when will ashcroft's moral juggernaut stop?
A few days ago I wrote about Texas v. Castillo (here), the case of an adult who sold an adult comic to another adult, yet was arrested, tried and convicted for obscenity.
ComicCon Pulse had a bit on the case yesterday (Pros respond to the Jesus Castillo case) and several comic industry people, as well as commenters, went off on Bush, Ashcroft and the police state of a puritanical America.
I was going to say, hey, wait a minute here, how did you get from some prudish D.A. on a creepy mission to Ashcroft's America?
Before I could start writing that piece, I came across this story:
Federal prosecutors said today they have charged a North Hollywood wholesaler of adult films with violating federal obscenity laws as the government steps up a campaign against the major distributors of adult entertainment.
The U.S. Justice Department said that its 10-count indictment against Extreme Associates and the husband-and-wife team that owns it is part of a renewed enforcement of federal obscenity laws after more than a decade in which they were rarely imposed. Several more prosecutions of "major purveyors and producers of adult obscenity" are expected in the coming months, the government said in a statement.
Said Ashcroft: "Today's indictment marks an important step in the Department of Justice's strategy for attacking the proliferation of adult obscenity. The Justice Department will continue to focus our efforts on targeted obscenity prosecutions that will deter others from producing and distributing obscene material."
Adult obscenity, otherwise known as pornography.
Since when is it the business of the feds to regulate what adults should or should not be watching, reading or listening to? The porn in question does not involve minors, either on the buying or participating ends.
Who made Ashcroft the evil overlord of morals and purity? And where does the raised fist of "justice" stop? Comic books, adult sex, what's next? Will they come to my house, rip the cable out of my wall and declare Cinemax and The Anime Channel off limits to my adult eyes and ear?
One of the films distributed by the charged company, Extreme Associates, is Forced Entry - Directors Cut, "which depicts the rapes and murders of several women."
Movies like that are a dime a dozen in any Blockbust horror or action section. Anyone remember I Spit on Your Grave? That film would probably give Ashcroft a coronary.
But cracking down on porn and obscene material sounds much better to the voting right than cracking down on horror movies does.
I thought the Castillo case was an anomoly. I was hoping, at least, that while it set a precedent the precedent would never needed to be followed up on, because not too many D.A.s are on a misson to cleanse their community of what they perceive to be filth (though the D.A. in my own county frightens me in that respect).
Once people realize that Ashcroft is more than willing to wipe adult films from the shelves, there will more than a few zealous prosecutors willing to go that extra mile to find something smutty around town to build a court case around so they can rise through the ranks of the moral majority and declare a victory over an adult's right to choose their own entertainment.
Whether or not the owners of Extreme Productions did not follow the laws is not what's so troubling here; the fact that while we are in the midst of a war on terror and war in Iraq, and new threats are being issued every day and every city is crying that they are woefully underprepared for a terrorist attack, this is where our money is going. To stop adults from entertaining each other, to prosecute comic store clerks who are just doing their job.
Beware, comic book and video stores. You never know if that person walking through your door is someone taking the gospel of Ashcroft to heart.