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The John Stagliano Prosecution

John Stossel writes on :

On my FBN show this week (re-airs Saturday at 7pm & 11pm EST), I talk about the First Amendment. Although it states that Congress shall “pass no law abridging” the “freedom of speech,” a 1973 Supreme Court case ruled that speech can be prohibited if it is found to be “obscene.” But what is obscene?

According to that Supreme Court decision, it is speech that:

1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, appeals to the prurient interest; and…

2. The work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the state law; and…

3. The work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

What the heck are “community standards”? Essentially it’s up to the whims of local juries or judges. This means the Constitution can mean one thing in Des Moines and another in Los Angeles.

“Community standards” once deemed D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be obscene. The book was banned for nearly 30 years because it contained (gasp!) four-letter words and sex scenes. In 1959, a court case overturned it. Now the book is considered a literary classic. What was once so horribly obscene…now seems fairly blasé.

Today, pornographer John Stagliano faces a maximum of 32 years in jail and $7 million in fines for making kinky fetish films the Feds call “obscene,” like Milk Nymphos and Fetish Fanatics. I talk with him about this on my show.

What’s obscene about consenting adults buying videos of consenting adults performing explicit sex acts? Even if the videos are “obscene,” as long as no one is directly harmed, who cares? This is an obscene prosecution.


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