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[P]
The Regulation of Fantasy

By Perianwyr in Op-Ed
Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:13:00 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

The recent Supreme Court decision on "morphed" child pornography and the subsequent legislative challenge that the House of Representatives brought last week begs the question:

Does it make sense to regulate pure fantasy, if no actual harm is done? Nearly all of us have fantasies that would not fit our lives, and that we would never bring to fruition. Our popular culture supports fantasizing about things that any rational person would consider harmful. Can we, logically, allow pure fantasizing about any element of our existence to be controlled?


Fantasy can be a dark place, as we all know. But it is that fact which makes the Supreme Court's decision important.

This decision brings the issue of the legal status of fantasy to the table.

It always appeared to me that the whole point of banning child pornography was to prevent the exploitation of children. My understanding is that since you need an actual child to make child porn featuring actual children, the film itself constitutes evidence of a child being made to perform sexual acts, which is illegal. Therefore, child pornography is just like a snuff film. Since the film has someone actually having something illegal done to them in it, it follows that the people who trade in such things are abetting the commission of this act (just as if you watched your friend kill someone, didn't tell anyone because you thought it was cool, and suggested he go out and whack someone else for you.) If you buy child porn, you're encouraging scummy people who force children to perform sexual acts do it more often. That's obvious.

However, child porn that is not composed of real children having sex is also not documentation of the crime we are trying to prevent here. So, the distribution of such porn is not actually encouraging people to go and force children to have sex, since no children are needed to produce it. This property puts pornography that looks like it has minors in it (but actually doesn't) on the same footing as violent movies that look like they have people getting killed in them, but don't (relying on computer effects and creative editing to look like the people depicted ate a lead sandwich.)

Kids are not being made to have sex in fake child porn any more than the actor portraying John Anderton was made to kill the actor portraying Leo Crow in the middle of "Minority Report". We didn't put Kevin Kline in jail over "A Fish Called Wanda" because of the simulated cruelty to fish in it (in fact, all movies that simulate harm to animals have representatives from humane societies on hand to make certain that none of the animal actors are harmed.) The issue, then, is not one of actual harm, it's one of the idea of harm.

The idea of causing harm to another, or the commission of some other illegal action, has been in the fantasies of every person that has ever lived. Every one of us, unless we are saints or plants, has had the idea of beating another person up or stealing their things run through their mind before. And for certain, nearly all males with a pulse have seen teenagers at the mall, who are under the age of consent, and thought to ourselves "damn, she certainly has nice tits..." The form of youth is naturally attractive (and in fact, clothing advertisers have been exploiting this tendency for years.) Young people even naturally pursue the appearance of sexual desirability. It is not illegal to think of how a teenager might attract you sexually, if you're an adult. It is, however, illegal to make sexual advances toward that teenager, and exploit the fact that you are an adult to get her into your bed. The line is crossed once you begin the advances, not once a part of your brain (which is hardwired to do so!) notices that someone has flipped the right buttons with their appearance. The line has not even been crossed if you imagine what it might be like to make love to that person. The legal responsibility only occurs when you do sexual things to someone who is legally unable to consent to your actions.

Sexual fantasies almost always contain things that a person could never do, and would never do even if they were presented with the opportunity to. The fantasy revolves around the actual disconnected act itself, not the social implications that its actuality would have on your life. Just because my girlfriend thinks Brendan Witt is the sexiest man alive and affects an emphasized sigh every time they do a close up on him at the Capitals game does not make me worry that she'll go run off with a hockey player. I know she is better than that. And if she isn't, it's the act that will dismay me.

Art has always been about showing facets of reality that we are often uncomfortable with, or secretly desire, to the dismay of our more "civilized" selves. We normally allow very graphic expressions of violent acts in our culture. Sex is generally treated with more decency, although not always. I do not believe it is fair to make judgments based on what other people may find in their heads, while I reserve the right to judge them on what they actually do to others. If someone has fantasies about having sex with people under the legal age of consent (which, I might add, is not universal) and wants to express themselves in artwork or writing, I find it to be a foolish concept that they could be jailed or fined for it. I consider myself an enthusiastic reader of erotic writing, and appreciation of erotic depictions is a far more common concept. I won't deny other people access to their fantasies, nor to the depictions that they may create. The line between fantasy and reality is a very strong one in a healthy mind. An unhealthy mind will find its justification anywhere it looks.

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Display: Sort:
The Regulation of Fantasy | 221 comments (201 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
The question is... (3.50 / 10) (#6)
by Stereo on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:17:06 AM EST

What's so evil about pedophilia? It harms children. Kids get psychologically damaged, kidnapped, raped and killed because of it. This is not a question, it's a fact; adults shouldn't have sex with kids because it harms the kids.

But apart from that, is there anything wrong about it? Are sexual fantasies involving kids worse than fantasies involving someone spanking you, someone of the same sex, someone of the opposite sex or your wife? That's the controversial issue here.

I don't think it's worse.


kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


In other news... (4.33 / 3) (#17)
by dark on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:59:05 AM EST

About half of K5 readers have fantasized about torturing someone.

[ Parent ]
They like 'em young, too. (1.33 / 6) (#21)
by Demiurge on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:05:25 AM EST

Considering the response ever post or article about pedophilia gets. They all boil down to "I should be able to fuck a fourteen year old, and anyone who says otherwise must be a Nazi"

[ Parent ]
In some places, you CAN (3.50 / 4) (#37)
by Phelan on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:47:02 AM EST

www.ageofconsent.com

[ Parent ]
Well that's not all... (none / 0) (#58)
by qvindakon zeno on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:44:55 AM EST

Romanian gipsies can mary their 10 to 11 years old dauthers. Well this another kind of viewpoint. More than that in some nomad gipsy societies is to girls to choose theirs hausbands (somehow kids too, i.e. 12 to 17 years old boys). And... yes they may have kids at less than 14 years old. Where the hell is the pedo... whatever.
By the way, don't confuse Romanians with Gipsies...

[ Parent ]
thought provoking (3.09 / 11) (#7)
by idea poet on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:09:42 AM EST

This is the kind of thought-provoking material that makes K5 the site that it is. Intelligent, simple and making the point in non-verbose style.

Here's hoping that right-minded people who are disgusted by child pornography won't vote this piece down - because that's definitely not what it's about.

Reasons behind the law (repost) (4.76 / 13) (#8)
by khym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:42:10 AM EST

From the supreme court decision:
While the Government asserts that the images can lead to actual instances of child abuse,
This treats fantasies like drug addiction: after a while, the fantasies will lose their affect, so you'll have to do it in real life to get the same "kick" you used to. But I've never noticed any of my fantasies becoming more extreme over time, which seems would have to happen if the addiction theory was true. There might be people out there with an incredibly strong desire to have sex with children, who try fantasy to satisfy their desires, but it ends up not being enough; but in those cases, without any fantasy, they'd end up going for the real thing even earlier.

Also, if pedophilic fantasy can lead to real child sexual abuse, then getting rid of visual fantasy isn't going to do any good, since the pedophiles will be able to fantasize in their heads. Or are pedophiles so imagination poor that they simply can't have fantasies without some sort of visual aid?

The contention that the CPPA is necessary because pedophiles may use virtual child pornography to seduce children
Eh? What? How would that work? Show children the child porn and say: "See? Other kids do it, why not you as well?"
The argument that eliminating the market for pornography produced using real children necessitates a prohibition on virtual images as well is somewhat implausible because few pornographers would risk prosecution for abusing real children if fictional, computerized images would suffice.
Now that's really grasping at straws. I have the feeling that the law's supporters just want to ban this type of porn, and are trying to come up with justifications for it after the fact.

From the C|Net article:

Prosecutors argue that the COPPA bill is needed, since otherwise it is too difficult to prove that an actual child was involved in the production of an electronic image on, say, a seized hard drive.
Now that seems more reasonable. However, from the supreme court ruling:
Even if an affirmative defense can save a statute from First Amendment challenge, here the defense is insufficient because it does not apply to possession or to images created by computer imaging, even where the defendant could demonstrate no children were harmed in producing the images. [Emphasis added]
So far as I can tell, the new law doesn't have any provision saying you can evade the law by proving that you used no minors.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Re: Reasons behind the law (repost) (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:23:53 PM EST

The contention that the CPPA is necessary because pedophiles may use virtual child pornography to seduce children
Eh? What? How would that work? Show children the child porn and say: "See? Other kids do it, why not you as well?"

Well, yes, actually. It may not make a lot of sense, but there have been plenty of documented cases where molesters did exactly that. Of course, banning something based on what people might do with it is a crappy reason. Somebody could take, say, a mechanical pencil and stab you in the hand with it (not fun, trust me.) But that's no reason to ban mechanical pencils.

The principle should be: Punish the crime, not the weapon.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]

Missing the point (2.62 / 8) (#9)
by xriso on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:49:01 AM EST

Doesn't pedophilia have the potential of being a victimless crime, if both parties consent? Why are there so many bigots trying to legislate this "age of consent" crap?

I don't have those fantasies, and I would never have sex with a kid, but just because I don't like it doesn't mean that I should compromise somebody else's freedom.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Not really. (4.54 / 11) (#14)
by qpt on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:14:42 AM EST

Some humans clearly cannot give consent, such as an infant or toddler. Others clearly can, such as a healthy adult. The purpose of age of conset legislation is to draw an easy to observe line between those who cannot consent and those who can.

Yes, the result is that some who can consent legally are not allowed to, but this is considered an acceptable price to pay for assuring that those who cannot consent will be protected.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

bad wording? (none / 0) (#60)
by mikpos on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:09:04 AM EST

the result is that some who can consent legally are not allowed to
i.e. those who can consent legally can't consent legally? :)

Anyway I had problems with your conclusion, that age of consent laws "assure that those who cannot consent will be protected". In my entire life I have never met anyone, "healthy adult" or otherwise, who was capable of giving full consent. Adults make terrible decisions all the time; sure, many of them can be explained away as just "not thinking clearly", but many of them are due to ignorance or just not having the ability to apply proper logic. This does not sound like consent to me.

The other side is a little bit too black (or white) as well: toddlers have at least some level of consent (they make it clear when they don't want to eat something). Though this isn't quite as important.

So the law is obviously one of convenience rather than any actual statement. Even then I don't know if it has as much to do with ability to give consent as it does emotional and sexual maturity. Of course like most laws, it's probably just there to make the constituents feel good as opposed to actually doing something useful :)

[ Parent ]

no consent? (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by joshsisk on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:46:28 AM EST

In my entire life I have never met anyone, "healthy adult" or otherwise, who was capable of giving full consent. Adults make terrible decisions all the time; sure, many of them can be explained away as just "not thinking clearly", but many of them are due to ignorance or just not having the ability to apply proper logic. This does not sound like consent to me.

I shudder when I hear things like this. In my opinion, if you are an non-brain damaged adult and you can't make proper, healthy choices it is your own damn fault. Even if those decisions are "terrible", you can still consent, and are still responsible for your actions.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

then what does it mean to consent? (5.00 / 2) (#81)
by mikpos on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:41:31 PM EST

If making terrible choices based on ignorance is consent, then every person, even a newborn, is able to make full consent.

I'm not saying that adults cannot consent. Obviously every adult can consent. I never implied otherwise. My objection is that saying "children can't consent and adults can" is garbage. Children can consent and so can adults; children can't consent, and so can't adults. It depends on the situation and it all comes down to a matter of degree.

The best you can say is that "in general, adults can form better consent than can children".

[ Parent ]

I'd definitely agree with that last bit... (none / 0) (#205)
by joshsisk on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:15:18 PM EST

...but that wasn't the implication I got from the parent post.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
fair enough (none / 0) (#209)
by mikpos on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:57:12 PM EST

My bad. "Good communication skills are next to godliness" or something like that.

[ Parent ]
Consent and understanding (none / 0) (#218)
by Samrobb on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:02:04 PM EST

Consent ins't the issue. As you point out, both an adult and a child can consent to some activity. What's different is that the adult is presumed to have the ability to understand what the consequences of consenting to that activity are. The "age of consent" is intended to represent an age where a near majority of the population have the emotional, mental, and physical maturity to deal with the consequences of their actions.

Theese laws result in some artificially odd situations. That's an artifact, not an intent, and is not an indication that the laws themselves are inherently bad or unusable. They're effectively legal bugs, and in some cases, have remained unaddressed because the frequency with which they are encountered makes them a non-issue.



"Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment." Job 32:9
[ Parent ]
majority (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by mikpos on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:36:32 PM EST

I agree with you in spirit: the law of consent is a good idea, but only for the reason that it's the best we have.

You mentioning that the age of consent is based on a line where the majority of those on one side of the line have some condition is interesting. I follow political debates (to the point of reading Hansard on a regular basis) in my home country (Canada). Recently there was a push to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16. Arguments were basically "save the children" on one side and "don't lock up young lovers" on the other.

Nowhere was there any argument about why one number was better than the other. When I hear someone promoting raising the age of consent to 16, my first instinct is to ask "why not 17?". If they suggest 17, "why not 18?". Lines seem to be based simply on what feels the best. Perusing ageofconsent.com, you'll see that most jurisdictions base their ages of consent on even numbers. 14 and 16 are common; 15 is relatively uncommon. Is there actually rationality in choosing these numbers? Or do humans instinctively like even numbers better than odd numbers? Same with other arbitrary lines such as legal status (18) and being able to drink (the US is a bit of an odd-ball here by picking an odd number).

I'd like to think that the age of consent is based on something objective like you say. "The majority of 14-year-olds have shown themselves aware of the consequences of sex; for 13-year-olds this is a minority" or something to that effect. From what I've seen, though, laws like these, especially laws which consist mostly of argumentum ad populum for their creation, are designed for and accomplish little other than to make people feel good.

[ Parent ]

Age of Consent (none / 0) (#79)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:18:00 PM EST

Unfortunately, the age of consent is a very arbitrary thing. The "local" line is not in the same place as the "5 miles down the road" line in many cases. It's also a matter of culture, or upbringing, or individual, developmental differences.

You're completely right, it is a line in the sand, drawn by the majority within the jurisdiction.

One must remember though, that any goal shot without "home field advantage", counts double.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Consent (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by catseye on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:13:05 AM EST

How can a 5 year old consent?

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Keep in mind.. (2.00 / 1) (#48)
by mindstrm on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:20:18 AM EST

Child pornography laws are sometimes very broad.

A 5 year old girl and a 16 year old in porn could both be considered child porn; though we could argue that with a 16 year old it seems logical you could argue it's a technicality, but a 5 year old? That's sick.


[ Parent ]

The age of the age of consent (none / 0) (#129)
by thebrix on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:36:45 PM EST

The concept is in the Magna Carta ... !

The principle behind an age of consent is that, beneath a certain age, a minor is deemed, by law, not to be capable of informed consent. Of course, what that age actually is varies from individual to individual, but the law cannot make such distinctions and accords to the temper of the times.

Interestingly, the last change in the heterosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom was upwards; this was to curtail child prostitution which was, indeed, an infinitely worse problem in Victorian times than now.

[ Parent ]

childrens freedom (none / 0) (#149)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:13:35 PM EST

to not be manipulated by adults, and used for the adults 'pleasure'

[ Parent ]
Sexual Fantasies (2.25 / 8) (#13)
by eyeflare on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:10:59 AM EST

"Sexual fantasies almost always contain things that a person could never do, and would never do even if they were presented with the opportunity to."

