Opting Out

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Penn Jillette and his pals have a new movie coming out, called "The Aristocrats," which he bills as "the funniest people in the world today swearing a lot." It's coming to theaters in a month or so, but without any rating from the Motion Pictures Association of America. The Bullshit artiste explained in a Sunday L.A. Times op-ed:

The MPAA ratings board was set up to allow Hollywood to police itself—so the government wouldn't come in and do it. But even if the MPAA didn't exist, the government wouldn't get to do that. It's not allowed to. Right?

Anyway, I don't mind the MPAA all that much. I don't mind all the studios getting together and promising that they'll let a group of non-elected anonymous freaks decide how their movies get edited and advertised. I don't mind a giant pedestrian-taste cartel. Nothing wrong with that.

But it's only voluntary if some people don't volunteer. So that's what we decided to do. We figured, if all the movies that come out are rated, there's no real freedom.

Whole thing here; Nick Gillespie's interview with Jillette here.

NEXT: Objectivism in Spandex

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  1. I saw this movie at a sneak-peak about a month ago.

    I really, really wanted to like it a lot. Perhaps I went in with my expectations too high, and perhaps the setting of the theater (bad sound, lots of really lame people laughing at not-funny parts), but I just didn’t like it that much. And I really enjoy dirty humor, as long as it’s also funny.

    The funniest part of the movie was Eric Cartman’s rendition of the joke (at the very end), which I had already seen on the web. It’s priceless, and much dirtier than almost anything that comes before it, but I’m not sure I’d want to sit through over an hour to hear it. The clip is easy to find via google.

    That said, I admire Penn for not playing the “I’m being censored because AMC isn’t showing my movie!” role, and also for bypassing the ratings board. I have heard, however, that many municipalities have laws on the books saying that theaters can’t show NC17-rated movies. At that point, those “non-elected anonymous freaks” are effectively deciding policy.

  2. I’d like to take this opportunity to nominate Penn Jillette for ‘Greatest Living Human Being’.

  3. Warren-

    Seconded

  4. Warren,

    No, Norman Borlaug beats him hands down. Doesn’t Jillette say that on one of his episodes? 🙂

  5. Isn’t it a first amendment violation for cities to dictate what theaters can and cannot show? Or am I just being stupidly naive for thinking the Bill of Rights means anything anymore?

    The latter, probably.

  6. I saw it at a festival a few months ago. I liked it, though the constant jumps from camera to camera could get pretty distracting.

    I have my own version of the Aristocrats joke, and I will do you all a great favor by not telling it.

  7. Heh, I saw a sneak preview of this…the mime was priceless.

  8. I should have read TFA before posting. Penn says that, yes, there are municipalities that did this, and yes, they were taken to court, and yes, free speech won. But maybe there are some still out there.

  9. You’re right probabilistic. The mime was one of the top 3.

    Also, the dads telling the joke while holding their little kids was comedy gold! You just don’t see that kind of thing coming, and the whole audience was groaning, a collective “no, don’t do it!!” screaming through our heads.

  10. Jennifer,

    No, cities may ban movies, etc. if they are obscene. The courts use what is called the “Miller Test” (from Miller v. California): the test includes three prongs – (1) the average person prong (would the average person find it obscene in light of community standards); (2) does it depict offensive sexual conduct (there is more to this prong, but I am forgetting what it entails in its entirety); and (3) whether film lacks “serious” literary, scientific, political, etc. merit. What you basically have to keep in mind is whether the film attacks community mores. How the hell the internet effects all this is still be worked out in the courts.

    Some legal scholars (like Robert Bork) argue that the First Amendment applies only to political speech.

  11. Jennifer,

    These days mere screwing on film isn’t going to be considered obscene. It is sort of funny that obscenity case law deals almost exclusively with products that concern, well, sex.

  12. Jennifer,

    I should have noted that Miller was from like 1973 or 1974. As you can see the SCOTUS has avoided the issue despite rapid technological change since then.

