(Warning: I'm annoyed enough to drop my written journal language filter. The following post contains dirty words.)
In the (insanely long) comments thread for yesterday's journal entry, wickedgameff wrote, "The only reason that any kind of expression or speech should be ruled against is if the words are meant to incite violence or crime. And since the yaoi I write is only meant to express love between two (or more) characters, I know it doesn't fall into that category." technosage, concurring, went further: "the DJ and yaoi and fan fiction generally can be so beautiful it takes your breath away." It's funny you should say that so poetically, because you remind me of someone. Over on the polyamory community, there's apparently a guy who's a regular source of amusement to the cynics on dot_poly_snark who writes just as poetically about the sublimity and spiritual beauty of his happy, loving poly triad: himself, his wife, and his horse. The poly snarksters aren't buying it. I know of no reason to think he's not sincere, but, dude, you're talking about fucking a horse. And I'm sure that WickedGameFF and Technosage are just as sincere, and are convinced that their fantasy lives aren't anything like that guy's real life, because what they love is spiritual and pure and he's just a horse-fucker. But dude, you're writing or collecting pornography about fucking little boys. Frankly, if it were up to me, I wouldn't give a rat's ass what you're writing or reading. But you know what? It's not up to me. And it's not up to you. You can go out there and make your case that it should be up to you and me, that people shouldn't give a rat's ass what fiction you write and you read because "it's just fiction." But at least here in the US, I flatly guarantee you that you will not win that fight in your lifetime.
Right now, no prosecutor or police chief that I know of is so bored or so fired up about boy-love animé, boy-love manga, cartoon-character child porn cartoons, or Harry Potter pornographic fanfic to devote the resources to tracking down the writers, artists, importers, distributors, and collectors of that material. The resources in question would be relatively trivial. Internet anonymity is a fig leaf, not an impregnable vault. But right now, nobody in law enforcement cares enough to move it ahead of the thousand other things they have to care about. But people a lot more reputable and a lot better connected to law enforcement and the media than those moronic cranks at Warriors for Innocence are determined to change that. If you acquire any kind of a public reputation for involvement in those scenes and they win, you're in a lot of trouble. You may think that what you're doing is perfectly legal under the First Amendment, but I'm telling you right now, you're wrong.
My prediction is that it will probably never come to that. Groups like Perverted Justice aren't, so far as I can tell, sufficiently determined to push it that far. What they want the most is zero tolerance for the stuff you like on the big public Internet services, and for every one of those Internet services to dedicate at least one full time employee to enforcement of that policy. And having seen MySpace and Blogspot cave on that, I predict with absolute confidence that many of the journals that were reinstated after Strikethrough '07 will be deleted again in the near future. If you're determined to keep writing and keep collecting this stuff, back it up to your local hard disk now, and make plans to move it to a website that is dedicated to your particular kink. And as long as that website makes at least a token effort to keep minors out and as long as that website doesn't come to major media attention at the hands of somebody like Geraldo Rivera back in 1983, that is where it will probably end.
But I could be wrong. And if I am? Then welcome to the world that I've lived in since 1983. You won't like it.
As I've written about before, in 1983, a local cop concluded that I was "obviously" a pedophile. In his opinion, no adult would set up a BBS like Weirdbase, the one I was running, if he wasn't looking to cruise teenage and pre-teen boys for sex, and nobody would set up a world-wide network of BBSes like MagickNet, the one I was running, if he wasn't looking to network with other pedophiles so that we could help each other gain sexual access to pre-teen boys to rape and then kill in Satanic sacrifices. I lived with that guy intermittently following me around, and interviewing every contact he could find to try to find even one child that I had ever been alone with, for eight fucking years. And I learned very early in the Satanic Panic just how dangerous that was, as people in my same predicament all over the country found out that if you take almost any child and hand him or her over to the "tender mercies" of coercive child psychologists hand-picked by the prosecutors, if you give them even 18 hours to convince that child that since everybody "knows" that some particular adult "obviously" raped him and the only reason he doesn't remember it is that he "blocked it out," almost any child will testify to that abuse eventually. And even though the means of obtaining that testimony are pseudo-scientific bullshit, and even if the testimony that results contradicts important laws of physics as happened in the McMartin case, that child will be believed by a judge and a jury, both of whom have been repeatedly (demonstrably wrongly) assured that no child has ever lied about sex, that no child has ever made a false accusation.