Your fantasies are obviously a lot kinkier, or something, than what I and my friends think up... Stupid overgeneralization: -1!
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com

"almost always" (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by dark on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:51:56 AM EST

The author said almost. Maybe you're just weird :) Have you ever:

  • Fantasized about sex with someone while you're in a committed relationship with someone else? (Not just people you meet. Movie stars? Fictional characters?)
  • Fantasized about sex in a public place?
  • Fantasized about something sexual that you would be too embarrassed to actually do?
  • Fantasized about sex with someone who is too young? (either legally or morally)
  • Fantasized about unprotected sex with lots of strangers?
Note how I left bondage and domination completely out of it. These are all fantasies that are quite common (go browse alt.sex.stories if you don't believe me :-), but which many people would never do because of them being too dangerous, embarrassing, or harmful.

I'm not saying that everyone has these fantasies, or that nobody would act them out (obviously, many people do). I'm also not making any claims about your fantasies; you may very well be an exception to this generalization. But I don't think it's an overgeneralization.

P.S. My girlfriend is one such exception, and she thanks you for letting her know there are others.



[ Parent ]
Hahaha... (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by eyeflare on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:28:47 AM EST

Guilty of actually doing #2 and #4. Don't think there's anything I'm to *embarrased* to do, but some things are just disgusting. #1 isn't exactly groundbreaking, we *all* do this. #5 is the only one I'm not guilty of, just can't shake the whole "disease" thing long enough to get excited. :)

Read the part I quoted again, "almost always" is quite inclusive and he (she?) goes on to say "can't do" or wouldn't do "given the opportunity". My outlook (which is where I might have been less than transparent) would mean this to be *very* kinky or even harmful. My experience is that most people will actually act on their fantasies given opportunity.

My 2 Cents worth.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

"could never do"? (none / 0) (#77)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:07:22 PM EST

  • Tying someone up with her own underwear - check.
  • Cutting patterns into skin during sex - check.
  • Lighting alcohol covered skin during sex - check.
  • Biting to the point of drawing blood - check.
  • Multiple, simultaneous partners - check.
  • Someone legally too young - check.
  • Whips, toys and clamps - check.
Well, looks like the argument is flawed.
Sometimes I forget how vanilla-flavored the world is.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

I never said that you hadn't acted on them :) (none / 0) (#115)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:04:04 PM EST

Having acted on a fantasy assumes that you've had the fantasy before. Good for you that no one seemed to mind, but I think most other people have barriers of propriety that are stronger, in practice.

[ Parent ]
Propriety? (none / 0) (#119)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:16:08 PM EST

I'll thank you very much to keep your prudish aesthetics out of my lovelife.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

vanilla is sexy (none / 0) (#118)
by dark on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:14:37 PM EST

The smell of vanilla, yum! Instant arousal. It's no accident that its name means "little cunt". This is one horny plant.

[ Parent ]
Vanilla IS sexy (none / 0) (#121)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:22:32 PM EST

Vanilla fudge, or vanilla ice-cream, especially in this weather, is very sexy. I think I'll go home early, put a big dollop of it on my SO's back, and race the little streams of molten vanilla ice-cream with my tongue, as they careen down her spine and pool in the small of her back.

Or maybe I'll just pick up a box of vanilla Jell-O pudding pops, and see if I can't help the poor dear bring down her core body temperature a few degrees.

Mmmmmm... I like vanilla.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Pudding Pops (none / 0) (#221)
by DangerGrrl on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:18:40 AM EST

I think the key would be FINDING a pack of those. And if you can, share with the rest of us!


***
I do many things well, none of which generate income.
[ Parent ]
if i fantasize about killing your entire family (2.50 / 16) (#19)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:21:56 AM EST

and then eating you all for dinner, and i make a video game out of it, is that ok? how about if i put your kids in it, make them cute little appetizers. after all it is just 'fantasy'? check it out, it will soon be on sourceforge, i think i will call it 'burp'. oh wait, all that shit would be -immoral as hell- and -stupid- and -wrong-.

Not immoral... (4.50 / 4) (#26)
by NoNeeeed on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:41:28 AM EST

just a bit sick.

I don't see how that is immoral.  In the same way I don't think that *simulated* child porn is immoral, or *simulated* or consensual violence.  Both are sick, and I would be worried about being round a person who was into either, but I don't consider them immoral.  Abusing a child is immoral because it causes harm to the child.

Personally I'm not too hot on morality, I think it is a very over used term.

In my mind immoral acts are those that cause harm to other people (and just to clarify that pain is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause harm, inflicting pain on someone because they ask you to is not inflicting harm).

I don't care what you do as long as it doesn't hurt me or someone else.  Making the game you describe would be a bit gross, but it would not cause me any direct harm.  I don't consider 'feeling a bit freaked out' to be harmful.

Of course we could argue for hours about what harm is, and levels of harm.  I for one don't think that shocking someone necessarily causes harm, but forcing them to whatch shocking stuff is harmful.

BTW, funny post.

[ Parent ]

What if? (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by Silent Chris on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:17:47 AM EST

What if, in addition to the game, he wrote in clear letters at the outset of the title:

"All of this will come true.  I fully intend to do this to your children.  You, Jay Edgar Murphy.  You have been warned".

Then it goes from being a joke to an actual threat.  This would be harassment -- and illegal.

[ Parent ]

Yes, and? (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by NoNeeeed on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:27:51 AM EST

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.  

Harrisment is illegal because it is immoral (I still hate that word but I have yet to find a better one) because it causes harm by frightening people.  It is also an indication that you intend to carry out an illegal/immoral act, in the same way as attempted murder is illegal.

The making of the game is still not immoral, just making the threat.  It is no different to me showing you a video of some guy getting his head kicked in in a movie and then saying "that's what I'm going to do to you".  The movie hasn't somehow become immoral just because I have used it as an illustration.  In the same way, the game isn't immoral, but the threat is, because it causes real harm (I class fear as a form of harm).

Personally I beleive that attempting to commit a crime (as opposed to thinking, fantisising, or talking about it) is no different to commiting it.  If you try to kill someone but botch the job, that is as immoral as doing it right.

Paul

[ Parent ]

implicit threat (4.00 / 1) (#186)
by th0m on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:10:05 AM EST

Just to inject some (possibly unnecessary) pedantry: if the hypothetical video game obviously portrays you and your family, I'd say that that already constitutes an implicit threat against your safety. If it's just a generic murder-spree game with generic videogame people, he'd need to explicitly link that to you (like the head-kicking video) before it became threatening, and in that case I think that the "weapon" and the "crime" are cleanly decoupled. I'm not so sure where you'd draw the line if it was a Me Murdering This Specific Person And Everyone They Have Ever Held Dear game, though.

[ Parent ]
Woohoo! (none / 0) (#54)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:26:59 AM EST

"Personally I'm not too hot on morality, I think it is a very over used term."

And you are completely right. Most people have no idea what they mean by the word, and, frankly, I have a pretty strong inkling that it refers to nothing that actually exists.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
depends on your definition of exists. (none / 0) (#70)
by joshsisk on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:50:06 AM EST

I'm of the opinion that morals are both personal and relative. I'm sure my morals are not exactly the same as yours, for example.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
As far as I can tell (none / 0) (#75)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:02:11 PM EST

Killing Jews in Furnaces is the morally right thing to do. Sound ok?

"Moral" means objective. Wanna dispute that? If you say it means relative then you have to say that slaughtering Jews is fine as long as you live in Nazi Germany circa 1942. I am not ready to do that. How about you? If you say that it it could be subjective, then you have to say that everything Charles Manson did was ok, because he believed it was ok. Ready to do that? I didn't think so.

"Moral" means objective. But all value judgements (of which moral judgements are one type) are by definition subjective. Otherwise, what else does value mean?

Add it up and you get: "Moral" refers to nothing that can logically exist.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
A bit hasty, I think (none / 0) (#152)
by Licquia on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:53:18 PM EST

"Moral" means objective.

OK, so far. I won't quibble.

But all value judgements (of which moral judgements are one type) are by definition subjective.

There are two presumptions:

  • All moral judgments are value judgments.
  • All value judgments are subjective.
Needless to say, those are pretty strong assertions to make, and I don't know that you can assume them. But let's, for the sake of argument.

Add it up and you get: "Moral" refers to nothing that can logically exist.

Presumption: "moral" = "moral judgment". That, I think, is too much to swallow. It implies that there is nothing to moral thinking than individual decisions taken in isolation.

[ Parent ]

So then (none / 0) (#192)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:13:25 AM EST

Tell me what else there is to them, please. I would absolutely love to hear them. ;) You think that "morals" are some special things that come from some magical land? No. Every thing that you call "morally right" or "morally wrong" was, at some point, invented by some individual and was spread to his/her children and integrated into a culture. And if you catch enough children early enough, you can make them think that just about anything (including slaughtering others because of their race) is "morally right."

In my view, "moral" gets applied to actions. An action can either be moral or non-moral (as an example: non-voluntary actions, such as sneezing, are clearly not a type of action that could be a "moral" one - nor are, for example, the actions of dogs). Once you declare it to be "moral," then it could be "morally right" or "morally wrong." Now, if you are deciding these types of things, then you are making some type of value judgement. And if you can show that value is /not/ subjective, well then I would like to see the proof, please.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Non-simplistic view of ethics (none / 0) (#198)
by Licquia on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:12:22 PM EST

Tell me what else there is to them, please. I would absolutely love to hear them.

Well, I'm not going to get into a complete "defense of ethics" here; consult any introduction to ethics textbook for that.

For an example of some of the simplistic thinking: if ethics is so subjective, why do all ethical systems with non-trivial followings contain the same basic principles?

And if you can show that value is /not/ subjective, well then I would like to see the proof, please.

Sure. Here's an objective moral judgment:

Disobeying the law of the land is bad. It is against the law to steal my neighbor's car. Therefore, stealing my neighbor's car is bad.

Now, you can probably see the big assumed premise in that syllogism: the first sentence. That's a moral principle, and can be defended on various grounds logically (as an aside, try to find a single society in history that would disagree with it). Once you agree to the moral principle (and the relatively trivial factual assertion), then the conclusion follows, objectively.

I'm not trying to say that there aren't subjective components to ethical thought. I'm just pointing out that it's not as cut and dried as you say it is. Like the rest of life, it's complex.

[ Parent ]

I agree that things are complex (none / 0) (#201)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:41:51 PM EST

"Disobeying the law of the land is bad. It is against the law to steal my neighbor's car. Therefore, stealing my neighbor's car is bad."

You're basing your objective moral judgemnet on a subjective assumption: Disobeying the law of the land is bad. Um?

I certainly don't think things are cut and dried. And, no, an introductory ethics textbook wouldn't defend ethics - that would be a meta-ethics question.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Caught ya (none / 0) (#207)
by Licquia on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:25:04 PM EST

You're basing your objective moral judgemnet on a subjective assumption: Disobeying the law of the land is bad. Um?

Actually, no. I gave you a hint with the question about which societies haven't had such a principle, but you didn't take it.

A legal system of some kind is a necessity for having a society at all, so the statement "it's wrong to disobey the law of the society you're in" is a tautology; it's true by definition. So, I've based my argument on a tautology and a trivial statement of fact.

You're probably getting confused because there are times when it's justified to break the law. Situations like that are called "moral dilemmas", and they drive most of the interesting thinking in ethics. Many moral dilemmas are fairly trivial ("is it right to disobey an order to kill your brother given because your king doesn't like his hair color?"), others are not.

And, no, an introductory ethics textbook wouldn't defend ethics - that would be a meta-ethics question.

Whatever you say, scout. I must've been dreaming the text for that ethics class I took for my philosophy major way back.

As with many disciplines, the meta-question has an impact on the discipline itself. For example, some religious types say that the only rational basis for ethics is religion; this leads logically to a whole lot of conclusions about ethics and a whole lot of conclusions about non-religious people. If there's a non-religious basis for ethics, then ethics itself changes, and we can stop burning atheists at the stake for being "enemies of society". I'm sure many of us here would be glad to hear that. :-)

[ Parent ]

Caught me? I don't think so, mate. (4.00 / 1) (#208)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:57:01 PM EST

"A legal system of some kind is a necessity for having a society at all, so the statement "it's wrong to disobey the law of the society you're in" is a tautology; it's true by definition. So, I've based my argument on a tautology and a trivial statement of fact."

Wrong

1. This is not an example of a tautology, unless you think law and society are literally the same thing.

2. Society does not require law to exist. I can't even really begin to tell you how wrong headed that is (unless I can't remember what a society is from my BA and MA in Anthropology).

"As with many disciplines, the meta-question has an impact on the discipline itself. For example, some religious types say that the only rational basis for ethics is religion; this leads logically to a whole lot of conclusions about ethics and a whole lot of conclusions about non-religious people. If there's a non- religious basis for ethics, then ethics itself changes, and we can stop burning atheists at the stake for being "enemies of society". I'm sure many of us here would be glad to hear that. :-) "

Again, here, you're arguing ethics, as you are already positing the existence of ethics whereas metaethichs would debate the existence of ethics itself.

An ethics intro text /will/ give you some arguments about the nature of ethics, but, as a philosophy major, you should know that ethics examines different types of ethical systems (having posited already that they exist) whereas metaethics examines whether or not ethics exist at all.

"You're probably getting confused because there are times when it's justified to break the law. Situations like that are called "moral dilemmas", and they drive most of the interesting thinking in ethics. Many moral dilemmas are fairly trivial ("is it right to disobey an order to kill your brother given because your king doesn't like his hair color?"), others are not."

Actually, you're the one who's confused. This is not an example of a "moral dilemma" but an example of "morals" coming into conflict with laws. They are not at all the same thing (unless I have forgotten since I wrote my ethics thesis for my Philosophy BA cum laude). For an example of a "moral dilemma" I suggest you read "Jim and the Indians" by Bernard Williams (though he is a Utilitarian, so he might not see it as a dilemma).


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Disappointing (none / 0) (#212)
by Licquia on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:28:03 PM EST

1. This is not an example of a tautology, unless you think law and society are literally the same thing.

So say you. Others disagree. Circular reasoning certainly qualifies as a tautology under that definition.

2. Society does not require law to exist. I can't even really begin to tell you how wrong headed that is (unless I can't remember what a society is from my BA and MA in Anthropology).

Well, you're the anthropologist, I suppose. I'd be surprised if anthropology didn't acknowledge that a society requires some organizational principles, some idea of acceptable behavior or propriety. But what do I know? Maybe you'd be happier if I avoided the word "society"?

Again, here, you're arguing ethics, as you are already positing the existence of ethics whereas metaethichs would debate the existence of ethics itself.

The existence of ethics is a fact. You yourself wrote an essay on it, remember? You probably mean validity; I was willing to forgive your lack of precision before, but now that your education (and lack of excuse) is bared, I must insist on it.

And there, I think, lies the problem. Metaethics (as you describe it) is a subset of epistemology; how we know things to be right or wrong is a subquestion to how we know anything to be true or false. Just as it's possible to be a solipsist with regards to the natural world, so it's possible to be a solipsist with regards to morality.

Unfortunately, solipsism is as intellectually bankrupt in the moral realm as it is in the scientific. We are ethical beings, and ethics pervades our thought process; we can't stop thinking about things as "right" or "wrong", even if we do disagree on many of the details. If that is invalid, then our entire thought process is suspect.

