As a society, we like to believe we are advancing, despite the best efforts of the Stephen Harpers and Glenn Becks. We imagine that we are a progressive society, one that supports its citizens’ decisions to live their lives however they choose. One that, despite whom it may affect, encourages art in all of its forms. One that encourages creativity, as it often brings poignancy, release, or just a fucking smile into someone’s life.
We imagine this, and then something like this happens.
For those who didn’t click the link, here’s what happened: American Dylan Williams of Sparkplug Comic Books was bringing some comics across the border to sell at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Unfortunately for him, one of those comics happened to be Young Lions by Blaise Larmee. He had copies of the books confiscated by the border patrol on suspicion of it containing children in sexual content.
You know, even after Williams pointed out that the “children” were talking about unemployment cheques.
It would be too much to expect a border guard to actually take the time and read a book in context, but still…
How much heroin comes into this country every day? How many guns?
And what are we worrying about? A comic book about a bunch of hipsters doing hipster things in a hipster city.
This harkens back to the days of the anti-comic crusaders, the ultra-conservative mothers who attempted to get “funny books” banned from shelves and bedrooms across our continent. It seems like a colossal waste of time and money to be grabbing books from people at the border when people are stuck in hospital waiting rooms for days on end.
People are being held up and often even arrested at the border for comics on a steadily increasing rate. They are often told their comics are “obscene” and have them confiscated. Apparently, Japanese manga is a source of contention for Border Services.
Really, Canada? Are we as a country really so concerned about comic books poisoning people’s minds that we feel the need to do a communist-style crackdown on stuff that people read on their own time?
On the upside, it’s free publicity for the book and the publisher. Here’s hoping they sell a ton and bring to light the issue of free speech and publication.