To step back for a moment and address something from earlier in this thread, I wanted to come back to the Seven Seas title which's licensed was dropped. After doing a little research on this, I stumbled upon this ANN article
where both the creator of the manga and the founder of Seven Seas discussed the "cancellation." The mangaka mentioned the apparent differences between US and Japanese culture that may have accounted for Seven Seas' decision, but none of her ponderings included anything that could be considered "sexually explicit." The founder of Seven Seas laid out
exactly what pages of the manga were the turning point, and as I originally claimed, they were not "sexually explicit" at all. The line for him was a panel where the adult male character is "literally and physically aroused." Not "you see his penis," but simply that he got aroused by the activities of the underaged girl lead in the story. The title didn't have graphic sex in it. It probably never would have been licensed in the first place if it had.
The reason I brought up Viewfinder volume 1 was to clarify my argument about the definition of pornography, again. I took a well-known series, that has well-know graphic sex scenes intentionally as an absolutely clear example of what I am talking about. This statement never had anything to do with Invisible Love
or whether or not it is porn. It had everything to do with my argument about what constitutes pornography. If it is such an off-topic issue that it's creating a problem I would ask you to stop misrepresenting what I am saying and accept my definition of pornography for what it is. At the very beginning of this discussion I stated in no unclear words that "we just have to agree to disagree" about pornography. We've both heard each other's arguments. Everyone else has heard our arguments. I don't see this going anywhere productive. We're just going to keep going back and forth about this over and over again in an endless cycle, so let's cut it out already.
As for my comments about Amazon's sales rankings and why I asked for us both to avoid speculating about sales numbers that neither of us has, I will explain what I meant in explicit detail in regards to Invisible Love
and Love Skit
, and why any information gleaned just from Amazon doesn't tell us anything of value:
First, Invisible Love
is an anthology, and anthologies beyond the first couple of years of BL publication in the US have been notoriously unpopular (which is why we are seeing
fewer and fewer of them get licensed). In fact, the only anthologies that are well-received are ones from already established and/or popular authors. Invisible Love
is clearly an anthology, while Love Skit
has an extra story in it, but is mostly a full-length manga.
Secondly, Amazon sales rankings are based on how well any particular book is selling at the moment
. Love Skit
came out only this past December (according to Amazon, though I believe it was available earlier than that elsewhere), while Invisible Love
came out over two years
ago. But, ignoring that fact for a moment, Invisible Love
, as I've just checked, is still in the top ten selling Yaoi Anthologies on Amazon. Love Skit
has no equivalent category rank, so we only know it is in the #60s in overall BL sales (and again, this is "right now").
And thirdly, and most importantly to my original point, Amazon is one
seller. It doesn't matter how well BL sells on Amazon, because they aren't the only game in town. What sells well on Amazon isn't necessarily an indicator of what is selling in Borders, small comic shops, or on Akadot (especially considering Love Skit
isn't sold in Borders at all as an 801 Media title). We can't use it as an accurate gauge of which has sold more copies, or even why one title would sell more than another. Your argument that Love Skit
is selling better, even if that were true (a fact you have not actually proven), does not translate into "it is selling better because it is uncensored." You are making leaps in logic and that very concern was the reason I asked for both
of us not to travel down the road of sales speculations.
However to the question of what we would need to know to make any speculative arguments about "why" one book outsold the other, we would need to be privy to the following:
1. How many total copies of Love Skit
were printed, and how many have been sold over-all.
2. How many total copies of Invisible Love
were printed, and how many have been sold over-all.
3. How many BL manga were published by June and 801 Media respectively in 2007, when Invisible Love
4. How many BL manga were published by June and 801 Media respectively in 2009, when Love Skit
5. How many total BL manga (from all publishers) were published in 2007 when Invisible Love
6. How many total BL manga (from all publishers) were published in 2009 when Love Skit
Why would these numbers matter? Well, clearly 1 and 2 matter because they would tell us what the physical numbers of moved product are for each book, but this isn't a fair indicator, because Invisible Love
has been on the market for a longer period of time and has almost definitely sold more copies in two years than Love Skit
has in two months. The total number printed is a good indicator of how many copies DMP expected to sell of each book, which is why it would be important to know. If they printed more copies of Love Skit
, it might prove the idea that they expected the uncensored book to do better, however, I suspect they printed more copies of Invisible Love
, because they were going to sell it mass-market (ie, June imprint) because it was an edited product (and because they were under a slightly different business model at the time, as will be explained below). Mass-market means more visibility and it tends to equal better over-all sales, but that, again, is speculation.
The rest of the numbers are important for one very good reason: the market has shrunk significantly since 2007. We lost entire BL publishers and most publishers scaled way back over the last couple of years because of the economy. When you take into account the lag time involved in choosing to scale back operations, what we are seeing now is a different business model from what we would have seen two years ago. What does this mean? It means the same thing that the small, yet growing, market of the mid-2000s, when BL was first being licensed in English, meant to the titles being published at the time. If there are more titles offered, each title has less visibility than the last. For example, when someone has a choice between two books, there is a 50% chance they will pick either one (or possibly both), but when someone has a choice between ten books, there is only a 10% chance that any one of those books will be picked. If more books were published in 2007 than 2009 (and this is my hypothesis based on the shrinking market) there were more books to choose from and any particular title published in 2007 was less likely to be bought than one published in 2009, when there were fewer options. There is evidence to suggest that the BL market got over-saturated in and around 2007, with less disposable income and too many less interesting and poorer quality titles licensed and released, people bought fewer of them. Now that the market is smaller, but the fanbase is of equal or larger size (even if the disposable income of each fan hasn't grown), it wouldn't be too much of a leap in logic to think that each book published, even of the same quality or popularity of books published only a couple of years ago, would sell better.