(Which isn't to say that metaethics is invalid; it's just that solipsism is just as dead a subject in metaethics as it is in the rest of epistemology, and not really anything to worry about when it comes to the business of "doing ethics". It's much more fruitful to ask ourselves how we know ethical things, where ethical beliefs come from, and so forth.)

Talk about ethics "existing" makes me think of it in a logical positivist sense, as if we expect ethical questions to be the subject of scientific experiments or something. If you're disappointed that we can't prove ethics scientifically, too bad; your BA cum laude should have given you a lot more disappointment a long time ago.

Actually, you're the one who's confused. This is not an example of a "moral dilemma" but an example of "morals" coming into conflict with laws. They are not at all the same thing (unless I have forgotten since I wrote my ethics thesis for my Philosophy BA cum laude).

Well, while you were writing your ethics thesis, you must have forgotten your formal logic. Here, I'll spell it out for you:

Moral principle: It is bad to disobey the law.
Alternative form: If something is against the law, then it is bad.
Support: None provided. Hypothesis.

Fact: Principle X directs one to violate the law under a certain set of circumstances.
Alternative form: According to Principle X, it is good to violate the law under a certain set of circumstances.
Support: Assumed as part of the thesis.

Conclusion: Principle X conflicts with the legal principle above.
Support: Modus tollens.

Definition: A moral dilemma is a situation in which two moral assertions conflict.
Support: formal logic, with the "moral" qualifier.

Conclusion: The union of Principle X with the legal principle constitutes a moral dilemma.
Support: Modus ponens.

Now, of course, you're free to dispute my legal principle (which you've done). That doesn't make it any less of a moral principle, just a (possibly) incorrect one. And once you grant the moral principle for the sake of argument, the rest follows. No confusion there.

And when you state, baldly and without qualifiers, that this moral principle is the source of confusion, you do your alma mater no favors. There's certainly good reason to think that laws don't have moral force a priori just because they are laws, but it's a quite a stretch to move from there to blandly asserting the confusion of anyone who talks about the moral force of law.

[ Parent ]

sure... (none / 0) (#204)
by joshsisk on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:13:20 PM EST

You can think (and do) those things, but society will probably feel otherwise, and hopefully treat you otherwise.

I'm sure Manson did feel he was operating within his own moral code. His actions didn't fall inside what society deemed appropriate, thus he has been rotting in jail for the last several decades.

As I said, people's morals vary. Some people might not have any whatsoever.

Also, I don't see how even moral standards can be totally objective, since they vary from place to place and culture to culture.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Except (none / 0) (#206)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:30:49 PM EST

that society /didn't/ treat the Nazis otherwise. The Nazis were society! But doing what society says is right is an example of following a relative moral system. If they vary, then /they're not what we mean by moral/. That's my point. When people use the word moral, they don't mean "Killing Jews is fine if you live in a society that says it's fine." They mean, "Tying little children up by their hands and slowly roasting them because you get a kick out of hearing them scream is WRONG - no matter who you are, no matter what your society says about the act. It's WRONG. And they mean objectively wrong. But the kicker is: Show me where this supposed objective value system is. All value /must/ be relative.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
well ... (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by Hektor on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:27:41 AM EST

killing my mom and eating her afterwards would make you a necrophiliac with bad taste ...

shudder

[ Parent ]

Where is the image protection (3.50 / 2) (#39)
by qvindakon zeno on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:49:26 AM EST

If you do this I will able to sue you for illegal image using. Here the problem is the pure fiction were images are "like" kids but are only "like" and no one could tell us if those "kids" are..kids. I've seen in my life adult persons (womens) looking like kids, teenagers( Do you remember Buffy ? ). So how could you determine, at the first site, if a looking good girl have the RIGHT to have FICTIONAL sex with you ? How can you find if a purely synthetic image (see computed) have a legal or, why not, a natural identity.
Fictions are not intentions and even more are not acts there are simply simulations data used by our brains to ensure and enforce our decisions.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:13:12 AM EST

I will download your game as soon as it becomes available!

-Phil
[ Parent ]
that sounds awesome (none / 0) (#142)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:31:06 PM EST

Put in a function wherein I can substitute anyone I like. That would be neat.

[ Parent ]
Prosecution for real child pornography (4.12 / 8) (#20)
by LordCrank on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:40:02 AM EST

Prosecuting people for real child pornography would become more difficult than it should be if faked child pornography were legal. now it seems it would be a simply matter of producing the pornography, whereas if faked child pornography were legal it would mean that not only would they have to find the people who were in the pictures, but also prove that they were in a pornographic position when the picture was taken. this distinction would mean that it would be much easier to take advantage of children if fake child pornography were legal.

shift burden of proof (3.20 / 5) (#28)
by kubalaa on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:54:48 AM EST

If someone was producing fake pornography, just have them demonstrate how they do it. You can bet they'll be willing to, to prove their innocence.

[ Parent ]
Real children vs. faked ones (4.00 / 4) (#29)
by kinenveu on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:57:10 AM EST

Why would anyone make child pornography with real children if it can be done with faked ones with results that can not be distinguished ?
Using real children would be much more dangerous (risk of jail) !
Such a fake child pornography would not stop all child pornography (there will always be sick people) but it would definitely stop commercial child pornography.

[ Parent ]
Prosecution of real murder is harder, too? (5.00 / 5) (#41)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:59:48 AM EST

There does not seem to be a problem with law enforcement confusing Hollywood's latest blockbusters with snuff movies. I know it's not quite the same, but if the pornography industry (which is already pretty well organised) wanted to it could produce 'child' porno for which no such confusion would exist. They already do something similar, with ladies dressed in school girl outfits. Not that I've seen any, you understand.

All you need, really, is a legitimate business and a papertrail. The 'amatuer' movies are the ones to elicit investigation - use the old adage of if it looks dodgy, it bears investigation. You wouldn't investigate Casablanca for a possible murder, but you might investigate an uncredited 'shakey-cam' tape that appears to depict a killing.

[ Parent ]

Ooh, so close. Just follow your own argument (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:06:47 PM EST

    There does not seem to be a problem with law enforcement confusing Hollywood's latest blockbusters with snuff movies. I know it's not quite the same

It's exactly the same. Depictions of violence against humans should be absolutely abhorent. We're just conditioned to think otherwise.

Cultural ikon kneejerk reaction test: Lone Ranger; all American hero, or xenophobic vigilante?

Evaluate your response honestly and carefully.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Xenophobic? (none / 0) (#78)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:11:12 PM EST

Ummm... The Native Americans were native. That would make the lone ranger an alien invader, wouldn't it?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
xenophobic (none / 0) (#85)
by janra on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:01:20 PM EST

You can be xenophobic when you're the invader. Xenophobia just means "fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners, or anything strange or foreign" - it doesn't specify how they came into contact.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Daddy, why do they call it "brain numbing&quo (none / 0) (#111)
by Jeff Coleman on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:56:01 PM EST

Thanks for bringing this up front. Exposure to tens of thousands of simulated acts of violence hasn't affected any of us normal people now has it?

"It" is forbidden, and that makes it desirable. And, being desirable, it can be used (in clearly defined legal ways) to sell us stuff.

Oghhh, I think I'm going to be sick...

[ Parent ]

Not a vigilante, whatever he was (none / 0) (#151)
by Licquia on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:32:56 PM EST

If you knew your Lone Ranger story, you'd know that the Lone Ranger was, indeed, a law enforcement officer - a member of the Texas Rangers, in fact.

As for xenophobia: What evidence was there of that?

I make no representation about the quantity of his Americanism or his heroic stature.

[ Parent ]

the problem will be: how could you tell...? (3.00 / 7) (#22)
by kipple on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:14:49 AM EST

How will we be able to tell the difference between a 'fake' youth and a 'real' one?
The actual source of the movie is way too hard to determine, unless you have a dedicated lab that could analyze the environment in the movie and guess a place... will we end up in a situation when virtual child porn will be indistinguishable from real child porn? How could we tell that the kid in there is a fake one, and not a real one?

In other words: what if suddently you came to know that in all the movies you've seen, the deads are REAL and just nobody complained? Ok THIS one is not possible due to all the people involved in making a blockbuster movie. But what about porn movies..? How many people are involved...?

I hope this issue will be examined too..

--- There are two kind of sysadmins: Paranoids and Losers (adapted from D. Bach)

Let's lace pot with something 100x more expensive (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by pla on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:16:28 PM EST

Why would the producers risk it? Although you have a valid point, evidence-wise, the idea removes its own reason to exist. *IF* a computer can produce 100% realistic simulated situations, why bother going to the trouble of creating those situations outside the computer? If, on the other hand, some difference, however small, exists that would provide a reason to use a real human, than that difference also proves the production as real or fake for the purpose of evidence.


[ Parent ]
why bother..? (none / 0) (#184)
by kipple on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:19:25 AM EST

...because it will eventually cost less to force a kid to do nasty things than to spend big bucks in modelling a 3d virtual kid, and animate it. At least, IMHO.
--- There are two kind of sysadmins: Paranoids and Losers (adapted from D. Bach)
[ Parent ]
Hmm, breaks current trends (none / 0) (#200)
by pla on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:14:43 PM EST

because it will eventually cost less to force a kid to do nasty things than to spend big bucks in modelling a 3d virtual kid, and animate it

Given any of a number of rendering packages currently available, one could *already* pruduce low-cost animated child porn, with no legal problems other than that presented in the parent article.

In general, all aspects of computation get better and cheaper over time, I see no reason why this particular application would violate that trend.

Interestingly, though, what I just wrote brings up an disconcerting point - *IF* a producer could legally release simulated child porn, they would quite likely go through the "trouble" of learning to use the tools and creating 3d models. If, on the other hand, simulated porn carries the same penalties as real child porn, wouldn't making the simulation illegal *ENCOURAGE* a producer to use a real child? If we consider "illegal" as a form of very high potential cost, laws like those under discussion here would actually serve to promote the use of real children in porn.

Just our hard-working polititians out for our best interests once again, carefully thinking through the consequences of their actions.


[ Parent ]
Prosecuting Fantasy = Thought Control (3.70 / 10) (#23)
by cod on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:15:39 AM EST

Fantasy, at its root level, is a thought, an idea. Some tiny percentage people will confuse their fantasies with reality and act them out, but 99.99% of us will never do it. So, if we start legislating fantasy we are really legislating thought. It's sounds like something tight of of Orwell's 1984.

99.9% (3.25 / 4) (#31)
by Silent Chris on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:15:26 AM EST

Where did you get this statistic from?

[ Parent ]
Don't you know? (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:23:45 AM EST

85% of statistics are made up on the spot.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
That figures (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by Silent Chris on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:25:04 AM EST

I figured there was a 95.6% chance of that occuring.  ;)

[ Parent ]
The word is THOUGHTCRIME (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by gidds on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:52:21 AM EST

...and can only be regulated by the Thought Police.

We all have dark thoughts/dreams/fantasies.  Sometimes they might be healthy, for example when they help you to come to terms with the darker side of life, get to know yourself, learn to face your fears, or release pent-up aggression.  At other times, they can be dangerous, for example when they develop into obsession and/or reality, or affect they way you view or interact with other people.

How can we distinguish the two?  I guess that's down to our own individual conscience.  There's no way any external (human) authority should be making that kind of decision, even if it could.

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Spoilers, you Bastard!!! (3.93 / 15) (#24)
by NotZen on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:37:25 AM EST

Kids are not being made to have sex in fake child porn any more than the actor portraying John Anderton was made to kill the actor portraying Leo Crow in the middle of "Minority Report".

Oh.  My.  God.   The film's been out in the states less than a month.  It's not even hit the rest of the world yet.  But you have to use it in an example when one of 5000 other films would have done just as well.

Thanks a bunch.

lay off, eh? (2.25 / 8) (#35)
by calimehtar on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:29:55 AM EST

Maybe my sarcasm sensors aren't fully functional today... but I think the part about Leo was made evident in the trailer.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, now you know his name though, I guess. (1.50 / 2) (#116)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:06:07 PM EST

Big whoop. The movie is confusing and Hitchcockian enough that knowing such minor details won't make a whit of difference.

[ Parent ]
Vader is Luke's father!!!!!!!11!!1!1!!!! (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by axxeman on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:53:10 AM EST


Feminism is an overcompensatory drama-queen club, with extra dykes. ---- Farq
[ Parent ]

Ha ha ha (Spoiler inside) (none / 0) (#202)
by Logic First on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:00:19 PM EST

John Anderton doesn't kill Leo Crow. Therefore, it isn't a spoiler.

[ Parent ]
Slipery Slope (4.23 / 13) (#25)
by nytflyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:41:24 AM EST

If someone produces "fake" child porn, that would be a fabrication of a real crime. how soon afterwards will "fake" murders be outlawed? "fake" murders happen all the time on the big screen, in novels, in roleplaying games, and in video games. same goes with theft, rape, traffic violations, etc. Im not defending the child pornographers, they are a sick lot, BUT you cannot legislate "fake" anything (unless we are talking about things as fake ID or money, because they actually do harm)

Lolita (none / 0) (#74)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:55:10 AM EST

Man, that scene between Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain, where she takes out her retainer and kisses him, was, umm...

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Do keep up (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:55:16 PM EST

    If someone produces "fake" child porn,

If? Where have you been? And no, I'm not talking about "underage_asian.mpg", I'm talking about right up there on the big screen. I'll limit myself to two films, because the list goes on and on and on: "American Pie", "Animal House". Come up with your own examples.

Something that I find particularly interesting is that the "gross out" 1999 American Pie is tame and anodyne compared to the 1978 Animal House. It's arguable that they're porn, but American Pie depicts explicit sex scenes between people who you can reasonably infer are supposed to be under 18. Yes, they're comedy, but they're also titillation. The chick that strips down has implants. If you want to claim credibly that you're not leveraging underage sex, then have an ugly chick strip down.

If you haven't seen Animal House, do so before it gets redacted, because it contains these scenes:

A girl gets drunk at a frat party, drags a guy into a bedroom and start making out with him. She climbs on top, and strips down. As she takes her bra off, she passes out and lies there in her panties, tits akimbo. "Fuck her!" cackles the guy's inner devil. "Fuck her brains out! Suck her tits, squeeze her buns. No one will ever know!" His inner angel wins at this point, but later in the film he does fuck her.

The girl's character is thirteen. It's absolutely clear and unapologetic statuatory rape, and what's more it's portrayed in a completely consentual and positive light. There's no consequences (other than comedy), no Greek tragedy, no message that this is unusual or wrong or awkward or uncomfortable. To me, it's clear that Animal House isn't a message film (just as it's clear that American Pie is, and what's more it's an old fashioned morality play!). However, if you wanted to (i.e. you wanted to fuck a thirteen year old, or you wanted to prove that films like Animal House encourage fucking thirteen year old girls) you could easily infer - or argue that you inferred - that there is a message there that it's just fine to fuck thirteen year old girls. As long as they're hot and they want it, of course.

Animal House is funny as all hell (and we all know girls who were fucking like rabbits at 13 and didn't necessarily get screwed up), but I submit that it would be impossible to get it a major studio release today. And without the (de facto) protection of a studio behind it, is it beyond the bounds of possibility that it would be prosecuted under this kind of legislation? Would even American Pie be safe if it were released today?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

What about virual child murder? (none / 0) (#124)
by revscat on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:38:59 PM EST

Following up on this, I wonder if there are any statutes on the books that prohibit the production of virtual child violence? Seems like if we had any sense at all this would have been passed first. Or maybe I'm just an idealist in expecting American politicos to be more outraged at violence than sexuality.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
Grey area (3.00 / 7) (#27)
by EvilNoodle on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:44:36 AM EST

If this is a grey area in the law then it should be made clear by making all depictions of child abuse illegal - drawings, sketches, computer graphics.

