Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Threat To Your Freedom

I'm not sure how much publicity this has gotten, but Robert Zicari ("Rob Black") and Janet Romano ("Lizzie Borden"), of Extreme Associates, a porno production company, were jailed earlier this year for producing a porn movie called Forced Entry ('02). They were charged with "conspiracy to distribute obscene materials". The charges were dismissed in 2005, but an appeals court re-instated them.

As reported on thepittsburghchannel dot com: "Federal prosecutors used the U.S. Supreme Court's Miller v. California ruling from 1973 to argue their case against Extreme Associates in Pittsburgh.The ruling says that materials are obscene if they pass a three-part test:

1)The average person, applying contemporary community standards (not national standards, as some prior tests required), must find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

2)The work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law.

3)The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

I don't know about you, but I think the whole thing stinks, and is a case of old, putrid history repeating itself.

Paul Little (Max Hardcore) and one of his muses.

The three-part test is a joke, a sham, and an affront to personal liberties.

A)What the "average person" thinks should have no bearing on what an individual watches in a theater or in their own home. Unless the "average person" is obligated by law to watch or read a particular video or book with you, their opinion on what you choose to watch, listen to, or read is not relevant. They are not there watching it with you!

Just how is the "average person", who, by definition, has no interest in niche material, expected to decide whether a work appeals to "prurient interest"?

The Lectric Law Library dot com defines Prurient Interest as: A morbid, degrading and unhealthy interest in sex, as distinguished from a mere candid interest in sex.

Firstly, morbid, degrading, and unhealthy are all subjective terms -- even moreso if they're being defined by an "average person".

Secondly, is an "average person" really capable of defining these subjective terms, even though most experts can't? For example, to one man, an "unhealthy interest" in a subject can be a "passionate interest" to another. To the Dworkin sisters, for example, heterosexual intercourse is "degrading" to women (it's rape!, according to them), and they're not even "average". As for "morbid", dictionary dot com's first definition is:

...suggesting an unhealthy mental state or attitude; unwholesomely gloomy, sensitive, extreme, etc.: a morbid interest in death (for example).

Janet Romano (Lizzie Borden) strikes a pose.

"suggesting" an unhealthy mental state or attitude? SUGGESTING? As in: "He looked at the knife, which suggested he would kill a dozen people with it?" So, nothing needs to be proven by an "expert", but a prognosis by the "average viewer" will please the prosecution?

B) "The work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law."

This is where we get into crazy territory, and where religion and old-fashioned voodoo about bodily functions gain ludicrous relevancy and credibility.

State laws defining sexual conduct amongst adults are total bullshit. You know it. I know it. Intelligent people know it. These draconian, ignorant, discriminating laws only exist because our wacko religious forefathers, who were terrified of their own penises -- not to mention natural bodily processes -- wrote them in there so future generations would be as emotionally fucked up as they were.

"Patently offensive" is more legal rhetoric for bullies. "Specifically defined by applicable law" allows vague, subjective definitions to be supported by equally vague, subjective laws.

It's another way the government gives itself carte blanche to prosecute "consensual crimes".

C) "The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

By whose measuring stick? Who exactly is capable of measuring "value" when applied to these four areas? None of this should be anybody's business but the individual because it is the individual -- not the community --who decides what to watch, read, or listen to within the confines of their own home. Because the individual choice maker does not watch pornography in a venue that is accessible to the entire community (men, women, and children), the "community standards" measuring stick has no credibility; it is a legal antique from a period in history that passed a long time ago.

Most of what passes for popular entertainment these days could be said to lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" if you want to define "serious", as dictionary dot com does, as:

...characterized by deep thought.

Paul Little (Max Hardcore) looking relaxed and confident.

It might seem surprising to more than a few, but many representations of sexuality on screen, in paintings, in literature, and in stone are, in fact, the result of deep thought. And their level of explicitness is not linked mathematically to their worth. But puritanical, immature attitudes to sexuality, which do not exist in Europe, keep the discourse at kindergarten level in the US.

Legal arguments about the worth of art or pornography (call it what you want) are contrary to the presumption of freedoms written into the US Constitution. The worth of any work can not be determined by any group. It is entirely individual and subjective, so not credible in any way.

The government needs to get the fuck out of the art and speech business, and lawyers and DA's should be ashamed that they are advancing their careers at the expense of basic freedoms they have no understanding of or respect for -- yes, even freedoms to express views that they and others find unpalatable.

That a creator of a work that is produced with consenting participants should have to defend his or her work to a court of average, below-average, or above-average people is contrary to the concept of freedom. Freedom in art that is created by adults (with adult participants) should be absolute. If not, it's not freedom, so don't kid yourselves that it is.

It's not like we live in a community where a small amount of movies, books, and paintings are only accessible to men, women, and children in an open, public place. If this were the case, I would concede that there are reasons to limit where the works are exhibited. Protecting children from the "inappropriate" (although still subjective) is not an unreasonable desire, and is necessary. But "protecting" adults (who drink, drive, go to war, own guns, vote, and engage in sexual intercourse) from material they choose to see in their own homes... that is truly obscene! Just as obscene are the self-serving reasons for doing it.

The three-tier test that prosecutors use to try obscenity is so slanted, moronic, unconstitutional and immoral, it ought to collapse under its own weight. It doesn't collapse because few are willing to defend those who are charged with these "crimes" because a climate of fear of being judged for doing so has been created around it.

The so-called "legal victories" of these Federal prosecutors are about as triumphant and noble as that of two thirty-year-old cops high-fiving each other over the comatose body of a five year old they have just beat the shit out of.

When, six months ago, Max Hardcore went to prison for equally bogus reasons (and miscarriages of justice), there was a strange, collective agreement out there that he kind of deserved it because his movies were "revolting" and he'd "gone too far".

Paul Little (Max Hardcore) on trial.

I have heard similar rumblings about Rob Black: "Rob's a douche", "He deserved what he got", "Fuck him!", etc.

Larry Flynt was treated similarly... then became the pariah who fought for many of the liberties we now take for granted.

The naysayers, the critics of these "pornographers", miss the point, of course, because their thinking is shallow and ignorant.

Unreasonable, corrupt legal processes that stomp on freedoms we thought we had (but never really did) are creating frightening precedents that will impact on the things we love to watch, read, listen to, and produce.

Why? So DA's and Federal prosecutors can advance their careers and earn more money. That's it. That's why they do it.

My outrage at this sham is not (specifically) about me being angry that Max Hardcore may no longer be able to urinate in an actress's mouth or that Rob Black may no longer be free to mock-suffocate a consenting actress with a plastic bag for my entertainment. The outrage is much deeper.

It's outrage at a disgraceful, underhanded legal process that is locking little people away. If you're little people, they can lock you away, too.

The people doing this ought to be tried for Constitutional Treason; dictionary dot com defines "treason" as the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

You used to expect such treachery from certain countries; the US, "the last bastion of freedom", didn't used to be one of those countries.

1 comment:


    This is sickening news. Man, this has been years in the making. I almost have to admire the tenacity of the scumbags that went after EA so hard and for so long. They're an example for puritanical fuckwits everywhere.