Earlier this week Japan banned the possession of sexually explicit photos and videos involving any person under the age of 18. It’s worth noting that this ban only applies to real people, not drawn characters in anime, manga and video games. And this is something US news station CNN has a huge problem with apparently considering their consistent lobbying against these fictional works in Japan. They asked their audience on Twitter:
Now here are some of the answers people on Twitter had for CNN:
@cnni Cartoons aren’t people #Duh
— Tim Echols (@TimEchols1) June 18, 2014
@cnni Because police are too busy saving real victims instead of drawn fake victims.
— Allen Walker (@magnetmagician) June 18, 2014
@cnni Shooting people is illegal so why do we allow shows and games with murder in them?
— Arkana (@DestroyedArkana) June 18, 2014
wow @cnni disgracefully spreading misinformation as usual. nevermind the gross generalizations, what they blurred there wasn’t even porn!
— TJ (@blakkheim) June 18, 2014
@cnni Because the Japanese has not abandoned the common sense to distinguish between real children and fictitious material.
— 山口貴士 (@otakulawyer) June 18, 2014
This subject has been a hot topic in Japan for a couple of years now and many users of forums and blogs like Hachima agree with the sentiments expressed in the tweets above. A commenter on 2ch, a large and famous Japanese forum, made the point that these manga are neither exclusively aimed at nor mostly done by men: "There are women who draw these manga, read them, and play these games."
"These. Are. Just. Drawings," said another user in a comment. "Why don’t you guys say this after you lower your crime rate first," asked a snarky commentator looking at the Americans who have a much higher rate of crimes and rape than the Japanese. "Yanks picking fictional Lolita regulation over gun regulation." added another.
For many people involved in this discussion the argument is not necessarily about defending sexualized depiction of kids in manga and anime, but freedom of speech and art. When it comes to that freedom whether it’s sexualized comics or gory video games, where, do you draw the line?
via Karl Andersson
US Republicans on the far right sure do love their false equivalence, especially when it comes to “scientific experts.” No matter that every major medical association decries gay conversion therapy as ineffective and potentially harmful — just find one or two people to say otherwise and suddenly there’s “compelling testimony from both sides of the issue.”
False equivalence is the rhetoric quicksand of productive debate, and Anderson Cooper isn’t having it. During a recent interview with Texas Republican Rep. Bryan Hughes about the party having added support of conversion therapy to their official platform, Hughes played the “experts are divided” card. To which Anderson replied:
“It’s really just not accurate to say that doctors are evenly divided. I could give you a list: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselors’ Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers. They represent half a million mental health professionals, [and] they all say this is not a mental disorder. It’s not something that needs to be cured.”
The problem with speaking logic to someone who is knowingly full of shit is you can bet they aren’t going to budge. And Rep. Hughes played the part well, dodging substance and sticking to his canned bullet points. No matter that Anderson also shows a clip from his interview with former conversion guru Alan Chambers who has denounced the practice as traumatic and a waste of time.
“Does it concern you, again, that your party is now backing a form of therapy which basically every major medical organization says doesn’t work, can be harmful, and which many of the people who have been through it say it doesn’t work and is bad for kids?” Cooper asked.
It does not bother him, apparently, since all Hughes can reply with is repeating that he’s heard from “experts” and “read reports” that say otherwise. And thus the conversation goes full circle…