So for eight god damned years I felt a perceptible rush of panic, an urgent need to look over my shoulder and to flee the room, if the situation presented itself where I was at any risk of being in the same room with a child and there wasn't at least one neutral adult witness present to testify that nothing happened, should any anti-occult cop pick up that child for questioning about what I might have done to him or her. The Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax was debunked and dropped off of radar, into the misty depths of cranky right wing conspiracy theory, all the hell the way back in 1991 or 1992. And you know what? Fifteen fucking years later, I still panic if there is any risk that I will be alone with a child. Habits die hard, especially when you know that your life depends on those habits when you're forming them. I will probably go to my grave pathologically terrified of children.
And if the cops single you out because of your collection of boy-love manga, or because the found your user name on the list of people reading pornish_pixies and therefore you're "obviously" sexually attracted to children, so it's "obviously inevitable" that if you've ever had a chance to molest one you probably did? Then you'll have to develop the same paranoid habit that I did. Because it's either that, or simply accept the fact that there is a cartoon piano hanging over your head by a fraying rope at all times, that at any time your entire future could be snuffed out whether you ever really did anything to a child or not. Is there anything you can do about it now? Nope. Oh, you can try. But too many of you have made the mistake of discussing this stuff on, or posting this stuff to, the Internet. And trust me, because I know this of my own experience, too: the net never fucking forgets. Just a few months before the Satanic Panic began, I happened to write a short pro-Wicca propaganda piece called "A Little Less Misunderstanding." People loved it. A few years later, I found out that one of my primary sources was horribly biased, and I had passed along one of his particularly obnoxious slanders. I've been trying, off and on for more than 20 years, to erase that piece of shit from the Internet. Well, frankly, not trying very hard lately, because I gave up. If you wrote or drew or scanned something and posted it to the Internet and anybody liked it, the odds are that somebody has a copy saved to their hard disk. Some day somebody will be wanting to populate yet another Internet archive of stuff like it, and that copy will be re-uploaded. Once they do, more people will see and like it, and download backup copies of it to their hard disks too. Ad infinitum.
And you know what? Now you need to learn what every actual pedophile, and every horse-fucker, and every corpse-fucker, and everybody else with a kink that isn't legal, will never be legal, and which will end your fucking life if you get caught even feeling that way learns early or learns the hard way: shut the fuck up about it. At the very least, shut the fuck up about it any time that there is any risk whatsoever that any journalist or any infiltrating cop or any private investigator or any vigilante will find it, and let me tell you right now, there is nowhere online that doesn't meet that definition, nor should you assume the physical mail is safe. Because if a moral panic starts, no fancy digital anonymity will guarantee your safety. Only two things will: that nobody anywhere with even the slightest grudge against you knows that you're interested, and that you have the extreme luck not to be one of the people picked by the cops to be made an example of when they bust anybody in your network and then subpoena your Internet provider. I mean, you could actually be that lucky. There are probably thousands of people in the US who read or watch boy-love Japanese-style porn or who read or write pornographic stories about fictional teenage characters. Even in the event of a nation-wide moral panic, they probably won't socially crucify and legally destroy more than a couple of hundred of them, and probably won't jail more than a few dozen, the few dozen they were able to (honestly or dishonestly) convict of molesting children. Maybe those are good odds, by your standards. Maybe your love for this stuff is so "breathtaking" that it's worth that risk to you. But know this: you will never be safe in this country, never truly safe. And you're going to have to learn to live with that, so start getting used to the idea.