What defines child pornography? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by Hektor on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:34:42 AM EST

Is pictures of children younger than the age of concent in pornographic settings child pornography?

In that case, I'm guilty of shooting an entire roll of film of it ... having taken nude pictures of my 16 year old girlfriend, back when I was 20 ...

And I guess I'm a paedophile for having sex with her as well ...

Well, not in Denmark (where I live), as the age of concent is 15, and has been for as long as I can remember (probably since the late 1970's).

This is one of the problems with "child pornography" - age of concent - as it differs from country to country.

[ Parent ]

Hektor (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:22:24 AM EST

This is a forum for closed minded, right wing Americans. We can't have comments here from someone who lives in an enlightened Scqandanavian country, so I am afraid you are just going to have to keep them to yourself, thank you.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Re: What defines child pornography? (none / 0) (#87)
by januschr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:14:08 PM EST

Warning: I am from an "enlightened Scandanavian country" (Denmark). ,-)
In that case, I'm guilty of shooting an entire roll of film of it ... having taken nude pictures of my 16 year old girlfriend, back when I was 20 ...

You can do that without getting prosecuted in Denmark, because, besides the age of consent of 15, in Denmark the prosecution also has to proce that the child/children in question suffered harm, to get a conviction of child pornography or pedophelia.

So, I guess virtual child pornography would be okay in Denmark, as the law stands.



[ Parent ]
Here's the Rub (4.33 / 3) (#44)
by virg on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:05:49 AM EST

Your idea would make illegal thousands upon thousands of mainstream films, books and illustrations. Oh, that's right, "child abuse" is only "child sexual abuse". Drat, didn't think of that, did you? Therein lies the problem. Why the line on sexual abuse? Why is it illegal to write about sexual abuse, but perfectly legal to write about physical abuse? This is the question nobody seems to want to answer. I've seen the effects of non-sexual abuse of children, and anyone who wants to say that being molested is inherently worse than being beaten every other day should talk to some of these kids.

I agree that child abuse, in all of its forms, is a horrendous thing. I don't agree with the idea of thoughtcrime, though, and I don't agree that depictions of sex abuse will incite abusers where depictions of violence won't. It's one or the other, but you can't have it both ways.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Sex Vs. Violence is the issue (none / 0) (#141)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:29:39 PM EST

If I may diverge a little, I'd say that the dichotomy between sex and violence derives from the fact that violence, at its best, results in victory, whereas sex at its best results in union. Union is far more uncomfortable for the authoritarian temperament than victory over another.

[ Parent ]
Clarified (none / 0) (#71)
by EvilNoodle on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:51:24 AM EST

I was not referring to images of neglect or violence as I am not aware of these being used as pornography. I was referring to images of sexual nature depicting children. As for the age the law should be set at, that's up to the country that sets it.

[ Parent ]
Enforcing the law (3.33 / 6) (#30)
by Silent Chris on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:08:42 AM EST

I think part of the problem of the "morphed child porn" case (and, indeed, anything similar) is the problems enforcing it.  When you introduce a constant like this into the books, every image that is "questionably child porn" has to be examined and reexamined to determine if it's "real" or not.  If it's all outlawed, law enforcement has the much easier (but admitaly flawed) task of simply banning everything, and not spending time on determining how real it is.

That's the law's problem (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:19:41 AM EST

not the problem of the citizens. It's the cop's job to enforce laws. So it's hard for them to tell. Their problem. Not yours, mine, nor anyone elses.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
another way to look at it (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by mikpos on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:21:47 AM EST

If topics of sex are getting your panties in a bunch, best to look at an analogue. Murder is always a good one.

Personally I don't know how pictures of dead people ("death porn" from now on) are legal, but apparently they are. Seems to me the analogue between child pornography and death porn (rotten.com) is pretty strong: both are pictoral evidence of some pretty serious abuse. If you look at pictures on rotten.com, you're encouraging murders and suicide-committers to commit further abuse, right? Pretty obvious. Same thing with the Pearl video.

But, it is suspected that there is a lot of "fake" death porn on rotten.com as well. The infamous pictures of the Asian guy eating a baby are widely believed to be faked (he could have been "eating" a plastic doll for all we know).

If real death porn was illegal (Columbine pictures, Pearl video, many pictures of people committing suicide and getting run over by trains), should the baby-eating pictures be illegal too just so it's a little bit easier to take down rotten.com?

As most legal systems are based on precedence, this seems like a very bad idea. If pictures of a guy pretending to eat a plastic doll are illegal, then it's a pretty short leap to say that pictures of any simulated murder is illegal, which does not bode well for the movie industry.

[ Parent ]

Bad thoughts! (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:49:22 AM EST

As a God fearing Citizen of a "Christian Nation" you should know better than to even ask that question. The Psi-Cops will be by to bring you to the re-education facility shortly.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

That's all right (none / 0) (#114)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:02:01 PM EST

I'll be dancing on the hilltop, bringing down the good mojo from the moon to smother out all the trappings of Babylon.

Woo.

[ Parent ]

Regulating Fantasy? Not quite. (4.25 / 4) (#42)
by jolly st nick on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:59:53 AM EST

I think it is not accurate to say that restricting virtual child porn is "regulating fantasy"; it is regulating the trafficing in depictions of fantasy.

I'm not sure that the first amendment guarantee of free press originally was quite as broad as it is now. In fact I'm quite sure it was not. And the virtual child porn issues does not take us into any really new territory -- pornographic drawings are as old as human culture itself. Pornography (not just photographic, but even written) for many, many years was treated as non-protected speech. Nor is regulation of virtual child porn a kind of new "mind control". People have been restricting the distribution of porn for years on the grounds of it spreading moral terpitude. Clearly this was a form of mind control, or at least behavioral control.

What is at stake now is a newly expanded scope (one that I applaud) for freedom of speech, which is that any speech at all that does not directly harm somebody is protected. Under this view, "victimless" pornography is protected, but regulated so that it does not become a public nuisance (i.e. people who don't want to see it don't have to). Thus far child porn movies have fallen outside of this class, because the very production of the movies harmed people, and the trafficking in them encouraged this.

So, what is going on here is probably not all that new or ground breaking. The question is whether virtual porn should be treated more like live pornographic movies or like other forms of fabricated pornography. In order to make it like live pornography, you have to argue that there is some distinct kind of harm that comes from highly realistic depictions of sex with a child that does not come from clearly fabricated or verbal ones, other than the direct harm of using minors in the production. Which is what the government has done. However, since relatively unrestricted trafficking in realistic depictions of child sex hasn't occured yet, then there is as yet no evidence to back the government's claim.



What if you can't tell the difference? (2.33 / 6) (#43)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:05:22 AM EST

Everyone's in perfect agreement that was is fake is fake, and what is real is real.  But that's belaboring the point.

If you're using midgets simulating child pornography, that's fantasy.

If you're watching japanese anime showing under age girls, that's fantasy.

In about 10 years from now, if you're eatching a perfectly generated CG movie that looks real but uses a completely fantasy child and a cop sees it, that's...fantasy?

What if the fantasy child has the face and body of a real missing child, and a cop sees it?  How does the cop know the difference?

Now what if somebody actually kidnaps the child, makes a CG model of the child in his computer, but has the child do the pornography?  (no no, it's fake, see?  I have the CG model!)

The intent of the crime is to protect children.

The "evidence" of the crime is the pornography.

And if you're stupid enough to perfectly fake the evidence, society is going to treat it as if you've done the crime.

(Like the OJ Simpson trial, lots and lots of evidence, but nobody knows for sure...)

What if monkeys fly out of my ass? (4.75 / 4) (#46)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:17:10 AM EST

You're living in a very foolish land where you think that something that "looks real" is somehow wrong. What if (as the author clearly pointed out, I might add) someone made a movie where someone got killed violently and graphically on camera and a cop saw it.

"Mr. Schwarzaneggar?"

"Yes?"

"I'm afraid you are under arrest for killing James Earl Jones in 1981."

The point is, even if it looks like someone broke the law, that's not the same as breaking the law. So, your point is moot and worthless. Who cares how real it gets? (Except, of course, afficianado's of the art form, who care very much that it looks real), It's still only CGI in then end and so not a crime.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Oh please... (2.00 / 3) (#51)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:24:05 AM EST

James Earl Jones is still alive.

The point is that if you have a missing child, and some guy 2 miles away makes a perfect CG child porn of the child and him, after the child went missing, and then puts it on the internet, he's going to get investigated, and he may even get tried.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, Ok (4.40 / 5) (#56)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:33:14 AM EST

So you have proven the guy is an idiot. So what? My point is that your argument is entirely non-sequitor. It doesn't matter if it looks real - it /should/ look real - that's the point. But that shouldn't make it illegal. And if some guy is dumb enough to make a video of the latest high profile kidnap victim then that's his problem, but it still doesn't mean that the art form should be illegal. By the way, sorry for the asshole tone of my last post.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
What if... (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by mercutio on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:44:07 AM EST

James Earl Jones disappeared right after the shooting of Conan?  And that last time the authorities saw him was when he was getting cut up by Arnold?  And it looked real... I mean, who can tell the difference... is it... fantasy?

[ Parent ]
Oh please indeed... (5.00 / 1) (#147)
by bodrius on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:07:41 PM EST

If there is a missing child, and some guy anywhere in the country makes a perfect CG model of the child and uses it, either in child porn or anything else, of course he's going to be investigated.

Heck, if a movie director used an image of the child in a perfectly innocent movie, he would probably be investigated too.

At least up to the point where the authorities have a clear idea of where did the data come from, how did the subject get it, and whether he had authorization of the parents/custodials to use the child's image.

After all, don't you have to sign a contract or release in order to let a corporation or individual use your image? There are some things you can do without permission, but if I remember correctly private citizens have more protection than public figures, and children have more protection than private citizens in that aspect.

So, there are legitimate reasons to investigate an individual who may have had contact with the missing child, and to investigate the use of said images.

But if everything is clear on that side, if there is no reason to suspect contact with the child or said contact is crystal clear, there should be no crime.  

If there are reasons to suspect an actual crime (the exploitation of children), then there are reasons to investigate potential suspects. They investigate parents and teacher, yet they do not need to make parenting or teaching a crime to do that.

What makes "Girls don't cry" different from a snuff film? The fact that it was distributed by hollywood entities? If it was released on the Net, would it be different? Would "Blair Witch Project" have been considered snuff at some point?

Was "bonsaikitten.com" a crime? Will it be (the site is still online)?

After all, having this legislation as precedent makes it easy to apply similar logic to other crimes.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

If you can't tell the difference (4.50 / 4) (#55)
by pexatus on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:28:27 AM EST

Then why would you risk kidnapping a real child at all?

If I had one of the US Treasury's minting machines, and I needed a quick $100, which would I likely do: print a $100 bill off of my machine, or go rob the local grocery store at gunpoint?

The only reason I can think of is that the guy making the movie is a pedophile himself and wanted a real child, in which case the kidnapping and the exploitation are the crimes, but not the storing of a CG model on his computer. And while I would want him to get busted for the kidnapping and exploitation, if he kidnapped a kid and make him/her pose for some pictures, and he managed all this without leaving any evidence at all except a realistic CG model on his computer, then I would not think that is enough evidence to convict.

However, a CG model that looks exactly like a real missing child is more than enough evidence to get a search warrant and tear this guy's home inside out trying to find out what happened to the child. And you have the possibility that if the CG model was produced from a photo of a real naked child, as opposed to a polaroid he took while driving through the neighborhood, then it might show something like a birthmark that would imply he had the real maked child in front of him at some point.

[ Parent ]

Begging the Question (3.57 / 7) (#52)
by Pedro Picasso on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:24:54 AM EST

This is a bit editorial and somewhat off-topic. I don't mean to be rude, but begging the question does not mean leading inevitably to a question as it is used in the first paragraph of this story.

Begging the question actually refers to a person using circular logic. It is when a person uses a statement to prove itself.

We now return to your regularly scheduled serious conversation about computer generated babies touching each other inappropriately.


-the Pedro Picasso

Cult of the Flaky Hardware
[ (sourceCode == freeSpeech) | kakkune.com ]
Meanings change (none / 0) (#73)
by keenan on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:52:56 AM EST

People change the meaning of words all the time -- there was one point a few centuries ago where 'girl' meant 'guy'.  For awhile I was on your side, thinking that people should only use the logical context of this phrase, but since it is now in such popular use, a new informal meaning has to be grudgingly applied to it.  You cannot "hold" language still -- it's an exercise in futility.  People generally don't study logic these days, so to most people there will be a mutual understanding of the term "beg the question".  Doing a little searching, I found that the common meaning, "raises the question", made it in The Oxford Guide to English Usage in 1983.    

Keenan

[ Parent ]

Quoth Humpty Dumpty (none / 0) (#199)
by Tau Neutrino on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:01:53 PM EST

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'
--
Theater is life, cinema is art, television is furniture.
[ Parent ]
20 years of bad usage (none / 0) (#112)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:57:13 PM EST

When this is the way that every person around me uses it, I am inclined to end up using it that way myself. Regrettably, language is sometimes like that.

I shall remember that in the future, though.

[ Parent ]

Funny (3.40 / 5) (#57)
by miguel on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:36:57 AM EST

child pornography is not really a problem. it's mostly exagerrated. You only hear about some individuals getting caught maybe here or there once in a blue moon. In fact, the US government has almost a near monopoly in the kiddie porn market (not surprising, since they probably keep what they confiscate). And they even soliticed kiddie porn.

This book pretty much lays it out.

I want you to be free

Unfortunately-timed remark (3.50 / 2) (#72)
by thebrix on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:52:32 AM EST

Police smash net paedophile ring

That is far from the only one and the UN is not given to setting up organisations related to non-problems.

I also wonder how much is missed given that, apparently, only 20 national police forces have the capability to research. (I note that the Amazon review states '[the author's] call for common sense on paedophilia is marred by an inadequate acknowledgment of the extent of online child porn' ... !)

[ Parent ]

How do you know? (none / 0) (#82)
by El Volio on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:45:30 PM EST

What do you base that on? The fact that you don't know anybody into it?

Part of my job involves monitoring various networks for intrusions. We don't do content monitoring, but occasionally we run into some. When we do, we have to flag it and pass it on. Unfortunately, we deal with one case every month or two -- and these are for just a handful of networks located outside the US. I've seen stats from our local FBI office about it, too. In the North Texas area, during 2001 (until Sep. 11) something like 30-40% of their computer cases were child porn. That's obviously lowered with their new priorities, but it's because they're not emphasizing it as much as they did previously.

I used to think the same way, but sadly I now know that my faith in other people was, at least to some extent, misplaced. It's out there, and it's more common than most of us ever realize.

[ Parent ]

Circular reasonaing (none / 0) (#97)
by pla on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:02:48 PM EST

In the North Texas area, during 2001 (until Sep. 11) something like 30-40% of their computer cases were child porn.

And what percent of those cases turned out as 100% legal models "recast" as underage girls? How often do you find yourself clicking on a search engine hit and ending up on a page showing dozens of "lolitas", most of whom could barely pass for under-30? Puh-lease. The market exists, no argument there, but the actual content, for the most part, does not.

