Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fanfic has a child porn problem, and more about Samuel R. Delany

In response to Liz Williams: journal - Abusive behaviour, I said on her Facebook page:
Did Frenkel grope? It's important that charges be precise. That's why I'm reluctant to assume anything about Delany based only on his writing—and yet, it's also why I'd want parents to know what he's supported.
I've been thinking about what parents should know about the people around their kids. The long list includes NAMBLA members, Ku Klux Klan members, Nazi Party members, Nation of Islam members, and people who carry concealed weapons. All are legal. None automatically means something bad will happen to a kid. But a parent should know these things before deciding who to trust with their children. (ETA: I would trust my kid around someone who I thought knew how to handle weapons. I realize that's not true for everyone.)

I wish Delany would clarify what he meant when he spoke about NAMBLA. He was a boy who wanted to have sex with men. I was a boy who wanted to have sex with women, and if there had been an organization to support Tea and Sympathy / Hot Teacher relationships, I might speak in its favor if I knew exactly what it advocated. I followed Liz Williams' link to a NAMBLA page that says nothing about what they think the age of consent should be. Rather dishonestly, they quote Oscar Wilde, though Wilde spoke of young men, not boys, and began his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas when Douglas was about twenty-one.

People have wondered why Delany's support for NAMBLA has not been scrutinized before this. Part of the answer has to be that many of the fans who agitate online for what they think is social justice are writers and readers of child porn about Harry Potter and other fictional children.

During Racefail 09, when I and several others were accused of outing Coffeeandink, even though she was using her legal name on public posts on her LJ at the time, people wondered why pseudonymity was suddenly important to her. Two answers were proposed:

1. After she participated in the doxxing of Zathlazip, she decided she should be able to claim pseudonymity in case members of her community turned on her.

2. She did not want to become known as part of a community that wrote child porn.

She gave an answer a few months after Racefail 09: “I am mostly just fighting a losing battle to prevent my mother from finding my LJ via Google.”

However, Coffeeandink did not mention that she has defended erotica about children. LiveJournal users fight erotic 'Harry Potter' deletions - CNET quotes her:
"The policy makes LJ an unwelcoming environment for sexual expression and experimentation, which is a change; in the past, LJ has been a valuable environment for many groups who are expressing, experimenting with, or identifying as non-normative sexualities to speak free of constraints which are often backed by patriarchical [sic], racist, classist, or heterosexist behavioral norms," another user, who goes by the moniker "coffeeandink," wrote in a recent entry.
To be very clear, we're not talking about illegal activity in Delany's or anyone else's case. As noted by ScottyMacEsq at What is the law concerning fanfiction writing w/ nc- 17 rating:
Fictional writings generally are protected under the constitution. While child pornography is generally without First Amendment protection, the United States Supreme Court held last year that imaginary depictions of child erotica cannot be criminalized because their creation ""records no crime and creates no victim."" That case, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, declared the federal Child Pornography Prevention Act unconstitutional, in large part because it criminalized the creation of ""virtual pornography"" involving youthful images. There's no such law for textual depictions, but Constitutional protections would extend to such works.
But we are talking about writing that creeps me out.

And we may have the reason why people who eroticize children don't criticize Delany for doing the same thing.

My take on their writing is this: Write what you please. I don't have to read it. Support whatever cause you please. I don't have to support it. But if I had children, I would want a good reason to think they would be safe around anyone who enjoyed child porn.

ETA: Just left this comment at Facebook:
I may need to clarify on my post that I know not all fanfic is erotica, and that what is erotica is not all child porn. And I don't doubt there are people who write child porn who would never consider indulging in it—most people know the difference between having a fantasy and acting on it. But after some thought, I think the people who want writers like Delany to clarify their position are not being unreasonable.
Related: What unites Natalie Luhrs, Avalon's Willow, and Vox Day (a post that began as The art is not the artist #4: Samuel R. Delany)

Pedophiles like science fiction: More on fanfic's child porn problem and Samuel R. Delany

ETA: I did a little googling to see what's said about fanfic and child porn. My google fu may be weak, because I haven't found much that's interesting yet, but I did see this tweet:
ETA: it's all one thing: a conversation with Samuel R. Delany