while behind closed doors england is currently pushing thru new laws, without any discussion or opposition, criminalising cartoons or any sexual depictions of anyone under 18, already in america a 38 year old guy, christopher handley, is being prosecuted for his manga collection – potentially ten years jail merely for possessing drawings determined to be child pornography and bestiality – i’ve been following the few scattered reports on comix blogs for a while but this week, after he submitted (or rather, was incomprehensibly pressured into) a guilty plea, the case is blowing up big in blogland – most recently hitting wired
as this will doubtless be used as a precedent-setting case, the guilty plea latently more shocking than any of the disgusting drawings – the comic league defense fund was prepared to put up $15000 to fund manga and first amendment rights experts and witnesses – but it appears christopher’s own idiotic “defense” lawyer is more intent making statements to the press giving his opinion that the drawings are indeed child pornography and no jury could be convinced otherwise… !
but regardless even if deemed obscene surely the drawings could still be defended on artistic merit – altho it’s still unknown exactly what titles are impeached, matt thorn, a translator, writer and lecturer on manga in japan, proffered his services to demonstrate “in detail – panel by panel, page by page, if necessary – the artistic and technical care that went into the works” – in correspondence with the defense lawyers, since sadly removed from his blog (for legal reasons, ho hum), my name was also suggested as an established reputable (?) artist working at the intersection between lolicon and fine art – i’d be utterly lousy at testifying tho
and most movingly, bringing dissociated reports of events down-to-earth, the same deleted blog entry also had correspondence with christopher’s mother who naturally painted a loving portrait of her maligned son religiously coping with type one diabetes, getting up and going to work which he loved (computer programming) then coming home to enjoy his books and video games – “…he is not prison material … this is a travesty and I wish someone could come forth with a miracle…” – next court appearance is august or shortly after
welcome to thought-crime and the criminalisation of art – the most essential reading on this, putting the case into a wider context, is lawrence stanley’s down the slippery slope – the crime of viewing manga