This is just ridiculous! A man in Iowa is being prosecuted simply for OWNING manga??http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000372.shtml
Some editorials are available on Anime News Network as well.http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/editorial/2008-12-11/christopher-handley/jason-thompson
In less than two months, starting on February 2, 2009, a court case will begin in Iowa. The defendant, Christopher Handley, is facing as much as 20 years in prison for the charge against him. This is, as we say on the intarwebs: serious business. Twenty years? They must claim he did something really bad. Something really bad to someone, right?
Actually, he just ordered some manga from Japan. And...that's all he did.
Some of these manga contain images that are supposedlyâ€”according to the prosecutorâ€”"obscene." But we'll put aside what kind of images they are claimed to be for the moment, because that isn't being decided anywhere but in this court case. And although we can debate it, there's no practical point in doing so hereâ€”because debating their content on ANN won't, and can't affect the outcome.
Maybe there are certain types of manga you'd never read or buy. Maybe you've got strong feelings about some kinds of manga, and you don't think they're right. In fact, you're pretty sure you don't even have anything like that in your collection.
But again, the problem is, if Christopher Handley loses this case, that will no longer be for you to debate, or decide. Picture someone else deciding.
Christopher Handley, a manga fan in Iowa, is currently in an unenviable position: he's the first comics or manga fan ever to face criminal charges for possessing manga to read in the privacy of his own home. He's currently facing obscenity charges, which could carry up to 20 years in prison. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization which exists to defend free speech in comic books, is raising money to help with his case.
But Christopher Handley's case is, in some ways, more frightening than any of these cases. Most of us are not manga retailers or manga artists (although we may want to be). We're manga readers, and Christopher Handley is facing an obscenity charge for simply possessing and reading manga, like most of us. The only difference is, Christopher Handley must justify his private manga-reading choices to the world at large. Like a single person randomly picked out of a list of 10,000 file-sharers and sued by a corporation, he could be any one of us; he just had the bad luck to have the Postal Inspector search his mail. And if he is convicted, he won't just be fined or made to do community service: under the federal PROTECT act, designed for people who traffic in child pornography, he will be treated as a sex offender and a danger to his community.
Both editorials encourage us to donate to the CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund), who is helping to represent Mr. Handley in this case. I just made my donation. Make yours.http://www.cbldf.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=2
PARKER, YOU'RE FIRED! <-- My comic book podcast! Satan look here!
Not a big fan huh? The only manga I have is two volumes of Berserk, the first volume of Crying Freeman and all the re-released Golgo 13 volumes, which are all fucking awesome.
The way those editorials dances around it makes it pretty clear it's something foul, that's for sure.
I kinda wondered why it took so long for the authorities to start looking at manga as an outlet for underage stuff. I'll look at the case more closely before I decide to help the guys defense.
I'm actually going to go ahead and allow this to stay on its own because I like free speech (even if it's defending things I would prefer not to read myself), and because the CBLDF deserves all the support it can get.
Seems to come down to whether or not it's ok to have images of what appears to be minors engaging in sex acts but claim that the characters are not in fact minors. Seems like a fine line to me, but I can certainly understand why a postal worker finding that kind of material would blow the whistle.
Edit: Huh, that was wierd, somehow double posted AND quoted the first half of the original post... neat trick
Edit: Of course I'm talking out of my ass here as I know next to nothing about general law much less Iowa law.
Well I don't know, maybe he shouldn't be convicted of anything but from what they're saying about this PROTECT law thing (which I'd never heard of I must say) it sounds like he should have been charged once they discovered the material.
If it appears to depict minors having sex and is "obscene" then that's all it takes to be charged. It would then be up to the courts to determine whether or not they are actually guilty of anything... which is exactly what's happening.
It sounds like he really hasn't done anything wrong though, he's just done something that people might find objectionable. A lot of people seem to have trouble understanding that distinction, just because you don't like something doesn't mean you have the right to ban other people from accessing it.
It's the same issue with censorship in Videogames here in Australia. We don't have an 18+ rating because the people in charge feel that violent or sexualised games are disgusting and not worth playing. So any game not deemed fit for a 15 year old is "refused classification" and therefore banned.
yeah well so's your mom
Not that all manga is like that, but it's like, get better examples, dude!
