Saturday, June 21, 2014

Obscenity on Trial Part IV

This is Part IV in a series on One, Inc. v. Olesen, which dealt with obscenity laws.

Click here for Part I, Part IIPart III, Part V

In this section I will review the 9th Circuit decision  One, Inc. v. Olesen, 241 F.2d 772 (9th Cir. 1957).
The trial court in Paragraph 6 of its Findings of Fact, referred to by plaintiff in its specifications of error, made the following findings: 
1. The story "Sappho Remembered" appearing on pages 12 through 15, is obscene because lustfully stimulating to the homosexual reader. 
Yes, who couldn't help but notice the cum stains on the decision from the judge ferociously fapping to Sappho Remembered.
2. The poem "Lord Samuel and Lord Montagu", appearing on pages 18 and 19, is obscene because of the filthy language used in it
Actually, no, that's not what the judge found. The judge found the poem as a whole to be "filthy and obscene."  He did not mention the language, in which it was not at all filthy.
3. The advertisement for the Swiss publication "The Circle" appearing at the top of page 29, is non-mailable matter because it gives information for the obtaining of obscene matter.
Briefly stated, the specifications of error made by plaintiff, raise but one question, namely: Whether or not the October 1954 issue of "One" is non-mailable matter under the provisions of Sec. 1461, Title 18 U.S.C.A.***
As we view this case we are only concerned with the proper application of a postal regulation, a prosaic and every day matter of the administration of the post office department. Section 1461 amounts to no more than that. Approaching the problem in this workaday manner we find that "One" has already suffered two reverses in this connection, the first at the hands of the Postmaster, the other by reason of the judgment of the District Court sustaining the Postmaster's ruling.
So if the lower court agrees with the postmaster, it's game-over? So two people found it filthy, so it is filthy done?
At this point it can be observed that there is no dispute on factual matters. 
The District Court found that the ruling of the Postmaster was reasonable and supported by the proof — the contents of the magazine.
 Ummm really? The District Court didn't once quote the magazine.
Unless we find that the initial order of the Postmaster barring the magazine from the mails was arbitrary, or capricious, or an abuse of discretion, or that there are no reasonable grounds in the record to support the District Court in upholding the Postmaster's order, we are required to sustain. 
 Are there any guidelines for what constitutes obscenity? If it is "I know it when I see it," then that by definition is arbitrary.
Our problem here is one of the administration of the post office, and that in turn depends on whether or not the matter sought to be mailed, in this instance the October 1954 issue of the magazine "One", is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent. These words can only be defined by some discussion of the moral sense of the public, and it is only to such extent that we are concerned with public morals. In approaching the moral side of the issue here presented we are not unmindful of the fact that morals are not static like the everlasting hills, but are like the vagrant breezes to which the mariner must ever trim his sails.
And this is in no way an arbitrary law? How is every piece of mail going to be judged?
***The words of the statute, "obscene", "lewd", lascivious", "filthy" and "indecent", are words of common usage and meaning. In considering the scope and meaning of the words the courts have, through the course of the years, given to such words legal definitions and distinctions, following very closely, if not precisely, the definitions and distinctions found in the recognized standard dictionaries. 
So these words are of common usage and shouldn't be defined. Thus it is up to the mailman to decide what is fit to deliver? How is that not arbitrary?
Mr. Justice Harlan in delivering the opinion of the court in Rosen v. United States, 161 U.S. 29, 43, 16 S.Ct. 434, 438, 40 L.Ed. 606, said, "Every one who uses the mails of the United States for carrying papers or publications must take notice of what, in this enlightened age, is meant by decency, purity, and chastity in social life, and what must be deemed obscene, lewd, and lascivious." In that case the court approved the following test of obscenity given in an instruction of the trial court: "The test of obscenity is whether the tendency of the matter is to deprave and corrupt the morals of those whose minds are open to such influence and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall." "Would it * * * suggest or convey lewd thoughts and lascivious thoughts to the young and inexperienced?" 
What utter bullshit. So a subscription based magazine which is delivered exclusively to gays would corrupt, I don't fucking know, let's say 2 year old Mormons? So fucking dumb. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I mean the first quote is good, "The test of obscenity is whether the tendency of the matter is to deprave and corrupt the morals of those whose minds are open to such influence and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall." A magazine geared at horny 40 year old men, such as Hustler, is appropriate for horny 40 year old men. And mailing poorly xeroxed pictures of your balls to random strangers is not appropriate. The postal service could set non-arbitrary standards around that and remove the arbitrary nature which would actually protect people's "sensibilities" without overly intruding in on free speech.
In Dunlop v. United States, 165 U.S. 486, 500, 501, 17 S.Ct. 375, 380, 41 L.Ed. 799, the Supreme Court approved the following instruction: 
"Now what are obscene, lascivious, lewd, or indecent publications is largely a question of your own conscience and your own opinion; but it must come — before it can be said of such literature or publication — it must come up to this point: that it must be calculated with the ordinary reader to deprave him, deprave his morals, or lead to impure purposes. * * * It is your duty to ascertain, in the first place if they are calculated to deprave the morals; if they are calculated to lower that standard which we regard as essential to civilization; if they are calculated to excite those feelings which, in their proper field, are all right, but which, transcending the limits of that proper field, play most of the mischief in the world." 
So if this is your test for obscenity, you are claiming same-sex attraction is per se morally depraved and  is "lower[ing] that standard which we regard as essential to civilization." To which I retort, you can go suck a dick, you worthless, shit-eating bastard.
***The Sixth Circuit in Tyomies Publishing Co. v. United States, 211 F. 385, at page 390, defined the word "filthy" as meaning "`that which is nasty, dirty, vulgar, indecent, offensive to the moral senses, morally depraving and debasing.'" 
So Stars and Stripes, a military newspaper, is in line with morality, yet one that depicts gay people (not gay sex) is filthy. I'm glad to see your morals are in order.
Judge Pope, in Burstein v. United States, 9 Cir., 178 F.2d 665, 666, approved the following instruction defining obscene, lewd, or lascivious: 
"Matter is obscene, lewd, or lascivious, within the meaning of the quoted statute, if it is offensive to the common sense of decency and modesty of the community, and tends to suggest or arouse sexual desires or thoughts in the minds of those who by means thereof may be depraved or corrupted in that regard.
 To break down the Burstein Test:

