Pornography

Stagliano on Obscenity, Justice, and His Upcoming Animated Video on the Federal Reserve

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And that wasn't even his whole legal team

Richard Abowitz, who covered John Stagliano's federal obscenity trial for Reason, has just published a post-trial interview with the adult filmmaker and distributor (who has donated to the Reason Foundation over the years). Excerpt:

Q: So, what are your plans now that the case is over?

A: I have lots of projects in the works. I am working on a mainstream movie or two, and a political advocacy video on the Federal Reserve. It is an animated movie. With or without this trial, I was not planning  on doing a lot of porn. The trial did not change my mix of work, if that is what you are interested in. […]

Q: Will the trial impact how you make movies in the future?

A: It probably will. But I am not sure what that will be. I am certainly going to think, "Well, how's this going to play in front of a jury?" I will have my arguments ready in advance. However, I am vulnerable. Anytime hard-core porn is shown to a group of people who don't want to watch it, they are repulsed. They could vote as a jury to show that they don't tolerate stuff that is outside the norm. […]

Q: Do you have a definition of obscenity?

A: To me obscenity is completely outside the political realm. I don't think any visual image should be considered illegal. It is acts that people commit that are criminal. Selling people a picture should never be criminal. If the picture shows an illegal act, then it is evidence. Selling a picture should never be a crime, because it is a picture. Government needs to be strictly limited in terms of power. […]

Q: Do you think your political activism had anything to do with the decision to prosecute you?

A: That would be interesting and flattering. It would make a nice sinister subplot in my autobiography.

Whole thing here. Reason.tv caught up with Stagliano moments after his case was tossed out of court:

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  1. If you combine this series of posts on Stagliano with the one the other day on the porn industry in Iraq, it would appear that pornographers have more freedom in Iraq than they do in the US.

  2. Government needs to be strictly limited in terms of power.

    Some people should get together and ratify a document to that effect.

    1. You know that is a great idea. It so crazy it just might work. We could start it like this

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

      naw That is just too radical. It would never work.

      1. Well since the constitution did fail miserably, that would be a bad way to start.

        1. It just created the richest and generally freest country the world has ever seen.

          1. Workin’ on that. Takes time to undo all the damage caused by evil rich white men.

            1. Black market shit’s always better anyway. I mean, look at booze and drugs. Illegal makes for stronger/better shit. Trust me, outlaw it all and you’ll see what you really want, a deer fucking a rabbit in the middle of a circle jerk.

              No homo.

      2. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

        I bet those would make killer song lyrics to go along to a children’s cartoon.

        1. Wait, isn’t that Captain Planet’s motto?

  3. I’m sorry, but I must ask…In Mr. Stagliano’s video on the Federal Reserve, will Ben Bernanke be wearing clothes?

    1. I think you may have hit on an objective definition of obscenity.

  4. a political advocacy video on the Federal Reserve. It is an animated movie.

    Cash Nymphos?

    1. I heard instead of milk squirting out of the south end, it would be billion dollar bills…only problem is, he couldn’t find any women who could hold even a teeny, tiny fraction of the quantitative easing enema Ben has been giving us.

  5. To me obscenity is completely outside the political realm. I don’t think any visual image should be considered illegal.

    Typical tunnel vision, redefining obscenity as it has applied to one’s own life experiences. Sure, it’s easy to say that obscene material should be perfectly legal to sell to adults, but obscenity covers far more than that. Public nudity, public sex, public display of adult/obscene materials, etc. You can’t just try to erase obscenity from law without dealing with all of the issues.

    1. It would be nice if someone actually defined obscenity before we started throwing people in prison for it.

      1. Why do you have to go and make things more complicated, huh?!

      2. We’ll know it when we see it.

      3. Yeah. It’s pretty vague.

        As far as I can tell, it just means ‘really extra super offensive, to the point of being sacreligious’.

    2. Public versus private is a really easy line to draw. In public, the people via their government get to decide what is legal. In private, you do. It should never be illegal to view anything in private nor to sell that image in private.

      1. I agree with your point except that it’s not even an easy line to draw because no one’s drawn it. The people’s government, the lawmakers, can’t even agree on what is obscene, so there’s no possible way for an individual to know if what they’re doing has been criminalized. It depends wholly on prosecutorial whims. That just leaves people to take the safest course and not do anything close to that which they were hoping to do, which, in a society based on personal liberty, is total fucking bullshit.

