Because I live under a rock called graduate school, I had no idea, until today, that pornographer John Stagliano (aka Buttman) was on trial for obscenity (specifically for fetish films, an exemplary title being “Jay Sin’s Milk Nymphos”). I may be living under a rock, but important news usually finds its way down to me and I’m really surprised the trial didn’t seem to garner the kind of nationwide attention that should be screamed from the rooftops, namely, the news of a bold attack on that most cherished of constitutional rights, the freedom of speech. (Or perhaps it was and my rock is even further out of range these days because I now live in a state that is commonly referred to by the media as a theocracy.)
I was, frankly, shocked. Not by the onscreen milk enemas the jurors reportedly had to watch in court, but by the fact that there are still obscenity trials like this, in this country today. And, apparently, there have been a few brought to trial via an obscenity act that W. put into place during his administration. What?
As a U.S. citizen, this concerns me greatly. As a writer, this infuriates me. Stagliano faced a $7 mill fine and 32 years in jail. No kidding. The short happy ending is that the case was dismissed but how did it get to a U.S. District Court in the first place? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, because some people in this country–often, ironically, the same people who refer to anyone who disagrees with them as Hitler–want to take away your rights even as they claim to be defending the “Constitution” (up for individual re-interpretation) from fascists. But that is another rant for another day.
Anyway, plenty of books are banned by schools and libraries every year, but when was the last time there was an obscenity trial, on this legal level, of a book? I’m so curious I just might go ask Google. I wonder because books are totally filthy. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a several cases of brother-sister incest (also half-uncle incest, which–is a half uncle even a real thing?), son-on-mother sodomy, pedophilia, rimjobs that taste like McDonalds, a woman turned into a human Habitrail and a consensual dolphin-human relationship (the dolphin initiated). That’s just picking things out of my brain as fast as I can type them. And these aren’t even romances (badump-ching)! I guess, when you think about it, it’s probably somewhat of a godsend that more people don’t read.