Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home

|

From Charlie Deitch, the bizarre story of the first print obscenity prosecution case since 1973 involves the reason cover boys from South Park, Col.

Several pages of Walters' 81-page motion also deal with South Park. Several episodes are mentioned, including one where Eric Cartman, one of the main characters, joins the North American Man Boy Love Association. In another, Cartman plays a prank on a classmate by putting his penis in his mouth. Still another involves a 5-year-old character having a sexual relationship with his teacher; when she gets bail at the end of the episode, student and teacher run off together.

"The show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have been accepted into mainstream entertainment and, rather than being subjected to prosecution … have been the recipients of national awards for quality in arts and entertainment," writes Walters. "Meanwhile, Karen Fletcher is subjected to federal obscenity prosecution for comparable works involving no visualizations."

At this point I wonder if it's simply easier to bring an obscenity case against online porn than any other type of obscenity. Juries are a little savvier about cool media these, but after a decade plus of hype about how the internet is going to jump off your screen and mind-meld your kid into pervert status they're less savvy about the internet. And obviously more than one website will be impacted if/when the U.S. Attorney wins this case.

NEXT: This Week Only: Cavanaugh vs. Gillespie; Audience Declared Loser

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ike is five? Really? He doesn’t talk very well for a five year old.

    Oh that’s right, he’s Canadian.

  2. Walters: “Meanwhile, Karen Fletcher is subjected to federal obscenity prosecution for comparable works involving no visualizations.”

    So, for consistency’s sake, we have to go after the things we don’t like that have visualizations too.

  3. Jeezus, Mary Beth…is this all you have to do? Aren’t we at war (like a real, not metaphorical,) war or something? Has ACTUAL crime in Pittsburgh been wiped out?

  4. As a general rule, never trust a grown woman called “Mary Beth”

  5. “The fact that the stories were fictitious is irrelevant, Buchanan said last fall.”

    I think not! If the stories were true, they’d surely be absolutely protected as news or history.

  6. No, that’s not quite correct. An adult woman named Mary Beth can be trustworthy, provided that her name has morphed into “Merry Breasts”.

  7. Given the Supreme Court case a few years back (the name of which escapes me) that said that “virtual” child porn, where no actual children were harmed, is protected by the First Amendment, how can this case even get past a cursory look by a judge?

  8. The law does not prohibit an individual from thinking or writing about their own thoughts within their own home. But when they go beyond that, and distribute that through interstate commerce, then they violate the law.

    But if I write these thoughts in my own home, I’m affecting interstate commerce inasmuch as I am not purchasing these ideas from somebody else, which inevitably would involve interstate transactions. Surely writing thoughts in one’s own home is not protected!

  9. A US Attorney is prosecuting this case? Is this what the Gonzalez scandal is all about, more anti-First Amendment crusades? You get fired unless you want to put people in jail for writing fiction? I’m truly amazed that there is a federal obscenity law at all.

  10. The only reason this has taken so long is 9/11.

    During the first eight months of this presidency, John Ashcroft was pulling FBI agents off of their assignments, including agents assigned to counter-terror operations, and putting them to work on obscenity prosecutions.

  11. As a general rule, never trust a grown woman called “Mary Beth”

    Don’t come to the South Side of Chicago, Mike.

  12. “highnumber | May 15, 2007, 11:46am | #
    As a general rule, never trust a grown woman called “Mary Beth”

    Don’t come to the South Side of Chicago, Mike.”

    cuz Colleen will kick yer ass!

  13. “As a general rule, never trust a grown woman called “Mary Beth”

    Ha, just ask William and Elizabeth Stern.

  14. It’s the old Meese strategy. Doesn’t matter what the law is. Just keep prosecuting until you run them out of business. Doesn’t matter how often the case gets thrown out of court, keep appealing keep filing. The Dept of Justice has more money to piss away and therefore can not fail to win as long as they keep fighting.

    This sort of abuse of power really pisses me off, because you know that the best you can hope for is to put someone else in charge. But there’s no way you can deter this sort of thing with actual consequences, like five to ten in a federal pound-em-in-the-ass prison.

    Now I’m depressed. I need a drink.

  15. OMG! I think I just had an “obscene” thought. Someone put me in prison before I communicate it to someone else!

  16. The world will be such a different place when the robots take over. Then using the legal process to overwhelm the opposition will no longer be possible. The robot running Microsoft Justice? will give you five minutes to present your case, will observe you for an additional five minutes, ditto the other side, then will render a verdict after five femtoseconds of deliberation. No more hearings, no motions, no appeal, no nothing. The fee will be a quart of lubricant. This will go for government action, as well.

  17. Andrew, the “virtual” child porn case, Free Speech Coalition v. Ashcroft, held that computer-generated images which did not include actual children are First Amendment protected. Pornography depicting actual children is unprotected, whether the Miller test for obscenity is met or not met.

    Obscene material, whether it includes adults or children (or computer generated images) is not First Amendment protected and the production, display or distribution thereof may be criminalized. Material depicting actual children in sexual acts may be prosecuted, whether obscene or not.

    The upshot is that images not involving children may be prosecuted if obscene, but not if not obscene. Of course, all printed material is presumed to be non-obscene, just as all defendants are presumed innocent. The obscene nature of the material is a fact which, like other elements of the offense, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

  18. Don’t come to the South Side of Chicago, Mike.

    And if you go down there, you’d better just beware of a man name o’ Leroy Brown.

    Bad, bad Leroy Brown. Baddest man in the whole damn town. Badder than old King Kong. Meaner than a junkyard dog.

  19. I hear that Leroy’s more than trouble, and he stands about six foot four. All the downtown ladies call him treetop lover. All the men just call him sir.

  20. Sadly, it came as no surprise to me to find that this case was launched in the district of Mary Beth Buchanan. Aren’t there any real crimes happening in Pennsylvania?

  21. Ok, as much as I hate their love of high taxation, there are certain advantages of having libertine Democrats in office…

  22. Libertine Democrats like the ones who supported and signed the CDA? Nah, there’s no safe party on any issue. The major parties are like pitchers with too many changeups.

  23. And obviously more than one website will be impacted if/when the U.S. Attorney wins this case.

    Impacted, like a colon? Is it just me, or has “affected” been stricken from the language?

  24. Now, Leroy was a gambler. And he liked his fancy clothes. And he liked to wave his diamond ring in front of everybody’s nose.

  25. I’ll take “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” over “BAd Bad Leroy Brown.”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.