Bringing on Back Them Obscenity Charges

Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by Duck, May 11, 2007.

  1. Duck

    Duck quack. Lifetime Supporter

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    Karen Fletcher is a 53-year-old former Web-site operator from Donora. Her online writings, which were located at, contained dark, brutal portrayals of sexual violence against children, though she says the stories are fictional, and the site contains no images. She had exactly 29 subscribers.

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the creators of the extremely popular, award-winning television show South Park. Their cartoon children often go through off-color adventures, including at least five episodes that dealt with -- and even depicted-- pedophilia. It is broadcast weekly on Comedy Central to millions of homes.

    But what's the biggest difference between the two? Fletcher has been charged by U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan for allegedly violating federal anti-obscenity law -- the first obscenity prosecution since 1973 dealing strictly with the written word.

    "This case is not only important, it's dangerous," says Fletcher's attorney, Lawrence Walters, a nationally known First Amendment lawyer.

    "If this prosecution of a strictly fictional, written work is successful," he says, "it will have a chilling effect on authors all across this country. They're all going to wonder, 'Am I next on the hit list?'"

    Well, maybe not every author is going to wonder. Fletcher's writings have not yet been made part of any public record, and she closed the Web site shortly after her home was raided by federal officials last year. But by all accounts, the material is extreme -- not the sort of thing anyone is likely to confuse with a literary work like Nabokov's Lolita. One story Fletcher posted, for example, describes the rape of an infant.

    While the stories have not been made part of the public record, they have been described in filings both by Buchanan and Walters. In announcing the indictment last year, Buchanan called the stories "vile."

    In court filings, Fletcher describes herself as "socially reclusive" and says she was sexually abused as a child. Her writings, she says in an affidavit, became a form of therapy.

    "The one thing that I found helped me was to write stories," Fletcher writes in an affidavit. Fletcher's stories always contained a "monster," or abuser, and a victim, usually a child. "I may still be afraid of the monsters, but at least in the stories, they prey on someone else, not me."

    Fletcher said she kept her writings private until she discovered that users were posting their writings on an online bulletin board. She first posted her writings and said she found acceptance from people who read them. People who were "reclusive and damaged like me."

    Fletcher began her Web site as a way to control access to the materials and so others could share their own stories unedited. Also, Fletcher says she kept track of all user Internet addresses, and if anyone tried to submit stories that were nonfiction, she claims, she turned that information over to the FBI. There is no evidence to support this claim, however.

    Even the descriptions of Fletcher's writings in Walters' brief are disturbing. All of the stories depict the rape and torture of children. The following is Walters' description of a story entitled "4Men2"

    "The story depicts the tale of a husband and wife, apparently on vacation at a third-world, tropical destination. ... The author places the reader in the context of a small, rustic cabin set in a society where families will pawn their young children to visiting Westerners for sexual uses. The story brings the reader inside the head of these two individuals, whose objective is to sexually use and abuse their five-year-old female victim. Again, the author also allows the reader to experience the thoughts and pain from the victim's perspective."

    "Accordingly," Walters writes, "there is both literary and historical context and value present within this story."

    Most importantly, says Fletcher's attorney, there were never any pictures posted on the site, and no evidence that any actual children were harmed. Buchanan, they contend, is trying to prosecute a thought crime.

    "... All that exists is the pen, the hand and the mind of creator of imaginative, textual works."

    Walters also talks about other entertainment outlets that have dealt with pedophilia. He lists several written works, including A Clockwork Orange, The Night Listener and The Apprentice -- the latter a novel by Scooter Libby, the former aide to Vice President Cheney -- as examples of literature that have not led to indictments. A passage from Libby's book quoted in the brief includes:

    "At age of ten [sic] the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest. Groups of men paid to watch."

    Continues Walters: "Scooter Libby, of course, has never been indicted for the imagery contained within The Apprentice."

    Several pages of Walters' 81-page motion also deal with South Park. Several episodes are mentioned, including one where Eric Cartman, one of the main characters, joins the North American Man Boy Love Association. In another, Cartman plays a prank on a classmate by putting his penis in his mouth. Still another involves a 5-year-old character having a sexual relationship with his teacher; when she gets bail at the end of the episode, student and teacher run off together.

    there's more, so click the link if interested

    all I gotsta say is
    yay! for censorship [​IMG]
  2. cerridwen

    cerridwen in stitches

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    I suppose one can argue what is censorship, and what protects the public.

    If we eliminate all censorship, no matter how graphic the material, and no matter the audience, we'd be allowing young children to watch R-rated movies and pornographic material and graphic violence. Does this sort of thing need to be done? I wouldn't think so, and glad that it's not so.

    So we draw lines as to what is acceptable and what isn't. An author's graphic account of child rape and molestation, I don't think, is appropriate, although on the other hand, shows like South Park or Family Guy push boundries on their show's topics, and although the content is inappropriate at times, it at least has a rating and the audience understands that these sorts of shows are made to be satyrical.

    I don't think I'd put South Park on the same level as this author's work, but my personal opinion is that there should be some censorship on some things. People make their own choices in what they read and watch, and 'regular' people can desensitize themselves to certain things, and a person who's rational enough knows better than to repeat certain movie behaviours in daily life. The censorship on certain materials, though, is more so done to protect the audience that is either too young to understand what it is, or the audience that's not as rational as one would hope, and imitate the behaviour.
  3. Posthumous

    Posthumous Resident Smartass

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    I don't know how South Park gets away with it but I'm glad they do. That Nambla episode was classic. lol
  4. Duck

    Duck quack. Lifetime Supporter

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    you only need to censor what a child sees when you don't have a good parent explaining to them what they are seeing.
    the more we censor, and the lazier the parents are, the worse off the future is.
    kids always see the shit they are expected not to, always do the shit they are expected not to, and the world suffers because of it

    people aren't going to delve into drugs as deeply if it isn't seen as taboo
    parents are gonna know to look out for it, if they aren't in a 'my kid wouldn't do something so taboo' mindset

    censorship = bad
    information = good
  5. cerridwen

    cerridwen in stitches

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    Duck, I absolutely agree.

    Not every parent is doing their job parenting, one would hope they would, but it's not always the case. Therefore, censorship = not entirely bad. If parents aren't going to do the parenting, somebody has to.

    Also, though, as much as I agree that hiding children from everything is bad, and that kids shouldn't be completely sheltered, anyone would realize that a 5 year old or 10 year old doesn't have the mental capacity to understand the world the same way that someone who's 20 or 30 does. That's why things are fed to us in doses.

    Yes, eventually we'll have do deal with the problems of the world, but is it necessary or appropriate to bombard a child with it as young as possible? No. Just because a 12 year old girl has her period, doesn't mean she ought to go out and get pregnant simply because she's physically capable of doing so. Just because we give a 5 year old boy G. I. Joe's to play with, doesn't mean he's capable of understanding the brutality of war, therefore he should be thrown in one.

    I'm not for absolute censorship, but I do believe there's a time and a place for everything. And yes, in many instances, I think that people complain too much, and therefore block too much reality, so in those cases, censorship should be much more lax.

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