Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Questionable Content, part deux

Chris Handley's lawyer, Eric A. Chase, makes a statement about the case.*

I think it's really interesting that this was the case: "...Chris was not a collector exclusively of lolicon. He was a collector of all things manga. Of the thousands of books and magazines found by the Feds at Chris’ home, only about twenty had questionable content and ultimately only seven were charged as clearly depicting the violent sexual abuse of obviously very young children..."

Here is a particular interesting turn of phrase: "...which depicts figures that are androgynous, hairless, and clearly childlike, but not clearly children..." Many of us are going to ask "what's the difference, then?" Consider for a second, though, how we just finished Valentine's Day. How many grocery stores were littered with depictions of naked children that no one batted an eye at because we say "those are cherubs" and we don't sexualize them. We contextualize that image non-sexually. It is often the case in Manga that demons, goblins, aliens, etc., appear as childlike but are not children. I'm really glad that he made that point, even if giving in to the larger concern of, as he says, deciding that it would be nearly impossible to "...defend the images which, when projected on an 8′x8′ screen on a courtroom wall..." When taken out of context, in other words.

I think it is important that at least the lawyer involved understood that there is a context, but that there would be a problem once those images were taken out of context. I freely admit I'm not a lawyer, but I have to wonder what might have happened if they had fought for context. I wonder what might have happened if a jury had gotten an education on Japan, on Manga, and on contextualization.

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*= via The Comics Journal online

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