1. Is it offensive to the common sense of decency and modesty of the community?
2. and does it tend to suggest or arouse sexual desire or thoughts in the minds of those who by means thereof may be depraved or corrupted in that regard?

So unless the judge was fapping away like it was the first time he ever saw the lingerie section of a Sears-Roebuck catalogue, then even by their own prudish test One should have been delivered.
***Plaintiff, as publisher, states on the second page of the magazine that it is published for the purpose of dealing primarily with homosexuality from the scientific, historical and critical point of view — to sponsor educational programs, lectures and concerts for the aid and benefit of social variants and to promote among the general public an interest, knowledge and understanding of the problems of variation. The story "Sappho Remembered", appearing on pages 12 to 15 of the magazine, the poem "Lord Samuel and Lord Montagu" on pages 18 and 19, and the information given on page 29 as to where to obtain "The Circle", a magazine "with beautiful photos", do not comport with the lofty ideals expressed on page 2 by the publishers.
The article "Sappho Remembered" is the story of a lesbian's influence on a young girl only twenty years of age but "actually nearer sixteen in many essential ways of maturity", in her struggle to choose between a life with the lesbian, or a normal married life with her childhood sweetheart. The lesbian's affair with her room-mate while in college, resulting in the lesbian's expulsion from college, is recounted to bring in the jealousy angle. The climax is reached when the young girl gives up her chance for a normal married life to live with the lesbian. This article is nothing more than cheap pornography calculated to promote lesbianism. It falls far short of dealing with homosexuality from the scientific, historical and critical point of view. 
Fap Fap Fap Fap. "Honey we're out of hand lotion again." At least this time it is obvious the Judge has read the magazine; however Sappho Remembered is not cheap pornography. It may not be worthy of the New Yorker literary section, but it still is literature.

