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The trap at the end of the clickbait

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

75 Comments

  1. Camestros Felapton
    April 30, 2016 @ 11:35 pm

    There was a kind of horrible inevitability to this.

    Reply

  2. Paul G. Ringo
    May 1, 2016 @ 12:29 am

    Though the world would be better off without any of the stuff in it, sexually explicit drawn images of underage people aren’t, I think, quite the same thing as sexually explicit photographs of underage people, the biggest obvious difference being that in only one of those two categories is a real human child directly affected in any meaningful way.

    Since you’re calling him a “child pornographer,” do you believe this “kukuruyo” person (and thus any other artist doing the exact same thing) should be arrested, serve jail time, and be registered as a sex offender in the same way that someone producing sexual photographs of a real human child should?

    Does Mr Moore’s “Lost Girls” make “child pornographers” of him and Melinda Gebbie, too?

    (Please forgive me the disposable email and obvious pseudonym, but given the subject, what I’m saying, and the particular group of people you’re dealing with here, holy shit, dude, do I not want anything that can lead back to me on this particular comment thread.)

    Reply

    • Paul G. Ringo
      May 1, 2016 @ 12:31 am

      And, of course, the age of consent in New Jersey, which I felt incredibly skeevy looking up, is 16.

      Reply

    • Agkistro13
      May 1, 2016 @ 1:14 am

      And let’s not forget, fictional people aren’t real. I know that sounds obvious and dumb, but think about it. If I draw a naked woman with big tits and sexy hips and all the rest that men like to see, and then in a caption underneath it I write “This girl is 9 years old” is it suddenly child porn, and everybody who felt a tingle looking at it is a pedo?

      Or even worse, if I draw an obviously pre-pubbescent little girl naked and in a sexual situation, and write beneath it “This girl is 34”, is it suddenly NOT child porn, and everybody should lust after it without worry or shame?

      That’s essentially what happened here. The character he drew is said to be 16 by Marvel, but she’s drawn with the body of an adult (by Marvel and this artist).

      And this all leaving aside for a moment the notion that a naked 16 year old is in any way, shape, or form ‘child pronography’.

      Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 1:28 am

      Generally speaking I’m an anarchist opposed to the existence of a police force, so I’m certainly not invested in the idea that kukuruyo should be prosecuted. I’ve no idea what jurisdiction he lives under anyway, so for all I know US law might not even be relevant. That said, if I were contacted by law enforcement I would cooperate with any investigation because I’m not a fucking idiot.

      In practice, if you know how to Google you can quickly learn as much as I reported here.

      It does not seem to me that Lost Girls violates the PROTECT Act, as it unquestionably has literary and artistic merit. The picture in question… does not.

      Reply

      • gg number 9
        May 1, 2016 @ 3:36 am

        He lives in Spain.

        Reply

        • Elizabeth Sandifer
          May 1, 2016 @ 3:37 am

          Ah, well, there you go.

          Doesn’t change anything in this post.

          Reply

          • Vox Pop
            May 1, 2016 @ 5:53 am

            “This post” is literally retarded. Call Interpol and report him for sex trafficking, eh?

  3. DoctorBleed
    May 1, 2016 @ 12:53 am

    A cartoon can never be child pornography, you drama queen. Especially not a 16 year old character who looks 20 in many of her own canon appearances.

    But don’t take my word for it, ask the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They’re an organization that you, as an artist, should be taking quite seriously because without people like them you probably wouldn’t be allowed to publish any of the stories you’ve written yourself.

    Or even ask Neil Gaiman, a fellow Hugo Nominee this year who has contributed more to writing and art in one day than you will in your entire career.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 1:22 am

      I have the utmost respect for the CBLDF, and in the (I suspect unlikely) event that any prosecutions took place over this I would completely understand if they decided to help with the defense. I have no opinions on the constitutionality of the PROTECT Act, and only weak opinions on the morality of it.

      That doesn’t make Vox Day’s hypocrisy or the fact that art like this was nominated for a Hugo any less newsworthy.

      Reply

    • Vinzenz Stemberg
      May 1, 2016 @ 9:00 am

      OOoohhh, I’m sure you could make a case…I’m sure you could make a case….

      That when they were underage Chelsea Valkenburg and Randi Harper most likely were mistaken as cartoon characters!

      Reply

  4. Ken Transblack
    May 1, 2016 @ 1:04 am

    “Under US law, this would seem to legally be child pornography.”

