferably without making a random and totally unconnected statement about deadly weapons.

Even though I do sometimes share my fantasies as stories, my fantasies don't hurt anyone because I don't act them out. Those people who do act out their fantasies would act them out regardless of whether or not they new what mine were.

I'm sure many kids talk about shooting up or bombing their schools, or doing other likewise horrible things ... in fact, I know they do because I was once a child in a school and how to get such-and-such a clique/teacher back was always a favourite fantasy game. But the only person who actually goes out and does it, does it in accordance with THEIR OWN fantasy because they are sick for some reason(s) not associated with the normal human activity of sharing violent stories/pictures.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2007-08-04 11:11 pm (UTC)

Re: SAY SO. Tell us this is not a fandom-friendly site, and we'll migrate.

My confusion on this issue comes from people saying "fantasies don't hurt anyone" and the notion of intangibles like art, words, attitudes and pictures creating a hostile environment.

While I can accept that the fantasy you keep to yourself harms no one, I don't see how an entire community accepting something like drawings of children engaging in sexual activity does not create a hostile environment.

There is a double standard here I don't quite understand. Words and pictures are harmless expressions of creativity... until they're expressions of some form of harassment important to someone. I don't think we can have both, and I think the boundary gets crossed when it becomes a communal/socially-accepted thing.

That's the part I think I see missing. What is harmless in your head becomes something else again when an entire community springs up to support it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-04 11:15 pm (UTC)

Re: SAY SO. Tell us this is not a fandom-friendly site, and we'll migrate.

Part of what fanfic and fanart do is to keep the fantasies in the realm of complete fiction... where a pedophile who reads "Fanny Hill" (public domain) could go out and molest a child, he certainly can't polyjuice-potion himself to earn the trust of of an underage wizard to seduce him. He can't cast a Confundus spell to confuse him. He can't beam himself onboard the Enterprise and arrange a transporter accident that de-ages Kirk to 8, and she can't use her Jedi Mind Powers to get a harem.

Pedophilic pornographic images are ugly...
1) Your judgment call.
2) The pics in question were not pedophilic, in that they had no connection to prepubescent ANYTHING. They were NOT inspirational to people who are attracted to prepubescents.

Attractive to people who like under-18s? Possibly. But that's not pedophilia... I was sexually active before I was 18, as were plenty of other people, and nobody accused me of pedophilia for it.


I wish someone would say this to the fanatic anti-gay communities. Or the ones who claim blacks aren't human. Or the pro-ana communties that tell teenage girls they can live on 400 calories a day.

However... we're going. It'll take us a while; we're looking for a place with both the website options we need, and a lack of people who think that their personal squicks are somehow moral law that everyone should follow. (And yes, we've considered that such a place might not exist, and we might have to build it.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2007-08-05 06:07 pm (UTC)

Re: SAY SO. Tell us this is not a fandom-friendly site, and we'll migrate.

Pedophilic pornographic images are ugly and they can be and are used to stimulate the sickness of pedophiles.

Ugly? Sure. But there is no good evidence out there that seeing pictures of pedophilic acts causes people to go out and *commit* pedophilic acts that they wouldn't otherwise have committed. Pedophiles are mentally ill. Most of them were molested as children themselves. Their illness isn't caused by porn. In fact, it could just as easily be argued that getting off to fictional porn (or perhaps engaging in consensual ageplay with other adults) might prevent them from needing to act out their fantasies on real children.

Healthy people who are not attracted to children do not see child porn and then suddenly go out and commit pedophilic acts. Porn doesn't create pedophiles.

Likewise, mentally healthy people do not watch a violent movie and then go shoot up their schools. The kids who have done the school shootings have had other problems that weren't being addressed. Most of them were horribly bullied. In other words, they were primarily inspired by real-life cruelty and violence.

Blaming porn or video games or Marilyn Manson songs is a great way for a criminal to deny his own responsibility for crimes he has committed. But the fact is, the vast majority of people out there see porn and hear violent songs and *don't* commit crimes. The vast majority of people are capable of separating fantasy from reality (I've had fantasies about being raped...does that mean I'm compelled to go out and actually have it happen? No.) The people who can't make that disctinction that are mentally ill. Blame the illness, not the art.

You of course are entitled to your opinions about the worth of certain works of art. I personally think that images of child sex are disgusting, and I won't let my son watch violent movies/tv shows--even a lot of them that other kids his age regularly watch. However, I am an ardent supporter of free speech and I don't think that it's okay to claim that certain fictional works are *causing* crimes unless you have the empirical data to back it up.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2007-08-04 06:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

but I think if I were hosting a site and found people were trading fantasies on it that were arguably illegal I'd have no problem telling them to go do it someplace else.

Well, LJ is based in the U.S. and by U.S. law, descriptions and images of *fictional* underage characters having sex is not illegal. Laws banning these kinds of images were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because no real minors were being harmed.

I think that this is the only way that it *can* be, honestly. Why make something illegal when there is no victim? Assertions that pornography causes people to go out and do the things they see have never been backed up by study, and actually, there is some evidence to the contrary. I'd much rather have a pedophile get off looking at images of fictional children than to have that person seek out real children or even images of real children.

I may not understand why someone wants to look at that, and I may find it disgusting, but I will support to the death their right to do so. Otherwise where do you draw the line? Would you have governments banning Lolita? After all, it describes the rape of a minor? What about movies that depict murder, rape, or child molestation? No one is actually being harmed in those films, but the acts being portrayed are certainly illegal.

I understand that there's a big difference between Lolita and fanfic about Harry and Snape, but I don't think it's the law's job to judge where that line lies.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-05 10:04 am (UTC)

Re: Part 2: Morality and Censorship

UK law is stricter (maybe unreasonably so) than the law in the US. People go to jail for possessing images comparable to this.

Actually I'm a libertarian. And I wouldn't ban anything. If I had happened upon this image by chance I certainly wouldn't have run to call the cops. However, by the time I came across it it was already controversial. My opinion amounts to this: that the decision to take it down is defensible and that the Fandom community is being naive.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)