Our local library has Love Hina, a series with copious nudity and a cliffhanger that involves two characters getting ready for sex right in the children's section.
Then again they also have Empowered there so maybe the Madison public library is just really dumb.
Actually, it makes me very angry.
Love Hina is definitely one of the worst things I've ever had the misfortune of reading (don't ask), but there isn't really any nudity (any private bits, even nipples, are always cleverly covered), and it has parental advisory warnings, so I say blame the library here.
And then they came for the yaoi-loving pederasts, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a yaoi-loving pederast;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
It might all be for the best in the end.
To create a safe and protected environment, it makes sense that pencils aren't allowed to make certain motions. To protect the children. The trick, I think, is to only express the socially acceptable parts of your being. In fact, we should ban all forms of expression that might harm our children, like rap music and socialist pamphlets. It's necessary; at least until we invent the machines that scan our brains for thought crime.
It's the only way to be sure.
i don't really want to help this guy
It's time to give something back, Sars_Boy
And all those other concepts I've failed to mention.
[EDIT] No one is forcing you to donate money, so don't. This entire line of discussion is redundant.
95% of Manga readers inside Japan are definitely paedophiles.
Also i would have more empathy for this case if he was importing something cool, like Walking Dead or anything with Warren Ellis.
Also I'm going to go and draw vivd pictures of me raping your Mum with a metalworking drill. But that's cool with you, because it's just a drawing and so obviously meaningless.
And speaking personally, I don't draw the distinction that some people clearly do between comics of children having sex and other types of child porn. I completely agree that it should be illegal, along with text stories and animation etc. To me it comes down to indulging some very sick and very wrong fantasies which should never be encouraged or indulged in any way, and while a manga format may be "victimless" I (without any scientific backing) worry that this may lead to an increased desire to indulged these fantasies in less "innocent" ways.
Its still not illegal. Thought crime.
The problem with this line of thought is that your persecuting a person for thoughts/feelings/beliefs rather than actions. I've met people in my life that I hated so much I imagined myself murdering them and making the world a better place to live.
But I didn't murder them, because I'm not a murderer.
I've been in a position where a minor of 16 years of age has wanted to have sex with me, an adult. And she was extremely attractive too (despite age, she was fully developed). I won't lie and say the thought never crossed my mind, or that I never imagined how awesome it would be to have someone that young and ripe all to myself.
But I didn't have sex with them, because I'm not sex offender.
People have evil thoughts from time to time. We all do. What those evil thoughts are very from person to person, but the difference between people who are truly evil and those who are good are whether or not they chose to act on those evil impulses, thereby creating a victim or victims in the process, or watch and enjoy as victims suffer.
Mr. Handley has done no such thing. There are no victims to speak of here; rather they are simply illustrations and nothing more. The reason it's dangerous to let something like this get out of hand is because typically, to quote a famous children's book:
"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk to go with it."
Sure it starts with sex between characters who look like they could be minors in manga.
Then it becomes all sex in manga.
Then it becomes sexiness in manga
Then it becomes violence in manga
Then it becomes any of the above for American comics
Which then becomes books
Which then becomes music
Which then becomes TV
Which then becomes Movies
Which then becomes speech.
Which then becomes how we are allowed to look, dress, act, and socialize in our daily lives (just look at how many middle eastern countries treat their woman for an example of what I mean)
You see, once you start the snowball rolling down the mountain, the ensuing avalanche becomes damn near impossible to stop, even if you started it with just an insignificant snowball no bigger than your fist. Seems harmless while it's in your hand, but let it roll out of control and the results can be catastrophic.
And this is why the first amendment exists in the first place. It protects us from the tyranny of people in power telling us how we must think, act, feel, and behave without allowing any of us to think or feel for ourselves. It protects our right to be who we are without fear of persecution so long as we obey the letter of the law.
And as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Handley has not disobeyed the letter of the law.
This isn't the thin end of the wedge for the gubmint to censor our thoughts and lives. It is simply 110% wrong to ever think of an underage character in a sexual way.* Doesn't matter that 99% of reades won't go out and rape some kids. It's still promoting the idea that underage people can be though of sexually, which is deeply wrong.
*Funny anecdote: While watching Prince Caspian on DVD I had to pause it and check the age of the actress who played Susan. Taht's how seriously I take this.