    Not according to SCOTUS:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/national/16CND-PORN.html

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 1:20 am

      The relevant law, the PROTECT Act, was a response to that ruling.

      Reply

      • AnonA
        May 1, 2016 @ 3:39 am

        Time for a little armchair lawyering.

        PROTECT Act of 2003

        “Prohibits computer-generated child pornography when “(B) such visual depiction is a computer image or computer-generated image that is, or appears virtually indistinguishable from that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct”; (as amended by 1466A for Section 2256(8)(B) of title 18, United States Code)”

        Keywords in this bit are virtually indistinguishable and minor.

        Fictional characters in cartoon drawings are very clearly distinguishable from that of a person, a minor, engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

        In law, a minor is a person under a certain age.

        A fictional character cannot be considered a person due to it being fictional, fictional characters do not have a real age for the same reason. This means a fictional character cannot be considered a minor.

        “Prohibits drawings, sculptures, and pictures of such drawings and sculptures depicting minors in actions or situations that meet the Miller test of being obscene, OR are engaged in sex acts that are deemed to meet the same obscene condition.”

        This bit makes no mention of drawings of fictional characters, it only uses minor and as said above; a fictional character cannot be considered a person and thus cannot be considered a minor.

        It is clearly referring to sketches and sculptures of an actual person, an actual minor.

        The conditions of Miller test:
        “Whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards”, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

        Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law,

        Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

        The problem with the Miller test and “obscenity laws” in general is that they’re subjective as all hell. The Miller test can deem anything “obscene” and illegal if doesn’t meet the requirements, it doesn’t matter if there’s actually a crime or not, whether or not someone’s rights are being violated or anything like that. It’s very overreaching and completely ass backwards.

        Reply

  5. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 1, 2016 @ 1:19 am

    This is apparently one of the comment threads where I have to actually state the Eruditorum Press comment policy, which is that I can remove comments for whatever reason I damn well feel like.

    In this case, I removed several for what I consider to be empirically false accusations. You can say that shit somewhere, but it ain’t gonna be here.

    Now to reply to what’s left.

    Reply

  6. runforyourlife
    May 1, 2016 @ 1:51 am

    Mildly disappointed that almost every comment on this post is opposing the categorization of drawn pictures of underage girls as child porn. God, why is it only mildly?

    Even so, this is… kinda thin as an attack on Vox Day, you know? Like, this is something that tangentially kind of reflects badly on an overt racist fascist. Seems like the kind of thing that you would normally leave to the “anonymous individual” who runs the stupidvoxday tumblr to make a brief snarky post on.

    In your internet fights, you tend to arrive at a point where you get needlessly petty. I didn’t think we’d get there with Vox Day, but here we are.

    Reply

    • Josh
      May 1, 2016 @ 12:28 pm

      It’s fairly nakedly a marketing campaign for the kickstarter, if that helps you square it away under the grand organising principles of Sandifer-work. And well, I’m $20 in, don’t know about you.

      Reply

  7. tehy
    May 1, 2016 @ 2:10 am

    https://twitter.com/_icze4r/status/726573447816433664

    By the way, the character is 16 years old, also known as the age of legal consent and marriage in Spain, which is where the artist lives. So there’s the rub – if drawing this is ‘child porn’, then are those 16-year-olds getting married in Spain all being molested or statutorily raped? Not according to Spain’s laws, morals, and culture, so…

    Reply

    • Sean O'Hara
      May 1, 2016 @ 7:03 am

      A country can have a different age of consent for pornography and general sex. The UK, for instance, defines child pornography as anything with a performer under the age of 18 even though the age of consent is 16. Likewise, most US states set the age of consent under 18, but Federal law still bans pornography with 16 and 17 year olds.

      I don’t know what the law is in Spain, but you can’t just assume from the age of consent that this would be legal.

      Reply

  8. Ozman Jones
    May 1, 2016 @ 7:06 am

    Phil… I love ya, man! I really do; been reading and endorsing this blog since the hooha raised over the Celestial Toymaker entry.

    But this must be some pedophilia variation on Godwin’s law… really, with, maybe, a little “think-of-the-children-ism” thrown in for that extra spice.

    An Ad hominem attack is beneath you.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 7:28 am

      I don’t particularly think of the children here. If anything, I just sort of sigh that eventually they’re going to learn that malevolently gross assholes like this exist in the world. Which is to say that I don’t think you have to think of the children to find splashing your drawings of underage superheroes flashing their vulvas on the Internet distasteful, and to think that it’s a fucking embarassment to the Hugos that they are thus far unable to stop this hypocritical anal sadist from hijacking their supposedly prestigious award.

