Many thanks to Alaina, the most important Smartmouth Goddess in my life.
I never thought I'd do it, but here I am. I'm defending hentai.
To be honest, I'm not a big fan of hentai. I've seen only little bits of it, and that's been enough for me. Maybe it's because women are usually less visual in their sexuality than men. Maybe it's because I think naked men look funny. (Can you say "The last chicken in the shop?") Maybe it's because I'm somehow repressed (don't ask me how) or I just don't feel motivated to sit through yet another male controlled and dominated sex scene, which, by the way, is aimed at men to being with. Maybe it's because I'm just weird that way.
My basic opinion is: "Hentai? Why should I bother? I mean, geeze, man, I'm watching two (or more) people screw, for God's sake. If nothing else, I'd think it's pretty damn depressing--there's these people, having a high old time, having sex, and I'm not one of them. Doesn't sound like that much fun to me."
The point here, though, is that I don't watch hentai or read lemons because they do nothing for me (and I find most lemons are rather poorly written to boot.) It's boring and about as stimulating as watching someone rewire a full switch panel. That is a personal choice that I made on my own, after much thought. I don't expect anyone else to believe the same way I do. I don't make fun of the people that watch hentai--it's their choice to do so. As long as they don't expect me to join in, rub my nose in it, or, (ack!) edit it, I'm cool. It's their choice as well, and I have no right to interfere.
There comes a time, however, when I have to make some sort of stand, for or against, no matter how much I'd like to remain neutral. That time is now. I have a strong belief in the first ammendment of the United States Constitution (since I do happen to be a citizen here), and it all basically comes down to this: "I might not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire was a wise man.
Today, I was wandering around the web at work, checking out the other Duo shrines, just because I like to keep an eye on things. I saw an interesting link on one of them: "Save our Duo." Heh...didn't know that Duo needed to be saved. I decided to give it a click and just see where it went.
Ah, a webpage that encourages oppression and hate, using Duo Maxwell, who is probably the last person I'd expect to be promoting those ideas, as a reason. Isn't that nice.
The webpage "Save Our Duo" can be found here: http://www.geocities.com/saveduo/
The introduction says (and this is a direct quote):
"SOD- Save Our Duo:
Welcome to SOD. This page is about Duo Maxwell (the Maxwell House Coffee man! ) It is also about Hentai And our STRONG hate against it. This page is not only for Duo but it is more for elimination of Hentai. We HAVE to stop hentai and never let it spread. The thought that children are able to see a form of Pornographic images is disgusting and we (Preja and Reika, the webmistresses) want it to end. So help us and our Coffee man against any form of Hentai. Please look at our page and take it seriously because Hentai is wrong you all know that."
Let's take a look at this now. The webmistresses state in the second sentence that they hate hentai. Ok, fine, that's their opinion. No problem with that. My problem begins in the third sentence.
Hentai is evil and wrong, apparently. And we all know it as well. Imagine that.
It's great that the webmistresses are exercising their right of free speech to bring us this message. However, now I'm going to exercise my own rights and say exactly why I think they're full of shit. They're taking a character from an animated television story, one to which they have no claim of ownership whatsoever*, and using him to manipulate the fans to fit their own political agenda. Just like mixing meat and milk, it seems just a little non-kosher to me.**
I have a serious problem with anything that promotes hate, or the idea of seeing other members of society as inferior or evil because of their beliefs and/or lifestyle. To me, it smacks uncomfortably of the hate-filled speeches of Reverend Fred Phelps, America's own "God Hates Fags" sign-waving nutbar.***
So hentai must be stopped, huh? Sorry kids, at this point, trying to make hentai or porn in general go away would be like attempting to ban guns. It's not going to happen. Porn comes under the heading of the first ammendment as well, as far as I'm concerned; people that look at it are merely exercising their right to express themselves as they wish, in this case sexually. You don't have the right to take that away. Call them perverts all you like, but it's nothing they haven't heard before.
As for children being able to see pornographic images--sorry, that's not the fault of the happy hentai lovers out there. I've yet to see anything that could considered pornographic in Gundam Wing fandom that doesn't have some sort of warning attached to it; the authors, artists, and webmasters are far too paranoid to go without. Broaden the scope of what we're looking at, and the way things operate doesn't change that much. It's fairly difficult to end up looking at porn without knowing where you're going with it.
"Ooops, I clicked on the arrow. Oh no! A naked woman! I'll just click on this link that says 'See more hot teen pussy' and maybe it'll take my away from here!"
Give me a break.
If you're so worried about what the children are seeing (and I can't begin to tell you how tired I am of that argument) than maybe you should get off your ass and actually watch what they're doing. Participate in their lives. Talk to them. Tell them why you don't want them seeing pornography.
Or am I being a little too radical here, expecting parents to participate in their children's lives and treat them like real human beings?
