I'm rather burnt out on angry political fire, so I'll quote you someone else's comments on this one:
I may be crazy here, but my own theory about why such silliness is going on is because the powers that be don't know what the hell to think about, or do with, slash and fanfic. It used to be that people knew, or thought they knew, who was a pedophile: anyone who had fantasies about children. But suddenly bam, with the Internet and a bit of Harry Potter, scads of young American women were suddenly, to be technical, fantasizing about underage boys! And to make things worse, those goddamn geeks were looking at pornographic drawings from Japan, where what gets depicted can be very, very different.
Okay. Let’s put our niche porn marketing hats on here and shine the red light of reason upon this logic. Someone who is looking for cartoon photos of The Simpsons characters is probably not fueling the demand for genuine child porn that does involve the abuse of children. Shock-value cartoon porn simply doesn’t tend to cross over to the screams and pain of gory reality. Many–most I’ve talked to–viewers of cartoon porn and hentai prefer it because they’re trying to get away from the gray areas of gory reality. Let’s ignore, for a moment, the obvious slippery-slope leap of logic used here and assume, for a moment, that it’s possible for fiction to inspire its viewers to enact crimes portrayed therein.
“Wow, Bart is having sex with Marge! Hm, maybe I should coerce my nine-year-old son into sex. Or talk some guy or gal on the internet into sending me some pictures of their kid in the same situation.”
Let’s ignore the patently ridiculous nature of this idea…
“Carrie set a school on fire with her brain! That must mean it’s okay for me to use pyromania as a valid way to express my righteous rage against bullying and alienation.”
Let’s ignore the fact that repeat viewings of tentacle rape pornography have left me strangely unlikely to force an octopus into a nubile, big-eyed young woman’s hoo-hah. Or, to be more realistic: that repeat viewings of fictional depictions of cartoon violence and force–including sexual violence and force–still have not caused me to molest schoolgirls on the train, rape extremely tan blonde women at gunpoint, attempt to coerce my male friends into reluctant yet strangely arousing “forced” bisexuality… Okay, that last one I have attempted, but in all fairness I was buying the drinks.
Like I said, I'm going on my gut here, and therefore could easily be wrong. But I think what's happening is that the people in charge of the crusade are suddenly stuck. It's becoming public knowledge that "fantasizing about children" is not just wanting to rape real people -- it's wondering in florid detail what Ginny Weasley did in her bunkbeds at night while daydreaming about Harry. Or whether the Weasley twins ever got bored and played Wizarding doctor.
Which says two things: one, that people don't (and shouldn't) have the same moral barriers in their minds about characters in fiction as they do about real children, and two: that when someone is fantasizing about a character, she may not even think about the character's age at all. She's thinking about what the character would want and do, sexually. Maybe she's making up a soft, sensitive fanfic in her head. Maybe he's just snickering at the idea of Marge Simpson giving a blowjob as his pen moves. But the point is not the age, or a fetish for age.
Yes, some folks have such fetishes, and yes, insofar as that fuels actions in the real word, that is a concern. But I think this whole cultural blowup -- which happened here on LJ in milder form during those lovely "strikethroughs" -- is about how fanfic, slash, and "Rule 34" have blown wide the idea that most people segregate their sexual fantasy life (rather than real actions in the world) by the ages of the objects of their desire.
And where does it stop? As a teen I was erotically fixated on Tool's song, Prison Sex. It's a song about a man who rapes a boy. I have no desire to commit rape, much less of young boys, but I loved the way the song got inside the violator's head and demonstrated the sick, guilty passion he felt -- and the vulnerability and fear, erotic through the perpetrator's eyes, of "his lamb and martyr", the victim.
Does that mean we ban songs next?
At this rate, I think almost everyone will become The Pedophile.
What will it look like, the white-blasted landscape of the world without us all?