Thursday, March 23, 2006

Are You Obscene?

Don't bother answering that question.

Because, according to the Supreme Court, if you have a blog or website that mentions anything sexual and any community, of any size, anywhere in the United States feels you're obscene, well then, you are. And you can be prosecuted. Under felony charges.

Do you understand what that means? It means your opinion doesn't matter. It means the majority of the American public's opinion DOES NOT MATTER.

It means even if 99.99 percent of the American population agrees you are NOT obscene, but ONE TOWN of, say, 300 people--maybe a town like this one (and by the way, are you STILL buying Domino's Pizza?), decides you are obscene, you, friend, are screwed. Not that you'll be allowed to use that descriptor without more charges being brought against you, of course.

I was reading about this last night and fuming. I was planning to publish a whole diatribe about this, but luckily for me, Steff over at the cunting linguist has already done it for me. Go read it.


Blogger Anastasia said...

Well I'm Australian so it doesn't really matter to me what the media (even within my own country) says, what politicians (around the world) say. All I know is that pornography is a booming industry, it always has been and the bulk of it is produced in the United States, so there are plenty of 'obscene' people out there, many of whom lead conservative public lives, complete with their pious persona, the Jimmy Swaggarts, Jim Bakker's and every other holy 'person' (until they're caught with their pants down).

Some things don't change, and sometimes I suspect that certain ideas are in place so that a taboo element always exists to provide that little naughty extra because the reality is if the sexuality that is seen in various mediums ran amok, then it would lose it's fantasy aspect, it would be slotted into the normality of everyday life and it wouldn't be as profitable without the taboo aspect.

3/23/2006 9:05 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Your post is timely for me. I'm screwed. According to a recent commenter (the first to express offense) on my site, I'm disgusting. OK, I'm actually quoting out of context. In actuality, my relationship with my husband is disgusting. I reckon I'm obscene as well. Better stay on this side of the pond and grow a thick skin.

3/23/2006 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Hiromi said...

You know what's really funny? Abortion protestors who threaten to kill doctors who provide this service enjoy the protection of free speech, but post a few nekkid pictures or descriptions of your sex life, and you're fucked.

Isn't this a great country?

3/23/2006 8:22 PM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Latest news I read was that Australian tourist promotional adverts shown in the United States recently gained controversy thanks to the Family Association groups, who basically complain about everything from abortion to homosexuality, and whatever else scares the crap out of them (that's supposed to lead to the downfall of civilization in their wee minds). The adverts feature the term 'Bloody hell', which is a colloquial expression, but this was deemed 'unsavoury'.

Imagine what the nation would be like if this assocation didn't exist?
Sex is a small piece in the picture.

3/24/2006 2:50 AM  
Anonymous Cherrie said...

Hiromi, what's really bizarre is that many of the same people who are virulently anti-abortion are also big supporters of gun rights. What do they want, more targets?

Anastasia, the "Bloody Hell" part of the ad campaign was picked up by the newspapers, who of course asked people who might be offended by it to comment in order to generate controversy. I've visited Australia and I get it, but most Americans don't have a clue concerning what your country is all about.

I dropped a comment on the main subject of this post over by the cunting linguist. Go take a look.

3/25/2006 12:15 AM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Cherrie, some Americans (particularly the one's in the political arena) think that whatever happens to them is the only thing that matters on this world, it's a type of egocentric mentality they have and this can be seen by political figures refashioning themselves into prophets a la 'God told me to' George.

3/25/2006 1:28 AM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Ana: I wonder how wide-reaching the law is. If you are writing from Australia, but your blog reaches Americans, could it be blocked? It certainly is the case now in China. Don't even get me started on Google's recent deal with the devil.

Otherwise, if shit got bad, we Americans could just host our blogs through servers in other countries.