        1. Accurate. But my point was that Stagliano’s limited view of where obscenity is an issue makes it too easy for him to solve the problem by saying that it shouldn’t be politicized.

          1. Too many of us wait until government encroaches on our own lives – until we personally get bit in the ass – before we take an interest in the tyrannical actions of the state.

  6. “Q: Do you have a definition of obscenity?”

    A video — or even just pictures — of Joel Pile Fucking sheep, should one exist.

  7. So this movie isn’t going to be porn… is it?

  8. But think of the children!

  9. For some reason I have, lodged in my tiny reptilian brain, the notion that everyone who appears before the Supreme Court should be wearing a pair of “X-ray” glasses. The Commerce Clause wouldn’t have a prayer.

  10. I take exception to

    I don’t think any visual image should be considered illegal. It is acts that people commit that are criminal. Selling people a picture should never be criminal. If the picture shows an illegal act, then it is evidence. Selling a picture should never be a crime, because it is a picture.

    Buying a product encourages its production. I’ve no problem with art/porn/disgusting filth that only involves consenting adults or animals in production, but when you go beyond that to involving non-consenting adults and minors being victimized by illegal acts I support making the trade in those images illegal.

    A flat chested 18 year old woman portaying a 13 year old child nympho in a porn flick is OK. Filming, selling or purcasing a 13 year old being filmed being violated by others is not.

    1. At this point though, is the “market” in anyway driving the demand for the pictures of the 13 year old? I don’t think the people who do that sort of thing do it for the money. I totally agree with you that the people who make it ought to be hung. And if you catch someone purchasing it, hang them to. But I am not sure I can support making the mere possession of it a crime. That to me seems like a thought crime.

      1. I tend to agree with John – I really don’t think child porn is a problem of supply and demand. More like drugs – no matter how expensive, some will want, and no matter how cheap, some will eschew it.

        An interesting issue that is coming up is with anime. What happens as you can make computer generated images of amime characters, that are ostensbily children, more and more lifelike? Anime characters have a lot of sex, a good portion of which is rape.
        What happens when you have what looks like a real child, but isn’t?
        Just like yesterday’s post on GPS tracking, technology is going to complicate a lot of these issues. After all, is a drawing of child porn, porn?

        1. I don’t really want to Google it on my work computer, but several years ago there was a case in British Columbia where a guy was being prosecuted for drawing his own kiddie porn. IIRC, they eventually decided he could create it for his own consumption, but was prohibited from showing it to anyone else. All of the arguments against him amounted to thought policing.

          1. In the US Dagny, the SCOTUS ruled that virtual child porn cannot be criminalized.

            1. In Canada there was the predictable noise made about it “encouraging” child abuse, which is almost as disgusting as saying that all porn encourages rape. Co-opting actually heinous violence to go after your own pet peeves makes you a first class scumbag.

        2. I think Animee is going to end the whole child porn problem. If they haven’t already gotten it so realistic that you can’t tell, they will pretty soon. And once that happens, why would anyone ever want the real stuff? And I don’t see how you can criminalize a drawing as being exploitative of a child when there is no child to be exploited.

        3. Anime is in no way “involving non-consenting adults and minors being victimized by illegal acts”.

          I’m not exactly cool with it, but I can’t see outlawing it.

          1. Why are you all saying ‘anime’? Do you mean hentai?

            Pokemon cartoons are anime–and no one’s doing any rape–tentacle or otherwise.

            Additionally, the art of anime is stylized–it’s not very realistic.

            Maybe you mean CG?

            1. Because when you say “anime” people who don’t have weird obsessions with Japanese pop culture know what the fuck you are talking about, even if it is not the right term.

  11. I’m experiencing some of these first amendment rights violations myself. I wanted to hand out fliers to advertise my adult website at the train station in a nearby town. I went to the town hall first to get permission for handing out the fliers. When the clerk saw the name of my website, she said that the town would probably not allow it.

    Now, my website is “adult” in that it has frank discussions about sex, sexual health, and sexual freedoms. It does not have any obscenity. So, I told her to view the site before passing judgement. That was a few weeks ago.

    Yesterday, I went to the town hall again to ask them for their decision. The clerk said that the town layer ruled that they can’t stop me from handing out the fliers. However, they wanted to see the letter from NJ Transit before I started to show that I have permission from NJ Transit.

    I still hadn’t heard back from NJ Transit, so I called them today. NJ Transit said that they do not allow people to pass out commercial fliers on their property. If I register as a nonprofit, then I can hand out fliers at their train stations. Go figure.

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