The United States of America is supposed to be the land of the free, where individuals with different tastes and desires can exist in peace, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others, and do all that they agree to do. To me, that is a beautiful thing. It is beautiful to live in a country where individuals can be who they are (so long as they do not infringe on others rights or hurt others). While many groups may not agree with each other, for example, many groups find homosexuals and/or pornographic films depicting homosexual acts distasteful and/or obscene, they are entitled to their opinions, and homosexuals are entitled to engage in homosexual acts, to watch pornography depicting homosexual acts, and to have their own opinions about groups who view them with distaste, even if their opinion is a minority opinion. To me this is a beautiful thing. That is what America is about, freedom for both the minority and the majority to enjoy their own lives to the fullest and do what they want to do no matter what other people think (so long as they are not taking away another person’s rights). This is what makes us a free country, and this is what hundreds of thousands of men have fought, sacrificed, and died to protect.
What boggles my mind given the importance of individualism and protecting minorities in our free country is the recent indictment of Paul F. Little, 50, also known as Max Hardcore, by the United States Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section with five counts of transporting obscene matter by use of an interactive computer service and five counts of mailing obscene matter in relation to 5 of Little’s films, and Little’s subsequent conviction. The ruling was made by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bucklew for the Middle District of Florida on October 3, 2008, which sentenced Little to four years in prison on multiple obscenity charges, and ordered Little to three years of supervised release following his release from prison, to pay a $7,500 fine, to forfeit the obscene films charged in the indictment as well as all gross profits from the distribution of the films and the Internet domain names Little used as part of his business. His company, Max World Entertainment Inc., was also fined $75,000 and ordered to serve five years of probation.
Little’s films involve fisting, urination, vomiting, acts of humiliation, degradation, and portrayal of actors dressed in a way that could imply they are under the age of 18 (although this is kind of ridiculous as children don’t dress scantily clad the way pornography actors do, with skirts 2 inches in length), although all the actors are consenting adults who willfully agreed to engage in the scenes, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition that adults can portray children in films and books.
Max Hardcore’s films are indeed distasteful, but then again many people find BDSM pornography distasteful (which involves many of the acts that Little was accused of), homosexual pornography distasteful, interracial pornography distasteful, or any type of pornography whatsoever distasteful. There are people who view any portrayal of women who are not covered from head to toe in veil as highly distasteful. In fact, many people find movies like SAW- which depict the abduction, brutal torture and murder of dozens of people to be quite distasteful. But we do not indict the makers of the film SAW under obscenity charges, nor do we indict companies that produce homosexual pornography. We respect these various opinions of what is and is not tasteful, but we do not act on them and infringe on other people’s rights to live the lives they want to live, to watch what they want to watch and enjoy what they want to enjoy.
Glenn Greenwald, writer for Salon, says that he believes the verdict is a major blow to our first amendment rights, and in the below paragraph he paints a fairly good picture of the hypocrisy of our government:
“So, to recap, in the Land of the Free: if you’re an adult who produces a film using other consenting adults, for the entertainment of still other consenting adults, which merely depicts fictional acts of humiliation and degradation, the DOJ will prosecute you and send you to prison for years. The claim that no real pain was inflicted will be rejected; mere humiliation is enough to make you a criminal. But if government officials actually subject helpless detainees in their custody to extreme mental abuse, degradation, humiliation and even mock executions long considered “torture” in the entire civilized world, the DOJ will argue that they have acted with perfect legality and, just to be sure, Congress will hand them retroactive immunity for their conduct. That’s how we prioritize criminality and arrange our value system.”