ABILENE, Kan.—Ssshhh! It's a secret! This Thursday, anti-porn activist Phill Cosby, head of the American Family Association's Kansas/Missouri chapter, and his wife, Kathy, a former police detective, intend to file with Dickinson County a petition containing 400 signatures calling for the empaneling of a grand jury to "remove an area business they believe is obscene." One thing, though: Cosby apparently failed to name the business to Tiffany Roney, the Abilene Record-Chronicle reporter who posted the story of this impending momentous event.
It's possible, of course, that either Cosby or Roney expected readers to remember the name—especially since Cosby got 29 misdemeanor indictments against the same business, Lion's Den Adult Superstore, 10 years ago, charging that "the business was obscene according to community standards." However, "charges were never followed through" at that time. Reason? Cosby and his buddies had added information to the petitions that empaneled the grand jury that indicted the store, leading a judge to rule that the petitions were improperly filed.
But Cosby is nothing if not persistent. In arguing for new indictments, he told Roney, "St. [sic] Francisco will have a different community standard than a Mennonite community. The courts recognize that, thus allowing every community to examine their own standard. And that will be the question."
Uh... no, not really. Y'see, according to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Miller v. California, from which we get the infamous Miller test, in order for a book, magazine, movie, DVD, et cetera to be obscene, 1) The average person, applying "contemporary community standards", would have to find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; 2) The work must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law; and 3) The work, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
Note the key word "work." Although a business could be indicted for trafficking in obscene material, and indeed, the earlier indictments charged Lion's Den with "promoting obscenity" through its sale of sex toys, a business itself can't be "obscene." Of course, the use of the term "obscenity" might just be poor reporting on Roney's part, but after all, why would anyone expect ignorant yahoos like the Cosbys to understand the difference between a creative literary/cinematic endeavor and a brick-and-mortar retail outlet?
But the Cosbys haven't confined their ignorance to the United States. They even went overseas, in the company of anti-porn Rabbi Shmuley Boteach—remember him? He "debated" Larry Flynt at the Wilshire Theater back in 2000—to the University of Dublin in 2008 to confront "a porn star and porn producer" about the evils of porn, poor-quality videos of which can apparently be found online here. And of course, the Cosbys "won" the debate.
Kathy claims to have begun the debate by claiming that, "98 percent of the women that come out of the porn industry say that they were sexually abused before the age of 12," then asking the unnamed (male) porn star whether he was similarly abused at that young age. Of course, when he said no "in a higher, quieter voice" after first pausing for a few seconds, Mrs. C offered, "Well, I’m a retired detective, so I can tell by the way you said that that you’re probably lying," then later asking, "Since you 'haven't' been sexually abused before the age of 12, do any of the women that you work with, film with, say that they were?"
His (alleged) reply? "Oh yeah, all the time. All of them. And there’s this one that has to get so high before we film because of the hurt." Funny thing, though: At a seminar at the 2014 Adult Entertainment Expo, one of the panelists asked the performers in the audience if they had been abused as children. No hands went up—a far cry from "All of them." And of course, Mrs. Cosby is sure that "the reason these women used drugs to drown their pain was because of arrested development."
"When she was first sexually abused—emotionally, there's a part of her that is still that age, so when you do some of those same activities—let's say she was 8 when she was first sexually abused, and let's say that you were 11 years old when you were sexually abused," she pseudo-psychoanalyzed. "Emotionally, she's still 8 and emotionally you're 11 years old. So it's not really two consenting adults that are having sex. It's an 8 and an 11-year-old. So he [the producer] can make a lot of money."
Wow! It's so simple! Why didn't anyone think of that before? And the rejoinder to that incredible line of bullshit? "The porn star replied, 'Man, I never thought of it like that.'"
Guess that was one stupid porn star!
There's more, of course, like Mrs. Cosby's experiences hosting a "john school" for prostitutes' patrons, but the point is, adult businesses in Kansas and Missouri will continue to be harassed by ignoramuses like the Cosbys until some court finally sets them straight that adult businesses are legal in the U.S., as are the products they sell. But sadly, being Kansas and Missouri, that lesson won't be coming anytime soon.