This blog features information about the political campaign nationally and in the state of Pennsylvania. it will discuss congressional races western PA, but it won't restrict comments to those jurisdictions. On many occasions, it will feature humor, but its main purpose is to "cut the legs off" political jihad. This is a site for political grown-ups of all ages.

Location: Ambridge, Pennsylvania, United States

I have a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester (English and American Literature). I taught for 10 years at various educational institutions (Univ. of Rochester, my alma mater, College of William and Mary, and University of Georgia, where I was also Asst. Ed. of the Georgia Review. Later, I worked as a speechwriter and "thinker" at various large companies, including Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, Aetna, Merck (consultant), and Eli Lilly (consultant), among many others. I'm a full-time writer and political commentator/analyst. Favorite company: AudioTech Business Books. Favorite female: my wife, Patricia Ann Maloney. Favorite politcal candidate: Diana Lynn Irey (PA's 12th congressional district)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Defecating on and Murdering Women: Are They "Free Speech?"

Somehow I don't think I got my points across to Post-Gazette reporter Paula Ward in my blog. Perhaps the problem is that she generally accepts "the world as it is" (the perception that the presence of smoke means there's a fire) and I often don't (sometimes what we're seeing is a smoke machine).

Let me highlight one part of Ms. Ward's article, regarding pornography cases: "The federal grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted a California couple who ran Extreme Associates, a company that makes graphic pornography featuring women being tortured, defecated on and murdered."

"That case -- which was thrown out by a district judge but later reinstated by the appeals court -- is being watched by First Amendment scholars across the country. It is expected to go to trial later this year."

Everything Ms. Ward tells us here is true, but there's something wrong with it notwithstanding. Let me use this analogy: If she was writing a story about a woman who claims she was impregnated by a alien and quoted the woman's comment that the baby looked like the father, I'd feel somewhat the way I do about her Extreme Associates story.

In her U.S. Attorney story generally, she's assuming things to be true that are widely believed but highly questionable.

Extreme Associates is claiming that showing women being defecated on and murdered is legal under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The problem is that there is in a fact a written version of that Amendment, which prohibits Congress from abridging the right to free speech.

I submit that Madison, Hamilton, and others knew what the word speech meant, even if their modern counterparts don't. The Supreme Court ruled long ago that the Founders, who created Congress, didn't know what it was they were creating, and the Bill of Rights (aside from the 10th Amendment?) also applied to the states.

Is defecation (or murder) really speech? No. Is it, however, a form of speech? No, unless you twist language to such an extent that words lose all their meaning.

Did any of the Founding Fathers -- as in ANY -- every take a position that defecating or other bodily functions were forms of speech? If sexual relations are a form of speech, then God Save the Queen.

The whole notion of non-speech being speech is ridiculous. Excretion is not speech. Urination is not speech. A dog baying at the moon is not speech. In fact, writing is not speech, as the Founding Fathers knew in their designation of a separate freedom relating to the press.

There's a provision in the Constitution (the one written, not the one imagined or hoped for by the supposed "First Amendment scholars") for amendment. In fact, the speech clause itself is part of an amendment.

The Founders did not assume the original Constitution was all that would be necessary for all times. If modern society wants to assume that defecation -- or a baby's throwing a rattle, or a motorist honking his horn at 3 a.m. -- is a form of speech, there's a way to do so: through amending the Constitution. It would require the vote of 67 Senators, as well as two-thirds of House and ratification by most states.

I doubt one Senator or Representative would vote in the affirmative. But some "learned" First Amendment scholars beg to differ, on grounds that one can hardly imagine. A scholar is not someone totally detached from reality -- except perhaps for legal scholars.

I fear for a society where defecating on women, of which Paula Reed Ward is one as are our five daughters, is defensible under the law. In societies where ethical and social considerations count for little, what is legal has a way of becoming normative. Life imitates art -- does it ever!

When 12-year-old Dakota Fanning (a wonderful young actress) is portrayed, however briefly, as being raped in a film, the presentation gets its defenders. One of them is Dakota herself, who says, "That's why they call it ACTING." I call it shameful. Presumably, pederasty is illegal, except of course when it's "art."

Yes, when women get raped and murdered in real life -- as they do in great numbers -- the perpetrators are "making a statement." But it is an odious statement, one that should not be permitted, even if Extreme Associates say that it's all fun and games.

Am I making one of those arguments known as "slippery slope?" I'm saying that, human nature being what it is, it's more like a trap door.

I guess what I'm saying to Paula and all journalists is this: When the Emperor traipses by the buff, it's not necessary to assume he must have clothes.

Twisting the Constitution into something that has a legally protected place for Extreme Associates' dreck is to turn it into something loathesome. Granted, the ACLU will continue to worship it, but most people will look at it as an object of scorn.

I know the objection Paula and other journalists would make to my position: if editor David Shribman's assumption is that the Emperor does have clothes, then she'd better go along to get along. If that's the case, then we truly need a modern version of Jonathan Swift.

steve maloney
ambridge, pa


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