Thursday, May 21, 2009

The thin line of free speech

Recently there has been an obscenity case against a specific comic book owner. Christopher Handley owned Manga books. He was an average individual who ordered some comics from Japan. When the package went into the postal system, the postmaster decided there were questionable images in them. He permitted Handley to pick up the package only to have him pulled over by the police en route to his home. See the background on this here. The images were drawings and not photographs. There were specific drawings the authorities deemed as obscene.
Manga is a Japanese form of comic covering a wide range of subjects. See here. However, Manga has also veered into the more mature themes of entertainment.
I am not into this form of entertainment personally, yet I know those who are. However, the results of this type of restriction has far deeper implications. How is it that the countless forms of pornography is able to be bought and sold in this country? Obviously child pornography is illegal, as it should be. Was the Manga in question in this category? The Comic Book Defense Fund doesn't think so. Handley has given into pressure by pleading guilty. He wants this all to go away and is doing what he believes will do just that. What's to become of those naive individuals who have questionable Manga tattoos? Will our own personal libraries be safe? Why are booksellers still allowed to sell Manga? It comes down to images and what the governing bodies deem as inappropriate. This case sets a precedence. It will surely be challenged in the future as more cases come to light. How many artists throughout history have painted nudes, nude babies and cherubs. Under the guidelines of these certain governing bodies, those paintings would be considered inappropriate.

1 comment:

Jen said...

This is an interesting case. I can't believe the guy is pleading guilty. The cops must have made a plea deal with him.