It's amazing what happens in Florida. Tom, here's a few examples of recent obscenity convictions that predate Max Hardcore's sentencing:
In 2005, Karen Fletcher, operator of a website called Red Rose Stories found no choice other than to plead guilty to six counts of online distribution of obscenity, which carries a minimum term of 3 years in the slammer. Interestingly enough, her website was TEXT-BASED! Red Rose featured creative fiction of an erotic nature submitted by the sites users!
That same month in 05, the webmaster of nowthatsfuckedup.com was arrested on obscenity charges. Though I have not thoroughly researched this incident, some have claimed that the charges were filed after the site gained national attention for allowing soldiers to upload photos of war dead. I am unaware of the outcome or current standing of that case, but the domain name no longer exists.
Perhaps the most unsettling obscenity ruling in the nation's history also came out of Florida, but unlike the Max Hardcore case, this involved a comic book wherein no actual humans could be said to have been exploited at all! The troubling case of Mike Diana received surprisingly little fanfare, considering its precedent-setting decision. You see, Diana is the first U.S. artist to receive an obscenity conviction.
Diana's underground comic book, called Boiled Angel, came to the attention of Florida Assistant State Attorney Stuart Baggish in 1991, two years after issues of the book were seized by authorities investigating the case of the Gainesville Ripper.
Boiled Angel depicted graphic sex acts, violence and general depravity, but was certainly not without an inarguable redeeming social value. In fact, I found the overall effect of Boiled Angel quite powerful in its semi-satirical approach to pressing issues of child abuse in suburbia, religious hypocrisy, and the seemingly inherent flaws in our justice system.
Well, that same justice system Diana lampooned sent an undercover officer disguised as an artist to buy issues of Boiled Angel from Diana, after which Baggish charged the artist with three counts of obscenity.
Found guilty on all three counts, thus assuring himself and his zine with a sad place in U.S. and art history, Diana faced an unusual sentence that should send shock-waves through the mind of any freedom-loving American. Though he spent four days in jail (one might say, in light of the Hardcore case, that Diana got off easy), he found himself slapped with a $3,000 fine, three years probation, and random searches of his apartment to make sure that he would not violate a particularly unusual mandate of his sentence. The court ordered that Mike Diana legally be barred from drawing in the state of Florida. That is truly terrifying.
Look it up. It's all true. This artist should serve as a battle cry to all who cherish any of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
There are more cases, but I... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]