  13. Hakluyt:
    I work for a TV station owned by a big broadcasting company that starts with a “T.”
    All of our stations air the same syndicated movies. After Janet Jackson, the company got skittish over movie content, and told us to check all movies for anything “questionable.” When we asked for guidelines from the head office, they said such guidelines could not be dictated because of differing community standards. As a result, an out of focus Playboy centerfold on the wall of a film character that was aired in NYC did not air in Hartford. When I asked why we don’t request the syndicator to clean the movie up befire sending it I was told that would be censorship. Sigh.
    When Larry Sanders was syndicated, we once found an episode where “pussy” was bleeped, but “pussy-whipped” was left in. We called the syndicator and pointed this out, to which they responded “yes, that is correct.” So you can’t use “pussy” as a noun on TV, but if it’s part of an adjective…

  14. Also, it should be noted that several comic-book companies have dropped the self-policing Comics Code. As opposed to film ratings, these codes dictated content. Read here:
    http://www.comics.dm.net/codetext.htm

  15. Jeff,

    Yeah, we spent a few days in Con Law on this issue and I thought to myself, “I am fucking glad that I am not a broadcaster, movie maker or distributer, etc.” Sooner or later the SCOTUS will have to deal with the issue in a head on manner as opposed to where it dealt with it obliquely (like in Reno v. ACLU or that porn case in 2002). Miller just doesn’t seem to work in age where media is less and less “local.”

  16. Some legal scholars (like Robert Bork) argue that the First Amendment applies only to political speech.

    Others (like the Supreme Court) apparently believe it doesn’t apply to political speech. How else can you justify upholding McCain-Feingold?

  17. Jeff,

    Didn’t the Code dictate stances regarding patriotism?

  18. R.C. Dean,

    Well, obviously they aren’t very Holmesian when it comes to free speech. 🙁

  19. I don’t think the Code was even designed to push patriotism, because even in the 50s there were a lot of non-American superheroes active in US books. There was also a lot of Lost World and Monsters-On-Alien-Planet books that were popular, and shoe-horning patriotism in might have been tough.
    What always struck me with the Comic Code was how much DC and Marvel actuallly got away with. the 1970s books were rife with corrupt cops and politicians. Batman took an entire bad precinct once, while the XMen’s struggles against the US Gov’t flew directly in the face of Wertham’s Code.
    When Watchman came out, it was shocking to see characters based on the Charleston Code-friendly books take center stage in a story about rape, political corruption, and unspeakable horror.

    On that note, go find a copy of Weapon Brown, which puts Charlie Brown and friends in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of sex mutants and psychotic warlords.
    http://www.whatisdeepfried.com/TSHIRT.html

  20. From the same site, here’s an excellent comic strip on the history of Bill O’Reilly’s lineage.

    http://www.whatisdeepfried.com/latest.gif

  21. I want to make a totally crass porn film, but while the sexual shenanigans are going on I’ll stand in the corner reading Shakespeare, to give the film literary and artistic merit. Or maybe I’ll just do a blow-by-blow (sorry) film version of certain of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or tales from Boccaccio’s Decameron.

  22. Isn’t it a first amendment violation for cities to dictate…

    I wouldn’t think so: “Congress shall make no law…”

  23. Brec-
    I think the amendment restricts all government, not just Congress. A city can’t establish an official religion or require people to go to church, for starters.

  24. brec,

    While we’re quoting amendments, try this one on for size:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Better known as “incorporation”, it was part of the 14th amendment, and plopped the bill of rights down upon the states. Love it or hate it (you’ll find no consensus among libertarians), you can’t ignore it when you’re talking about state applications of the BoR.

  25. Isn’t it a first amendment violation for cities to dictate what theaters can and cannot show? Or am I just being stupidly naive for thinking the Bill of Rights means anything anymore?

    The latter, probably.

    Comment by: Jennifer at July 18, 2005 12:18 PM

    No, cites can not directly regulate content of movies shown (except for obsenity) but they cn use zoning laws to ban theaters showing “adult” content from most areas of the city due to secondary effects of these theaters. The content of the movies isn’t being regulated (according to the SCOTUS) only the negative effects of porn consumers congregating in an area which anyone can tell you leads to decling property values, crime, prostitution and children possibly passing in the vicinity of the theater. So yes you are right, the bill of rights means nothing anymore.

  26. Evan,

    The 14th Amendment did not bring down all of the bill of rights to the states. Notably the 2nd Amendment has been held not to have been brought down to the states.

  27. fol-

    That’s because since shortly after the Civil War, the government started treating the 2nd Amendment like a redheaded stepchild.

  28. McCain-Feingold bypasses the issue of political speech by regulating commercial speech instead. Of course, commercial speech can be political. Oops! Oh well.

  29. fol, you are correct in your analysis of Adult Entertainment zoning.

    But if you would, please either expain how regulation based on secondary effects is regulation based on content; or, absent that, point me to the “no regulations about where businesses can locate” amendment.