This reminds me very much of the massive "snuff film" investigations popular quite a few years ago... After almost two decades of investigation, Scotland Yard declared they had not found a single "real" snuff film, ever. My favorite part of their finding? "Who would bother comitting a crime and recording it, when anyone can go to the library and watch all the people dying they want in war documentaries?" (I paraphrased that, but you get the idea).

So, to address the very point of the parent article, cracking down on fake child porn seems very much analagous to cracking down on simulated violence in well over half of the movies currently in theatres. Yet, I notice that the feds haven't gone around shutting down theatres for playing "minority report" (lots o' violence), "scooby doo" (yeah, *suuure* scooby-snacks don't have pot in them), "MIB II" (sedition, anyone?), or any number of other glorified FANTASY crimes.


[ Parent ]
Not circular reasoning (none / 0) (#144)
by El Volio on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:47:45 PM EST

Your point on snuff films is well-taken and was a large part of the basis for my earlier belief that child porn wasn't that prevalent.

But that's not circular reasoning. Sure, some of those cases (like any other investigation) turn out to be false. Our internal experience has been that about half of the cases are valid. It does in fact happen, and it's more widespread than any civilized human would want it to be.

Now I'm not saying that because of this, we should crack down on simulated child porn (that word "virtual" is starting to get overused). My personal belief is that glorifying violence is wrong, too. What the state's response should be, I honestly don't know. I just know that child porn (and all other forms of child abuse) are a scourge on our society. I'm not saying that all fictional depictions of them should be banned, but I will note that people can't have it both ways. Those who claim that violent video games don't incite anyone to violence can't turn around and claim that simulated child porn leads to the real thing. And the opposite direction holds true as well. But unlike snuff films, this is a widespread problem that we just don't collectively understand the extent.

[ Parent ]

re: funny statistics (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by HDwebdev on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:29:29 PM EST

Here are interesting statistics ;

[ Parent ]
I can't really comment on that (none / 0) (#108)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:51:36 PM EST

These days I'm hearing a lot of "levels of kiddie porn are exaggerated" stuff.

On an intuitive level, I would agree because anything as viscerally powerful as the concept of kiddie porn- just like the concept of terrorism- is likely to be overblown. I mean, when something is in the Unholy Triad (terrorists, hackers, child pornographers) it's bound to get far ahead of itself in the minds of the public, both in scope and in actual threat.

However, the bottom line is that I'm not a law enforcement person, and can't speak from experience. Since we're attempting to talk about actual numbers here, they are actual numbers I do not have. I still have a strong tendency to believe what I intuitively know, but I do not expect that it cannot be disproven.

[ Parent ]

The spoiler of Minority Report was NOT appreciated (3.85 / 7) (#63)
by Hana Yori Dango on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:13:26 AM EST

nt

Ditto (2.00 / 1) (#66)
by greenrd on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:23:13 AM EST

It hasn't opened yet in the UK, so please, no more spoilers.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Nothing is spoiled, really. (none / 0) (#103)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:28:25 PM EST

Note that you could see these characters killing each other in the preview. Not that it matters, really, in the end. :)

[ Parent ]
The thing about the Minority Report (1.25 / 4) (#68)
by jabber on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:45:26 AM EST

There isn't one.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Whoo-hoo! Bring on the pyschotropic drugs (4.75 / 4) (#80)
by MoonVine on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:24:42 PM EST


"The form of youth is naturally attractive... Young people even naturally pursue the appearance of sexual desirability... It is, however, illegal to make sexual advances toward that teenager, and exploit the fact that you are an adult to get her into your bed...The legal responsibility only occurs when you do sexual things to someone who is legally unable to consent to your actions.

YES! NO. YES! NO. That's the rub, exactly!! We are constantly showcased and drowned with celloloid aesthetics. Yes, advertisers do showcase nubuile and virile young women and men to cater to the masses under the belief that youth is, indeed beautiful. But do we not take it for granted that it is indeed natural, to view youth more appealingly than sagacity, for example, and maybe more likely a form of a bi-product of those in power? I just remember reading, somewhere in The Symposium, years ago, Socrates stating that a man does not see the true beauty of a woman until his later years, like his seventies. And vice versa. Yet, we by-pass all of this and spend millions of dollars on Viagra! Now man will never be able to see woman with his cerebal head ; )

I got off on a tangent. Sorry. My point is this. If it is indeed natural for us to have our burning loins lubricated by the intoxicating creams of the youth, on DVD no less!... And then by having to suppress our bulging libido through unnnatural societal injunctions such as legalese, and religious ethos, then this chaotic process, of the mind versus the nethers is most likely responsible for many of our criminals and illnesses, heh? So you can look, you can lust, (and if you don't lust after nubile young femme fatales, then boy you're already too left center), and fatasize so intensely you can taste, touch, and feel what you know is condemmned by society... Can we say Neurosis? Man, its mayday for humanity and a hayday for the pharmaceutical companies. So many neurosis and so little time. And so much more fodder for the age old nature v nurture debate : )

How and when did something so lovely as sex get mixed up in all of this ugliness? Not to say that anything in particular is ugly, (I'm not slamming porn, not slamming laws, or lawmakers, or any of the puritan sex mongers), just that our repression and suppression regarding sexuality as a society is ugly.

Nowadays, though, artists make intentionally ugly art that's only supposed to reflect society rather than inspire it. So I guess we're all loony together now, loony rats in the shithouse of commercialism."-
Tom Robbins

Don't forget beer. (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by pla on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:36:50 PM EST

How and when did something so lovely as sex get mixed up in all of this ugliness? Not to say that anything in particular is ugly, (I'm not slamming porn, not slamming laws, or lawmakers, or any of the puritan sex mongers), just that our repression and suppression regarding sexuality as a society is ugly.

Control. Sex counts as a "primary" reinforcer of behavior, perhaps the second most effective one (after pain) that exists. For that reason, people simply will not get bored of seeking it, no matter how many times they fail to get it.

The scantily-clad teens in the mall play the game, but not for whom they might expect. They serve those with an interest in keeping society as confused as possible. Dangle one carrot, and the rabbit will walk on the treadmill. Dangle a million carrots in every direction wired to zap the poor rabbit, and you end up with a very psychotic bunny.

Just to avoid the obvious slam, no, I do not believe in conspiracies, on any massive scale, anyway... Sure, the BoD of Enron conspired to screw lots of people; that differs from the men in black helicopters mutilating cows to ensure the shadow government's absolute control over the global economy. To grasp my idea of conspiracy, watch the movie "Cube".

And remember... Teal is the new Red!


[ Parent ]
"Cube" (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by Aphexian on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:23:56 PM EST

That is one obscure reference. But a very, very good movie for the small budget and short timeframe it was recorded under.

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]
Ah, I tried... (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by pla on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:38:00 PM EST

That is one obscure reference.

Really? I did not intend it as an "obscure" reference (any more than the bulk of non-top-10 scifi releases <G>). My bad, I guess.

But, I give that movie credit for quite radically changing the way I view conspiracy. It all makes *so* much more sense to believe that no sane human would do such horrible things, but a lot of people "just doing their job" can all lead to some really twisted consequences with the illusion of very careful organization behind them.

Of course, one feature I've never really found a satisfactory explanation for, perhaps you'll have an idea on it... The fellow that escapes (name eludes me at the moment) - Did he get away because he had a sort of "innocense", or as irony in that *inside* the cube he proved the most important person, wheras he would go back to a life of uselessness outside?

Incidentally, they made a sequel to it this year, called "hypercube", but I have hesitated to see it (like all sequels of a "good", "deep" movie, I fear it will end up just focusing on gore. I liked the traps as much as anyone, but that alone would not have left me with such a good impression of the movie).


[ Parent ]
Control (none / 0) (#211)
by MoonVine on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:53:37 PM EST


I wonder what a placebo for sex would be... Hmmm. Now that would be interesting ; )

I agree with you on the bunny carrot psyco theory, and while I as well stray as far as possible from any daibolical conspiracy theories, my question, phrased differently in my original post, is how did the bunnies come to like the carrots so much? Well, o-k, maybe the question is not to ask why, duh!, but how did it come about that something as natural and profane as sex become so utterly commercialized and mundane?


[ Parent ]
Why do you expect laws to make sense ? (4.00 / 2) (#83)
by redelm on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:49:04 PM EST

You present a very nice, tightly reasoned argument. Rather like a computer program. And sometimes the law even operates like this, especially at the Appeleate level.

But the making of law by Congress cannot be described as driven by logic. There is no such requirement. It is purely driven by politics and self-interest. Congresscritters are driven by re-election and so wish to attract campaign contributions, or at least avoid them going to their opponents. Sometimes they wish to show how they look out for the voters interests. Unfortunately, this is usually perceived as voting for security rather than freedom because voters seems to worry most about short-term fears.

Congress will revise the law as the Supremes said they must. Whether it will then pass Constitutional muster is another question. If it fails, politicians will again decry that the unelected Supreme Court is overriding the "Will-of-the-People" as they are doing over God in the Pledge of Allegiance. This disingenuously forgets that the purpose of the Constitution, especially the Bill-of-Rights, especially the 3rd Ammendment [Religion] exists to protect minorities, not allow the "Will-of-the-People" free reign.



Minor nit (none / 0) (#125)
by acceleriter on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:08:56 PM EST

It was the Ninth Circuit, not the Supreme Court, that made the controversial ruling on the pledge.

[ Parent ]
We all know the score here (none / 0) (#136)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:02:07 PM EST

The House passed that bill not because they expect to ban simulated child porn, but because they want something to tack onto their campaigning resumes: "I supported such and such bill to ban child pornography!"

None of this is terribly meaningful in the long run. Maybe if the current Supreme Court gets nuked and Bush appoints the devil himself and eight of his buddies as justices, then this proposed law will mean something.

As it stands, the legal issue here is pretty much resolved, unless a constitutional amendment happens (which is highly unlikely.)

[ Parent ]

One thing.. (none / 0) (#177)
by kitten on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:02:18 AM EST

It was the Establishment clause in the First amendment, not the Third, that you are referring to:

"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, nor prohibiting the free excercise thereof.."

The Third amendment involves the quartering of troops during wartime. :)
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Causing harm!? (1.00 / 1) (#86)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:10:54 PM EST

The idea of causing harm to another, or the commission of some other illegal action, has been in the fantasies of every person that has ever lived.

Excuse me? Speak for yourself.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!

Oh really? (none / 0) (#90)
by Kintanon on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:37:58 PM EST

So you're claiming to be Jesus Christ reborn?
You never thought, 'I wish I could drive 150 miles down the road', or 'I'd really like to smack that jackass', or any of a million other common thoughts? If you have never had the desire to perform an illegal action you probably don't have a lot of thoughts. Heck, if you've ever run across the street without being in a crosswalk you performed an illegal action in a lot of places.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

No... (none / 0) (#94)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:46:55 PM EST

So you're claiming to be Jesus Christ reborn?

I'm not claiming to be anything. I'm disputing the poster's claim that he knows with certainty the mental content of every human being that has ever or will ever live.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]

And I say you're wrong. (none / 0) (#96)
by Kintanon on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:02:30 PM EST

I think that without a doubt one can say that within every humans lifespan they have had or will have an illegal desire. Unquestionable.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

And I say... (none / 0) (#98)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:07:38 PM EST

Why?

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]
Sheer number of laws. (none / 0) (#106)
by Kintanon on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:40:57 PM EST

Because the incredibly massive number of laws in place pretty much requires it. Not to mention the fact that people want things. And when someone can't get something they want a list of ways to obtain that thing flits through their mind, and on this list will be several illegal options which may be briefly entertained before being discarded. I garauntee it happens to every human being.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Hate to break it to you (3.00 / 1) (#117)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:09:52 PM EST

but "laws" and "morals" are two completely different things.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Go read the original (none / 0) (#195)
by Kintanon on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:22:53 AM EST

The original post SPECIFICALLY referred to illegal thoughts. Not immoral ones.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Hmmmm (none / 0) (#196)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:36:48 AM EST

Well, there is a lot of discussion about "perfection" or "living the perfect life" and etc. which makes this a bit confusing. It seems like an argument that is going back and forth between "right and wrong" and "legal and illegal" which I think are different things. Re-reading everything, I can see that, you, at least, seem to be arguing legal/illegal only. I apologize. My accusation was uncalled for.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
No problem. (none / 0) (#203)
by Kintanon on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:43:38 PM EST

I never argue moral/immoral because I believe it's relative and subjective, not objective.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

And you don't masturbate, either... (none / 0) (#92)
by pla on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:45:11 PM EST

Get real. People think bad things. People fantasize about killing that bastard that cut them off on the way to the store. People fantasize about getting it on with that hot 18 year old in the mall (aww, damn, only 15, I guess I'll just flip that magic arousal switch back to the "off" position).

Like it or not, we have "bad" thoughts. *ALL* of us. The parent article says nothing more "controvertial" than the idea that (most of us) separate those fantasies from reality. Our legal system, however, does not. We blame video games for real violence, we blame pseudo-child-porn for real pedophilia. Our laws reflect *that*, which has no more sound basis than fear.


[ Parent ]
Perfection is possible (none / 0) (#95)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:58:42 PM EST

Like it or not, we have "bad" thoughts. *ALL* of us.

Those of us that do, tend to rationalize them by saying that everyone does it. But how could we know what everyone is thinking? What makes us so sure that all other people think these things?

Perfection is possible, even if it isn't common.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]

Hmm, 50/50. (none / 0) (#102)
by pla on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:26:54 PM EST

But how could we know what everyone is thinking?

Heh, fair enough. I made a very broad generalization that no one could *ever* prove. However, in this case I will trust the statistically insignificant sample consisting of "everyone I have ever known and spoken with for more than a few minutes" for making this leap of faith. ;-)



Perfection is possible, even if it isn't common.

Now, there I can disagree. Define "perfection". If you can do so in a consistent manner, I will feel really quite impressed. Note that I don't mean that as a slam at you, but "perfect" *MUST* include mutually inconsistent features. The idea automatically prevents its own reality.


[ Parent ]
Okay, perfection is... (none / 0) (#128)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:27:09 PM EST

Perfection is possible, even if it isn't common.
Now, there I can disagree. Define "perfection".


Now this is interesting. Okay, let's see if I can define perfection.

"Perfection" is a contextual term (The perfect what? With respect to what standard?) so I need to make explicit the context that I mean. Well, I mean a moral context. The perfection I'm talking about here is moral perfection.

What is morality? A code of values to guide human action. Some say this code comes from god, others say we can define a purely secular code of values, still others would say your values can only be subjective. Despite the fact that people disagree over what code of morality to accept, and whether we can or should accept one at all, morality means a code of values.

Morality implies a standard. A code of values puts a priority on certain acts and concepts. It says "you should do such and such if you want to be moral." This means, "you should always be loyal to these particular values, if you want to be moral." Achieving this consistently means being consistently moral. Achieving this all the time in every action means being morally perfect. Or, to put it differently, if the action you take is always a moral action, then you are morally perfect.

Now, it is certainly the case that some moral systems preach things that cannot actually be practiced. If I accept a moral system that tells me that the highest virtue consists of (let's say) always obeying priests, but it also tells me that to kill is an immoral act, I cannot be moral by that standard if a priest orders me to kill someone. However, in any moral system that does not have a code of values that contradicts itself, perfection is indeed possible.

