Outrageous Shock Videos Prosecuted On Obscenity Charges
YouTube and many other user videowebsites have almost encouraged the public to send in videos that are are weird and wacky as the only way to get some attention. Sometimes the best way to get this attention or to make some lists of the most outrageous videos is to keep crossing some new line of bad taste. Some enterprising young men living in a Florida Condo on a student visa from Brazil decided that getting into the bad taste shock video business was a great way to supplement their income instead of taking a summer job. One man is now under arrest for importing and distributing shock videos from an outrageous distributor in Brazil, VomitBrazil, which apparently specializes in sick and wholly offensive fetish videos according to TV station WFTV 9 in Florida. According to this news source, these videos involve extremely tasteless fetish content such as vomiting. Some programs like Howard Stern or other "shock jocks" have popularized sick and tasteless stunts or persons willing to do extremely gross stunts for money. Apparently these videos cater to this crazy type of audience demand to watch person do gross things, while completely disgusting everyone else.
Why anyone would even be interested in such sick videos as entertainment seems to raise some mental health issues. Certainly the material is entirely disgusting and of only limited interest or appeal. Even most material thought of as adult in nature would not even welcome such awful content. Video distributors or rental stores, even those dealing with adult entertainment would not even welcome this material. The question is who would even think there's a market for such material or money to be made from it. These young men on student visas apparently drew a quick complaint from someone and a prosecution for attempting to market these goods in area with one of America's most conservative federal prosecutors.
Cuban American federal prosecutor, R. Alexander Acosta has set himself aside in America has perhaps the most radical of prosecutors of obscenity. He has faced big opposition from others in law enforcement for prosecuting bad taste "crimes", while very serious problems like organized crime, terrorism, money laundering, drugs or gangs flourish in the Miami area. Acosta is a favorite of Focus On The Family and other right wing organizations. But does the government have any legitimate role acting as the morality police for fringe bad taste entertainment or those who support this total lack of good sense to support such nonsense entertainment?
The Bill Of Rights has historically defended the right of all free speech since the days of the founding fathers, until 1840 when a Massachusetts book dealer was arrested without charge for offering for sale a copy of the racy European novel, FANNY HILL. It wasn't until a full year later that the dealer was finally facing a real criminal charge when the Massachusetts legislature finally wrote a law to justify his arrest. In 1973, a very narrow 5 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed local communities to decide what level of free speech is allowed in relationship to obscene speech. It then became a matter of individual taste of judges or local juries whether books , movies, comic books, record albums, standup comics, musical groups, etc. violated some local "community standard" for good taste and could then be fined or sent to prison. One Supreme Court justice that supported the 1973 local community standards decision was Willian Brennan. But Brennan admitted that he was wrong in later years and voted with a minority in later cases that bad taste speech was also constitutionally protected just as the Bill Of Rights text proved no intent that bad taste speech was not to have legal protections as protected speech. The added legal problem for a local violation of community standards is that a person then can face federal charges as well. Unlike other crimes such as murder or robbery based on a real concrete crime or victim, local obscenity laws deal with a subjective nature and a matter of opinion. It is an absurd standard to base law on, and local community standards also allow for a conservative community to act far more conservative than most of the country, or to bring down a website or business operating in another state where the content of their speech may be considered to be offensive, but constitutionally protected speech. Standards of what is acceptable also change as well. At one time mere four letter words or nudity could bring a prison sentence or fine, now the boys from Brazil had to introduce vomit to offend someone enough to bring charges and face five years in a federal prison.
It's too bad that some wish to express themselves in wholly offensive manners in entertainment. But at the same time the original intent of the Bill Of Rights seems to defend the right of such bad taste speech to exist. Conservative activist judges were never intended the right to remove portions of the Bill Of Rights that they don't agree with in order to inject their personal or some church doctrine morality into the secular law. There are few who would want to defend the vomit boys from Brazil. But there's an important legal point here buried beyond their total lack of good taste in what constitutes entertainment.