Thursday, March 5, 2020

Australian Senator Wants Government to Ban More Anime and Manga

Australia, still an enemy of free thought.

Second time we've used this.

Anyone who has seen the fine documentary series Housos, knows that Australia is what happens when a bunch of cognitively dysfunctional weirdos get trapped on an island full of spiders and snakes, surrounded by sharks and murder-snails.  From this Southern Hemisphere version of England with more land and on-fire-ness to it, comes a flash in the pan news tidbit:

So Australian Senator Stirling Griff (yes that's a real name of a person, not a fictional character... somehow), wants literally every single anime and manga ever, inspected by the government for "child exploitation" and subsequently banned in the country if it does not fit some existing standard as defined by said government.  Apparently Mr Griff saw some anime with bouncy boobies and tighty-whities and is mad about it, probably because it makes him feel like his pants are shrinking.  The entity responsible for government censorship in Australia, which is officially called the Australian Classification Board, has since responded with what could be paraphrased as "you don't tell me what to do, now go fuck yourself" essentially.  They already have a government censorship rubric in place for everything and don't need to create a special one for anime or manga.  Making this idea more or less dead in the water.  Common sense should prevail, as a drawing of "child exploitation" is no more evidence of an actual crime than a drawing of Conan the Barbarian chopping someone's head off constitutes evidence of murder.

Well that should be it right?  One politician has a stupid idea that up and disappears like a fart in the wind.  Senator Silver Trench will go pout in the corner and that will be it right?  Probably, but like those instances where only the last of the redundancies avoids total disaster, so too does this small event illuminate the tenuous nature of a global market for art and entertainment properties.  One where one government can influence sales and license valuations for a global property, to a degree based on their own market size. 

It's happening in more than just the one place everyone immediately thinks of.

When discussing government censorship of entertainment media and art, the usual suspects always spring to mind, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand, Russia, Singapore, all that.  But in reality, the government regulation of creative output is embraced by countries which tout their self-celebrated socially progressive atmospheres such as Germany, U.K., Canada, France, Holland, Australia, and so on.  But these countries have a long history of maintaining actual thought-police and continue to do so while performing the mental gymnastics required to label them as positive entities which benefit society.  They justify their actions in state enforced censorship by arguing they are simply enabling the greater good but in reality are just another way to implement a what we say goes socio-cultural policy.

We're here to help.

As mentioned, Australia being one of England's side-projects, and as England  loves doing this, so too is like Australia to blindly parrot such thinking.  What is somehow second nature to these quazi Euro or Dynastic modes of thinking, are extraordinarily repugnant to Americans. So much so that when the USA was forming an absolute set of laws just after making England go away by shooting their army guys in the face, the very first one was a law expressly forbidding the government from legally regulating written works in any way, and through case law has been extended to art, music, performance, and software.  Actually if you look at the U.S. Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-8 can basically just be called "shit the English did that is not allowed anymore."  And #1 is a bit crowded, but government censorship is in there.  The continued strong aversion to such regulation, is cemented in American cultural identity and jurisprudence, through lots and lots of Supreme Court case law.  It is still seen as a very relevant subject today, because throughout the 20th and into the 21st century, it was often American cultural and literary output that has been the target of such government suppression efforts; Don't wanna participate in the SS book burning?  Too bad, do it or we shoot you.  Get caught with "Amerikanski rock and roll album" behind the Iron Curtain?  Time for re-education in Siberia.  That book about Robert Ingersoll and modern Atheism?  Off with your head you dirty kuffar!  Looking at that wrong American website in China?  To the Laogai you go for your state sponsored re-education.   Hell, if Salmon Rushdie tried to publish The Satanic Verses today, the UK would probably go crazy trying to ban the thing and lock him up for "hate speech" or whatever it is they're calling it now.  No wonder he moved to New York.

In Australia, this is a senior respected member of the government keeping your woke eyes and ears safe from all the evil manga and anime drawings.  It's ok, he knows what's best for you.

This ongoing tension has lead to the one important thing.  No other country has explicit prohibitions against the government regulation of any artistic or entertainment content.  Those MPAA or ESRB ratings?  They come from private organizations and they are not legally binding.  The local theater near me does not enforce those ratings and rather makes their own decisions about age restrictions if any, breaking no law.  That simply could not happen in Australia, or any other country out there. 

So this happens in English speaking markets, as well as other markets all over the world except for one country... 'Murika!  Making the USA the only vestige of truly free speech and expression.  Where all incarnations and manifestations of free-thought and expression are free to participate in the environment, where they either thrive or become obsolete through that participation.  For freedom of art and expression (including commercial media) in the USA it's sink or swim, in the rest of the world it's "Pool's Closed" because we say so.

If government censorship based on localized sensibilities continues to grow unabated through actions such as this, an international market for entertainment properties will become more and more impossible.  It would become a mission of of pleasing "all of the countries, all of the time" which is such an insurmountable prospect, that potential licensors would not even entertain purchasing such assets.   What would be the point of licensing Keijo if some government goon can threaten you with criminal prosecution for publishing it?  Anime goes from being a global multi-billion dollar business (yes, I'm counting Pokemon) back to a localized phenomenon traded with fans using legal or illegal means depending on what the government has decided you can dare to have access to.  Australia should just put the kangaroos in charge at this point.  They would do a better job running the place.

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