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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.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kishenehn
2007-08-04 03:29 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you, Tony.

I took a look at the drawing in question, too, and I thought it was creepy and sad and not particularly artistic ... but if fandom wants to obsess about stuff like that, I guess it's up to them.

In today's political and social climate, though, it's naïve and irresponsible of them to self-righteously expect other individuals or entities to enable the distribution of such material. The simple fact is that one of the people portrayed is underage in some jurisdictions, and no matter how you parse the law and the definition of "art," there are overzealous law enforcement types in the US and elsewhere who would eagerly and happily prosecute you for possessing or distributing such stuff. I don't agree with that puritanical attitude, but that's the way some societies are right now ... and it would be both foolish and irresponsible for LJ to ignore that reality. Enabling the distribution of such material exposes LJ to risk, and it exposes its members to risk.

Depending on the jurisdiction in which they live, individual members of the fandom should keep that in mind, as well, for their own protection. And more than anything else, they should stop their self-righteous whining -- it's not justifiable in this case, and it's not making them any friends at all.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 03:58 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you say.

I'm fairly certain this image would be illegal under British law. I guess a lot depends on the skill of the lawyers involved, but anyone who allowed it onto their hard drive would be taking a risk. People have been put on the sex offenders register and even imprisoned for creating or downloading similar stuff.



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[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-04 04:25 pm (UTC)
How do you know one of the people in the pic is underage? There's no age listed on the pic. Who says this isn't a fantasy Harry has ten years after the end of the book? Fictional characters don't have age.

We don't expect LJ to go to court for us, and support the right to share erotica that has to prove itself "not criminal." However, we DO (or did; we got over it) expect them to STATE THEIR POLICIES.

Over and over, we asked *specifically* about HP fanfic & fanart... and every time, they replied vaguely about how rape scenes with 12-year-olds (or 7-year-olds!) were obviously not going to be permitted.

These comments led us to to believe that if a case of a maybe-18, maybe-not erotic picture came to their attention, the poster would be warned "that's not permissible content; remove it or be suspended." Not "instant suspension of this and all other journals with no explanation of our reasoning."

Don't worry--we're going. It'll take us a while, 'cos we've built a HUGE community here at LJ, and the final location is still under debate. But we're all very aware that LJ doesn't want us, and there will be arbitrary bannings at whim, and we need to find a host that is willing to state directly which community's standards they'll be using for their Miller test judgements, and their standards for artistic value.
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[User Picture]From: happydog
2007-08-05 06:18 am (UTC)

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

Elf, you're being deliberately obtuse. In the Harry Potter books, Harry is underage, and Snape is not. If there's a drawing of Snape having sex with Harry, then it's a depiction of an older man having sex with a boy, and thus a depiction of pedophilia. Saying "Well, it's just a FANTASY," and "Well, there's no indication in the PICTURE of how old they are," is simply being disingenuous.

The intent of the drawing (and of a lot of Harry Potter "fanfic," is to indulge a pedophilic fantasy. That's all there is to it. Is pedophilia healthy in any way? No, as a mental health professional I can assure you that it is not - not for the agent and not for the victim. Is pedophilia legal in the United States in any way? No, it is not. Is the depiction of pedophilia in art illegal? That is currently being argued in the courts, but in our society it's generally thought that it should not be legal.

Why, suddenly, are those of us who are not involved in fandom supposed to be "liberal-minded" enough to turn around and say, "Oh, well, this badly drawn picture of Snape fucking Harry up the ass is just a fantasy and so therefore allowable" ?

If I react negatively to drawings and computer renderings of women being raped and torn limb from limb, that is my reaction, and I share it with 99% of society. If I react that way to a picture of a boy being raped by a man then that is my right. Rape is rape. Pedophilia is pedophilia. It's pretty clear. A picture is not the same as the "real thing," but one wonders about the motives of people who require these pictures to be part of their personal entertainment.
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[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-05 07:10 am (UTC)

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

Attraction to sexually mature people is not "pedophilic," even if the sexually mature person is under legal age. Whether or not Harry in that drawing is 18, he's certainly not prepubescent. This is not a pedophilic fantasy. This not even a hebephilic fantasy--the character in the picture is physically mature, regardless of apparent age.

