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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

All Steamed UP....

Posted on 2006.11.05 at 13:40
Mechtild the Mild Sees Red.

I just got an email notice from jan-u-wine....

J: "Mechtild! Photobucket has taken down images from your Frodo albums! Did you know?"

M: "No!!! Really???"

J: "Yes. There are notices in the spaces instead, something about the images being in violation of their terms of service."

M: "What the ----?!?!?!? I'll check that right away!"

Sure enough, images are down from three different entries....

1. They took down ALL the images of Michelangelo's "David" -- every view of the statue that included its genitals.

2. They took down ALL the images of "Bacchus and Ariadne" by Guido Reni, which is another male nude.

3. They ALSO took down my Frodo Art Travesties based on them. Here are cropped versions of them.

4. AND they took down the Frodo manip made from Clare Park's art photograph from
"The Joy of Sex":

Original (cropped):

Manip (cropped):

What gives?

I checked all my other art that's in my "Art Images" Photobucket album, which include many nudes from all the eras of art, including very explicit erotic art from ancient Greece, which I posted to illustrate the Reni manip.

I don't get it!! Anyway, I just dashed off a heated email to Photobucket.


Here's the big question:

If it turns out that Photobucket can really bar me from posting art works that are nude and the Art Travesties made from them, is there another image-hosting site I can use?

What about the LJ's image gallery? I have never used it because the instructions are so complicated (compared to Photobucket). But I have a paid account at LJ, so there's gobs of space on it I've never used.

At Photobucket I have a paid account, too. I'll be cancelling that, though, as soon as I learn how to load images into some other source. It'll be a ton of work, but I am really irritated.


In the meantime, I apologize for the loss of the art work from my journal entries.


I've been chatting about this and the best explanation I've heard is that these images were reported and taken down because of a complaint from the viewer of this LJ. And the complaint, judging from what precisely was taken down, was not prompted by male nudity per se, but the male nudity of Frodo.

Jan-u-wine wrote that although she did not think the manips were porn in any way, one had to allow for other people's sensibilities, and that I had perhaps attracted someone who thought Frodo HER province (since, basically, it was the nude Frodo and erotica which was taken down -- the other, David, might have been an error on the part of whomever did the taking down). It couldn't be that 'whomever' was simply offended by erotica: the other images with "bits" were not removed from the hosting site. So, Jan opined, the images had to have offended a Frodo (or maybe even an Elijah?) person.

Jan reminded me that we (she/me/everyone) needed to be sensitive to whomever did this. We were scratching our heads and going "whaaaa????" but that other person might have been terribly offended. In fact, Jan was sure that person had been, or else they would not have gone to the trouble. This did not mean I didn't have the right to post what to most seemed perfectly artistic and gently erotic images ("I don't know about you, but i've not been inspired to run off and find a vibrator after looking at your images, any more than i would after viewing the lovely original David"), but it also meant that this person had the right to complain if she/he found them offensive. And they might have found them offensive for reasons having to do with, but not limited to, the nudity: ie: the depiction of Frodo so far off from a canon type situation.

[I]n the realms of Tolkien fandom, Jan said, there is every sort of person, especially with regards to Frodo and sex. Some are joyously sexual -- "as I feel you are," she assured me. "[You] have opened my eyes to who Frodo might have been behind the person we see undertaking the Quest," she said, "[and have] helped me visualize his whole persona, for surely any person has a sexual persona." *kisses jan-u-wine*

On the other hand, she noted, there were probably many people who were offended and even frightened at the thought of Frodo (whom they had come to view as "safe" in his non-sexuality) having sexual parts, and, worse yet, actually desiring to use them. To them, she suggested, seeing these manips would be like a modern day Christian visiting a site which depicted Christ [feeling and eliciting sexual desire].

So, she said, she thought that perhaps my best plan is going to be to have my LJ friends-locked.

Well. This means I have to rethink keeping this journal public, which has always been my wish. I hate "private", "keep out", and "friends only" signs with a passion, and always have. I do always post warnings for my nude or erotic material, so that people who might be offended will not have to look, but, apparently, that has not been enough.

I'll let everyone know if I decide to go friends-only. I really, really don't want to do that.

~ Mechtild


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lily_the_hobbit at 2006-11-05 20:51 (UTC) (Link)
Oh my... now they're really going crazy.

I have used LJ's photo gallery only once but it isn't so difficult. Just create a gallery and then go to upload pictures and put them into the afore made gallery.
mechtild at 2006-11-05 21:07 (UTC) (Link)
I may call upon you for advice, Lily!

But I've been emailing with Jan, and I think that what happened -- what must have happened -- is that some viewer of my LJ complained either to LJ, who contacted Photobucket, or complained to Photobucket directly, ONLY about images in those three posts.