So, in brief, moral perfection means making the morally correct choice every time, or "always doing the right thing."

Now, if I may step down off my soap box for a minute, I'd like to say a few things about the side issues involved here. This discussion came about when the original poster said that everyone has, at one time or another, thought about doing something bad. I don't mean to suggest that I think such thoughts are morally significant. Psychologically, many of the thoughts and ideas that flit across your mind are not under your conscious control. You don't choose them as such. Therefore, there is no reason to hold you morally accountable for them. The things that you do choose to consciously think about are different, but the line can of course be hazy. The original poster actually said people had "fantisized" about doing bad things, and 'fantasy' is too broad of a term to fall exclusively into either category of conscious or sub-conscious thought. The important thing, though, is the values you have expressly chosen, and whether you remain true to those values. You can certainly do that while having the occasional negative thought or emotion.

Lastly, I have found that morality and immorality are not boolean conditions. Most people have a certain "amount" of morality, some having a lot, some having less. When I think of a moral person, I think of someone who is moral "most of the time," and whose moral transgressions (if any) are not major and generally come about as a matter of misunderstanding or lack of information. Most people I have met fall into this category. A few, and a number of infamous people from history, fall into the category of "immoral": Those who consistently make moral infractions, evading the consequences and rationalizing their behaviour one way or another. Those people are almost never pleasant to be around for any amount of time -- they tend to be very negative.

Well, that's my story. In the interests of fairness, I think I should point out that I've made liberal use of another thinker's ideas, so anyone interested in further reading should check out this novel, or these essays on morality.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]

Here's a question: (4.00 / 1) (#131)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:40:06 PM EST

Since you seem to know so much about mortality. Are you a consequentialist or a non-consequentialist? What do you apply the word "moral" to? People - like the Greeks (you know a moral action by observing the actions of "moral" people)? Actions? (there are moral actions and non-moral ones (by the way, I would say that there are moral actions and non moral actions as a class and then further break that down into the categories (under "moral" actions) of "morally right" and "morally wrong") Intentions? (Kant's Good will comes to mind)?

I'll give you credit for this: at least you appear to be giving the word some though. But I suggest you think about it some more. You at least are attempting to define it, but I think you have a long way to go. Forgive me for sounding high handed, here, but this is a subject of some importance to me.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Completely bogus (4.00 / 2) (#146)
by Licquia on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:00:47 PM EST

First off, defining perfection in terms of self-referential consistency isn't really helpful. By that measure, anyone could be "morally perfect", including Hitler, Mao, and Stalin.

Second, you define away the question of contradiction by asserting, without proof, the existence of non-contradictory moral systems. I dare say that coming up with a non-trivial example of that would earn you immediate immortality as a great mind of the ages.

Third, you seem to be confused about the meaning of "perfection". Perfection amounts to the absence of defect; the presence of a single defect disallows it. So, your discussion of morality not being a boolean is technically correct, but misleading: we are asking for perfection, not for "basic goodness" or anything similar. A slight moral error is still a defect.

You seem to be troubled with the idea that you "slip up" morally sometimes, which is interesting (to me, anyway).

[ Parent ]

rational morality (none / 0) (#178)
by kaibutsu on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:45:56 AM EST

I think it's fairly impossible to say that there exists a non-contradictory system of morality, at least from the starting points that Rand uses. By taking an axiomatic approach to morality, you a) can't really tell if one more step of reason will produce a contradiction, and b) are likely to eventually find pradoxes such as those that pop up every now and then in axiomatic mathematics. It's fairly safe to say that a morally perfect (or /ideal/) person does not exist, just as it's safe to say that an ideal gas does not exist. Though there exists a certain moral ideal that any given person aspires to, that ideal is something basically unattainable. Though it certainly isn't wrong (in my book, at least) to try to come as close to it as humanly possible. For the record, I feel that an axiomatic, self-determined approach to morality is far preferable to the 'ancient wisdom' approach, for reasons many and fairly apparent in the histories of our various major and minor religions. I therefore encourage you to continue thinking, and not to forget to look for holes in Rand. I've a lot of respect for a few ideas of Rand's, but have seen a number of her arguments fall to dust in the light of my own experiences. Keep your eyes and your mind open. Sorry for the digression.
-kaibutsu
[ Parent ]
More thoughts (none / 0) (#100)
by labsuit on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:21:16 PM EST

It just occurred to me that the idea that is the exact opposite of "Perfection is Possible" is: Original sin.

Geez, I'm fighting a couple thousand years of theology. I hate when that happens.

See, this is why I need my own site.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]

Of course it's been in your fantasies. (none / 0) (#110)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:55:50 PM EST

If it hasn't been, be joyous of your sainthood, or relax in your planthood :)

[ Parent ]
Expansion of a thought I had down below (5.00 / 6) (#91)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:38:08 PM EST

This kind of legislation doesn't just catch stuff that we'd all agree is porn. Picture the pitch meeting for the 1978 classic Animal House, transplanted to 2002.

  • Harold Ramis: So Pinto meets this girl at the grocery store and invites her to a frat party.
  • Universal Pictures exec: [Nodding] Uh huh, uh huh. Is she hot?
  • Harold Ramis: Sure, she's cute. I'm thinking maybe Michelle Trachtenberg.
  • Exec: Uh... hmmm... she's like sixteen now, right? Wow, we usually cast thirty year olds as teens. Sixteen, eh? Well, it's a bit European, a bit risky. Wait, they gave her a makeout scene in Buffy right? And that got past the networks? Right? Uh, OK then, we'll talk to her agent.
  • Harold Ramis: So he gets her back to the party, and she gets drunk...
  • Exec: Wait, does he spike her drinks?
  • Harold Ramis: No, she mixes them herself, she's trying to get drunk. He tells her to go easy.
  • Exec: Good, good, they got away with that in 10 Things I Hate About You. We can swing that. Go on.
  • Harold Ramis: So she drags him upstairs and starts making out with him. She pushes him on the bed...
  • Exec: [Nodding] Oh yeah, that's safe, that's very Alison Hannigan in American Pie. Hahahaha, "Say my name, bitch!" I love that scene! OK, go on.
  • Harold Ramis: ... she pushes him on the bed and climbs on top. Then she takes the gum out of her mouth...
  • Exec: [Laughing] Nice touch! Gum! Ahhahaha! Wait. Nobody's done gum. Why not? What's wrong with gum?
  • Harold Ramis: ... er, nothing. She takes the gum out, and slowly takes her bra off.
  • Exec: Whoa there! We don't see anything, right?
  • Harold Ramis: Nuh huh. She's just taking it off, and Pinto slides his hands up, and... she topples over and passes out, and he's left with a handfull of tissues.
  • Exec: Brilliant! Tissues! Ha hahaha! Wait, that was in Pretty in Pink or some other John Hughes piece of crap, right? That must be fine then. OK, we'll still need to edit that pretty carefully. But I think we can get away with it if we don't push it. Anyway, so he's really frustrated, right, 'cause he isn't going to get any? Do we just cut to him sulking somewhere, or is there a punchline?
  • Harold Ramis: Sure! His Inner Devil pops up...
  • Exec: Just like in a cartoon! Ah hahahaha!
  • Harold Ramis: And then we show her lying there spread out on the bed with her pert little titties sitting up and begging like puppies, and the little Inner Devil goes "Fuck her! Fuck her brains out! Suck her tits, squeeze her buns! No one will ever know!"
  • Exec: Uh... what... you can't say that... we can't show her tits...
  • Harold Ramis: And get this! He doesn't fuck her then, but he does later, and it turns out that she's only thirteen! Hahaha!
  • Exec: Security! Lawyers! Get out, you sick fuck!
  • Harold Ramis: But... it's funny... people will laugh...
  • Exec: LA LA LA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU, LA LA LA

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

One nit (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by epepke on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:45:12 PM EST

The form of youth is naturally attractive (and in fact, clothing advertisers have been exploiting this tendency for years.)

I have to disagree here. I think the form of youth is naturally fairly repulsive. Adolescents are usually an unmitigated pain in the tuchis. One of the pleasures of being older is that one does not have to deal with that kind of crap as much. Back when I used to go to Disney World a lot, every once in a while it seemed to be teenage cheerleader weekend. My fantasies mostly involved a set of ideal earplugs. It's one thing to muffle jet backwash or gunfire; it's an entirely different order of problem to filter out teeny bopper squeak.

I like John Gordon's theory about why the vaguely pubescent anorexic model works so well. It is that it reminds women of the time when female sexual power is highest with respect to male sexual power, with the girls taller, more graceful, and (according to teachers, anyway) more "mature," and the boys short and spotty and sounding a lot like frogs. Historically, the fetish for models as peripatetic coat hanger is younger than the 60's. Then and before, models looked like women. Of course, that's about the time that male heterosexuals stopped being a major force in the fashion industry.

That having been said, if other people have fantasies about these grotesque creatures, fine for them. De gustibus non disputandum est. The perversity of humanity is without bounds: there exist people who drink their own urine or even eat grits and watch Jerry Lewis movies. And of course I agree with the rest of what you say. Regulating fantasy is both wrong and stupid.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Agreed (none / 0) (#109)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 02:54:29 PM EST

I made a bad choice of words. Nature is a smidge too powerful a concept here.

However, social pressure is nearly as mighty, in practice, and that's what we're dealing with.

[ Parent ]

Human females (none / 0) (#113)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:00:43 PM EST

are actually at their most fertile, healthy, and best at able to carry and deliver a child between about the ages of 16 and 20. They also go through menopause late in life and then are no longer reproductively viable. While you may not find them more attractive, I can assure you that almost all other men do.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Not quite (none / 0) (#120)
by epepke on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:17:05 PM EST

They're at their most fertile, etc. around 24. The age of menarche has been going down, but there's still the bone growth of the pelvis to contend with. Further, I know one 36-year-old who did not have her menarche until 17. The cultures that prefer marriage earlier do so because for marriage, you want to hit the fecundity normal curve before it peaks.

As for "almost all other men," well, I've read your earlier article on the subject before, and I don't think from the replies that there is evidence that your perception is any more universal than mine.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Knowing a 35 year old (none / 0) (#123)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:34:39 PM EST

who had her menarch at 17 has absolutely nothing to do with this argument. Bones are normally fully fused in females at around age 22, in males a bit later. Females are /very/ fertile in the age range I mentioned, and fertility begins to /decrease/ around 24-25, it's certainly not at it's peak. I garuntee that I could prove that at least 90% of men find 16-19 year olds attractive using eye dialation observation, but, for now, I will do a Diary Poll.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Menarche at 17 (none / 0) (#126)
by epepke on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:18:19 PM EST

What it does show is that there are exceptions to the statistical lowering of the age of menarche, which at least suggests that there's still a fairly broad distribution. I had previously thought that menarches at 17 went out of style since Elizabethan times. Apparently, I was wrong.

As for the rest, I don't know what it is that you are arguing about. Sometheing of central importance to you, apparently. But I'm not arguing. I'm expressing my opinions and perceptions in a sardonic way, which I enjoy. I find comparing the social attitudes of today with the social attitudes of my youth. I notice that as the population has gotten older and fatter, the sexual ideal seems to be getting younger and thinner. All the same, forty or years so ago, it was acceptable to have an episode of the Dick van Dyke show where Rob discovers that Laura married him at seventeen but lied about their age, resulting in an innocent comedy of errors as they try to get their marriage legal. Not today. These are the kind of things I enjoy thinking and sometimes writing about, especially as it seems that most other people don't notice changes like this at all.

But, if it makes you happy, You Win (whatever it is you're trying to win). Hooray for you!


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Hmmmm (none / 0) (#127)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:21:57 PM EST

Well, you pointed out that I was "wrong" about the age at which I claimed women were most fertile and then you proceeded to give evidence to support the fact. Forgive me for mistaking that for "argument." ;)

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
beginning to decrease (none / 0) (#217)
by vectro on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:21:32 PM EST

er, what exactly does peak mean? The point where you go from increasing to decreasing?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Does 9/10 count (none / 0) (#143)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:37:49 PM EST

as almost all? Clicky Clicky Of course, this is merely an informal, unscientific poll and all....

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Sigh... (none / 0) (#148)
by epepke on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:09:16 PM EST

You've Already Won! And Here Are Five Billion Bonus Points! Take a valium, dude, before you bust something.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Oops! (none / 0) (#156)
by qpt on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:18:41 PM EST

You made a mistake! Lucky I was here to catch it.

You originally claimed that, "you may not find them more attractive, I can assure you that almost all other men do." However, your poll merely asked if such girls are attractive, not if they are more attractive than other girls.

Sorry, buddy, but your poll does not support your claim. At all.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Oh! (none / 0) (#191)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:06:23 AM EST

You're right. Ok, that was a mistype in my original claim and in my diary as well. I meant to make the general claim that that aged woman /is/ found attractive by most men, even if society tells them not to be attracted. However, I got all mixed up when I was talking about them being more fertile. Sorry. And good catch. Will you accept my change?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Well written essay on the subject going further... (3.00 / 2) (#122)
by Karellen on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:30:58 PM EST

http://www.misanthropic-bitch.com/fuckthechildren.html


The issue of art, books, and documentation (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by bouncing on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:38:27 PM EST

These have all been touched on, but I would like to sum up what I think the strongest arguments are for limiting child pronography laws. Obviously, I think everyone can agree that compelling children to engage in sexual acts is something that needs to be illegal. But there are some more troubling moral or ethical delimmas (depending on whether you base your values on moral or ethical grounds).
  • Art -- There is a fine line between regular porn and art. Obviously any art that involves exploiting children is not acceptable. But here's a more difficult question. When I was in high school, a girl in my art class painted a self portrait. Nude. She was eighteen, but if she had been seventeen, is her painting of herself to become illegal? What if it was a photograph?
  • Books -- I'm sure there are some classic books and very good ones that explicitly describe people under 18 having sex. Many if not most American teenagers loose their virginity before they are legally adults, so would a novel describing that become illegal?
  • Documentation -- In traditional debates regarding nude photographs, medical documentation has long been a defence of nude photography, even before porno was considered acceptable. If a medical study were commissioned to study minors having sex, how would they gather their information? This is the most troubling delimma. The system like most, would involve volonteers. But if a university solicites teenagers to have sex in a labratory, can you imagin the public outcry?
Simply banning any content involving child sex is not constructive. There are real questions here.

Comments (none / 0) (#155)
by qpt on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:13:58 PM EST

Regarding the art work, was the girl's painting intended to appeal primarily to prurient interests? Would a panel of qualified experts on nude self-portraits judge that it appealed primarily to prurient interests? If not, then it was not pornography, and thus any laws governing pornography should be irrelevant to it.

A similar test could be applied to the other materials you mentioned.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Who's prurient interestes? (none / 0) (#190)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:02:58 AM EST

Art is, and ever shall be, subjective. It is a conversation between the artist and the observer of the art and it is always different depending on whom the observer is. It even sometimes changes over time given the same observer looking at the same piece of art. I say, if someone makes something and says its art, then its art. Don't give me this: I can't define pr0n but I know it when I see it crap. Sorry - that sounded harsher than I meant it to. I am just saying that... well, certainly /someone/ finds nude self portraits arousing and not merely ascetically pleasing. Does that mean that to them, the venus de milo is pr0n?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
SPOILER WARNING (2.00 / 2) (#132)
by tps12 on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:47:04 PM EST

If you know what John Anderton and Leo Crow look like, and you haven't seen Minority Report, then this story may contain a spoiler. I won't know until I see the movie, and then only if I remember which character is which by the time the credits roll around (far from a given).