  30. The bill of rights only protects pornography of the vilest sort and most importantly only protects pronography that is vile and MAKES MONEY. Since this probably doesn’t quailfy on either account, it will no doubt be censored just so Hollywood can say they have some standards. Its important to remember in these cases, that while Bill of Rights protects all forms of money making pronography, it does not protect any form of political speach, especially political speach that may result the criticism of or defeat of an incumbant politician.

  31. Is there a porn PAC? Has this “billion dollar industry” ever tried to get a couple congressional connections? You think they’d have some, ahem, incentives to offer.
    But seriously, anyone know of one?

  32. Inversely, have any soft money interests ever tried to bypass limits by disguising thier message as Porn?
    You pop in a DVD, Jasmine and Bianca takes turns on top of Bret, while a narrator tells you about the bills the other candidate passed and how the working man will pay, etc.

    “I’m George Bush and I approve of this message…”

  33. Jeff-

    A couple of months ago I stumbled across the website portal (heh) for an industry trade mag for the porno industry. It made for some interesting reading (no, really!) I’m at work, so I’m not about to search for it, but IIRC, it was called Adult Video News or somesuch.

    Of course, more recently you’ve got that minor flap a few weeks ago where Mary Carey and her boss went to a fundraising dinner for Prez. Bush.

  34. joe, you could theoretically regulate anything by claiming that you’re not regulating the thing itself, but rather its “secondary effects”. this is the argument behind gun laws, for example. the target supposedly isn’t guns directly, but the negative effects of the easy procurement of guns. however the real evil, in the eyes of many anti-gun activists, is in fact guns themselves.

    that said, i’m in favor of some gun and zoning laws. i’m just saying that the supposed limitation of law to a thing’s “secondary effects” isn’t much of a real limitation.

  35. Jeff,

    There is an adult entertainment PAC called the Free Speech (Something).

    zach, “that said, i’m in favor of some gun and zoning laws. i’m just saying that the supposed limitation of law to a thing’s “secondary effects” isn’t much of a real limitation.”

    A fair point, but combined with the “strict scrutiny” standard, it does become a real limitation. Remember the “deference” that the Kelo majority extended to New London’s plan? Strict scrutiny is the opposite of that, requiring the government to actually prove the validity of the public purpose, the rational nexus between the public purpose and the the laws crafted to achieve it, and the minimally-intrustve nature of those regulations. When a law infringes on a Constitutional right, such as free speech, the courts review that law, when challenged, using this standard.

    So requiring that adult zoning be based on the secondary effects, rather than on objections to the content of the material, actually does limit the government’s authority over adult businesses.

    Whether you agree that those secondary effects are real, or whether resisting them is indeed a legitimate public purpose, are different questions.

  36. Joe,

    For adult businesses, the secondary effects doctrine is a back door to content regulation in my opinion. It is saying this type of content attracts an “undesirable” crowd who we do not like. Zoning of these business should occur but they should not be singled out because of their content, as I believe that goes against the 1st Amendment. Adult movie theatres should have the same zoning as any other theater. Video stores likewise. Strip clubs should be zoned like other venues of live entertainment, etc. Singling them out because of supposed negative secondary effects is a backdoor content regulation.

  37. But, joe, it’s for the chiiiiiilllllldrrrruuuuuuuunnn!

  38. joe,

    So requiring that adult zoning be based on the secondary effects, rather than on objections to the content of the material, actually does limit the government’s authority over adult businesses.

    Not if the effect is incidental. Not every government action related to free speech or other fundamental rights merits strict scrutiny. Incidental effects on such rights don’t merit such (see Zablocki). There are other ways out of the strict scrutiny standard. Really, you ought to learn something about how this works before you start pontificating.

  39. by the same coin, speech calling for the violent overthrow of the government shouldn’t be restricted to certain less-accessible forms of communication because the speech may have the “secondary effect” of causing the violent overthrow of the government. i think the first amendment ought to be interpreted to protect speech regardless of what secondary effects it might have, with maybe the sole exception being the publication of specific information that directly threatens national security.

    i honestly don’t know how it works in other cities, but in philly, the areas to which strip clubs and the like are restricted very obviously hurt business. they seem to be purposefully restricted to areas far away from residential zones, so that people have to go out of their way to get to one. in other words, they don’t get the kind of “drop-in” business that normal bars get because of their location.

