Porn Political Cimate!

Gracie has wrangled a who's-who of erotica and sexuality to discuss the political climate of porn today. They all had relatively similar responses, and all in line with what you'd expect from the oppressed side, but that doesn't make it less relevant. Because of the murky realm of what pornography and obscenity are, in today's US legal climate it's up to an observer to decide if any item meets the definition of 'obscene.'

While that might not scare you, you might want to consider it from a logical standpoint. This means that the creation or ownership of an item itself is not the illegal event -- the accusation by the observer(s) who determined the condition of obscenity is the event that makes the item illegal.

Accusing someone of speeding is expected to be accompanied by evidence -- a radar gun, a police observer, or an expert who measured tire skid marks and impact results -- that shows factually that the event meets a legal threshhold for legality. Simply saying, "I think they were driving too fast," is not enough to cause conviction for speeding, even if you can find people who agree with you and can make a good point for the appropriate driving speed. Even if the accusation of driving too fast results in a speed limit change, the driver will not be punished for speeding.

Obscenity, however, works this way: the opinion of the observer is the key decider, and how convincing their accusation is will either get their opinion upheld or denied. A business transparently and openly selling nudie magazines for years could find themselves on the recieving end of an obscenity accusation, regardless of the number of customers who partake or the lack of objections until that point, simply due to how eloquent their accuser is. In fact, a key aspect of the obscenity law covers anything that a person could masturbate to - the definition of 'prurient interest'. Take a long, hard look at the 'prurient' things you partake of on a regular basis, or are available to you if you chose. The other defining points of literary/artistic value and community standards are nebulous at best...and change based on public opinion, not on legal definitions.

This establishes sexuality as an inherently illegal act, awaiting discovery by an offended observer willing to prove lack of artistic value and violation of community standards.

It is a sinisterly slow-moving process by which Hefner could find himself, after decades of support, twisting on the recieving end of an offended population's short stick. It would be ignored, because today they started with the animal porn, and then the obscenely large vibrators, and then the anal sex...and then the strip clubs that go panty-free...and then companies taking pictures of legally naked adults but neglected to obtain verification of age...and then the companies that photograph naked women at all...and then what? Well, if it's as bad as animal porn, then it must be horrible -- all the sick, horrible, obscene things that need to be made illegal. And who would defend Playboy against an obscenity definition? Defending Playboy when it's an obscene, disgusting publication as bad as beastiality! Not so, but the pursuers of obscenity are leaning in that direction.

Videotaping you and your partner having sex is prurient and lacks artistic value - and do you think it'd be hard to find someone to accuse you of violating societal standards? Phone sex lacks artistic value, is prurient in interest...and if your community decides it's unaccaptible, you are no longer protected by the 1st Amendment -- obscenity is not protected speech. You may think that you can live without strip clubs and the Spice channel, but they are not so far separated from the things that arouse your sexual being.

Extreme? Yes, but we've all done naughtier things than phone sex and videotaping sex: Kinsey has told us so. The common attitude is, "if it might be illegal and you don't want to defend it in court, don't do it." However, take a look at how your sexuality influences your life: they are ingrained with each other, you obscene thing.

My solution: obscenity should be limited to definable harm: public nudity could cause emotional harm to the unexpecting viewer, child pornography and beastiality cause harm to participants that cannot give consent, and rough sex should be subject to the same definitions that assault cases are subject to. This does not criminalize the sexual act -- it criminalizes the direct effects the sexual act has on the participants and society.


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