Everyone who reads my essays will get tired of hearing this from me, but I'm not going to stop saying it until people actually believe. Kids aren't dumb. What ends up making them into idiots is when all the authority figures in their lives treat them like glass sculptures that will shatter if you look at them wrong. The only way you learn is from your mistakes, so if everyone tries to stop the kids from making any mistakes, they're never going to learn, are they? Porn is out there. Pretending it doesn't exist or saying that it's evil isn't going to make it go away. Let the parents think of their own damn children and leave me out of it. I have a hard enough time taking care of myself -- there's no way on this side of the afterlife that I'm going to try to morally judge or control the rest of the world.
This isn't the first site of its type, and it won't be the last. I can't think of too many places on the web that don't have some sort of moral or political agenda to them, no matter how covert. When I get pissed is when the moral or political message involves someone preaching at me and telling me I should believe what they say because otherwise I am evil. There is no thought in that argument, just the implication that I'm going to hell. This is another incarnation of dehumanizing the other, a tactic that's long worked in wars, ethnic cleansing, and other eruptions of hate. You don't like something someone else is doing? That's great. Just start preaching about how evil it is. Remove their humanity and expunge them, since we can't stand people thinking differently from us. See those people, the ones that like porn? They're evil perverts. They have to be stopped before they destroy civilization as we know it.
I hope you're noting the sarcasm.
No matter what culture, race, or religion you're from, there's a fundamental thread running through all belief systems: you should not hate. Hate is an emotion that contributes to most of what people think is wrong with the world. There is no intellectual reason to hate. You can think out disliking something, and come up with reasoned statements as to why it's not something you want to look at, do, or deal with. Hating because someone told you to is never a good reason; you're not a sheep, you're a person. Hopefully you have a brain -- so try to use it.
I suppose the greatest irony of this website are the continued arguments of the webmistresses. They call pronography degrading. This is another old argument, but the subject is amusing. Pornography has long been considered degrading because it objectifies women, changing their status from a person to a mindless sex object. In Gundam Wing fandom, at least until a short time ago, most of the pornography was yaoi****; if we were objectifying anyone, it was men. Yaoi, while possibly of some appeal to the homosexual sectors, is mostly aimed at women. Hey, if guys can enjoy watching something that involves two women screwing eachother, women can most certainly enjoy the concept of two attractive men enjoying their time together.
Damnit, at least if we're objectifying and degrading people, we're doing it with equality now. Why take that away from us? What's more degrading -- celebrating and enjoying your sexuality, or treating it like a brand of shame?
Easy answer: anything that degrades you, makes you feel shameful for no good reason, or oppresses you is bad. If you want to pretend that sex doesn't exist or is evil, let's try some of Hamlet's advice: Get thee to a nunnery. (There's a reason they're called Nuns, after all--ain't got none, don't want none.) If you can't handle two consenting adults (or at least two consenting almost adults) screwing like minks, it's you're problem, not mine. Stop trying to shake the finger at everyone else and shame them into being something they aren't, just because you have society driven issues with your own sexual nature. Humans are sexual creatures. If we weren't, we would have been a really short lived race.
Here's a nice one for you. On the member's page, the background picture is one of Duo taking his shirt off and generally looking oversexed. There's a red circle and line over it. The irony? That is an official Gundam Wing picture. I'll leave it at that.
What I find the most amusing out of all of this is that the main focus of the website is Duo Maxwell, one of the Gundam pilots of Gundam Wing. Out of the five, he is the most outspoken, probably the most emotionally in touch with himself, and definitely the most down to earth. In the series, he's a rebel, fighting to free the space-bound colonies from the oppression of the earth. If he were a real person, I somehow doubt he'd be one to advocate the denial of any basic right, freedom of speech included.
Let's move beyond that, though, and get even more basic. At the end of Gundam Wing, he's 16 years old. He's right at the point where he's one giant hormone, almost no synapses, and a libido that will not die. Somehow, the idea that he'd be complaining about being put in pornographic stories is something that I find a tad unbelievable.
Hell, if he could, he'd probably be volunteering for more.
* It seems to me that they need to take the "O" out of their site's acronym. He's not their Duo by any stretch of the imagination. Their claim to him is just as invalid and non-cannon as that of the people that like writing porn about him.
** It would be akin to me making a website stating that we should hate the Japanese because Heero is ethnically Japanese and threatens to kill Relena, who's a good little girl. Or, in a non Gundam Wing anime example, if I tried to tell everyone that anyone who's not vegan is evil because Excel (from Excel Saga) keeps attempting to eat Menchi and we all feel sorry for the little pooch, now don't we.
*** Yeah, he's got a right to say that, no matter how much I don't like it, and I'll gladly defend his right, mostly because the more signs he waves, the more quickly everyone else realizes what kind of lunatic he is. Besides, I have the right to call him a bigoted asshole. It's fair.
**** Stories involving graphic sex between two men.
If you go to the SOD (isn't that a great acronym) site and you decide you don't agree with them as I have, do me a huge favor and be intelligent about it. Don't flame them. Don't call them names. Tell them you think they're wrong, and why, and for God's sake, be polite. Every time someone acts like a complete jerk about something, everyone that shares their viewpoint loses valuable validity points to their argument.
Please feel free to write to me, about whatever you'd like. Realize that any e-mail I receive may be posted on this website. My e-mail is email@example.com.