How Does Porn Go From 'Hot' to 'Obscene?' Hint: Rhymes With Zoo

What's she gonna do with that fish?
What's she gonna do with that fish?

You might not know (or care) that government funding (aka your tax dollars) goes toward prosecuting pornographers for producing and/or distributing content considered obscene using a fossilized assessment process called the Miller test.

A work - which can range from a DVD to literature to a 2D still image - is considered obscene if it: a) "appeals to the prurient interest" based on "contemporary community standards;" b) depicts sexual conduct in a "patently offensive way;" and 3.) "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

As you can see the designation process is pretty black and white and not at all convoluted or confusing.

And apparently there's a push to spend more resources (aka more of your tax dollars) to prosecute more obscenity cases in 2011. Perfect!

Most recently there's been a set of five new counts of obscenity put on pornographer Ira Isaacs' shoulders, which first felt the weight of the federal legal system in 2006 when he was indicted for the mail distribution of several DVDs deemed obscene by the feds.

But what in the world could have been so offensive, art-less and void of any social value?

Whelp, bestiality for one. Scat for two. (Don't know what scat is? Ever seen "2 Girls, 1 Cup?" That's scat.)

Isaacs is known for being a "fetish filmmaker" whose content probably more often than not shocks, awes and nauseates rather than sparks a boner. But who are we to say? Anything is possible.

The titles Isaacs most recently is in trouble for:

  • "Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 38"
  • "Trailers"
  • "Japanese Doggie 3 Way"
  • Five years ago he got hit for:

  • "Gang Bang Horse - 'Pony Sex Game'"
  • "Mako's First Time Scat"
  • "Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7"
  • With titles like these it's likely the attorney or lobby group in charge or deeming content obscene didn't spend any time actually watching the films. And we can't blame them.

    But when determining something to be obscene solely based on title, let alone DVD synopsis, you've got better odds playing Russian Roulette with a full barrel than to convince anyone otherwise.

    But what does Isaacs have to say? Salon.com recently posted an interesting interview with the "poo pornographer" himself and - believe it or not - this dude is eloquent and (GASP!) smarter than the average schmo.

    My mission is to challenge, offend and offend again. Postmodernism is based on nontraditional things. For example, John Cage has a symphony called "4'33." He's played it at [respectable] venues -- only nothing is played. The conductor puts up his baton and nothing happens for four minutes and 33 seconds.

    The whole idea of any piece of art is that it challenges the viewer to think about it and what it means.

    Isaacs argues - with reason - that his films are not meant to turn you on. People didn't flock to their computers desperate for a glimpse of "2 Girls, 1 Cup" to get pumped for a major masturbatory session. They wanted to watch the two freaks excrete, eat and play with their own fecal matter. (Barf.)

    But the kicker? It's not the production, nor the acting, that gets you put on the "arrest at will" list. It's the SALE. The same goes for dildos in Alabama - you can buy a sex toy, diddle yourself for hours, and even blog about it, but you can NOT accept money in exchange for a Fucksaw or butt plug within state lines.

    People can film [scatology], they can engage in it, they can watch it -- they just can't sell it or distribute it. It's a legal product that I can go to prison for. It doesn't really do any harm, otherwise they wouldn't make it legal. You're not allowed to watch child porn, you're not allowed to possess it; so there are illegal images that they made laws against, but this one it is legal.

    Sound reasonable?

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