Also the argument that "it falls far short of dealing with homosexuality from the scientific, historical and critical point of view" is arbitrary and fucking pointless. I would argue that the story is a "critical point of view" of the heteronormative hegemony that dictates (through this case in fact) a woman's place is to get married to a man. But regardless, a magazine is not obligated to follow their own mission statement.
The poem "Lord Samuel and Lord Montagu" is about the alleged homosexual activities of Lord Montagu and other British Peers and contains a warning to all males to avoid the public toilets while Lord Samuel is "sniffing round the drains" of Piccadilly (London). The poem pertains to sexual matters of such a vulgar and indecent nature that it tends to arouse a feeling of disgust and revulsion. It is dirty, vulgar and offensive to the moral senses. Swearingen v. United States, 161 U.S. 446, 16 S.Ct. 562, 40 L.Ed. 765; United States v. Limehouse, 285 U.S. 424, 426, 52 S.Ct. 412, 76 L.Ed. 843; Tyomies Publishing Co. v. United States, 6 Cir., 1914, 211 F. 385, 390; United States v. Roth, 2 Cir., 237 F.2d 796, 799, 800. 
Come on and use your big boy words and point out where and how it is vulgar. Secondly, ummm if you feel disgusted, then isn't it bad at recruiting the gays? Shouldn't that sound off warning bells in your tiny stupid fucking head that something else is happening. Or is it that you are so morally superior to everyone else. Fucking Prick.
An article may be vulgar, offensive and indecent even though not regarded as such by a particular group of individuals constituting a small segment of the population because their own social or moral standards are far below those of the general community.
Hurrah! I would take offense, but since I made it this far I am reveling in his disdain.
Social standards are fixed by and for the great majority and not by or for a hardened or weakened minority. As this Court said in Besig v. United States, 208 F.2d 142, at page 145: 
"It is of course true that the ears of some may be so accustomed to words which are ordinarily regarded as obscene that they take no offense at them, but the law is not tempered to the hardened minority of society. The statute forbidding the importation of obscene books is not designed to fit the normal concept of morality of society's dregs, nor of the different concepts of morality throughout the world, nor for all time past and future, but is designed to fit the normal American concept in the age in which we live. It is no legitimate argument that because there are social groups composed of moral delinquents in this or in other countries, that their language shall be received as legal tender along with the speech of the great masses who trade ideas and information in the honest money of decency." 
Quick get Scalia on the phone. We can out law the gays because of morals, and that's definitely in the constitution.
It is difficult to determine if the article contained on page 29 under the caption "Foreign Books and Magazines That Will Interest You", is an advertisement for the magazine "The Circle" or is merely information given by the publisher of "One" to its readers as to where to obtain other books and magazines that may be of interest. Regardless, the situation is the same, if information is given as to where, or how, or from whom, or by what means, obscene or filthy material may be obtained. Although on its face the information in this article appears harmless, it cannot be said that the purpose is harmless. It is for the information of those who read the magazine and particularly the homosexuals. It conveys information to the homosexual or any other reader as to where to get more of the material contained in "One." 
An examination of "The Circle" clearly reveals that it contains obscene and filthy matter which is offensive to the moral senses, morally depraving and debasing, and that it is designed for persons having lecherous and salacious proclivities. 
Fap Fap Fap "Honey why didn't you get the Jergens lotion that I requested. I'm all chafed now."
The picture and the sketches are obscene and filthy by prevailing standards. The stories "All This and Heaven Too", and "Not Til the End", pages 32-36, are similar to the story "Sappho Remembered", except that they relate to the activities of the homosexuals rather than lesbians. Such stories are obscene, lewd and lascivious. They are offensive to the moral senses, morally depraving and debasing. Such literature cannot be classed as historical, scientific and educational for any class of persons. Cheap pornography is a more appropriate classification.
 So fucking what. Once again a magazine's mission statement is not a legal standard.

And secondly if it's "cheap pornography" where is the fucking fucking, you fucking twat.
Plaintiff contends that the magazine "One" when read as a whole is not obscene or filthy within the meaning of these words. In Besig v. United States, supra, we held that the book as a book must be obscene to justify its libel and destruction, but we also held that neither the number of the "objectionable" passages nor the proportion they bear to the whole book are controlling. The magazine under consideration, by reason of the articles referred to, has a primary purpose of exciting lust, lewd and lascivious thoughts and sensual desires in the minds of the persons reading it. Moreover, such articles are morally depraving and debasing. The articles mentioned are sufficient to label the magazine as a whole, obscene and filthy***
Plaintiff's contention that there has been a denial of due process of law is without merit. Plaintiff commenced this action in the trial court and stipulated that the only issue in the case should be determined by the court on the motions for summary judgment and the affidavits filed by each of the parties. There has been a full and fair trial upon proper notice and the issues presented. It does not appear from the record that plaintiff has been deprived of property or liberty without due process of law.

Based upon our comments and observations heretofore given we hold that the record discloses no prejudicial error and the judgment appealed from is affirmed.
In conclusion, the definition of obscene is if "it suggest[s] or convey lewd thoughts and lascivious thoughts to the young and inexperienced." Regardless of target audience the content should be no more mature than a Highlights Magazine.

Furthermore based on analysis of the magazine One, same sex attraction (not even sexual behavior) was per se obscene. Nothing labeled homosexual or homophile could pass the obscenity test, no matter the content.

Now that's obscene.

The next post will deal with the Supreme Court Decision,  One, Inc. v. Olesen, 355 U.S. 371 (1958). And there will be fewer masturbation jokes this time.

I created this image just for fun. I'll probably use this from now on as a placeholder instead of outright calling a judge a dickhead.

Judge Dickhead
Congrats 9th Circuit. You earned it.

Liam '14

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart V

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