My art album has loads of paintings from classical art that show nude males (and females, but they don't seem to count). Only the David and the Bacchus came down -- the ones for which Frodo manips were made.

Although, why they complained about the Clare Park photo (Frodo has his cheek in the woman's hand - very tender, very tasteful, no racy body parts showing) I can't imagine.

But what's strange is that in the second Bacchus entry - the one that I think caused the person to complain, although all the views of the David and the Bacchus were removed, none of the images from Greek art showing men with erect penises were removed. Go figure!

If it's the case that someone complained and the images were pulled because of that - just those images from those posts - I guess I will have to go to a friends-locked journal, something I have never, never wanted to do.
bagma at 2006-11-05 21:19 (UTC) (Link)

I'm like you, I don't get it. You are not the first person on my flist who experienced that kind of unacceptable behaviour from Photobucket, though, and that sounds like censorship, IMO. But I don't understand why they took down David and not erotic art from ancient Greece; it's absurd!:(
mechtild at 2006-11-05 22:09 (UTC) (Link)
Bagma, I've been discussing this with Jan and she agrees that it must be the Frodo-factor that brought the images down, not the nudity per se. They must have said what the names of the images were that showed Frodo in ways they thought were compromising ("David", "Bacchus", and the Clare Park image) and Photobucket took them down along with images with related names.

That's my theory. Well, and I was just going to post some very romantic screencap-manips! I'll have to rethink it. Nothing at all shows in them, but they clearly depict Frodo in bed with a lover (female, sorry). They are utterly tasteful, but they the person in them definitely looks like Frodo. I'll bet whoever it is will ask that those come down, too.

Heck, I may have to move to an f-locked journal. I hate f-locked journals! I hate following leads to great pictures and stories -- nothing racy or anything -- and come bang up against an f-locked journal. I don't like to friend a journal just for what will probably be a one-time browse, you know? It's not fair to the LJ owner, and a bother for me.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2006-11-05 22:10 (UTC) (Link)
No, just a big sign "VIOLATION". Ha! I was explaining to Lily above, I don't think it's a matter of Photobucket harrassing me or something. I'm betting they merely responded to a specific complaint.
(Deleted comment)
hobbitlove83 at 2006-11-05 22:09 (UTC) (Link)
Ye gods, I don't understand either!

There was nothing offensive; why did they do that?

I'm afraid I'm not that knowledgeable about photo hosting, but there is this flicr thing- here.
I don't know about their policies, but you might want to check it out.

*loving hugs*
mechtild at 2006-11-05 22:11 (UTC) (Link)
It stinks. And it has puzzled me. But I think Jan is right: it's not the nudity, it's the nude Frodo that has got these images taken down.
just_ann_now at 2006-11-05 22:16 (UTC) (Link)
edoraslass and I were having this very earlier conversation today - I had noticed that _dangerpants_, a site I visit frequently occasionally, had had some photos pulled by photobucket. when I checked the Terms of Service, I noticed that it did state "no nudity" (presumably artistic, or otherwise.) We then checked flicker, which some other friends of mine use. Flicker has apparently been purchased by Yahoo, and Yahoo's TOS prohibit "obscene or vulgar" materials. In the course of our *cough* investigation *cough*, we found a great deal of nudity, tasteful or whatever, on flicker. So that might be an option for you.

edoraslass is, even as we speak, experimenting with the LJ galleries, but with mixed success.

It's very sad the one person can cause so much distress, without the injured party (you) having the opportunity to explain, or even be informed as to what has happened! *shakes head sadly*

I shall use my angriest icon. *shakes fist at prude busybody cultural philistine.
mechtild at 2006-11-05 22:22 (UTC) (Link)
OK, I'll check this week into opening an account at Flicker, and move the Frodo Art Travesty album over there.

No one could call those manips or paintings obscene or vulgar. The art that could have been called that (the ancient Greek stuff) was what was left up!

Did you read my ETA? I think it relates the best explanation of why a fan would have asked for those images to come down. Going to Flicker might not help, in that case.
saile1981 at 2006-11-05 22:22 (UTC) (Link)
Echo those above - this stinks. grumble grumble grumble. The logic here fails me.
mechtild at 2006-11-05 22:22 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Saile... *licks wounds*
whiteling at 2006-11-05 22:41 (UTC) (Link)
*is speechless*

Mechtild, that's outrageous!
I would never had thought that ONE single complaint causes such heavy censorship (it IS censorship, it IS). *clenches fist*

I hope you'll find a way to keep your wonderful, creative Art Travesties - to me they all are a beautiful labour of Frodo love.

