Addressing a Commenter

I had intended to let this go as I generally feel that giving ignorant people the time to voice their views here is unbecoming of a professional art blog, but I have decided to address it in a post without letting the comment through, since I did not want to share this particular  commentator’s information with the public.  Consider it a kindness to her, since we have some passionate fans who might pursue the matter beyond this blog, and at that point it is no longer in our control.

This commenter has apparently made it clear that she has reported our site to the NCMEC, since she seems to be under the impression that no one has ever tried this before and that NCMEC is somehow unaware of our existence, which is absurd for a blog of this size and importance.  Nevertheless, I shall take on each of her points one by one, so that other readers will be aware of how ridiculous her position is.  Here goes . . .

I am not an artist;

That is resoundingly obvious, as pretty much any artist worth his or her salt would be well aware of the laws pertaining to these issues, which you so clearly are not.

I happened on your website by chance.

I somehow doubt that.  There are people who make it their business to search out and target anything that they consider offensive.  But, if you did happen here by chance, all the better, since it means our site is easily reached and available to everyone, as it should be.

Some of the artwork is beautiful and some is thought provoking.

And yet . . .

However, there are many many photos of young girls in full frontal nudity.

. . . as if the child’s nude body cannot be both beautiful and thought-provoking.  At any rate, these images are constitutionally protected art.  They are not pornography, even those which address youth sexuality in some way, and certainly those which feature simple child nudity.  Every image here has been vetted and recognized as art.  The vast majority of these images have been published in other venues.  In fact, almost all of them have been taken from books which are easily available, many still in circulation, or from other art sites.  We do not post images here unless we know where they came from and we know for a fact that they meet the legal criteria for art.  We have always been extremely scrupulous about this, and that policy will continue for as long as this site remains extant.

And yes some do have a “lascivious display” of genitalia.

No, they don’t.  To suggest this to be utterly ignorant of both law and art.  Simply because genitalia is visible does not mean that they are lasciviously displayed.  Lascivious display has a legal definition, and it requires an extreme focus on the genitalia and/or genitalia which is displayed in such a way as to be deliberately sexual.  None of the images here meet that definition.  If they did, then the artists who produced them would be in jail.  A few of these artists (like Jock Sturges) have been arrested on spurious child porn charges, but they were always absolved of any wrongdoing in the end.

Perhaps in and of themselves there isn’t a problem. But to group so many photos together in one website seems to me to be a potential pedophile’s paradise.

Whether it is a “potential pedophile’s paradise” is really in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?  I have little doubt that pedophiles have visited our site, just as I’m sure they have bought the books or visited the websites of the artists themselves, but so what?  It is not the intent of this site to cater to pedophiles, but if we net a few in the process of making our larger point, so be it.  We are not willing to sway from our course in the interest of avoiding a few people.  It is absurd to completely change our longstanding cultural values of artistic and philosophical freedom in the interest of curtailing the prurient interest of a few.  Moreover, I suspect many of the people who oppose this site understand this and are masking their real objections to the dialogue itself by slapping the child porn label on art because they know that it’s generally a quick and effective way to silence the debate.  But I do not frighten so easily.  I am better informed than my enemies will ever be, and that is why I know that, outside of a fascistic crackdown on the whole of artistic expression itself, they cannot win.

If these photos were of women, full frontal nudity, they could be teetering on porn.

“Teetering on porn” is a ridiculously vague description of what you find offensive, but whatever it is, it still isn’t porn.  Full frontal nudity, adult and child, has been a staple of art since the beginning of its history.  If one took the time to actually peruse this blog, they would soon realize that this is part of the reason the blog exists in the first place: to educate people to that fact.  And again, I suspect the real objection to our site is because it so effectively makes that clear.  Enemies of artistic freedom thrive on spreading ignorance and fear about the issues to which they object, but we can see through that ploy a mile away and are not susceptible to intimidation and threats, and we’re willing to call them out on it, which means that we are more dangerous to them than real child porn ever will be.  That’s exactly why this blog is so important and so valid, and why we persist in the face of great opposition.  Many of the artists we feature here are friends of the site.  They understand how vital our mission is, and exactly how unique we are in the artistic world, because most people who have tried what we are doing have caved at the first sign of trouble rather than faced down the fear-mongers like they should have.  We will not do that.

In siding with the conservative, I’ve reported your website to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Wonderful!  And when this site is still standing months or years from now, we can point to this fact, and it will only fortify our position.

Nothing, or something may come of it;

Yes, something will come of it: you and your ilk will continue to look more and more ridiculous for your astounding degree of ignorance of artistic and legal precedent.  So, please, by all means, keep inundating us with your uninformed and sanctimonious opinions and keep reporting us to people who have better things to do with their time than dealing with an art blog posting well-known and already legally vetted art, so we can keep strengthening our hand.

I’m sorry and I know you disagree, but we’ll let a third party decide.

Please.  Stop with the patronizing nonsense.  You may be many things, but sorry is not one of them.  Admit it: you have no qualms with trying to destroy us.  And third parties have already decided.  This site has been in existence since February of 2011; we have already faced worse threats than you and we are still standing proud, just like this little girl . . .

Diego Sandstede - Malena

Diego Sandstede – Malena