Ira Isaacs, sentenced last month by a federal judge — this is in the United States— for 4 years, for violating obscenity law. The Huffington Post — considered a liberal website, and, again, this is in the United States — began its article about the sentencing with a joke: "Looks like someone's career went down the toilet." (The movies included the simulated consumption of feces.)
There is no shame anymore. And yet there still are obscenity trials. Absurd.
I'm finding this story now because I happened across an account to the trial in an article published last March at Reason.com: "Porn So Icky That It Can't Be Obscene" (by Jacob Sullum), describing the argument made at trial, which describes the argument made by Isaacs's lawyer:
"My intent is to be a shock artist in the movies I made," [Isaacs] testified, "to challenge the viewer in thinking about art differently... to think about things they'd never thought about before." Similarly, [his lawyer Roger] Diamond argued that the films have political value as a protest against the government's arbitrary limits on expression, illustrating the "reality that we may not have the total freedom the rest of the world thinks we have."Sullum wrote:
I will be impressed if Isaacs, who faces a possible penalty of 20 years in prison, can pull off this feat of legal jujitsu, transforming the very qualities that make his movies objectionable into their redeeming value — especially since at least some of the jurors... found the evidence against him literally unwatchable. But if the jurors want to blame someone for making them sit through this assault on their sensibilities, they should not blame Isaacs. They should blame the Justice Department, which initiated the case during the Bush administration, and the Supreme Court, which established the absurdly subjective test they are now supposed to apply. Will they take seriously Isaacs' references to Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith, and Piero Manzoni, or will they dismiss his artistic name dropping as a desperate attempt to give his masturbation aids a high-minded purpose?But here's some up-to-date news from 2 days ago: Minutes before Isaacs was to turn himself in to the federal Bureau of Prisons, Isaacs go a call from his lawyer saying "don't go." The judge had approved his motion for bail pending appeal.
Isaacs told XBIZ that today's events were so surreal he had felt like he was in an episode of the "Twilight Zone" or a Quentin Tarantino movie....
"Last night, I was thinking it would be my last night of freedom," he said. "I really thought that this would be it; that I would be sleeping in prison the following night... and that would continue for a very long time."We'll see what happens in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and — if we're lucky — the Supreme Court.