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AVN Editorial: Your Choice: Stand Together ... Or Fall Apart

If Max Hardcore's conviction stands, who's next?


"The heavy farce and sad futility of trying a creative work in a court of law appalled me. Was there ever a judge qualified to judge even the simplest psychic outburst? How then a work of Art? ... The society for which Mr. Sumner is agent, I am told, was founded to protect the public from corruption. When asked what public? its defenders spring to the rock on which America was founded: the cream-puff of sentimentality, and answer chivalrously: 'Our young girls!' So the mind of the young girl rules this country? ... If there is anything really to be feared it is the mind of a young girl." - Jane Heap, 1920

 

Gosh, we've sure come a long way, haven't we? No more need to worry about "young girls" being corrupted by that filthy pornography churned out by ... James Joyce?

'Cause that's what the above quote is all about. See, Jane Heap was the co-publisher of a Greenwich Village-based literary magazine called The Little Review, which in the Spring of 1918 began serializing Joyce's masterwork Ulysses ... and by the Summer of 1920, they'd gotten up to the "Nausicaa" chapter, which contains rambling sentences like, "She leaned back far to look up where the fireworks were and she caught her knee in her hands so as not to fall back looking up and there was no one to see only him and her when she revealed all her graceful beautifully shaped legs like that, supply soft and delicately rounded, and she seemed to hear the panting of his heart his hoarse breathing, because she knew about the passion of men like that, hotblooded, because Bertha Supple told her once in secret about the gentleman lodger that was staying with them out of the record office that had pictures cut out of papers of those skirtdancers and she said he used to do something not very nice that you could imagine sometimes in the bed."

But in those days, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice didn't want young girls (or boys) imagining in their beds what gentlemen lodgers were doing with pictures of skirtdancers - think "Folies Bergère" - and so its secretary, John Sumner, had The Little Review busted for obscenity ... and that was the last the American (or British) public saw of Ulysses for ten years, except for smuggled-in copies of an edition published in Paris.

But lordy, we have come such a long way from those days, haven't we? After all, the "young girls" can now go into any bookstore in the country and buy a copy of Ulysses, no questions asked!

Except ... "As more and more young people are exposed to pornography at younger ages, we will continue to see a tidal wave of sexual brokenness crashing across our culture... Pornography has destroyed the lives of many individuals - including countless children... Children who are exposed to pornography tend to exhibit sexually deviant attitudes and behavior, including sexual violence and crime," say Focus on the Family "Issue Analysts."

And how far is it from, "[T]he victims of 'adult' obscenity include ... children and teens who are sexually assaulted by other children and teens who act out what they see in hardcore pornography... The Internet in particular is awash with hardcore pornographic materials that are available to minors without cost or proof of age; and surveys indicate that large numbers of children have been inadvertently exposed to these materials or have sought them out." (Robert Peters, Morality In Media) to:

"COUNT SEVEN: On or about January 21, 2008, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendants JOHN STAGLIANO, JOHN STAGLIANO, INC., and EVIL ANGEL PRODUCTIONS, INC., aided and abetted by each other, knowingly used an interactive computer service to display an obscene image, that is, a motion-picture trailer identified as 'FETISH FANATIC CHAPTER 5,' in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age in violation of Title 47, United States Code, Sections 223(d) and 2(a)."

Make no mistake: There are no scientific studies that indicate that children are harmed in any way by seeing depictions of adults having sex ... so where the fuck does the government get off hauling anyone into court by claiming that a kid might go online and possibly be able to see the trailer to an adult movie, with the clear implication that seeing that trailer would cause that kid harm? Whatever happened to the concept that's been part of the Common Law for centuries: "No harm, no foul"?

And if that weren't bad enough:

"The ill-informed argue that they have a First Amendment right to view pornography, but nothing could be further from the truth," claims Janice Shaw Crouse, President of Concerned Women for America (CWfA). "Our free speech rights do not extend to pornography, which, if allowed, would give one person the 'right' to abuse and debase another person."

And, "Imagine your sexuality is so damaged you crave images of babies being raped. Keep on celebrating porn and indulging in what the Internet has to offer and you may soon find yourself in that situation," claims CWfA's Brenda Zurita.

And so ...

"After seeing only portions of one DVD, the Court confronted defense counsel on the record and inquired why the defense was insisting on having the jury view the material as a whole? When counsel expressed that their decision was a matter of trial strategy not within the province of the court or the government to know, the Court commented that nothing in the material it had viewed thus far was of educational, artistic, scientific, literary, or political value. This comment reflects that the Court prejudged the evidence and determined, prior to the government having even rested its case in chief, that at least the third prong of the Miller standard for obscenity had been satisfied. Indeed, the Court had not even seen four of the five charged DVDs to determine whether they individually possessed or lacked value." - excerpt from Appellant Little's Motion for Release Pending Appeal

You probably know Paul Little better as "Max Hardcore" - but however you know him, know that he got such an incredibly raw deal in that Tampa courtroom last June - even beyond the judge's obvious prejudice against him - that the Statute of Justice should be blushing.

There is little doubt that Little will win his case. Little was charged with two basic offenses: Sending ("transporting") five obscene movies to Florida, and posting obscene trailers of those same movies on his website. Testimony from Little's distributor made clear that Little never sent the movies; that was done by the distributor, against Little's specific orders - but the distributor was immunized because he wasn't the guy the government wanted in prison; Paul Little was. So Little should have his conviction overturned on those charges.

But in the process of "proving the crime," all five movies - about eight hours' worth - were played in the courtroom, which wouldn't have happened if the government hadn't brought the bogus transportation charges against Little in the first place.

Why is that important? Well, the "obscene" trailers Little was accused of posting amounted to eight-and-a-half minutes' worth of footage, highly edited, with no one image lasting more than a few seconds. It's doubtful that an impartial jury - and there's good reason to believe nine members of this jury weren't - would have convicted him on that footage alone. But that same jury had also seen the eight hours of footage from which those trailers were taken, all of it typical Max Hardcore fare, so the likelihood is that Little was convicted of having posted "obscene" trailers not because of the trailers themselves, but because of the movies from which those trailers had been excerpted. It's silly to think an impartial jury, having seen the full movies, would (or could) have judged the trailers without thinking of what was in the movies they came from - and that's just not right, it's not just, and it offends the conscience.

So at the very least, Little should receive new trials - one for the transportation, one for the trailers - on the charges, though if the U.S. judicial system weren't still operating on the "young girl" model, the charges would be thrown out entirely. As it stands, he's appealing his convictions to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - but the judge wants him to begin serving his 46-month sentence even before that appeal is heard!

Little needs money for his perfectly legitimate and winnable appeal, and he needs it now. Send it to H. Louis Sirkin, 105 W. Fourth St., Suite 920, Cincinnati, OH 45202-2776, because ...

 

"Girls lean back everywhere, showing lace and silk stockings; wear low-cut sleeveless blouses, breathless bathing suits; men think thoughts and have emotions about these things everywhere - seldom as delicately and imaginatively as Mr. Bloom - and no one is corrupted." - Jane Heap, testifying at her obscenity trial, 1920







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