  40. “The 14th Amendment did not bring down all of the bill of rights to the states. Notably the 2nd Amendment has been held not to have been brought down to the states.”

    Also, the right not to be put on trial for a felony unless you’ve first been indicted by a grand jury.

  41. For adult businesses, the secondary effects doctrine is a back door to content regulation in my opinion.

    Note to self: Never use the phrases ‘adult businesses’ and ‘back door’ in the same sentence.

    Unless you want to make your reader squirt coffee out his/her nose.

    That said, friendofliberty’s sentence is true on so many levels.

  42. It certainly is sticky territory, no question. No pun intended.

    Gaahhhhhhhh, children, children, must…suspend…critical…reasoning!

  43. Jean Gary, I’m adopted a policy of ignoring you when can’t be civil. That was a perfectly good comment, until you went off into your Gallic bitchyland, and I have not desire to follow you there.

    zach, “i think the first amendment ought to be interpreted to protect speech regardless of what secondary effects it might have.” Would that include yelling Fire in a crowded theater?

    The secondary effect identified in the cases that upheld adult zoning was the transformation of an area into a “red light district.” The theory was that the clustering of this type of business would work to define the area, thus attracting more of these types of business, and other business that support/depend on them. This dynamic is often harnessed in the case of manufacturing, cultural, or retail businesses.

    Adult Business zones are purposely located far from residential zones – residential neighborhoods being particularly sensitive to the harm caused by being in, or near, a red light district, along with churches, schools, and parks. That’s the theory, anyway.

    Adult businesses don’t tend to rely on “drop-in” business, anyway. Their customers tend to go there for the purpose of going there.

    fol, “For adult businesses, the secondary effects doctrine is a back door to content regulation in my opinion.” You are hardly the first to make that observation. The situation is comparable to the fundies putting heavily Christian Ten Commandments monuments in public buildings, then claiming they were actually monuments to the history of law, because they attach a copy of the Constitution with masking tape.

  44. tyranny of the unelected peers is the worst form of dictatorship.

  45. Jennifer: I want to make a totally crass porn film, but while the sexual shenanigans are going on I’ll stand in the corner reading Shakespeare, to give the film literary and artistic merit.

    This is pretty damned close to that. Nothing more fun than a Troma film.

    joe: Would that include yelling Fire in a crowded theater?

    That depends — is the theater on fire?

    I would be more amenable to hearing the pro- arguments about so-called adult business laws if I didn’t see them used so frequently by soi-disant moralists and bluenoses against innocuous businesses like lingerie stores that happen to sell handcuffs or dildos.

  46. zach, “i think the first amendment ought to be interpreted to protect speech regardless of what secondary effects it might have.” Would that include yelling Fire in a crowded theater?

    honestly i don’t have a simple answer. i believe that freedom doesn’t include the freedom to directly harm someone, so for example, it certainly doesn’t include telling someone you’re going to kill them unless they give you a million dollars. that’s a threat and is direct coercion, and thus can’t just be called “free speech”. so i guess the question would be, is the person yelling “fire” doing so as a direct attempt to cause injury to the people in the theater, or are they just delusional?

    i separate in my mind speech that directly harms someone and speech that calls for other people to harm people.

    Adult Business zones are purposely located far from residential zones – residential neighborhoods being particularly sensitive to the harm caused by being in, or near, a red light district, along with churches, schools, and parks. That’s the theory, anyway.

    of course.

    Adult businesses don’t tend to rely on “drop-in” business, anyway. Their customers tend to go there for the purpose of going there.

    lol, well of course they don’t, because if they did, they’d be out of business, for the reasons stated above.

    in philly, most of the trendy clubs are found in what we call “old city”. people usually go there not with the intent of going to a specific club, but just to go out in general, walk around and decide what to do on the spot… the possibility of a group of guys going to old city, walking past a strip club and deciding to stop in for a drink or two doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me; that is, if there were a strip club in old city, which there never could be.

    clubs pay top dollar for the right to exist in old city. in a sane local economy, the businesses that are there ought to be decided by the businesses that can pay to be there, rather than the specific commodity the businesses offer.

  47. joe,

    You’re just pissed because you are wrong (again). You naively pin all your legal thoughts these days on the strict scrutiny standard without understanding how it works in real life in the courts. There is a reason why strict scrutiny is so rarely used in comparison to the number of potential cases on the docket where it could be used; the courts like to defer to the wishes of the government when they can.