*hugs you*
mechtild at 2006-11-05 23:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Whiteling. I just added some great thoughts by jan-u-wine to the "ETA" in the post above. It's looking not good for keeping a "public" LJ.
frodoholic at 2006-11-05 22:44 (UTC) (Link)
ACK! That is terrible Mechtild. :(

Did you know that you can now upload photos on here directly from your hardrive? The only problem is they are auto-resized to a smaller format.
mechtild at 2006-11-05 23:13 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Frodoholic. But we wouldn't want those Frodo manips to be *small*, now, would we? (See? I still have a sense of humour.)
lame_pegasus at 2006-11-05 22:48 (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear, what a sad nonsense... especially thinking of the way you did those manips. *feels decidedly "old european" right now*
mechtild at 2006-11-05 23:14 (UTC) (Link)
It is rather an *American* problem, isn't it? I just added some thoughts from jan-u-wine to my ETA above, Mona. She is more merciful than I am.
primula_baggins at 2006-11-05 23:02 (UTC) (Link)
I had this happen to me too. My friends concluded someone reported it most likely, although there are other possibilities. One is that the name you used for them attracted attention. Another is that the PB people randomly check photos and just happened to see these. As with you, only some of mine were removed and they totally missed others. IMO this is art. I am suspecting that there is a troll going around and notifying PB of manips they see that have nudity in them. The ones of mine that were removed had nothing to do with LOTR at all.
mechtild at 2006-11-05 23:16 (UTC) (Link)
Hunh! No LotR content? That's odd, really odd. If they're going to start taking down Michelangelo's David, though, what sort of TOS are they supposed to be representing??? Taking down the manips is one thing, since those are pirated art, anyway. But famous masterpieces of Western Art? Come on, now! *fumes all over again*
melyanna_65 at 2006-11-05 23:12 (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry to hear about this, hon!

Are they crazy or what? Even Michelangelo's David is considered a "violation"? Do they want to shut down all the museums or exhibitions where nudes are exposed?

And if there were some people complaining about the contents of your LJ, well I simply can't understand that! I've always thought that if someone is disturbed by some images, there's no need to watch them. You always put warnings and ratings on your entries, so if they go on, they have no right to complain.

And more, you always made each manipulation in a very artistic way, using real masterpieces of well known artists and never in an offending or nasty way.

*sympathetic hugs*
mechtild at 2006-11-05 23:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Melyanna. Read the new thoughts I just added in my ETA by jan-u-wine. If she's right - and I'll bet she is - someone complained and I think the reason she suggests is the most logical one out there.

Once I had a blurry screencap of Jack and Ennis kissing (from Brokeback Mountain) removed from Photobucket, posted in an entry about the film. There was no nudity, no bed scene - just the faces of the two men in their clothes, from the stairs scene. I complained. I put it back. It wasn't taken down again. I think someone certainly had to have reported it, offended by the sight of it.
maeglian at 2006-11-05 23:48 (UTC) (Link)
How terrible for you to experience this. I'm very sorry, annoyed and appalled.

I think Jan-U-wine is being far too nice and forgiving. Noone is being *forced* to look at your manips, - so if someone was offended for whatever reason they should just take themselves elsewhere without further ado. Or possibly engage you in discussion concerning the reason that this person finds the manips offensive; - one needs read very few of your LJ entries before it becomes extremely apparent that you are an open-minded and gracious person who would have responded throughtfully and respectfully to any such comments or concerns.

To just secretly report your images as offensive is trollish behaviour. I do believe you may in fact have been targeted by a troll. The very nature of the pictures removed indicates that to me; - they are manips you have made with great care and consideration and obviously spent much time, love and effort on. Hence they are personal works close to your heart, the removal of which would hurt. (This has a chilling similarity to another, non-LotR related, message Board that I've been posting on. It got invaded by Trolls who kept reporting all the threads as offensive to admin, causing them automatically and without further inquiry to be deleted one by one (yes, there are message boards with such inane systems out there!!) This of course led to much grief and consternation among the active and serious board members, as can be imagined, as brilliant analysis and discussions were being lost.

My advice would be to immediately f-lock your LJ without further ado, even though I know how this grates on your open and inclusive attitude.
mechtild at 2006-11-06 00:39 (UTC) (Link)
Maeglian, you are a sweetheart. I think I know the board you are talking about. Anything to do with beans that are better than most? That SO stinks. People complained about the behaviour of admins at TORc a year and half ago. What you are talking about is dreadful in comparison to what happened at TORc. Such a loss of writing and discussion!

I just re-posted all the missing pictures. We'll see what happens. Above I told another commenter that when I first posted a small blurry cap of Jack and Ennis kissing from the stairs scene (clothed! fully!), I found it removed by Photobucket as "in violation". I complained and put it right back up. Nothing happened. It's still there.

Jan thinks that whoever complained has probably moved on. We shall see.

