About fifty years ago, the governor of Indiana received a letter complaining about obscenity in the lyrics of a rock'n'roll song, and passed that letter on to the FBI. For the following two years, FBI agents examined potential lyrics of the song (which were incomprehensible on the recording, partly due to the singer's braces) to find grounds for an obscenity prosecution. They ultimately failed, but produced a 140-page report, listing numerous possible obscene readings of what the lyrics could be, and in doing so, turned Louie Louie by The Kingsmen from a footnote into a bona fide rock'n'roll rebel anthem
. [more inside]
posted by acb
on Jan 23, 2014 -
George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words"
routine debuted in 1972 and led to a landmark obscenity case
at the Supreme Court. What many people don't know is that ten years later, he decided to expand
the list (written list here
). There was even a viewer-contributed list on his website that was 2,443 words long. Sadly, this list has evaporated on the site, but the Wayback Machine provides an alternate
(which is helpfully categorized). Finally, Stephen Colbert and Hugh Laurie recently kept the recitation-of-dirty-words tradition alive by reading some verboten language
that the four networks are currently lobbying the FCC permission to use. (NSFW, natch)
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI
on Nov 2, 2013 -
In the 2012 superbowl half-time show, rapper M.I.A. flipped off the camera while performing with Madonna. On September 19, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the NFL has been waging a "secret legal war"
over the incident, demanding $1.5 million and an apology from M.I.A. This week M.I.A. responded with a video statement
(transcript at Pitchfork)
So, now, they’re scapegoating me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive, or is the underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? That’s basically what it comes down to. It's a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking. They want me on my knees and say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist. Basically, so they can say it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That is what it boils down to, and I’m being sued for it. [more inside]
posted by medusa
on Sep 28, 2013 -
In September 1969, Simon & Schuster was preparing to publish Irving Wallace's The Seven Minutes
, a novel about the obscenity trial of a fictitious book of the same name by the fictitious author J.J. Jadway. Maurice Girodias, head of the erotica and avant garde literature publishing house the Olympia Press had a clever idea: what if I publish Jadway's book? [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Apr 22, 2009 -
Too Hot To Hear
. Fifty years ago today, a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruled that Allen Ginsberg's Beat-era poem "Howl" was not obscene. Yet today, a New York public broadcasting station decided not to air the poem, fearing that the Federal Communications Commission will find it indecent and crush the network with crippling fines.
More on Allen Ginsberg here
posted by amyms
on Oct 5, 2007 -
"I find it kind of funny to be hassled for using [them] when my intention is to free us from hassling people for using them."
Thirty five years later, George Carlin's seven dirty words
still aren't forgotten by his arresting officer
. "I couldn't believe my ears,"
Elmer Lenz remembers. "I couldn't see why nobody was doing anything about it."
posted by miss lynnster
on Jul 5, 2007 -
against MF Husain
have been stayed
in India's Supreme Court. A painting
by the celebrated Muslim artist, apparently depicting Mother India as a nude, led Hindus to bring an obscenity case and proceedings to seize his Mumbai property were initiated. However his lawyers moved swiftly to frustrate
the action, transferring the property into his son's name and then seeking the High Court ruling. Hindus have taken offense
at previous paintings
by Husain, depicting Hindu deities in allegedly obscene ways. Others disagree.
posted by Phanx
on May 8, 2007 -
The End of Porn?
The Ashcroft/Gonzales Justice Department has made obscenity prosecutions a top priority
, with 60 prosecutions in the first four years of the Bush administration (compared to four for the entire eight years of the Clinton administration). Anti-porn advocates were dismayed in January when a federal judge in Pittsburgh, citing dicta on sexual liberty in the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas
an indictment in a closely-watched case. Today, however, the Third Circuit reversed,
rejecting the defendant's arguments that (1) Lawrence
protected their liberty interest in distributing pornographic material, and (2) earlier Supreme Court obscenity precedent should be revisited in light of the increased prevalence of Internet transmission. The result, undoubtedly, will be a new wave of prosecutions not seen since the Supreme Court set limits on First-Amendment based protections in the 1970s.
posted by Saucy Intruder
on Dec 8, 2005 -
Remember our good pal from NowThatsFuckedUp.com,
the one who was trading war photos from soldiers for access to his amateur porn site? Well, looks like he's traded the whole shebang for a stint in the Polk County Jail
for some 300+ counts of obscenity charges. Held on $151,000 bail, he (or his hood friends outside da joint) have set up a new site - http://www.freechris.org
- with significantly less homegrown pr0n
and corpse shots
, and significantly more whining for donations to dude's legal defense fund, starting at $2.
Personally, and in pure technical terminology, I find the whole thing to be really "icky," yet, maybe it's a good thing that people can see the reality of war SOMEWHERE, since the fine folks
of the fourth estate
don't seem too interested in the word "reality", unless it's followed by the word "television."
Either way, there are free speech issues at play here as well it seems. As Voltaire
so wiselely stated: "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to be a douchebag.
posted by stenseng
on Oct 19, 2005 -
Last week, a woman was forced off a Southwest Airlines flight for wearing a t-shirt.
The shirt in question bore the phrase "Meet the F*ckers" and an image of US President Bush, VP Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. The passenger, Lorrie Heasley, refused to remove it after other passengers complained. Apparently "Southwest rules filed with the FAA say they can remove a passenger that is offensive, abusive, disorderly or violent or for clothing that is "lewd, obscene, or patently offensive," but the airline says the curse (not the political message) led to her being asked to leave. Ms. Heasley is now speaking with the ACLU to see if she can initiate a lawsuit, but the NYTimes checked with experts in constitutional law and they don't think she has a case.
