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My Element is Honesty. My Sin is Envy.

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Criticism of "harmful" media is impossible. · 4:25am Nov 10th, 2016

Wrote this somewhere else, but I'm gonna repeat it here because it's important. Wrote it about horsewords, someone's specific response to some specific horsewords, but it applies to a lot of things.

It's a recurring problem that when a piece of media becomes popular that is morally reprehensible, it's impossible to know whether the people reading it enjoy it despite its awfulness, recognize its awfulness as an acceptable/enjoyable break from reality, or are oblivious to its awfulness and see it as an accurate representation of reality. Every one of us has met someone in the third category who badly needs to be told what is and isn't appropriate in real life, and many more people who think they're in the second category but have internalized some of the more insidious messages anyway. But it's impossible to get this across, because there are no real people or actions to point at, just the idea that some readers might not have the maturity or experience to enjoy this piece of media without learning the wrong lessons from it, which is unarguably true but impossible to meaningfully police.

tl;dr: Am I arguing with a thoughtful reader who's harmlessly indulging in a fantasy or a gross pervert who genuinely doesn't understand why Nekkid Girl Photography Parties might be a bad idea? There's no way to answer without being an asshole!

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Comments ( 1 )

I think of this whenever someone mentions the book Lolita. Could it be published nowadays? Similar stuff is displayed on tv (californication), but have the standards for books changed?

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