      Reply

  9. Jon
    May 1, 2016 @ 7:06 am

    Hey, Phil: Just in case you’re not aware of this, in order for something to be child porn under the law in any US state, it has to involve actual, living children – drawings don’t count.

    There is literally not a single state in which they would consider something like this to be child porn which is punishable by law.

    In other words, this is one of the dumbest blog posts I have ever read and you should be embarrassed for saying something this ridiculous.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 7:25 am

      If this is one of the dumbest blog posts you’ve ever read, you haven’t read many blog posts. Try Mencius Moldbug.

      Reply

    • Tom B
      May 2, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

      I think you’ll see some states will prosecute people for comics with drawings of underage people naked as child porn, just as they prosecute comic shop owners for violating obscenity laws for selling comics with nudity in the first place.

      Reply

  10. Kit Power
    May 1, 2016 @ 7:43 am

    Dude 1: randomly accuses people he disagrees with of paedophilia

    Dude 2: “Hey, dude 1! You hate nominated someone as ‘best fan artist’ who draws sexualised pictures of 16 year old girls? WTF?”

    Internet comments section: “Way to fight dirty, Dude 2!”

    Me: ????

    Reply

    • Vinzenz Stemberg
      May 1, 2016 @ 9:13 am

      Well, let it not be said the internet ever found a puritan beloved.

      Reply

  11. Tim B.
    May 1, 2016 @ 11:23 am

    Just like to point out to people claiming that depictions of fictional characters cannot be deemed child porn that this is a Marvel character in 2016 so she stems from Stan Lee’s early 60s insight to co-create realistic characters so IMO the legality of this is by the by, it’s just plain skeevy.

    Don’t really have much more to say but keep up the good work Phil.

    Reply

  12. dm
    May 1, 2016 @ 1:09 pm

    No, Phil, you’re just so wrong on this one.

    Reply

    • dm
      May 1, 2016 @ 1:11 pm

      I’m not siding with any of those puppy creeps, but a nude drawing of a fictional 16 year old character does not justify your clickbaiting headline.

      Reply

      • dm
        May 1, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

        It’s not “newsworthy” and, frankly, it’s not Phil-worthy.

        Reply

    • dm
      May 1, 2016 @ 1:30 pm

      I think you’ve earned enough good will that if you do come to realise how fucked up and beneath you (and the Eruditorum Press brand) this post is, you could probably delete it without posting a retraction and that would be FINE

      Reply

      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        May 1, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

        I regret to inform you that I must decline your kind offer to forgive me for posting this if I delete it and issue a retraction.

        Reply

        • dm
          May 3, 2016 @ 12:05 am

          I suppose a facetious response was fully deserved here

          Reply

  13. Daibhid C
    May 1, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

    My wishy-washy tuppenceworth:

    On the one hand I think the fact this guy has drawn some exceedingly dodgy stuff is relevant, particularly in the context of Vox Day’s favourite ad hominem.

    On the other hand, I think “child pornographer” is maybe a bit of an overstatement.

    And FWIW, personally, yes, I get skeeved out every time I’m reminded Lost Girls is a thing that exists.

    Reply

  14. Robert E. Speedwagon
    May 1, 2016 @ 5:12 pm

    Isn’t it kinda hypocritical to call Vox Day hypocrites for supposedly nominating a pedophile while you yourself have publicly defended a known and proven pedophile.

    And no it didn’t involve cartoons for those who don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Reply

  15. Martin
    May 1, 2016 @ 9:20 pm

    Phil, I’m an avid reader of your blog and absolutely love your war with the Puppies. This post was incredibly disappointing and you really let me down by lowering your rhetoric to this level. Come on, man, don’t get desperate and grasp at straws. They’re giving you plenty of other really good material for you to use against them in your articulate and erudite manner. This was sloppy and juvenile.

    Reply

  16. Ciaran M
    May 1, 2016 @ 9:34 pm

    Phil, you’re fighting this internet argument, well, like an Internet argument. All your comments on this thread look like you’re either lashing out or trying to save face, as opposed to actually engaging in a discussion with your generally pretty loyal and grateful community.

    Reply

  17. Patrick
    May 1, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

    Do you know how we win this fight? It’s by being smarter, funnier and above all more fun.

