Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Maybe a dingo ate your common sense?

Nice one Australia

As if that country hadn’t embarrassed itself enough by banning all pornography featuring boobs that weren’t “big enough” because somehow a 35 year old A-cup with a giant bush getting raw-dogged by some dude with a footlong (photo unavailable) is a simulation of child porn, Australia has taken its approach to limiting what’s done on the internet one step further beyond the previous “would make China proud” standard, to levels which demand their own series of words that haven been invented yet. Apparently, deliberately offensive internet content (or lulz of any kind) in Australia are so illegal, that they can threaten someone with some sort of criminal charges even if you don’t live/do anything what so ever there. This is no “you hurt my feelings” civil lawsuit, but a threat to begin a genuine criminal action by a government body against someone who violated an Australian law outside the country. It would be like Saudi Arabia issuing an arrest warrant for the owner of Dinosaur BBQ because they distribute pork products which is a serious crime in that country... even though Dinosaur BBQ is in NYC where sweet sweet BBQ is quite legal.

isn’t the first country to have overreaching thought-police ruin someone’s day because some oversensitive troglodyte ended up all butt-hurt over something they heard/read/otherwise encountered. The UK, Canada, France, and too many other countries that you really shouldn’t expect this kind of behavior from, all now have the ability to throw you in jail, all based on someone’s reaction to your opinions. One would expect this kind of thing from super paranoid countries like China, Iran, Cuba, Thailand etc, but at least those countries don’t pretend to be enforcing human rights when they throw you in jail for speaking something against the party line (and that reminds me “Turkey’s Turkishness is balls, and Ataturk had none. ...there, now you’re a criminal in Turkey just for reading that).

Back to this particular case however, and again I am just at a loss here. The USA has offended everyone in the universe as well as a few people who don’t actually exist, there’s been a war criminal (more or less) allowed to freely go back about his Halliburton business, the country is just coming out of the dark ages of for-profit health-care for citizens, and has a disturbing amount of people in it who believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, dinosaur bones have been put here by god to test our faith, and global warming doesn’t matter because Jesus will be here next week to take all the “real Americans” safely away. Yet the Australian Department of who-gives-a-crap has decided to pick this battle to bring against the better, more successful version of what it could have been if they just stopped putting the queen on their money. (Yes, I'm saying America is better than Australia). Or is this just part of some clever attempt to keep Americans out of every other country with running water and toilet paper?

In this situation there is really nothing more to be said other than as someone living outside the USA, I am more than a little bit wanton to get the hell back under the rights and protections it offers. Imagine if some Chinese person was “offended” at Shampoo’s blatantly ching-chong racist-y sounding accent in Ranma 1/2? Or the patently offensive caricature-like depictions of black people that happen in manga all the time were deemed “hate speech” because someone saw it and got bent out of shape. These materials would not only banned from bookstores, but possessing them would get you in trouble, and forget about finding them online. The ED page that has caused this stir received a grand total of 20 complaints. Twenty people in all of Australia managed to cause an international fuss, and possible criminal charges against someone for hosting a website. If twenty people in a separate country with thought-police can create a situation like this, it won’t be too long before they make sure your manga is of to their standards of decency... watch what you bring through the airport over there.

Note to self, add one more reason to stay the hell off of that spider infested hell of an island.