Thursday, December 22, 2005

But, Dammit, Now You're Safer... 

Someone explain to me again why porn is illegal, and of any interest at all to the Federal government? And why a porn producer was just sentenced to five years in prison for obscenity.

The prosecution used the old "community standards" canard again -- to try a Florida resident in Billings, Montana. Given that the internet has effectively made the "community" in "community standards" the world, does this mean that Britney Spears can be convicted in Iran?

And, again, where's the real crime here? Provided that the acts depicted in the porn in question were a) consented to by all parties involved and b) performed by legal adults, what's the problem? According to the article, the porn in question depicted "bestiality, gang rapes and sex involving urination, defecation and sadistic and masochistic conduct." And, except for the bestiality bit, what's wrong with the rest? I've seen mainstream Hollywood movies that have simulated everything on that list, and avoided an indie Hollywood movie that showed an actual blowjob. Again, where is the line between Hollywood fare and porn? Why is a work of art somehow lessened just because the participants have real erections and real orgasms?

Properly, if the films depicted bestiality that was actually performed, then yes, charges should have been brought -- but not for obscenity. Otherwise, as long as the performers could come before the court and say, "I made the film, I did it willingly, and I agreed to everything I did in it", then there should be no charges filed.

The trouble with most obscenity charges is that they're usually set-ups. Someone who wouldn't normally seek out the material in question intentionally buys the product, then complains. "I am shocked -- SHOCKED -- that there is porn here." Well, gosh. What did you expect when you ordered Physically Raped, Anything Goes or Rape and Sodomize online? (Those are the actual titles.) Yeah, sure. You thought you were ordering a family-friendly, Christian musical. My ass...

Anyway... I still can't understand how any kind of obscenity charges can stand, given the First Amendment. It's kind of simple: showing acts performed by consenting adults and providing them to consenting adults who want to see them should never be a crime. As long as the actions that were performed in real-life to create them didn't violate any laws, then the government should just bugger off. Sure, the average person may find some of these films disgusting. Personally, I'd avoid any film that involved water sports or scat like the plague -- but that doesn't mean I have the right to begrudge them to somebody who's into watching that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, corporate executives who've defrauded old people out of their life savings and pensions get slaps on the wrist, and short sentences in Federal "Country Club" prisons. But who's done more damage? The guy who provides orgasm material for his customers, or the guy who screws over those who can't afford it?

And, given the whole Patriot Act brouhaha, what would you rather have your Federal Prosecutors spend their time on -- the alleged al Qaeda sleeper cells hiding in this country, or a guy who makes whack movies? One of those two isn't going to kill anyone. And you know which one it is.

To paraphrase Lenny Bruce, given the choice of taking his child to a War Movie or a Stag Film, he'd pick the latter every time. And to quote Larry Flynt, "Relax. It's just sex."

Anyway, Sanford Wasserman has been railroaded and screwed, and the man should serve no time at all, unless he's convicted for subborning bestiality. Otherwise, he's just providing entertainment for people who want it. And, y'know what? If you don't want this kind of porn, it's pretty damn easy to avoid it. You just don't search for it on the Net, and you don't order it.

After all, it's not like pornographers are running door to door, shoving DVDs in your mail box and running away. Why would they? That would cut into their profits.

I think the Vince Gallo blowjob movie goes against community standards worldwide.

But that's because he's a pretentious prick, not because of the BJ.

Poor, poor Chloe Sevigny...
I think the Vince Gallo blowjob movie goes against community standards worldwide.

Yeah, I'd agree that "Brown Bunny" was pretty heinous. Unfortunately, the First Amendment gives Vincent Gallo the right to be a pretentious weenie on film. Or have a pretentious weenie. And, honestly, I'd feel much more comfortable watching a BJ in a porn film (where, presumably, the performers are used to that sort of thing) than watching it in an indie flick, where I can only wonder, "Jeebus. How much money did Gallo pay Ms. Sevigny to bust his nut?"

Of course, the porn debate always brings to mind the films of Larry Clark. If he made the same movies he did without some taint of "legitimacy", he'd be hauled up on charges of child porn immediately. In fact, I think he's famous for an infamous coffee table photobook called "Tulsa," which featured very underaged models in very sexual tableaux -- but he got away with it because he was an "artist."

Ultimate irony -- the porn folk actually do adhere to higher standards than the movie folk. I've never seen Bertolucci's uncut 1900, for example, but I've read comments online indicating that it has underaged hard cock in it. See also Nicholas Rey's Walkabout. And/or see anything Larry Clark has ever made.

Advantage, pornographers -- because, not only do they insist on consenting adults in their films but, from what I've read online, the adult film industry in LA has also been very instrumental in busting the makers of kiddie-porn.

And, anyway -- where does the government get off on policing what we do with our genitals? Seems to me that that "Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness" business in the Declaration of Independence should trump all the fundie effots to squash the fun.

And, in any case, if there really is a "War on (Some) Terror(ists)" going on, the money should be going after the killers, not the fuckers.
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