I was happily sexually active when my body was as mature as Harry's in this pic. Nobody accused me or my boyfriends of pedophilia.

Claiming that since Harry was 17 at the end of book 7, this must be an underage Harry, is ridiculous. Certainly, this scene depicts nothing that happens in the books. It's bizarre, at best, to say that artwork based on something that never happened in canon must take place within the timeframe of canon.

--You are not expected to say, "Oh, this is acceptable." You are expected to say, "if LJ doesn't want content like this, they should say so specifically, and they should answer questions of people who know their stuff might be borderline, so they understand what's not wanted here."

When they were asked to clarify their "no depictions of underage sex", which they then changed to "... that fail the Miller test", the examples they gave involved first 12-year-olds, and later 7-year-olds. This implied that depictions of 16-18 year olds would be acceptable--or at least borderline enough to get a removal warning, rather than an instant suspension.

And I have no idea where you get the idea rape is involved in this. That picture looks a great deal like positions I have been in consensually--positions that would be fairly difficult to maintain by force.

A picture is not the same as the "real thing," but one wonders about the motives of people who require these pictures to be part of their personal entertainment.

Feel free to wonder. I don't "require" these pictures, but I do enjoy them and collect them.
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[User Picture]From: happydog
2007-08-05 01:54 pm (UTC)

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

You know as well as I do that "physical maturity" does not translate to legal maturity. A 13-year-old girl with a 36-24-36 figure is still a 13-year-old. If a 35-year-old man has sex with her, he's liable under the law for prosecution.

Secondly, this is not a picture of you having sex with your boyfriend at age 17. It is a picture of a character, Snape, who is widely acknowledged as being an adult, having sex with a character, Harry Potter, who is widely acknowledged as being underage. Going on about "canon" is a disconnect from reality. In the wider community, this would be, and is, regarded as pedophilic. Straining at gnats like "Oh, since you said 7 to 12 year olds is not OK, so 16 to 18 is ok, and we demand our rights!" is missing the point and not looking at the real world. If this were to go to court - a real live court, with a judge and a jury - fandom, and LJ/6A, would lose, and lose big, for cash dollars.

And rightfully so, because these depictions of pedophilia fail the Miller test, bigtime. Our society does not condone depictions of sex between adults and children. No amount of exacto-knife dissection of "canon" or LJ's TOS will change that in the least. Our society - the legal system, and public opinion - does not condone sex between adults and minors.

That picture looks a great deal like positions I have been in consensually--positions that would be fairly difficult to maintain by force.

But the point is that it's not a picture of you, having sex as an adult. That is legal. It's a picture of Snape, an adult, having sex with Harry Potter, who is not an adult. There is a HUGE difference. There is a power differential between an adult and a minor. In real life, adult-minor sex is punishable by law because the adult has a power advantage over the minor. The adult has power and influence over the minor and uses it to influence the minor to have sex with them. The minor is not capable, under the law, of reason on the level that the adult is, under the law. Therefore adult-minor sex is, under the law, NON CONSENSUAL by its very nature due to the power differential. Any depiction of adult-minor sex therefore depicts depicts a NON-CONSENSUAL act. And that is skating on the thin ice of the law even if you argue that it's fiction.

A great many erotic story sites do not allow stories of pedophilia or adult-minor sex at all. They'll allow sex between people and plants, or people and aliens, but no adult-minor sex. Even these sites know that they're asking for trouble if they go there, so they don't go there. So why is it that LJ is supposed to allow this, if even adult sites don't? Does LJ have a right to be protected against legal action? Of course they do.

Finally, my concern is that LJ is seen, at least for now, as a place where adults who are not looking for a hookup and not pedophiles can go in order to interact with others in a relatively acceptable manner.