    It’s not by sinking to these juvenile levels of discourse. I am incredibly disappointed by this post and by you, Phil.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 10:23 pm

      Well, I’m frankly pretty dismayed by the number of commenters who think the fact that Hugo nominations are going to people who draw shit like this is no big deal that shouldn’t be pointed out, especially given Vox Day’s sanctimony on the subject.

      If being “fun” means focusing on the silly and deliberately parodic dinosaur erotica that made the ballot and not the actually appalling bits, I’m afraid I’m going to opt to not have much fun on this one.

      Reply

  18. Jack Graham
    May 1, 2016 @ 10:42 pm

    I’m also dismayed (and I can think of other adjectives too) by how many people seem, bafflingly, to think Phil is somehow wrong to point out this hilariously revealing, and repulsively skeevy, bit of utter hypocrisy.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      May 1, 2016 @ 10:48 pm

      I at least sort of understand the people who mistake this as a call for any sort of legal ramifications. Which is an understandable misreading. But very much not my angle on this.

      Reply

    • Daru
      May 3, 2016 @ 7:59 am

      I actually went and had a look at Kukuruyo’s page, including the Ms marvel image mentioned. This work is pretty terrible for the major reason to me in that it feels exploitative – especially in the way that the character, image and idea of Ms Marvel is used and abused by Kukuruyo (for his own sales). It feels like a cheap shot against her character winning the Graphic Award last year and complete disregard for the inspiration, joy and creativity that the book stands for.

      Reply

  19. XZ
    May 1, 2016 @ 10:56 pm

    Actually, under US law, drawn depictions of sexualized minors is not child pornography, because it doesn’t feature real people and no one was harmed in the making of the imagery.

    Of course, this assumes you’re being 100% honest, which you aren’t; she’s only 16 in one continuity. Half the US has states who’s legal age of consent in 16. You’re an idiot. Finally, Kamala Kahn, the version of Ms. Marvel that kukuruyo drew, isn’t even the actual Ms. Marvel; that’s Carol Danvers. Kahn is a shapeshifter who took the costume and name after being inspired by her hero, who is Carol Danvers.

    So, your lack of knowledge about the law and comics is both expected and showing.

    Reply

    • Chris L
      May 1, 2016 @ 11:22 pm

      Hmm…Should I hyperbolically declare that XZ is an “idiot” for misspelling Kamala Khan’s name, or should I point out that it’s super-creepy to think it’s ok to draw cartoons of naked 16 year old girls?

      Reply

    • Ciaran M
      May 1, 2016 @ 11:37 pm

      Well, hurrah phil, the material impact of your post is alienating some of your regular fans and luring creeps like XZ over here.

      Between jerks like them, and you responding to any criticisms so pithily, this community no longer feels like a safe space where people can discuss nerdy bullshit from politically sound perspectives. But at least we now finally know that Vox day is a skeevy hypocrite. Everyone here had been wondering about that for a while now.

      Reply

  20. Jack Graham
    May 1, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

    Yeah, that’s right – by far the best way to respond to a guy who draws a young girl cartoon character with her genitals visible is to quibble over exactly what the letter of the law is about what constitutes ‘child pornography’ and exactly what the age of consent is. That’s a real good use of priorities. Well done people.

    Reply

    • Ciaran M
      May 2, 2016 @ 12:00 am

      Surely the best way to respond would be to not give a shit about this guy who none of us gave a shit about before? And to not use awful dismissive arguments like ‘it’s so obviously wrong I don’t even need to say or explain why it’s wrong’. This is an aesthetic disagreement masquerading as a political one. This post doesn’t exist because phil thinks explicit depictions of minors is wrong, it exists because phil doesn’t like Vox Day. And he doesn’t like him for all the right reasons. None of which are alluded to here.

      Reply

      • Jack Graham
        May 2, 2016 @ 12:03 am

        “This post doesn’t exist because phil thinks explicit depictions of minors is wrong”

        Are you shitting me?

        Reply

        • Elizabeth Sandifer
          May 2, 2016 @ 12:07 am

          I mean, that’s not why it exists. If I thought that, I’d have a really tough time with Lost Girls.

          I do think this particular depiction is tasteless and reflects an agenda that can only be described as evil, however.

          I’m also not sure why I should reiterate the literal book of reasons not to like Vox Day I published when I mention him further. I think the past history there can ben taken as read, no?

          Reply

        • Ciaran M
          May 2, 2016 @ 12:22 am

          No Jack, I am not. Phil probably does think that(to an extent of course, because if something has ‘artistic merit’ it is okay), but it is plain to see that isn’t why this post is here.