OK, OK, OK, I get it (none / 0) (#134)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:54:31 PM EST

I should have used Last Action Hero or something. I get the point. eef.

[ Parent ]
Age of consent is garbage (1.00 / 1) (#133)
by ilnp on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:52:39 PM EST

To use the cute adage commonly uttered by my friends and I: "old enough to bleed, old enough to breed."  Yes, it's crude, but I think it makes perfect sense.  Girls become biologically sexual when they enter into puberty... why is it suddenly bad for them to satisfy such urges and curiosity until they are several years older?  Obviously, pornography depicting an eight year old IS bad, and it would have been rape.  An eight year old would have no such sexual cravings.  But I'm 100% sure female puberty is much like male puberty: as soon as I hit that time all that was on my mind was sex.  A ninth grade girl is no less attractive to me now than  when I was in ninth grade.  Why is it that it's a taboo to be attracted to girls that have matured biologically but are not technically old enough?

Filming of child porn should be treated as rape, if it's rape.  If it's perfectly consensual I don't see how it's especially bad.  Not to mention consensual sex between underage people or one underage member.  The illegality of that is BS.

Actually (none / 0) (#135)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:56:38 PM EST

You may not be quite right.

1. Just because she has reached menarch, a female is not necessarily ready or able to carry a child.

2. Because of societal pressures, even though a female who has reached menarch might begin to have sexual thoughts, young women during this age often actually feel so uncomfortable with their changing bodies that they are not interested in sex for a couple of years (or longer)

3. Even if they /are/ interested it does not mean that they cannot still be taken advantage of by men (or women) who have far, far more experience.


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Perhaps, but (none / 0) (#138)
by ilnp on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:07:34 PM EST

If she's taken advantage of, then it's rape. Obviously. 25 year old chicks can get taken advantage of just the same. However, I don't see whats wrong with a thirteen year old girl fucking if she wants to be fucking. If she wants to be fucking on camera well, then, more power to her. -daniel

[ Parent ]
Excellent point (none / 0) (#139)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:12:46 PM EST

"25 year old chicks can get taken advantage of just the same."

And I fully agree. However, you surely would admit that it is likely that a 13 year old would be less competent? Still, that doesn't mean they /are/ less competent. For the record, I don't like the whole age cutoff idea at all. I think that there should be competency tests. (If we're going to be worried about it at all.) Also, I will bring up another point. People might say that 13 year olds who want to fuck on camera "don't know any better" and wish they hadn't made that decision later in life. Except I am sure there are plenty of other "adults" who have done the same thing on many occassions. Why the difference?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
I'm not saying that age of consent is bad (none / 0) (#140)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:21:28 PM EST

The idea behind being a minor is that you have a time in which you can live life and not have to worry about screwing yourself with decisions that will last forever.

A newbie zone for living, as it were.

I'm not arguing that there shouldn't be any. It gives those who would take advantage of children pause, and even those who have the best possible intentions for the child are forced to consider the social implications of their actions (hopefully.)

The existence of an age of consent is peripheral to this argument. What all this is really about is what happens before that line of action (doing something sexual with a minor, not just thinking about it, not just writing about it, not just drawing pictures, not just resizing poser models) is crossed.

[ Parent ]

Garbage? (none / 0) (#154)
by qpt on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:06:55 PM EST

You have already apparently agreed that children of a certain age cannot consent to sex. Your disagreement, then, is apparently where the legal age should fall. Frankly, I do not see why protecting impressionable, often confused children during a difficult part of their life from older, possibly exploitative individuals is bad. These children are not being denied the ability to engage in sexual intercourse, since most states (to my knowledge) allow intercourse between two people who are both under the age of consent.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Don't watch uncut Sailor Moon... (none / 0) (#137)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:03:27 PM EST

...you'd be an accessory to Paedophilia, according to COPPA. :-)

Basically, COPPA was very badly written. "Appears to depict" is the kicker. It's like saying you're an accessory to murder if you watch a film that "appears to depict" a murder. If the argument that simulated child porno leads to real child pono is valid (which appears to be the justification for the law), then the same argument must hold true for murder - viewing simulated murder must therefore lead to real murders.

Oh, wait. Maybe there is a causal link between violence on TV and violence in Real Life... ;-)

No (none / 0) (#153)
by qpt on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:59:55 PM EST

Stop being absurd. Suppose that the viewing of simulated child pornography does in fact lead to an increased incidence of viewing actual child pornography. It would be a gross abuse of logic to conclude, simply from this fact, that the viewing of simulated murders must lead to increased incidence of murder. It simply does not follow.

I have no idea whether viewing simulated material of either type increases the demand for the corresponding real material. Empirical studies are probably the only way to resolve the question. However, your flimsy analogical argument does not hold water.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

That was the point. (none / 0) (#158)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:38:11 PM EST

I was being facetious. Sorry if that was not made clear in my post.

The argument, however, is logically sound, if unproven by the evidence available. The premise was this: If viewing a simulated act increases the propensity to perform the act, one can regulate the viewing of the simulated act to control the incidence of the real act.

E.g. If the simulated act was murder, one must regulate viewing of this simulated act else risk increasing the rate of real murder.

Note that I did not make this analogy : the drafters of COPPA did. They applied that logic to kiddie porn, but did not follow it through to the obvious, facetious conclusion.

There is no conclusive evidence that shows a causal link between viewing simulated acts of murder, and comitting murder. Likewise, there is no evidence to say that viewing simulated kiddie porn leads to paedophilia. The available evidence does not support the premise. This did not stop the legislators from using this argument to pass COPPA, no doubt by barracking their opponents with cries of "Won't somebody please think of the children!?".

[ Parent ]

One quibble... (none / 0) (#159)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:00:56 PM EST

Then advertising can never work?

I agree with what you're saying... But it's proven that certain advertising campaigns will sway consumer action...

(Did stopping alcohol TV ads stop alchol consumption?  No.  But do alcohol TV ads...increase alcohol consumption... Ever have a Mike's Hard Lemonade?)

[ Parent ]

Advertising... (none / 0) (#162)
by khym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:55:52 PM EST

Then advertising can never work?
Advertising tries to convince you that X will make you cool, or help you keep up with the Joneses, or help you get sex, or that X is better than Y, and so on. Simply watching someone do X isn't going to make you want to do X as well.

Besides, this is kiddie porn; the only people who are going to watch it are people who already like it. Ordinary people aren't going to buy/rent it, and if they do so by mistake, they're going to stop watching it as soon as they figure out what it is.



--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
Hmmmm (none / 0) (#189)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:58:48 AM EST

This is a very interesting question, IMO. I mean, the ancient Greeks had some sex with little boys (though it was not as prevelant as we are led to believe). What if there were commercials saying it was cool to have sex with children. Would people's minds be swayed who wouldn't have otherwise been interested? Did American Beauty make lots of older men take an interest in HS girls?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Think Coke. (none / 0) (#193)
by MightyTribble on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:22:00 AM EST

One of the world's biggest companies. Their product? Brown sugar-water with caffeine. We don't need it, but thanks to the wonders of marketing Coke is very much a part of our culture.

Given enough time/money/desire, you can successfully market the strangest things. :-)

[ Parent ]

Well, actually (none / 0) (#194)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:28:52 AM EST

What about computers? I mean... I would guess that most people out there that have a computer don't really need one. They are doing e-mail and surfing the web on it, for God's sake, but they are running a P4 2 GHz to do it. The market certainly creates demand.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
A different perspective... (3.20 / 5) (#150)
by trimethyl on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:18:27 PM EST

Has it occurred to anyone that there might be a good reason for not allowing someone to expose themselves to something that is harmful to them?

I think that the major objection to child porn is that it requires a great deal of perversity for someone to have a lustful interest in those who aren't yet sexually mature. This is the problem, folks - someone who would willingly open themselves up to the idea of sex with children shows no moral self-restraint; it follows that such a person would have no qualms about engaging in the actual behaviors depicted, or worse. It is not comparable to watching violence in the movies because of the fact that in all but the smallest minority of films, violence is presented as a Bad Thing. Unlike child porn, which seeks to exalt immoral sex as an end which to seek, and is made for the explicit purpose of showing sex with children.

Now surely someone will say that they've had these desires, but never acted on them. So for a moment, consider the following scenario:

You are over at a friend's house, and you go into his bathroom and discover pictures of your girlfriend - not just a few, but dozens. You confront your friend, and he says that although he thinks your girlfriend is cute, he would never do anything to betray your trust. A few days later, you're with your girlfriend, and she mentions in passing that she thinks your friend is cute, and "a nice guy." What do you do?

Think about what has just happened - you've effectively lost your friendship with your friend, and quite possibly your girlfriend. You may never be able to trust either of them again, especially if they have been alone together. Now replace "girlfriend" with "daughter," and imagine how you would feel as a parent. Just like your friend's pictures, child porn erodes the mutual trust that (should) exist in a community. Parents are very uneasy about living next to someone who fantasizes about having sex with children.

Many will argue that they can watch violent movies, and they themselves are not violent. This is irrelevant because of the fact that the offence of child pornography is not just the real or simulated exploitation of minors, but in the act of lusting after children - which destroys the common bond of trust and mutual understanding in a community. Though the person who looks at simulated child porn may not be harming a specific person other than himself, he does harm the community in which he lives.

Simul justus et peccator (3.66 / 3) (#157)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 07:33:54 PM EST

I just finished Andrew Hodges' biography of Alan Turing. Hodges goes into great detail about the hysteria and paranoia which characterised the start of the cold war, especially where national security was concerned. Alan Turing, for example, was a convicted homosexual "pervert" who was privvy to many state secrets. If someone was willing to do that, to offend society in such a grotesque way, what was stopping them from selling out their country?

Note: I'm actually not doing Hodges' work justice by summarising the argument in such crude terms, but it will have to do for the purposes of this post. Go read the book.

Now my point in all this is not what you think. Yes, I am drawing a parallel between this cold war/national security/homosexuality paranoia and this:

someone who would willingly open themselves up to the idea of sex with children shows no moral self-restraint; it follows that such a person would have no qualms about engaging in the actual behaviors depicted, or worse

Yes, I think the analogy is a good one. No, I don't think it makes a difference.

The "liberty argument" basically points to the above two examples, and asks "where do we draw the line"? When you look deeper, though, it's not an argument at all. It's an excuse to avoid making difficult decisions.

We geeks are good at avoiding drawing lines. It's got something to do with binary thinking. "If you allow this, you must allow this too." No I don't. I have no responsibility to do anything of the sort. I even reserve the right to be inconsistent ifit allows me to judge each case individually.

Right now, the best wisdom that we have is that anything that consenting adults do with each other in private is okay, but when kids are involved, that's a whole different ball game. Future generations may see things differently. Well, that's their problem. They can reset the fuzzy boundaries wherever they see fit. We don't live then, we live here and now.

You cannot judge anyone badly for acting in the best wisdom of their time. As my boss always said, many decisions are BAD, where "BAD" stands for "best available data". The banning of "fake" child porn is a BAD decision. I wouldn't have it any other way.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
The moving goalposts of propriety (none / 0) (#160)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:45:48 PM EST

No one ever said that just because you say that your child porn is fake, means you are actually telling the truth.

My point is that it makes a lot more sense for the cops to come to you to have to prove that.

It'll never be a picnic to be on the fringes of art. Ask Mike Diana. Indeed, if your artwork revolves around making fake sexual images of children, you had  better make sure your bases are covered. However, the level of protection that someone who is not firmly within that range will enjoy is worth the sweat of those on the very edge. Think of it as a security perimeter, since we're in that realm.

What I do not want is the danger zone for artists to be moved inward, toward what is eventually recognized and celebrated as true cultural treasure.

For indeed, just as Alan Turing's homosexuality is not a big deal now, the social definitions of art constantly move, and it takes time for the social perception of artworks which dance on the edge of propriety to catch up with them.

[ Parent ]

The goalposts have to move (none / 0) (#176)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:52:46 PM EST

What I do not want is the danger zone for artists to be moved inward, toward what is eventually recognized and celebrated as true cultural treasure.

I see where you're coming from, but I disagree in part.

The balance will always shift as the best wisdom of the day dictates. (Emphasis here is on "best", not "average public opinion".) This is true of anything. If it moves a little further inwards, that's not necessarily a problem so long as it doesn't move too far.

Slippery slope arguments usually don't impress me when it comes to the border between what is art and what is not art. Public opinion on censorship swings as the decades and centuries progress. It's also not an issue like copyright where there is a lot of money to be made in keeping things out of the public arena. In practice, most people know the difference between pornography and art when they see it. If most people think it's art, it's art. If some people strongly think it's pornography and other people strongly think it's art, it's also art (the stronger the opinion on each side, the more likely it is to be art). Otherwise it's pornography.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Ethics and Morality (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by moonpolysoft on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:52:29 PM EST

Not meaning to pick apart wording, but you mentioned "lack of moral restraint." The difference between morals and ethics, as I have learned it to be, is that ethics are the laws and guidelines that an entire society adopts for its greater good. Morality is the set of personal guidelines that a person sets for him/herself.

You may personally think that it is morally wrong to fantasize about having sex with someone who is under age. An ancient Roman, however, may disagree with you on that point.

In the same stroke, it is a basic tenant of the Christian faith that even thinking about violating the Christian code of morality is as bad as actually committing the wrongdoing. However, the theory behind our legal system does not account for such crimes of the mind.

Discounting some of the more dubious laws against victimless crimes, it is generally accepted that to be a crime an act must have a victim. Simulated child pornography, although not palatable to many, does not have a victim. To say that it whets the appetite of someone with a mental illness or even causes mental illness is pure speculation. In the same vain it could be argued that simulated child pornography is the release valve that keeps a pedophile from sexually abusing children.

History has shown that lawmakers would be well advised to err on the side of liberty when making policy and law. If a law were to restrict the free expression of just one person it would not be worth it. The laws that will imprison our children will be the very same ones meant to protect them.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 0) (#165)
by Pseudonym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:20:58 PM EST

You may personally think that it is morally wrong to fantasize about having sex with someone who is under age. An ancient Roman, however, may disagree with you on that point.

Perhaps, perhaps not. More likely, said Roman (or Greek for that matter) has a different definition of "underage".

Discounting some of the more dubious laws against victimless crimes, it is generally accepted that to be a crime an act must have a victim.

It depends on how you define "victim". For example, someone who is privvy to "classified" information and leaks some of it is treated extremely seriously, even if doing so has no real effect. A lot of stuff is classified simply because nobody could be bothered sorting out what information is sensitive and what isn't. Leaking that information even if it isn't sensitive is still a serious offence. This "crime" has no victim as in a person who is harmed by the act, but few (except for those who disagree with the principle of "state secrets" all together) would argue with the principle behind it: keeping secrets sometimes involves keeping innocent secrets too.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Fantasies are about idealism. (none / 0) (#163)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:03:52 PM EST

Violent movies that do not exalt violence are the mark of a distinguished filmmaker. Given the contents of many action films, they are nothing but the glorification of being a rough killer, with perhaps a little bit of glossing over about home and family, at about the same intensity and involvement as the plot attached to a porn film involving fixing the cable. They represent the same level of fantasy as pornography. Only in movies which explicitly do not have the aim of glorifying violence do you get the consequences, which in the real world are the entire point, and most of why we don't go about killing one another all the time. The reason why both sex and violence so easily slide into fantasy without effort to keep them from being so is because both sexual relations with another and and an attack on someone else are ecstatic acts. You are extending your will to affect another's body. Of such things are fantasies made.

