Recently at Reason.tv: Should Obscenity Be Illegal? Lady Chatterley, Milk Nymphos, & John Stagliano

|

Porn producer John Stagliano faces up to 32 years in federal prison for distributing the adult films Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice and a promo reel for similar material via his website for Evil Angel Productions (adults only). (Full disclosure: Stagliano is a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.)

As Stagliano gears up for a court case due to begin this July in Washington, D.C., it's worth asking whether obscenity prosecutions make any sense, especially when dealing with material created and consumed by consenting adults in private. The definition of obscenity is notoriously slippery—works as varied (and sexually inoffensive) as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Ulysses, and I Am Curious Yellow have all been deemed obscene—and its prosecution is famously subjective and selective. Material is considered obscene only when a jury finds it to be so; the same book, movie, or song can be illegal in one region and totally fine in another. As Stagliano, whose website followed all legal restrictions imposed by federal mandates, notes, "I didn't know I was breaking the law."

Despite the liberating technology of the Internet, free expression remains under attack by religous zealots who threaten death to blasphemers and government regulators who threaten jail time. The prosecution of porn is "another area where the government thinks it should be able to run our lives," says Stagliano. "They could easily extend that from looking at porn to consuming fast food" and other activities.

"Should Obscenity be Illegal?" is produced by Dan Hayes and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts. Approximately 6.15 minutes.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

For a 2008 Reason.tv interview about the case, go here.

NEXT: State Subsidized Neo-Nazism

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. No way dude, its just words. So what? I mean really.

    Lou
    http://www.anon-web-tools.es.tc

  2. I keep seeing this, and Nick never quite gets out, “Steeeelllaaaaaaaa!”

  3. I mentioned this on this thread the last time it came up, but Takashi Miike has a few movies featuring projectile lactation, notably Gozu and Visitor Q. I wonder if they would qualify for banning.

    BTW, Visitor Q is a must-see for those who like seriously twisted cinema. It makes Man Bites Dog look like a Smurfs movie.

  4. “Notoriously Slippery!” I think I rented that one once.

  5. I would be nice if we could make assholes like Nick Gillespie illegal, but it will never happen. Assholes have are too well represented in the halls of power.

  6. The definition of obscenity is notoriously slippery?works as varied (and sexually inoffensive) as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Ulysses, and I Am Curious Yellow have all been deemed obscene?and its prosecution is famously subjective and selective. Material is considered obscene only when a jury finds it to be so; the same book, movie, or song can be illegal in one region and totally fine in another.

    “Your honor, 13,428 people right here in River City ordered a copy of this video. We estimate River City residents downloaded bootleg cuts from the film on various websites well in excess of 500,000 times. Obviously this material does not offend a large and growing segment of this community. Motion to dismiss.”

  7. Again, about 50 people outside the courtroom with OBAMA = CUNT signs would make quite a political statement.

  8. I wonder if Nick picked that flattering thumbnail image himself.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.