    Anyway, I have come to realize that any and all government regulation, etc. on property is alright with you. That’s what makes discussing property rights issues with you a pointless exercise.

  48. phil:

    That depends — is the theater on fire?

    that’s the wrong question to ask. the first amendment doesn’t state that people have the right to say anything they want, as long as it’s true. what’s true and not is pretty cut-and-dry when it comes to whether or not there’s a fire in a theater, but much less so when it comes to political issues; which happen to be the issues regarding which speech needs to be the most zealously protected.

  49. and for the record, i never got the impression (in this thread) that joe was pissed off at all.

  50. Jesse Walker:

    I have my own version of the Aristocrats joke, and I will do you all a great favor by not telling it.

    You only said that because you have the need, perhaps subconscious, to be persuaded to tell the joke.

    So let’s cut to the chase: Spill it. You can use f—-ing dashes if you need to.

  51. Laws forbbing speech are fairly common: perjury, fraud and blackmail are just three examples. Of course the “yelling fire” example cheaply ignores the real issue: what are the principles upon which we differentiate protected from unprotected speech? There is no single doctrine because the area is way to complex (and speech interacts with too many aspects of our society) for such a single approach to really work. That’s why you have to break down speech into various areas of concern, such: advocacy of illegal action; reputation; privacy; obscenity; fighting/offensive words & hostile audiences; commercial speech; etc.

  52. I guess I could throw in the favorite of liberals – racist speech (in that many want to erect laws to penalize people for uttering racist language). There is also the issue of straight out content regulation, as well as time, place and manner.

  53. Skipping right past you, Gary. Try again on another tread. You cannot have the Mango.

    Phil, zach,

    Like clustering a bunch of porn stores together, yelling Fire in a crowded theater doesn’t DIRECTLY harm anybody. What it does is set the conditions by which something (defined as) harmful can happen. Protecting public health and safety is a public purpose. Protecting real estate values, neighborhood character, and the economic viability of a broad variety of business sectors have been defined as public purposes as well. As has protecting national security, the exception defined above. Obviously, keeping the country safe from invasions and preventing a crowd of people from burning are a lot more important than keeping the value of some property owners’ buildings from declining, but I’m not sure if there is a Constitutional basis for determining what “good stuff” is important enough to define as a “public purpose.”

    zach, “I would be more amenable to hearing the pro- arguments about so-called adult business laws if I didn’t see them used so frequently by soi-disant moralists and bluenoses against innocuous businesses like lingerie stores that happen to sell handcuffs or dildos.” Similarly, I would be more amenable to hearing the pro and con arguments about “monuments to the history of law” if they weren’t being put up by soi-disant Christainists to mark public buildings as Christian turf, like so many dogs raising their legs. But ignoring stuff like that and answering the question before them is why judges get paid the big bucks.

  54. joe,

    Hey, if you want to avoid reality its not my fault. I would suggest that you take some time researching how strict scrutiny is applied though, how the courts actually work, etc. before you stick your foot in your mouth again. 🙂

  55. Like clustering a bunch of porn stores together, yelling Fire in a crowded theater doesn’t DIRECTLY harm anybody. What it does is set the conditions by which something (defined as) harmful can happen.

    i disagree. if someone gets injured in the ensuing stampede out of the theater, i think it can be said that the person who yelled “fire” directly harmed that person. if someone puts a bomb in your car, and it blows up and kills you, should they be said to have simply “set the conditions by which something defined as harmful can happen”? no, they should be said to have killed you.

    you could theoretically break down any cause and effect to the extent that it seems as if nothing is in fact anyone’s fault; but law needs to exist on a practical level, and on a practical level, the person who yelled “fire” directly hurt someone. i wish i could come up with a better logical standard than “practical”, but honestly i can’t. all i can say is that inciting someone to commit a crime doesn’t meet that standard in my mind, whereas yelling “fire” does.

    zach, “I would be more amenable to hearing the pro- arguments about so-called adult business laws if I didn’t see them used so frequently by soi-disant moralists and bluenoses against innocuous businesses like lingerie stores that happen to sell handcuffs or dildos.” Similarly, I would be more amenable to hearing the pro and con arguments about “monuments to the history of law” if they weren’t being put up by soi-disant Christainists to mark public buildings as Christian turf, like so many dogs raising their legs. But ignoring stuff like that and answering the question before them is why judges get paid the big bucks.

    i agree with you and the guy you are replying to, but that wasn’t me.

