Thursday, July 2, 2009

Odds and Ends

Generation Sex

An article on "Teens and Porn" was just published in my local alt-weekly. I was expecting the worst based on the often-panicky subject matter, but the article was surprisingly fair, and features interviews with Marty Klein and Neil Malmuth. (No doubt the antis will consider the article biased for not interviewing "experts" like Ann Simonton, Diana Russell, and Judith Reisman.) Even more surprisingly, Malmuth is actually quoted accurately for once, as opposed to the usual BS that his research "proves" porn leads to aggression.

Check it out.

Rob Black and Lizzie Borden Sentenced

The Extreme Associates case (which I covered in more depth here) draws to a close with the sentencing of owners Rob Zicari and Janet Romano to a year in the Federal pen on obscenity charges. It was a relatively light sentence compared to what they could have gotten, but it still represents the jailing (and financial ruin) of two people for mere expression of offensive imagery.

In an added development, the prosecution decided to make the last day something of a show trial, packing the courtroom and declaring the sentencing a victory for women's rights. [sound of head hitting desk]

As much as antis try to put forth the idea that porn represents a dominant "status quo" porn culture, actions like the above reveal otherwise. As blogger Orlando C recently wrote concerning BDSM:
This is not how the state treats a group it approves of; nor a group they want to crush. It is how the state treats suspect but plausibly harmless minorities. And it is important to note that a large number of BDSM practices are, in fact, illegal in most states. Generally no effort is made to enforce, let's say, assault charges for a consensual flogging, but it is still illegal. Its legal status, therefore, resembles homosexuality in the twilight of the sodomy laws.

FBI vs Deep Throat

In a peripherally-related story, the Associated Press has used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover documents related to the FBI's attempt to stop the distribution of Deep Throat in the early 70s. Apparently, this 498-page document represents only 10% of a larger FBI file on Gerard Damiano, most of which is still classified. The case actually reached the highest levels of the FBI (including, ironically, Mark "Deep Throat" Felt) and reveal something about the still-misplaced priorities of the FBI immediately following the Hoover and COINTELPRO era.

It would be nice if we could finally relegate these kind of government actions to the "bad old days" file.

1 comment:

  1. I was going to post on the Zicari case myself, but I think you've summed it up pretty well.

    While the odious Ms. Buchanan may trumpet this as a great victory of any kind she pleases, it's phyrric at most. Millions were spent and years wasted to put one pornographer out of business and send two people to jail for what will amount to less than a year. Even Buchanan admitted that such cases are hard to prosecute, implying she'd grabbed all the headlines she was likely to this way and wouldn't be heading down the same path in the future.

    Indeed, given her loud-mouthed partisanship and hostile relations with the new administration, I imagine she'll be cleaning out her desk pretty soon, and that is all to the good. I'm sure she'll make a nuisance of herself elsewhere, but not on this taxpayer's dime.

    The fate of the Zicaris is still a sad one, though I'm no fan of Rob or the way he did business and treated those around him, and it is a defeat for freedom of expression since, like Max Hardcore, he isn't going top jail for acts he committed, but rather for taking pictures of those acts and selling them, as the acts themselves were purely dramatic and not illegal. Like all content-based obscenity prosecutions, this one was meritless in itself and though the ultimate resolution could have been much worse, it's no cause for celebration.

    I'd like to hope we've seen the last such proceedings, at least at the federal level, but as everyone here knows, I have my doubts about Mr. Obama in this regard and don't nurture false hopes for the future.

    Let's see how long it takes for Buchanan to ride the bus. That may be a more telling indicator than anything seen thus far. And there is the ongoing matter of the Evil Angel case. I'm hoping it will be dismissed early on and that the federal government will not re-file it, but they've already elected to go to bat for The Defense of Marriage Act, the right to hold detainees indefinitely without trial and the suppression of prisoner abuse photographs, so I'm not counting on this administration for much when it comes to civil liberties.

    Meantime, two more people will be behind bars for making pictures. That is not now and will never be consistent with a constitutional democracy of the sort in which we supposedly reside.