I am fairly certain that 6-Apart does not want LiveJournal to acquire the same reputation as MySpace, which is widely seen as a place where pedophiles go to prey on kids. I got fired from a job for simply HAVING a MySpace page. Never mind that it was a MySpace Music page meant to promote my music, and never mind that it had NO explicit material on it, and never mind that it was allegedly not accessible to people under 18. The very fact that I had a MySpace page was grounds for dismissal.

If you or anyone else is asking me to choose between my having a safe haven to communicate with others as an adult, and the "rights" of a certain segment of fandom to depict what would be perceived as pedophilia under the Miller Test, then that segment of fandom loses.

The Internet is for the use of the public. LJ is a business and exists for the use of the public. The public has a wide range of interests, both prurient and not, but in the wider community, depictions of pedophilia are not socially acceptable, for very good reasons. If a business wishes to avoid appearing as though they endorse or condone pedophilia, then they have every right to do so, just as a restaurant has the right to ask a patron to leave if they engage in behavior that is unacceptable to the management. That's the bottom line, legally and socially.

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[User Picture]From: mokie
2007-08-18 08:35 pm (UTC)

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

I know I'm popping in very late here, but I have to say this is the BEST rebuttal of fandom's complaints that I have seen in this entire debacle, and I thank you for writing it. :)
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From: bleachedrainbow
2007-08-05 10:20 am (UTC)

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

In the Harry Potter books, Harry is underage, and Snape is not.

We're not talking about what happens in the books, which Harry is 29 at the end of (I'm not aware of that being under age in any country), and even if we were 6A have said that such fan fiction and fan art will be safe so long as characters are not depicted as children. In other words if it's set when characters who are children in the books are of age, it'll most likely be okay.

If there's a drawing of Snape having sex with Harry, then it's a depiction of an older man having sex with a boy, and thus a depiction of pedophilia.

In a fan fic test case that one fan put forth one of the protagonists was an adult who had used a de-aging potion to physically become a child again. Guess what, 6A said it was perfectly acceptable.

In this case we are talking about a picture which so obviously depicts two sexually mature grown men. I don't like the picture, but it would never even have occurred to me that Abuse might find it ground for a permanent suspension.

From my understanding of it the silly thing is that most fen aren't even angry about 6A ruling that this picture is not acceptable, they're angry because they were assured that because, quite understandably, every case would in the end hang on a subjective (even arbitrary) judgment call, that they would be asked to take down offending material and co-operate with the abuse team. In other words, fen felt assured that because they couldn't have any way of knowing beforehand whether certain things would or would not be deemed acceptable that they would not be permanently suspended unless they first refused to remove said offending material.

Did that happen in this case? Nope.
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[User Picture]From: happydog
2007-08-05 01:21 pm (UTC)

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

Disingenuous. Harry is 29 in the postscript in the last novel in the series. The books are about kids, in school, being taught by adults. Therefore, there is a power differential. Most of the abusive fanfic exploits the power differential. Do I need to go further? Most of the fan fic is about kids, not adults. Most of the bad fan art is definitely about kids.

The fact that you can even refer to a "fan fic test case" which somehow, in your view, should allow this particular brand of fandom a right to depict pedophilia proves the level of disconnection from reality that is going on here.

A "test case" between fandom and 6-Apart is not a "case" at all. A "case" is tried in court. If, in court, in front of a jury of one's peers, one tried to argue that a story of a pedophile who masquerades as a child in order to have sex with children is harmless, you know what the results would be. Because pedophilia is not acceptable in society, no matter what kind of candy coating you put on it.

You're trying to argue 6-Apart's rules to death as though they were law. 6-Apart's rules for LJ are designed to protect them from prosecution in a very litigious society - a society that, incidentally, regards pedophilia, even in depiction, as something that it does not want.

6-Apart's decision is arbitrary and subjective. That's the only kind of decision they can make. They are trying to protect their business interests, yes. They are also trying to protect those of us who are not into fandom and who do not want LJ to be perceived the same way that MySpace.