  56. Obviously, keeping the country safe from invasions and preventing a crowd of people from burning are a lot more important than keeping the value of some property owners’ buildings from declining, but I’m not sure if there is a Constitutional basis for determining what “good stuff” is important enough to define as a “public purpose.”

    you went from talking about what is and is not directly harmful to talking about public purposes. those are very different issues in mind.

  57. OT: Was Gary this cranky before he got banned? I don’t remember him being this much of a jerk. Chill out, man!

  58. Gary’s latest incarnation was originally restrained and avoided ad hominems. Today he’s starting to revert to form, but the current level of his discourse is actually still milder than it was at the point he was banned.

    At this rate, I fear the current incarnation will be terminated before reaching the end of its first trimester.

  59. zach, “I would be more amenable to hearing the pro- arguments about so-called adult business laws if I didn’t see them used so frequently by soi-disant moralists and bluenoses against innocuous businesses like lingerie stores that happen to sell handcuffs or dildos.” Similarly, I would be more amenable to hearing the pro and con arguments about “monuments to the history of law” if they weren’t being put up by soi-disant Christainists to mark public buildings as Christian turf, like so many dogs raising their legs.

    That was me, not zach, but in any case, we apparently agree, unless I’m missing something. If the law tends, in reality, to be used more for bullying Fredericks of Hollywood than for preventing any real harm to anyone, it’s a bad law.

    And, once again, in the “Fire!” thing, it actually does matter whether the theater is in fact on fire.

  60. anonymous coward,

    I am not being a jerk. I’ve told joe on numerous occassions that he needs to study the legal standards, etc. that he pontificates on because he makes all manner of mistakes, errors, etc. If telling someone that they need to learn a bit more about what they write about is an ad hominem, so be it; I don’t believe it fits the definition however, as I am not avoiding the contended issue.

  61. anonymous coward,

    BTW, this is about the fifth or sixth error, misinterpretation, etc. regarding legal issues, etc. that I have caught him in during the last couple of days.

  62. Can those of us who actually care about the use of the English written language start being as rude to you, Gary, concerning your frequent spelling and grammar errors? Or would you find that entirely nonproductive?

    If it’s the former, here’s two starter tips:

    1. The third-person singular possessive in English is “its.” The contraction of “it has” or “it is” is “it’s.” Learn the difference.

    2. An open parenthesis requires a close parenthesis at the other end of the clause, and vice-versa.

    There! Wasn’t that useful?

  63. joe, I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! I don’t want to talk to you no more you empty headed animal food trough wiper! Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

    (Things aren’t quite that bad…yet. Give it a month or two, and Jean Bart the Traveler will once again be banned. Until he returns in one of the pre-chosen forms.)

  64. Phil,

    You may correct my grammar all day if you like. Its about the only thing I am open to attack on. 🙂

  65. Monsieur Traveller,

    Is there someone else there I can talk to?

    zach, “you went from talking about what is and is not directly harmful to talking about public purposes. those are very different issues in mind.”

    Aren’t all public purposes about the avoidance of harm?

    Also, by your reasoning about the car bomb and crowded theater, wouldn’t the porn store owner then be directly responsible for any lowering of property values and change in neighborhood character that occurs as a result of openning his store?

  66. Is there someone else there I can talk to?

    I’ve got Vince Clotho in my head, if you like. He’s the Key Master for Zuul.

  67. not sure if anyone’s going to check back on this thread again, but just for the hell of it:

    Aren’t all public purposes about the avoidance of harm?

    sure, that doesn’t make public purpose and the avoidance of harm the same thing. when you start talking about public purposes, you’re usually talking about something a little more proactive than simply avoiding harm.

    Also, by your reasoning about the car bomb and crowded theater, wouldn’t the porn store owner then be directly responsible for any lowering of property values and change in neighborhood character that occurs as a result of openning his store?

    no. again, it has something to do with intention. the guy who yelled “fire” is responsible for causing harm because he wasn’t delusional and was yelling “fire” for the express purpose of harming people; the guy who put the bomb in your car was trying to kill you. the guy with the porn store was just trying to make a (completely legitimate) living.

  68. And, once again, in the “Fire!” thing, it actually does matter whether the theater is in fact on fire.

    care to elaborate?

  69. IMO the property values arguement for restricting porn shops to the outskirts of town is garbage. Other than in cases of vandalism or similar actual damage, since when was the value of your neighbor’s property your problem?

  70. b-psycho gets the award for post #69 in a thread that veered into porn territory.

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