I heard a political commentator saying the other week that he believes the government right-wingers in Washington, DC really don't want things like abortion and "obscenitiy" to be legislated, because they are convenient tools for building fear and consolidating their voter base. As long as they have pornographers, abortionists, and gay rights activists to fight, people will ignore all the evil things they're doing to destroy the environment, independent commerce, and the US's position and reputation in the world.

3/26/2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Aw, Ellie: Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck, is what I say.

People have the right to their opinions, and you can't prevent them from posting. But you also have the right to expunge their stupid opinions from your comments if you want. It's your blog, and they have no say on what gets published on it.

(Though, sometimes it's fun to leave their comments up just to watch your loyal readership flame the hell out of those motards.)

3/26/2006 5:40 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Hiromi: What was that quote from Harold and Maude? "Consistency really isn't a human trait," or something like that.

Yeah, this is one hell of an era we're currently living through. I keep expecting the Spanish Inquisition at any time. Which, come to think of it, disproves a long-held Monty Python theory.

Um, but more to the point--I remember hearing Euan McGregor talk about how they were allowed to put all kinds of violent and angry footage into Trainspotting, but had to clip out a few minutes of a sex scene to get "R"-rating approval. He thought that was the funniest thing in the world. Sure, show people getting pints smashed in their face in bar fights, but you know, don't show two people mutually enjoying some hot sex.

You gotta wonder...

3/26/2006 5:44 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Ana/Cherrie: That association is famous for printing up tons of letters and putting different names to them and sending them off. Often, when investigatged, they're all coming from the same place, so I hear. Yet, the gov't has used these as proof of public opinion. It's f'ed up.

And Cherrie: ha! at the "more targets" comment.

And Ana: Yep, Bush's and his toadie's collective myopia is screwing us left and right. The unfortunate thing about being in a country this geographically large is that unless you are priveledged enough to have the funds to travel, you don't have the sense of how you are actuallly a part of the world. I imagine it's a lot easier to conceive of when you're in France, and in only a few hours' drive or less, you're in any number of other countries.

3/26/2006 5:50 PM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Syl, for me it's difficult to follow American politics, they've been erratic ever since Bush got in and I try, and then something comes up and then I think 'sheesh!'

At the moment here, our parliament is thinking about legislating a form of 'clean feed' for ISP's to use. This more or less means that users have their Internet activities tracked, which I don't like because it's so easy to label someone a 'pervert'. It's like going backwards, all 'Hoover-like' (and, as it always is, the J Edgar Hoover's of this world are the shiftiest people with more skeletons than the average 'perv').

There are days I think that only when Bush finishes his term, will things change. Hopefully Condoleeza doesn't run for presidency, because then it may continue. Me, even though Bill pisses me off (and pissed me off with his assumption we'd all 'believe' fellatio wasn't a sex act), I'm hoping for Hilary to run because she was always the brains behind Bill.

For how long, America has been the trend setter for the world with innovations, but the second Bush administration is like a modern 'Dark Age' where personal freedoms are jeopardised. Not unless he goes, and his side-kicks go with him, will it change.

3/27/2006 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Cherrie said...

Ana--"Dark Ages" for sure! If some of the Bushies had their way, you'd need to apply for permits to have sex with your spouse (missionary position only, no foreplay allowed, granted only for purposes of procreation).

American politics runs in cycles, though, and I think the current one has just about run its course. Bush's popularity continues to sink to new lows, and there is a midterm election in November that is likely to take away Bush's ability to pass any legislation (not that he's been very successful with that since his reelection, fortunately).

That said, I must admit that the current federal administration is an embarrassment to me as an American and a subject I try to avoid as I travel around the world. Please don't judge the rest of us by them!

P.S.--I hope to return to Australia someday!

3/27/2006 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Cherrie said...

Syl, what can it be about sex in movies/TV that bothers people so much?

Children shouldn't see it? They shouldn't see violence either.

It offends religious people? Shouldn't they be offended by the violence too? (But then, try to reconcile the messages of the Old and New Testament.)