But none of these hypotheses can be proven or even argued without the sales numbers to back them up, which again, is why in my last post I stated we shouldn't be making any such speculations without actual verifiable evidence.
As for listing examples of a few Rated R movies that depicted full-frontal male nudity, I don't really see what the point was, or what it means for the entirety of the argument I was making in that paragraph of my last post. It seems to me to have been a lot of work that doesn't really prove much of anything, or even disprove the context of the phrase that launched this particular undertaking. But, let me clarify why I made that statement at all, anyway, and please excuse the language I am about to use. Basically, it's true. You don't typically see guys' schlongs in Rated R movies. You see plently of boobs, but no cocks. Once in a while you'll see one (Boogie Nights
was one, but that was prosthetic), but who cares? It was a generalization. "You don't see penises in Rated R movie sex scenes." That's all it was. I don't feel like I should have needed to defend one mostly irrelevant statement in the middle of an argument that I would much rather have discussed instead, but there it is.
To clarify the whole "Greek statue" thing once and for all, I will reiterate my definition of pornography using the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
, Fourth Edition (bolding by me):
1. Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material
whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.
2. The presentation or production of this material.
3. Lurid or sensational material: "Recent novels about the Holocaust have kept Hitler well offstage [so as] to avoid the ... pornography of the era" (Morris Dickstein).
Basically, are these statues designed to titillate? If yes, then yes
, I would call them pornography. However, I don't really understand why the question was brought up again, what it means or why it matters. I don't intend to defend my position on this again, as I don't see how I could possibly be any clearer.
Before I get into this next part, I have to wonder how I could have possibly been any clearer about the articles of the PROTECT Act of 2003 that actually concern manga than I was in my last post (the actual law
; the relevant information to this discussion is on page 32). I laid out the exact laws concerning the "legality" of pornography, and most specifically "child pornography" and how that exact term ("child pornography") is not the part of the law that deals with manga depictions (what we are actually talking about and what applies to this discussion), and what part of the law actually does. A 1982 court document, that even preceded a 1996 law on child pornography (that was later deemed unconstitutional) is not particularly evidence in this case, because the PROTECT Act of 2003 supercedes any and all federal laws and precendents set before it. It lays out (I quoted and even bolded it) the exact circumstances by which "fictional depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity" are illegal: ie, that it is only
illegal if it is obscene
, the same as any other issue of obscenity brought to the legal arena. This is exactly related to the Miller Test. The Miller Test, flawed as it is, is the legal means by which obscenity is determined in US law (regardless of whether the accused material depicts only adults, or includes any minors). The only difference
between obscenity depicting adults and obscenity depicting minors is the sentencing guidelines
. Handley is facing serious jailtime, not because he had "child pornography" but because the sentencing laws for receiving through the mail "fictional representations of what appear to be minors engaged in obscene
acts" are the same as if
he had actual child pornography. Whether this is fair or not I'm not going to say, but it is what it is.
And when the law talks about "child pornography" it is talking about the abuse of actual, real children. Each word separately does not mean the same thing as both words together. It is not talking about made up children in a comic book. I know this distinction might be confusing because many of the same words are used in the articles concerning "child pornography" (ie, depictions of actual children), "virtual child pornography" (ie, digitally created depictions that are indistinguishable from real children) and "fictional depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct that is deemed obscene." All involve "children" in some capacity or another (whether real or fake) and all involve "pornography" in some capacity or another. However, the distinction to be made is that "child pornography" abuses actual children, while fictional children don't exist at all and therefore can't be abused, which is why the PROTECT Act doesn't use the term "child pornography" when it describes fictional depictions of sex acts involving minors. But to clarify once more what I'm talking about, I will (again) take a quote from Wikipedia (bolding again by me):The PROTECT Act includes prohibitions against illustrations depicting child pornography, including computer-generated illustrations, also known as virtual child pornography. Provisions against virtual child pornography in the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 had been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002. However, the provisions of the Protect Act are distinct, since they establish the requirement of showing obscenity as defined by the Miller Test, which was not an element of the 1996 law.
The one other thing to note about the Handley case was that the judge in the case threw out the charges against any titles in his actual collection as protected by free-speech, because it was deemed that simple "possession" of such depictions of fictional minors could not be infringed upon. He was ultimately only charged for the materials he received through interstate commerse (ie, the US Postal Service).
In conclusion, and to address the very detailed examples of commercially available pornography for women, I really don't see or understand its relevance. It doesn't change the meaning or definition of what can be considered pornography in fiction. If it was meant simply to offer up examples to anyone interested in the topic, it does a good job, but as a relevant argument to the discussion at hand, I would have to say I simply don't get it. If we're talking about the law, unfortunately for all of us, it is not up to us what is "legally" considered "pornography" at all. It will be up to the jury at our trial on obscenity
charges, as the community standard of what is considered "meant to sexually arouse" and I'll put money on the likelihood that the "average" non-BL-fan American has a much more conservative definition of what can be considered "meant to sexually arouse" than any one of us here, including myself.