But I am thinking seriously of f-locking. If the pics come down again, I definitely will.
ms_banazira at 2006-11-06 00:07 (UTC) (Link)
Whoa! I'm stunned and amazed. I can't believe anyone would report you to Photobucket for your manips! You gave people ample warning about possibly offensive content, so what gives? Aren't we all adult enough here to just ignore what makes us uncomfortable, and get on with it? I tought LJ-land was just about as "live and let live" a place as possible! And if you can't live and let live then "un_friend", as middle-school as it sounds, always works too!

I'm very sorry that this has happened to you, Mech. I've had my share of problems with pryers and snoopers too, and used to be much more open about certain things on LJ. Now I'm very careful to keep my posts quite vanilla, but I hate having to censor myself; it's removed a lot of the fun for me.
mechtild at 2006-11-06 01:35 (UTC) (Link)
You gave people ample warning about possibly offensive content, so what gives? Aren't we all adult enough here to just ignore what makes us uncomfortable, and get on with it?

Thank you, Honey. I did think I gave plenty of warning. But someone looked, anyway. I've read other LJ'ers saying, "Well, now I'm going to have to go 'friends-locked'", and thought, rather critically, "aren't they being precipitate?" But now, faced with having my work actually taken down -- and images of FAMOUS art works! -- I have to reconsider.

Now I'm very careful to keep my posts quite vanilla, but I hate having to censor myself; it's removed a lot of the fun for me.

I won't change the content of my posts: vanilla, chocolate, or mocha. But I do censor myself. I have from the beginning, but I do so voluntarily. I don't make pornographic manips, even though I might enjoy the challenge and the libidinous thrill, because I don't want to offend -- offend others but also myself, or my image of myself. Except when quoting, I never use obscene language. I enjoy being saucy, and sometimes am very frank when trying to make a point, but never, I hope, laciviously or nasty-minded. I go out of my way to try to be conciliatory and open in my discussions with other posters with whom I disagree, specifically in order to promote an atmosphere of civility and graciousness. I hated it in messgaeboards threads, having my opinion simply dissed. I haven't wanted to do that here.

Well, we'll see what happens. I lodged a complaint to Photobucket. I haven't heard anything and, in the meantime, merely uploaded the images again and re-did all the links. I'll see if the complainant has shot her wad and moved on.
alyrthia at 2006-11-06 00:17 (UTC) (Link)
This doesn't make sense. When I've got spare time, I've bounced around live journal just to see what's up. If I'm not mistaken there are lots more explicit things out there. At least in icons!!! Certainly in stories! And isn't your lj YOUR lj??? No one NEEDS to come here.

Maybe it's one of those random hits to keep people on their toes.
If it is a Frodo-fan troll, they must be pretty busy bouncing around reporting things.

Sorry Mech. I am very very sensitive to different points of view--but I don't really think someone needs to be catered to in this case. It's your personal journal--it's not a public board. There is nothing hateful or violent here. If someone doesn't like what they see, they should tell you...or just stay out. It's not like yours is the only journal featuring erotic Frodo. I wager if it is a complaint from a Frodo fan, they must be on a mission, and yours won't be the only journal affected.
mechtild at 2006-11-06 01:57 (UTC) (Link)
As I said above, it doesn't REALLY seem to be a matter of what you've got in your account files, but what gets complained about. I've seen porn in people's LJ's and, out of curiosity, right-clicked to see who the hosting site is. Photobucket is sometimes the host. I think they are too big to police everything but they do respond to complaints. But the David of Michelangelo????? Come on!

It's not like yours is the only journal featuring erotic Frodo.

Now that this has happened, as I mentioned to someone up there, I actually have heard of an image being taken down that was an EW manip made from a pin-up (a nude young man lying about looking vaguely seductive, like one of the earliest Playgirl centerfolds or a Venus lying on her side, but with nothing crucial showing). I have seen the artist's LJ, which is friends-locked, and she has done a lot of really pornographic EW manips. None of these were taken down, just that mild pin-up one -- but it had been posted at a regular, public LJ community. It was taken down because someone complained to the image hosting site.

So I'd say you are right: someone is one a mission, not the same someone, but someone with the same concerns: protecting EW/Frodo's honour. Which is an admirable concern. But, heavens -- can't they just NOT click the stuff open?
ms_banazira at 2006-11-06 00:21 (UTC) (Link)
Oh! And I meant to recommend flickr as an alternate hosting site for your work. Even there free accounts have tons of space; I've never managed to use all my upload space in a month! Also, you can lock your pictures, and still post them to journals or what have you. www.flickr.com
mechtild at 2006-11-06 01:48 (UTC) (Link)
Two people have mentioned flickr. I checked out their terms of use and I could find nothing at all about their attitude towards nudity or sexual content. It seemed odd to me that they had nothing to say about it at all. Maybe I missed the place to click?

I had tons of space on Photobucket, too, but ran out of space because I post all those screencaps. So I became a paid user. The good side of that was that it allowed me to post much bigger images, too, which has been great when linking fine art reproductions (no doubt soon to be banned).
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