Well, the makers of the t-shirt have responded: "If any T-Shirt Hell customer is kicked off of any commercial airline flight simply for wearing one of our shirts, we will provide you with alternate transportation to get you to your original destination. This transportation includes, but is not limited to, the T-Shirt Hell corporate jet."
posted by zarq
on Oct 11, 2005 -
Anti-Porn Law Is Unconstitutional
A federal court in U.S. v. Extreme Associates
has struck down the federal anti-obscenity law. In this case, the government argued that "entertaining lewd and lustful thoughts stimulated by viewing material that appeals to one's purient interests . . . . is immoral conduct even when done by consenting adults in private." The court, however, wanted no part of this moralizing, as it declared "upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest."
posted by expriest
on Jan 23, 2005 -
"Hubert Selby died often. But he always came back, smiling that beautiful smile of his, and those blue eyes of his... This time he will not be back. My saints have always come from hell, and now, with his passing, there are no more saints".
is the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn
, (tried for obscenity in England
and supported by, among many others, Samuel Beckett and Anthony Burgess), Requiem For a Dream
, Song of the Silent Snow
. He is being eulogized in the USA and UK
, but also, massively (I've just watched a fantastic TV special) in France, where he is much more popular than in his native land (Selby's death was the cover story -- plus pages 2, 3 and 4 -- in the daily Libération today -- .pdf file
): Dernière sortie vers la rédemption
, L'extase de la dévastation
. What makes all this kind of ironic -- in a very Selbyesque way -- is that Selby himself used to say, "I started to die 36 hours before I was born..." (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Apr 28, 2004 -
Drawn in the style of a pre-school children's cartoon.
But from the sick & twisted minds of the guys from Southpark.
Princess, A lap dog who observes the very adult world around her. The sexual content was so extreme shockwave.com halted development of the "webisodes" only after seeing the first 2 of 39 episodes that were contracted.
Now you can watch
these shorts & judge for yourself. Thanks to the folks at Trio.
(username/password required... mefi/mefi)
posted by Dreamghost
on Mar 18, 2004 -
Perversion for Profit linking pornography to the Communism
Citizens for Decent Literature: Sex Bad, violence Good!
I just thought this would be cool to revisit in light of the Mel Gibson, Orson Scott Card Debates.
Intersting what They shppw as to show you what YOU
should not be looking at.
Maybe (NSFW, maybe just NSF-Sanity)
posted by Elim
on Feb 26, 2004 -
You're probably feeling safer today than you were a few days ago, and you know why? It's Protection from Porn week
, direct from the White House. Spurred on from groups such as Morality in Media
(who issued a jubilant press release
to mark their achievement) you can finally feel safe now that you've gotten out from under pornography's thumb. (note: These links couldn't be any safer for work)
posted by mathowie
on Oct 30, 2003 -
Supreme Court Denies Castillo Appeal.
Castillo was charged with two counts of obscenity for selling adult comic books to adults. The State prosecutor did not offer contradictory testimony, but secured a guilty verdict with a closing argument stating,
“I don’t care what type of evidence or what type of testimony is out there, use your rationality, use your common sense. Comic books, traditionally what we think of, are for kids. This is in a store directly across from an elementary school and it is put in a medium, in a forum, to directly appeal to kids. That is why we are here, ladies and gentlemen. … We’re here to get this off the shelf.” Castillo was found guilty and sentenced to 180 days in jail, a year probation, and a $4,000 fine.
posted by jopreacher
on Aug 11, 2003 -
Fighting the CDA
: The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is working with one of nations most interesting erotic photographers
to overturn the portion of the CDA that ties all internet obscenity to the most restrictive definition of the most restrictive community in the nation.
posted by soulhuntre
on Dec 11, 2001 -
Banned books are nothing new, but this is just ridiculous
"Those modern classics and seven other books have come under routine fire for profane language, unpleasant racial themes and references to homosexuality."
, why is it an issue. [see no evil]
posted by hotdoughnutsnow
on Aug 29, 2001 -
"Several months ago I wrote a letter to WisDOT requesting your agency consider recalling the vanity license plate IH8GOP that I noticed on a vehicle in the Columbus area.
My reason for requesting the recall of this plate is that the message is obscene to those of us who are members of the Republican Party (GOP) and who subscribe to the conservative principles of the party.
I never received a response to my letter..."
Political correctness, Hate Speech, Free Speech and the problem of vanity plates at Wisconsin's Department of Transportation.
posted by lagado
on Jul 1, 2001 -
Feds post indecent material.
In a move sure to be challenged, the FCC released a report which offfers examples of what they consider to be indecent, and not indecent.
In typical government style, anything that is referred to "sexual" is deemed indecent. But use of the word such as "motherF****r" isn't. This just makes things even more confusing... at least to me.
: "Well, it was a nice big fart. I'm feeling very gaseous at this point."
: "The hell I did, I drove motherF****r, oh. Oh."
: "Sit on my face and tell me that you love me. I'll sit on your face and tell you I love you too." - Montey Python
posted by da5id
on Apr 7, 2001 -
Canadian hate crime laws
are trying to be applied to filmmakers. Sure they made fake
snuff films and there are no victims. So far they have them on an obscenity charge and I thought we had free speech problems.
posted by skallas
on Oct 16, 2000 -