opinion

Now That's Obscene

Tom Hymes
The feds have indicted John Stagliano on obscenity charges, which is an act that takes a lot of chutzpah. The movies they chose to indict him on are pretty vanilla in my book, but I don't think the material is the point anymore. I think the material they choose to prosecute became beside the point years ago.

These troglodytes are on a mission from God, and they have shown over and over again that they are more than willing to employ exactly the same rules-don't-apply-to-us mentality and behavior they bring to bear on everything else they do on our behalf.

Talk about the Wild West: We are in a load of trouble when our own government has contempt for the law, the spirit of the law and law-abiding citizens who obey the law.

John Stagliano is a law-abiding citizen of this country. In trying to make him into one of their monsters, they have woefully missed the mark — and I hope they pay a heavy price.

Already, mainstream media outlets are publishing columns about this indictment, and the writers are incredulous. Some know John and like him, or have been to his show in Vegas and saw it for what it was — a legitimate creative work. So they're sitting there trying to square those facts with the news they are reading, and it doesn't square. It sounds wrong to them, feels wrong to them and they are writing about it. And more will write about it, too.

Now is the time for our voices to be heard, as well. The feds have to be faced down. Enough is enough. Everyone ought to be truly pissed off. No one can afford to spend the kind of money it will take to play this farce out in court. No one should have to spend that kind of money and time. It's our country!

One other thing: I moderate a lot of legal seminars and spend a lot of time talking to attorneys, because I like them and love the subject. But I am sick and tired of the apparently gleeful manner with which some attorneys seem to play the government's hand in this inane game by reiterating ad nauseam how dire the threats are to this industry. We know.

Now they will say, "I told you so." You Judas Iscariots! Do you not see how you are being used to play the devil's side? Is your self loathing so absolute that you would use the mantle of your profession in such invidious and insidious ways? Let me quote from the Bible: "Shut the fuck up, already." It's in there somewhere, maybe in code.

Lord knows, the weight of the federal government is very heavy if you're the one underneath — but that's precisely why we can't play games by trying to gain an advantage against a competitor when they are down, or by scoring rhetorical points when clarity, seriousness and guts are most needed.

Last year, Stagliano spoke on a panel at the XFANZ Erotic Film Festival, and I sat in the audience thinking how wonderful he was and how thoughtful and considerate he was of his role as an adult filmmaker, with a decided emphasis on filmmaker. His love for what he does was palpable. I'm not saying he is a great artist, but I am saying he is precisely the kind of man who should not be indicted on obscenity charges.

The government has lost it, and now is committing obscene acts in the name of its citizens.

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