At this point an adult who has a MySpace page is perceived in many corners as someone who is a potential child molester anyway. I lost a job over the very fact that I even had a MySpace Page. Never mind the fact that it was a My Space Music Page meant to promote my music. Never mind that it was locked to people under 18, and had no explicit material on it anyway. The very fact that I even had a page on MySpace was enough.

Is this unfair? Yes. But it shows how the wider society perceives these things. LiveJournal is acceptable because it is not associated with child sexual predators. Or people who endorse child sexual predation, as much HP fandom frankly does. If they do not endorse it, then they condone it; there is little difference.

If you're going to ask me to make a choice between protecting a segment of pedophiliac fandom and protecting my right to access LJ without being thought of as a pervert, guess what - pedo fandom loses.
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From: bleachedrainbow
2007-08-05 02:48 pm (UTC)

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

Disingenuous. Harry is 29 in the postscript in the last novel in the series. The books are about kids, in school, being taught by adults. Therefore, there is a power differential. Most of the abusive fanfic exploits the power differential. Do I need to go further? Most of the fan fic is about kids, not adults. Most of the bad fan art is definitely about kids.

It is disingenuous to suggest that just because many of the characters are underage in the actual books that that "fan fic is about the kids, not the adults" or that "Most of the bad fan art is definitely about the kids". Please, show me your research and stats. In any case, THIS piece of fan art, bad or not, was not about kids.

The fact that you can even refer to a "fan fic test case" which somehow, in your view, should allow this particular brand of fandom a right to depict pedophilia proves the level of disconnection from reality that is going on here. [...]

You're trying to argue 6-Apart's rules to death as though they were law.


This is not my view. I am not trying to argue that. It it is not what wrote, nor is it to be found between the lines of what I wrote. Please do not put words into my mouth to suit your preconceived view of my view.

6A called it a 'test case', not me, and I mentioned it to show that regardless of what you, I, or anyone else, personally think, 6A have said that they recognize that the fact that many of the characters are underage in the book does not mean that they are underage in fan art and fan fic. And that so long as they are not underage in the fan fic and fan art there won't be a problem.

If they do not endorse it, then they condone it; there is little difference.

You haven't shown how it is that anyone in fandom is condoning it.

Society has a lot of erroneous perceptions that must be challenged, I'm not sure why its erroneous perceptions about fan art, fan fic, fan artists and fan authors shouldn't be challenged as much as everyone else's.

[[I think this is my third comment to this thread/post, which is my self-imposed limit when responding to controversial topics, so, although of course I'll read with interest (and possibly annoyance *G*) any response you might make, this is my last opportunity to say: thanks for taking the time to respond, your views have been of interest to me.]]
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[User Picture]From: happydog
2007-08-05 03:09 pm (UTC)

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

Prove that HP fandom condones it? They do more than that, THEY WRITE IT.

Do research on fanfic? With stats? No. First of all, I would never want to submit myself to reading that much bad literature and looking at that much bad art. I tried to do research on furries once and got seriously nauseous, so exploring the world of Harry Potter pedophilia and analyzing it is somewhere below going to the dentist on my list.

Secondly, how is it that I would even have time to research and compile stats on such a thing? Apparently unlike many HP fans, I work for a living. I have enough to do in my life without trawling through a universe of extremely bad art.

Third: I am not interested in defending fandom. It's not my job to search out the "good stuff" if there is any, which I seriously doubt. If the HP fandom community doesn't want to be regarded as a group of pervs, they need to step up to the plate and self-censor, and not let their worst examples represent all of them.

I personally think that Harry Potter fandom has become an illness for some people, just the same way that J-pop and anime fetishism has become an illness.

If you don't see how a picture of sex between a man and a boy is pedophilic, then you are living on your own planet, and my radio waves don't reach that far.
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[User Picture]From: pantherrrrea
2007-08-05 05:17 pm (UTC)

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

hat much bad literature and looking at that much bad art
I have found lot of fanfics that were better than the original be it slash, het or gen.

