Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Judge finds Simpsons sex cartoon to be child porn.

Alan McEwan was charged, tried and convicted of owning child pornography in his native Australia. But, before you jump to conclusions, the alleged porn he owned was a satirical cartoon of the characters from the Simpsons. Now, I must admit it never occurred to me that anyone could consider sexual images of the Simpsons to appeal to anyone's "prurient" interests. It would seem most people would find the cartoons silly while some would find them amusing.

But the courts in Australia ruled that these rude cartoons qualify as child porn because some of the characters, such as Bart and Lisa are under the age of consent. Are you getting this? That these characters are entirely imaginary doesn't matter. The judge ruled that under the law "person" includes "fictional or imaginary characters."  He also said that just because "the figure depicted departed from a realistic representation in some respects of human being did not mean that such a figure was not a person." If the laws didn't forbid it I would say this judge was smoking something. 

Precisely how would you determine the age of a non-existent, imaginary cartoon character? Unfortunately this was an appeal judge making the ruling, which is too bad, because I would say the case ought to be appealed to a more reasonable court. And one appeal I'd try on this utterly absurd prosecution is that the cartoon series first was shown as part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 17, 1987. Then in December, 1989 it premier as an independent series. Either way you cut it the show is 20 to 22 years old. Since fictional characters don't have birth certificates then perhaps the creation date of the series should be used instead. And by that criteria all the "persons" in the show are now above the age of consent.

Actually Bart was 10-years-old the day he was created so I guess he's 32-years-old today. Lisa would be just 28. 

Of course, my suggestion is ludicrous, ridiculous and just plain absurd. But apparently judges in Australia are prone to such things. If they can rule that cartoons are "persons" according to the law then I don't see how they can argue that a "person" who has been around 22 years is below the age of consent. I just have a hard time getting my head around the fact that a judge actually spent time determining that the Simpsons cartoon characters are legally considered to be "persons".