          Also, phil here is my upsidedown response to you because I don’t know how this website works: fair enough. I don’t care about the Hugoes as much as you, and I probably shouldn’t be engaging in this debate, but rather than pithy posts like this, why not just keep striving to be better than Vox and his ilk? That’s what you do most of the time, and it seems to work a lot better.

          And also, my point earlier was that we know you don’t like Vox. We don’t like Vox. Nobody in your community is arguing for Vox. And yet this crass post exists because…?

          Reply

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            May 2, 2016 @ 12:27 am

            Because Vox had thus far been successful in having the harmless piece of dinosaur porn he got on the ballot be the talking point, and it was distracting from the not-harmless stuff he also got on the ballot. So I decided to make the post in the hopes that it would get picked up by places like File 770, thus changing the direction of the larger conversation via a short post. Before moving on to shit I’m actually interested in like getting people to give me money for my new book. 😉

          • Ciaran M
            May 2, 2016 @ 12:38 am

            Look, that explains the clickbaity headline. I still disagree, and think a lot of this post and commenuts have done more harm than good, but also I am speaking as someone who only engages with the Hugoes through this blog.

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            May 2, 2016 @ 7:48 am

            If we’re going to talk about harm this post has done, the post on /r/KotakuinAction calling for me to “face serious consequences” for making it that led me to have to go file a police report in case I get SWATted should probably be where we start.

            In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s the only quantifiable harm this post has done.

          • SaiFish
            May 12, 2016 @ 3:36 am

            You filed a police report because someone made a vague allusion to serious consequences on the internet? And then nothing happened.

            For it to be quantifiable, it would have to be measurable. Unless you count the effort made in filing the police report to be a form of harm, but it was an unreasonable act to begin with.

          • Jack Graham
            May 2, 2016 @ 12:39 am

            Well Ciaran, thank you, but please don’t presume to tell me what is ‘plain to see’.

          • Ciaran M
            May 2, 2016 @ 12:52 am

            Now you’re just arguing, Jack.

            Anywho, love your posts, but, much like with phil, hate your engagement with the community here, which borders on bullying. Of people who like and support you. That is the extent of my argument here. But this is your website and you can do what you like. I just wanted to make that heard.

          • anna
            May 2, 2016 @ 3:27 am

            We must have very, very different definitions of ‘bullying’, if you think any of Jack’s responses in this thread ‘border on’ it.

      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        May 2, 2016 @ 12:05 am

        I think once the guy made the Hugo ballot not giving a shit about him switched to being a delusional strategy.

        Reply

  21. echo
    May 2, 2016 @ 5:52 pm

    Reply

    • Martin
      May 2, 2016 @ 6:41 pm

      Forgive me for not being in the loop on Internet drama, but Phill has always loudly and rightfully stood against Gamergate. How is that a surprise?

      Reply

      • echo
        May 2, 2016 @ 9:49 pm

        “Not even a reservation about how sexualizing 7 year olds is wrong?”

        Reply

      • SaiFish
        May 9, 2016 @ 12:10 am

        It’s a surprise, because he feels opposing Gamergate requires standing up for an outspoken pedophile and child porn distributor. As in, actual photographs.

        It’s nice that he opposes both Gamergate and child pornographers, but this tweet highlights which one he hates more.

        Reply

        • Disappoint
          July 21, 2016 @ 2:24 pm

          Now that I’ve looked into this Butts business, I feel vaguely dirty for ever having financially supported Phil and will be certain not to repeat that mistake.

          Reply

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            July 21, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

            Well if it’s any consolation I feel similarly about profiting off anyone who thinks that doxing and posting pre-transition photographs of a woman to illustrate a news story sourced from fucking 8chan (a board that exists, notably, because people were outraged that 4chan forbade child pornography) is even remotely fucking acceptable.

  22. Trent Lott
    May 3, 2016 @ 2:04 am

    I am glad to see that the Moral Majority endures to this day. I thought for sure when Nancy Reagan died, our fight was a hopeless one. I am glad that Phil Sandifer is bravely standing up to enforce moral values upon those who have strayed from the Path.

    Reply

  23. Anonlel
    May 8, 2016 @ 1:11 pm

    Salt for the Salt God

    Reply

  24. You are lame
    May 9, 2016 @ 1:43 am

    USA childlike thinking attacking again. Is fair to rip of a person, even shot dead, but a couple of lines are child pornography.

    LAME

    Reply

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