WHEN FANTASIES ARE ENOUGH TO CONVICT A GUY or Notice: No children were harmed in the making of this cartoon

~~by Lenore Skenazy…. 

Vladimir Nabokov might have been behind bars if Tony Briggs had been at the bench back in the day. Briggs is the judge in Britain who just found Robul Hoque, a 39-year-old animation fan, guilty of downloading “prohibited images” of cartoon girls,

That’s right. Hoque is guilty of possessing distasteful art. Art that depicts sexy, young, FICTIONAL characters. As in NOT REAL! Just like Lolita! For this he received a 9-month sentence, suspended for two years, as well as the disgust of the judge, who apparently has never had a salacious, inappropriate or downright kinky thought. Because that’s what he nailed Hoque for: His fantasies. There was no evidence of Hoque’s involvement with any real children at all.

As I wrote on the Reason.com blog:

If owning or admiring the mere drawn image of something illegal is grounds for sentencing, wouldn’t we have to sentence anyone who goes to the Louvre and parks himself in front of Ingres’ Odalisque? That there’s a concubine and bigamy is against the law. Move on to the Mona Lisa or you’re under arrest!

More immediately: What if you yourself bought a T-shirt with a big pot leaf on it? Isn’t that like drug possession, or at least fantasizing about drug possession? Wear that outside of Colorado and maybe you should expect a knock on the door.

But of course, the issue at hand was child porn, and apparently the topic is so toxic that even reality flies out the window. Consider what just happened to John Grisham:

Grisham was practically pilloried as a child rapist for wondering if our child porn possession sentences are too high—a thought bubble he felt forced to deny ever having had. (See Radley Balko’s “In Defense of John Grisham” for a gimlet-eyed look at how dangerous it is to even suggest there might be some overkill in our child porn laws, even though guys with a small stash of the stuff can end up with much longer sentences than men who actually raped a child.)

So perhaps Judge Briggs is onto something: If you want to fill the jails, just arrest anyone who has ever had a sexual fantasy that involved something other than one man, one woman, a notarized letter of consent (just to be safe) and a condom (ditto).

I bet the judge would find those trials very stimulating!