It encourages "promiscuous" behavior? Well, what does endless footage of fists, kicks, swords, guns, etc. encourage?

I have a Grand Unification theory on this. Society has an interest in keeping people productive. Sex (particularly recreational sex) keeps people from being productive in the traditional sense (they aren't making or selling stuff while they do it, prostitutes excluded). If people put aside their materialistic urges and concentrated on making love, we'd become a huge agglomeration of bonobo apes. Therefore, society frowns on sex and does everything it can to keep people's noses to the grindstone.

Well, enough for now. I need to go to work.

3/27/2006 8:36 AM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Ana and Cherrie: Couldn't agree with Ana's assessment of the Bush admin more. I'm fairly certain Condoleeza Rice could never win an election,though. She simply doesn't have the charisma or respect, and she's viewed as a bit of a toadie here. Not to mention women and minorities never do well votes-wise n certain parts of this country. I think Hilary Clinto is a smart woman, but I think she is a love-her or hate-her kind of person, and there are a *lot* of people out there in America who absolutely despise her--primarily because she's strong ans speaks her mind. I worry that if she is the one to win the Democratic primary, that we will lose again. I predict if Colin Powell runs, he would win over any Democratic candidate. But I don't know if he has any interest in that. Though I do think his resignation was well-timed, if he is thinking about putting his hat in the ring. So I am suspicious that he might.

An Cherrie: I don't think Bush is as disempowered as you're saying. I think there's a lot of grumblings, but nothing so strong as to overcome the constant flow of ambivalence in this country of late. The Democratic candidate would have to be a lightning rod of charisma and strenght and strong opinions to beat the Republicans, I fear. And I also fear they're not grooming anyone to be that person--and they should be thinking ahead and promoting that person now, if they were smart. We shall see.

3/28/2006 12:13 AM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Cherrie: Interesting theory. Industry does normally boom when a war's on...

3/28/2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Cherrie, a quickie from me, the only one's that do bother me (only because Bush has given them the green light) are the Christian extremists/family groups/right to life groups (the Schiavo case didn't have to be the media circus it was, and it probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for the 'green' light already given to these dinosaurs).

Mind you, at the core of it all, I think it's a minority of the American population that acts like it's straight out of Leave it to Beaver or wants to rewind back to that era, the remainder are bracing this time, riding it out and I think most days, many (outside the states) can be fooled into thinking that an entire populace thinks like the Bush administration, but that's not the case.

On the off topic, my ex partner and I were talking about these types of topics because of this current affair show we were watching that had a story about some Aussie 'battler' being ripped off/down and out etc, basically wallowing in it where I said, 'here in Australia there is the woe is me attitude whereas it's not like that in the U.S. (this can be see in film, novel themes over the years, not to mention Kennedy's speech before his death) and he interrupted me and said:

'In Australia it's the endless comment, 'But I don't like it this new method, how can this work and what if it doesn't work?' whereas in America it's, 'I'll find a way to make this work and if it doesn't work, I'll try another alternative.'

3/28/2006 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Cherrie said...

Ana, ponder this just-released poll of 1,502 Americans by the Pew Reseach Center:

Is it wrong for married people to have an affair? Yes--88%; No--3%; not a moral issue--7%.

Is sex between unmarried adults wrong? Yes--35%; No--22%; not a moral issue--37%.

Is homosexuality wrong? Yes--50%; No--12%; not a moral issue--33%.

Now, as a bisexual woman who regularly makes love to married people (with their consent, of course) and thinks that's perfectly all right, I appear to be off the left-hand boundary of the American spectrum. But there's another way to look at the results.

If you consider only responses from those with college degrees, the "it's OK" vote goes to:

Affairs: 74%
Homosexuality: 64%

So we appear to have a perception split based on education levels (and to a lesser extent age). Do I wait for the knowledgeable to become a majority? Or do I sell my house, grab my man and try to make it work by moving to Australia?

3/30/2006 12:20 AM  

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