<i>You are over at a friend's house, and you go into his bathroom and discover pictures of your girlfriend - not just a few, but dozens. You confront your friend, and he says that although he thinks your girlfriend is cute, he would never do anything to betray your trust. A few days later, you're with your girlfriend, and she mentions in passing that she thinks your friend is cute, and "a nice guy." What do you do?</i>

Mention to my girlfriend that "hey, that dude had this big, creepy shrine to you. He even had some faked photoshop nudes. It was rather fucked up. I kept expecting him to bust out into hallelujahs at the mention of your name."

Situational- just like determining if simulated child porn is fake or not. Or, for that matter, determining if the childlike nature of the actors was even the point.

[ Parent ]

no anonymous posting? (none / 0) (#164)
by chocolatetrumpet on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:17:12 PM EST

yes this is off topic,

but I just want to say that I was going to post here, but I don't feel comfortable without anonymous... I never realized k5 lacks this but it's a problem.

The truth is in the ice cream.
[ Parent ]

I always thought it did (none / 0) (#166)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:23:20 PM EST

In fact, k5 always had the "anonymous hero" designation to conflict with /.'s accusation of cowardice.

Try logging out, perhaps?

[ Parent ]

No Anon (none / 0) (#173)
by joecool12321 on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:25:47 PM EST

If you have something to say, buck up and say it. Otherwise, don't. I'm glad there's no anon. posting (although k5 is in effect anon. if you want it to be).

And how did you ever think it had an anon. posting option. The FAQ entry on accounts tells us that, "without an account, all you can do is read the stories on the site. An account is necessary if you want to actually take part in the site." And I think it's a good idea, because as the entry goes on to explain, "It also adds a measure of accountability that is generally not found in a system which allows for true anonymous postings."

--Joey

[ Parent ]

Don't think so. (none / 0) (#175)
by LukeyBoy on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 11:16:42 PM EST

The "Anonymous Hero" account is only to show how many sessions are in memory that have no user account bound to them.

[ Parent ]
Re: A different perspective... (5.00 / 2) (#167)
by khym on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:28:36 PM EST

This is the problem, folks - someone who would willingly open themselves up to the idea of sex with children shows no moral self-restraint; it follows that such a person would have no qualms about engaging in the actual behaviors depicted, or worse.
It doesn't work that way: you're either turned on by something or not. People don't watch some child porn out of idle curiosity, and then grow to become turned on by it; they watch it because they're already turned on by it.

And fantasy doesn't (necessarily) have anything to do with one's actions in real life. I fantasize about doing things which the mere thought of doing in real life repels me; I can fantasize with a clear conscious because I know that it is a fantasy, and that no flesh-and-blood person will be harmed by it.

This is irrelevant because of the fact that the offence of child pornography is not just the real or simulated exploitation of minors, but in the act of lusting after children - which destroys the common bond of trust and mutual understanding in a community. Though the person who looks at simulated child porn may not be harming a specific person other than himself, he does harm the community in which he lives.
How? How are the people in his community going to know that he's a pedophile? The existence of pedodphiles in general might cause people to be more distrustful of each other, because the person next-door might or might not be a pedophile. But getting rid of virtual child porn isn't going to help; it's not like people are going to accidently tripping over it, making them think that the world is full of pedophiles. The only way to make people more secure about the person-next-door would be to extend the sex offender notification thing (where neighborhoods are alerted to convicted sex offenders moving in), to make a notification of anyone who even imagines having sex with children. And would even that work, since the person-next-door might be an undiscovered pedophile who's just been discovered yet?

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
Re: A different perspective... (4.66 / 3) (#169)
by drsmithy on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:49:50 PM EST

Has it occurred to anyone that there might be a good reason for not allowing someone to expose themselves to something that is harmful to them?

No. I can't think of a single reason why someone else's idea of what is "harmful to me" is better than mine.

I think that the major objection to child porn is that it requires a great deal of perversity for someone to have a lustful interest in those who aren't yet sexually mature. This is the problem, folks - someone who would willingly open themselves up to the idea of sex with children shows no moral self-restraint;

Please objectively define the following terms you have used:
Child
Sexually mature
Perversity
Note that these definitions should not be based on your personal beliefs, biases, hangups, etc.

it follows that such a person would have no qualms about engaging in the actual behaviors depicted, or worse.

It does not follow at all. I'm playing GTA3 at the moment and enjoying it immensely. It does not follow that I'd have no qualms about doing the things the character I play in the game does to Actual Real People.

It is not comparable to watching violence in the movies because of the fact that in all but the smallest minority of films, violence is presented as a Bad Thing. Unlike child porn, which seeks to exalt immoral sex as an end which to seek, and is made for the explicit purpose of showing sex with children.

Rubbish. I've no idea what action movies you're watching, but all the ones I see show the hero quite happy to shoot, maim, blow up and do pretty much everything to the baddies necessary to save his girlfriend/child/country/pot of beer/whatever. The situation is *identical*, it's just that fake violence is more socially acceptable to fake sex to American society.

[ Parent ]

Drug Addiction? (1.00 / 1) (#188)
by trimethyl on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:16:45 AM EST

No. I can't think of a single reason why someone else's idea of what is "harmful to me" is better than mine.

Drug addiction is a perfect example. Until one has been addicted to drugs (and wanting to quit, but unable), one can't really appreciate the true harm in using them. Problem is, though, once someone figures out for themselves that addiction is harmful to their person, it is usually too late - they've already become addicted.

Just ask my sister, who's addicted to one of the most addictive drugs on the planet - nicotine. She believed that she knew better than society when she started smoking; she thought that her own ideas about what was harmful and what wasn't were better than the rest of society's. And today, she still struggles with nicotine addiction.

At some point in life, you begin to realize that the people who are older than you were just like you at some point; they did the things you're doing now, they tried all of the things you're about to try. Rather than blindly sweep aside the wisdom of those who've come before us, we should ask ourselves why they've come to the conclusions about right and wrong that they have. And sometimes we just have to trust that someone who has lived longer than us knows more about life than we do.

For the record:
Child - a minor. In context: someone who is too young to fully understand the consequences (emotional and physical) of having sex with someone.
Sexually mature - the state of being physically capable of reproduction. I thought that this was pretty unambigous.
Perversity - Anything of a sexual nature which goes against the natural order established by God. You might not believe in God, or in a natural order, and if so would have a hard time understanding this. To make it simple, anything outside of a monogamous relationship between two sexually mature people of the opposite sex could be considered perverse if it contained a decidely sexual aspect. Homosexuality, bestiality, necrophilia, and pedophilia are just a few examples.

Oh, and one last thing. Too many people have defended reprehensible behavior as being "only natural." It isn't. An individual who desires or fantasizes about having sex with children will be enslaved by that desire regardless of whether or not child porn is legal or not; true freedom will not come with the repeal of child porn laws, but only when the individual decides not to let his own desires enslave him. Freedom is about having choices, and the one who seeks out child porn does so because he is compelled by his own lusts to do so - he has given up the battle for his soul and succumbed to the enemy. He is not truly free, but instead has made the decision not to master his desires, but to let his desires master him.

[ Parent ]

Re: Drug Addiction (none / 0) (#214)
by drsmithy on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:17:31 AM EST

Drug addiction is a perfect example. [...]

Uncontrollable drug addiction is weakness of character. People can make excuses and dress this particular fact up as much as they want in an attempt to shift the blame elsewhere, but that won't change it. Additionally, I, like most of the western world have quite a few little drug addictions - caffeine and processed sugar, to name but two.
You also seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact that the destructiveness to society of most drug addictions stems either from the individual's refusal to take responsibility or the arbitrary legality (or lack thereof) imposed on the particular drug.

For the record:
Child [...]

Your definition is not only circular (what is "too young" ?) but also subjective. The age at which someone is a minor varies greatly between different cultures and even different sections of the same culture. Also not forgetting that the age of legal consent is often different to the age of majority (not to mention different depending on gender and even sexuality).

Sexually mature [...]

Most people are sexually mature long before they are not minors. To put it rather crudely "old enough to bleed, old enough to breed". Obviously that only applies to females, but I seem to recall that males are biologically sexually mature from a fairly young age as well.

Perversity [...]

Back when your god was supposedly passing down the various gems of wisdom to "his" "people", I daresay there were a great deal of marriages to what would now be minors. Were these perverse ? Why would they be perverse now ? Does the Bible dictate monogamous relationships can only be forged between people who aren't minors ? Minors in which country ? Which state ?
How about doggy style ? Is that perverse ? Bondage ? Mutual masturbation ? Blowjobs ? Sex toys ?

Oh, and one last thing. [...]

"Natural desires" are those which transcend culture, society, laws, religion and, well, pretty much everything. If a particular "adult" feels attracted to "children" and matches up with a particular "child" who feels a similar attraction to "adults", there is nothing unnatural about that.
Here's something else for you to think about. If someone seeks out Pepsi because they like the taste of it, are they slaves to the "enemy" or are they just slaking their thirst with their preferred drink ? What is it about you religious types that you must insist anything that isn't a struggle is a sin ?

[ Parent ]

A different perspective... (4.00 / 2) (#172)
by twinmaniac on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:23:00 PM EST

Parents are very uneasy about living next to someone who fantasizes about having sex with children

Thats just too damn bad for them. Perhaps they should move. They might not like living next to black people, i mean, don't black people cause a signifigant amount of property theft? Oh, right... not ALL black people are automatically theives.

Not all pedophiles are automatically child molesters.



[ Parent ]
cry me a river (none / 0) (#210)
by strlen on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:32:54 PM EST

Though the person who looks at simulated child porn may not be harming a specific person other than himself, he does harm the community in which he lives.

Great! Do you also suggest establishing thought crime legisilations to "save the community"? Do you also suggest we punish tobbaco smokers, corporations making profits, drug addicts (<sarcasm>the war on drugs is great! it never violated the rights of any individual, it completed destroyed all drug addiction and made the world a better place</sarcasm>), draft objectors, those who refuse to say the pledge in the same way! May be we can also put them into room 101.

Anyone who suggests that the 'community' matters more than an individual, is either a) a bleeding heart socialist b) or a Religious-Right (no offense to other conservatives, such as Barry Goldwater, for instance) nutcase). And they either refuse to see the philosophical implications of their ideas, or complete ignore them.

Just as a thought, if you want to see ways how individuals watch simulated child porn without actually being pedophiles, I suggest you check out any Japanese anime (uncut versions), or a couple of holocaust films. I remember there was a big debate where a film depicted a teenager being raped by gestapo officer, the actor was over 18, but the character in the movie wasn't.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Umm... (none / 0) (#213)
by Skywise on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:58:57 AM EST

1> Japanese anime is NOT child porn.  Though there is child porn that is japanese anime...

2> We *do* punish Tobacco Smokers... (higher taxes, ostracization, etc)  (In some case, I think they're reviled more than pedophiles...)

[ Parent ]

eh (none / 0) (#215)
by strlen on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:23:23 AM EST

1> Japanese anime is NOT child porn. Though there is child porn that is japanese anime

so? the person viewing the anime sees the child porn part. i'm quite a fan of japanese anime, yet i'm no pedophile. thats the point i'm trying to make

2> We *do* punish Tobacco Smokers... (higher taxes, ostracization, etc) (In some case, I think they're reviled more than pedophiles...)

does the fact that we do punish them make it right? i should have made this more clear, as i was connecting this to a dystopian novel "1984", where individuals were punished for their *thoughts*, in the case of this particular individual i believe it was a sexual fantasy, precisely what the poster is talking about. i'd take up arms to fight such a future! i've commited thought crimes: i've had many fantasies about doing illegal things, like smashing the face off of certain people who've pissed me off, not to mention many others. tobacco smokers is just another example of a victimless criminal we're now trying to create, under the guise of protecting society.

yet another group of victimless criminals we're trying to create is people who eat fatty foods. now we're making obese people a group of such criminals. another favorite thought criminal are of course the neo-nazis/racists. not to say that i don't hate racists and neo-nazis, i despise them (if not for simple disugst at their ideas, then for the fact that the authentic nazis killed many of my relatives during the holocaust) but i'd never support the use of force against non-violent activity like distrubution of their braindead literature.

first the came for the drinkers, then they came for the drug users, then they came for tobbaco users, now they're coming for obese people. that's why i'm pretty much a libertarian now. at one point they will come after 'nerds' who would sit hours and hours in front of a computer terminal, without real life friends, without physical activity -- claiming that they too are criminals as they do not participate in their communities and harm them by failing to improve them. what must be understood is being anti-social is a right, and not a crime. every society has its outcast, but when you begin to persecute these outcast, the only members of the society with a consience would become outcasts themselves.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Nullifies 1986 E-mail Privacy Act (4.00 / 2) (#168)
by michaelmalak on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 09:47:34 PM EST

I posted a story here on kuro5hin about how this very bill has a rider that nullifies the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. Curious that the kuro5hin community seems more concerned about being able to view virtual child pornography.

--
BergamoAcademy.com  Authentic Montessori in Denver
I'm glad you mentioned it... (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:00:29 PM EST

However, that wasn't what this article was about.

As you mentioned, you already wrote a story about it. It would be a little redundant to talk about it here.


[ Parent ]

What... (2.00 / 1) (#171)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:15:31 PM EST

You were expecting a community of "intellectuals" to some be above and beyond the lowest common denominator?  ;>

[ Parent ]
curiosity (4.33 / 3) (#179)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:13:24 AM EST

I wonder if we are making a line drawn that some things are so bad that we cannot even tolerate them in fantasy. For example, virtual murder is tolerable since we can think of it as self-defense, or fighting for a just cause. For some people, we can even think of murder as a kindness (euthanasia) but I can think of no positive spin that we can put on child molestation. Perhaps we are saying that that's something with no possible usefulness or redemption, and that even fantasizing about it opens possibilities that we'd rather not chance.

-Soc
I drank what?


Artist's Models (none / 0) (#197)
by Steve C on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:18:32 PM EST

One of the best ways of getting realistic-looking CG models is to digitise real objects. The argument that computer images are somehow 'clean' wrt child porn hinges on the idea that creating it wouldn't involve real porn at any stage of it's production.

Would someone who knows more about computer graphics, or art in general, like to comment on the feasability of producing realistic work without reference to models, or photographs of real children?

wrt celluloid murder, there are legitimate sources for trying to understand how a shooting. You could talk to ER surgeons, for example, or look in medical journals. Or simulate it by shooting meat, etc. Are there legit sources for making child porn?

Steve

Models (none / 0) (#216)
by vectro on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:52:42 PM EST

I'd say it's OK to use a child as a model, as long as the modeling isn't exploitative. That is, you would be perfectly justified in using e.g., family photos.

On the other hand, it's probably not ethical to take someone's face. You'd need to combine or change features.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Here's a link... (none / 0) (#220)
by Perianwyr on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 02:31:56 AM EST

"Millennium Kids" at Digital Art Zone. One could certainly make serviceable porn from these models- in fact, people regularly make really bad non-child porn with similar models- so it's pretty obvious that a high level of similarity to reality is nearly with us for even a less-than-talented designer. A 3d designer with real talent could make something eerily realistic with less than this.

[ Parent ]
The Regulation of Fantasy | 221 comments (201 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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