The next thing I don't understand is how can you judge a picture if you haven't seen it? I have, it wasn't really my thing, but and that is really big but the characters in this drawing were mature. There was nothing childish in there.

You judge people, you judge them beacause they like something you think is disgusting. That is your right. But then I have the right to look at homoerotic pictures of two mature characters be it HP/Snape or X/Y.

You don't need to defend fandom... I'd say that after reading what you have written in your comments nobody would want that.

I have read original *crap* books and there wasn't any censor so why should there be any in fandom? If a person doesn't like fanfics, then he or she shouldn't read them as nobody is blackmailing him/her to do so.
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[User Picture]From: happydog
2007-08-05 05:51 pm (UTC)

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

The bottom line is: just because you like something, DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU OWN IT. The characters belong to Rowling, not you. Fandom shows its contempt for Rowling every time they do slash fiction, putting things in Rowling's universe that she never intended or thought of.

It shows profound contempt for art, profound contempt for artists and their creation, and a profound sense of entitlement. Bad enough that artists of all kinds, including writers, never get paid and most of them spend their lives toiling in semi-obscurity.

How would you feel if you wrote a book, it became a best seller, and then a bunch of creepy folks began writing long stories using your characters, turning them into rapists and mass murderers, and posting it all over the internet? What would you do? Would you blithely say "Oh, it's OK, must be better than what I wrote anyway," or would you react to protect your art that you worked hard to create?

It's contemptuous of the artist and it's crass. An artist does not create to suit YOUR needs or your kink. If you want to read gay erotica, be honest about it and read gay erotica. If you want to write it, write it. But don't vampire off someone else's hard work and twist their characters into what you want them to be when they're not. They don't belong to you. You have no say in their actions. You are not entitled. You are not an artist, and you are not a writer, and you are NOT ENTITLED TO STEAL OTHER PEOPLE'S ART AND TWIST IT.
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[User Picture]From: pantherrrrea
2007-08-05 06:45 pm (UTC)

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

The bottom line is: just because you like something, DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU OWN IT. The characters belong to Rowling, not you...NOT ENTITLED TO STEAL OTHER PEOPLE'S ART AND TWIST IT.
Do I earn money with fanfiction or these pics?? No. Nor do I say that the characters are mine. Do I tell people that they shouldn't buy her books? No. No if somebody asks me who is my fav author I'll tell Rowling and tell them to buy her book.

How would you feel if you wrote a book... How would I feel? If the story is fantastic I'd be pleased that my work has inspired it, if terrible I'd be grossed out, but I wouldn't do anything, because you know what? Lets look at it from the view of money: Ok my book is best seller, but if it isn't a part of a series like HP, said book will be very soon forgotten. But say there is person A that has written a fanfic of said book and person B who has read it and loved it and maybe, there is this big maybe that person B will go buy said book.
Yes there would be like maybe 80% terrible ff's and there would be things that would squick me, but as I said I wouldn't do anything. If somebody tried to sell a fanfic biased on said book that would be something different, but I cannot tell people to stop writing just because I think their view is wrong and I've never intended it like that.

I read originals, I love them, when they are well written, and the same goes for ff. Plus I enjoy fanfiction because it lets me see a beloved world from other site. I don't read story because it's slash, het or gen, I read it when it's well written so I can enjoy it.

Plus I'll give you this to think: http://poliphilo.livejournal.com/423223.html?thread=5157175#t5157175

You are entitled to your view as I'm to mine and you may think you're right, but then again there are literally hundreds of people thinking the same ~ that they are right. It doesn't matter to me, right, wrong if it doesn't hurt people, if it doesn't kill, rape or abuse them then it doesn't really matter. At least to me. And the thing is that the truth is really, really subjective>>> now the truth is this, yesterday was it this and tomorrow it could be something completely different.
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