Busty Babes and Cruel Aristocrats

“I‘m going to put people in my place so when the history of this administration is written, at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened.” – George W. Bush, re: his upcoming book. (Emphasis mine.)

News from England is that a Parliamentary bill is being introduced to police erotic content in animated materials. The new law would make it illegal to possess cartoons depicting certain elements of child abuse. Artists are naturally concerned.

I’m on record as being opposed to this sort of misguided use of police powers. I’ve oft argued that the possession of images depicting actual abuse should not be criminalized, since the possessor was not the one committing the abuse; such policing actions are tantamount to thought control, which should concern everyone, especially given our recent experiences with the heavy-handed moralizing Bush regime. My solution has been to instead recognize that such possession is instead indicative of a degree of mental illness, and to compel psychiatric interventions rather than criminal ones. If our intent really is protection of the vulnerable, and not just punishment of the distasteful, then I believe my path is the rational one.

The counter argument has typically been an economic one, that possession of images of abuse creates a market for them, compelling true abusers to produce more content, necessarily involving actual abuse of the vulnerable. I do not think that the evidence for this argument is strong enough to support it; but it is nonetheless a rational argument.

The argument in favour of this new bill is, however, even more tenuous: that possession of animated images of abuse feeds a culture of permissiveness that may compel actual abuse. The evidence for such a linkage is even more tenuous than that that seeks to link actual pornography with real abuse. I cannot help but conclude that the true motivation underlying the new bill is in fact moralistic and not rationalistic. In essence, Pariliament seeks to express its disapproval for the aesthetic tastes of possessors of such animation, rather than seeking to reduce instances of actual child abuse.

As Bill Maher would say, government has no business legislating taste.

It’s a shame that I must add the following caveat, but experience compels me to do so… For those who will predictably accuse me of defending child abusers and pornographers, I say: “Grow the fuck up.” I’m advocating for the movement of the prevention of paedophilic tendencies into the domain of health management rather than criminal management, nothing more.

I’m further advocating for a clear line to be drawn between what the state is free to police and into what it has no business even peeping, specifically the dark corridors of one’s thoughts. For when that line becomes blurred, all it takes is a power hungry and moralizing adminstration (*cough* *cough* Bush/Ashcroft/Cheney *cough*) to start poking around for more politicized content, like one’s Libertarian beliefs, sexual orientations, political allegiances and ethnic affiliations.

It starts with the state criminalizing possession of animations of abuse. It evolves with the state criminalizing possession of novels about insurrection, poems about free thought, images of rebellion. It’s a slope that’s more than slippery: it’s pretty much vertical and greased.

Speaking of erotic animations, Andrew R. pointed me to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, which discussed recently discovered drawings by Superman co-creator Joel Shuster. Apparently, Shuster had a double identity of his own: he used to draw comic books about “an imagined netherworld of corporal punishment, busty babes and cruel aristocrats.” Neat, huh?

Here are some of the images published from The Globe and Mail, taken from Shuster’s defunct title, Nights of Horror.



I think I used to date the chick in the bed.

In Other News:

In ongoing quest to die from overeating, I give you this monstrosity, the bonecrusher.

And lastly, here’s a list of 20 ridiculous complaints made by holidaymakers. My favourite:

“The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the accommodation’. We’re trainee hairdressers – will we be OK staying here?”

And on the same note, here’s a famous letter sent by a disgruntled Virgin Airlines passenger to Sir Richard Branson.