Adult film director Max Hardcore sentenced to 4 years in prison on obscenity charges (UPDATE)

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242 Responses to “Adult film director Max Hardcore sentenced to 4 years in prison on obscenity charges (UPDATE)”

  1. aeon says:

    @69 Lucien.

    I saw that documentary on Channel 4 in the UK on first broadcast: it was extremely uncomfortable viewing. Also unusual in that the documentary maker was so upset and affected by what he was recording that his voice could be heard in the background of the segment with “Max Hardcore” persuading Felicity, the new porn actress & subject of the film, that she didn’t have to continue and could walk away. Little came across as an evil, bullying, misogynistic psychopath & that film footage should have been enough to see him charged long ago. Absolutely no sympathy for him, his first amendment rights be damned & hope he rots.

  2. toastyghost says:

    The irony being the subject of violent, barely consensual sex for the next four years surely must not be lost on him.

  3. cycle23 says:

    Just came here to say I’ve watched quite a few of his films. What grosses me out the most is watching anal sex.

    Please ban all anal sex.

  4. Cpt. Tim says:

    “may that guy and the likes rot in jail.”

    absolutely, but let it be for a crime.

  5. Brandon Abell says:

    @40 – Zuzu, you cannot consent to harm. Otherwise you’d never have a malpractice suit because the doctor’s waiver would cover his/her entire ass. Unconscionability trumps whatever supposed “consent” has taken place. Maybe we’ve “consented” to what Bush has done to our country and shouldn’t complain?

  6. Graham Kendall says:

    Like a number of previous contributors, I have seen a couple of Max’s films, or at least part of them and have not found the content to my taste. Nevertheless, this does not mean that some far-right evangelical groups should be empowered to pursue this man in this way and with the support of so-called democratic law, merely to satisfy their own bigotted ends.

    I have written and had published a number of erotic novels under the name ‘Kendal Grahame’. All were published legally and sold well in the UK and abroad. This was despite the fact that they were hidden on ‘top shelves’ in bookstores whilst books depicting war, violence, horror etc were cearly available to all ages on much lower shelves.

    Enough of this hypocracy please!

  7. pduggie says:

    “Then how did culture emerge before the very concept of authority was invented? ”

    Huh? Pack animals have Alpha males. That’s WAY before culture.

  8. Takuan says:

    is it probable that of all the persons used in these films, at least one was taken advantage of in the worst way? One? Is it possible?

  9. Cpt. Tim says:

    also i’m still waiting on noens list of books to burn. seriously. there has to be some books you want to burn, or at least ban the publication of.

  10. zuzu says:

    What does this mean for us? I think it means that we have a duty to ourselves and to society, which is just the Self writ large, to set limits on behavior. Just as we have a choice of who we wish to be, we as a society also have a choice of how we wish to be.

    To which I would quote from Trainspotting:

    There was no such thing as society and even if there was, I most certainly had nothing to do with it.

    I’m not interested in your society. Leave me the hell alone. I choose with whom I interact with on a person-by-person basis. I’m not interested in joining your “group“. Thank you.

    …fucking meddlers. As exhausting as Jehovah’s Witnesses you are.

    (You know, one of the major objectives of human action on the Internet was so that people could form self-selecting communities instead of being lumped together by proximity or authority.)

    anyone else see the irony in the “dirty jobs” promo at the top of the page?

    LOL, sometimes there’s a downside to using AdBlock. Great observation though.

  11. zuzu says:

    When I beat them and sell the films, first amendment voluptuaries will come rushing to my defense!

    This argument works on me insofar as why prostitution is still criminalized. To quote George Carlin, “selling is legal, fucking is legal, so why is selling fucking illegal?” Having sex for money on film is legal, but sex for money sans camera still isn’t. Why? If you can rent your body for other forms of manual labor, I see no justifiable reason to exclude sex. (And I doubt that few if any of us reading BoingBoing are so puritanical that they can honestly say they’ve never had sex with someone in exchange for some form of compensation.)

    Now, as far as beating your farmhands… if they consensually agree, then sure. That’s their choice. The flip-side of that is, that they have the right to quit at any time regardless of contract (thus precluding indentured servitude as a euphemism for slavery). And the flip-side of that is that you have the right to fire them at any time.

  12. SamF says:

    Wow, Noen. Seriously. Wow.

    What is obscene to one is fine to another, it is a subjective analysis of the material.

    Bullshit. This typically libertarian critique is based on an ignorant understanding of human sexuality. Just as we have seen the abject failure of libertarian “free market” economics, we can also see the failure of libertarian ideas in the general culture.

    1) So you’re saying that what’s offensive to one person is offensive to everyone? And that if it’s not offensive to me, there’s something wrong with me? Because last I checked, there are many people in the world who consider oral sex offensive. Or kissing in public. Or sex where you can actually see your partner. Or sex for anything but conception of a child. Is there something wrong with me then that I don’t find anything offensive about any of those? How about when a man spanks his wife and they both enjoy it? Should they both go to jail?

    2) Not to get off subject, but where have libertarian “free market” economics failed? If you put 27 regulations on a market and then take 2 or 3 away, that’s hardly a free market. When deregulation fails it is usually because the deregulation is arbitrary and half-assed. Not because it has created a free market and that market collapses. If you want to start comparing political ideals, let’s see how well censorship works in China.

    Not because I don’t like it, because it is harmful. I’m also in favor of limiting TV violence for the same reasons, it causes real harm.

    Source? Some correlating evidence? Maybe people didn’t hurt each other before TV? Do you only watch good wholesome family TV and movies? No violence? No sex? No alcohol? No swearing? Or, like the rest of us, do you choose which of those you think are suitable for you to watch, and which you would rather not? If the latter, you are self-censoring. You are behaving like a rational adult. Like most of us. It’s when you start trying to define what everyone should be able to do that we have a problem. If you don’t like Terminator, does that mean I can’t get my Summer Glau fix every week? Who decides? On what basis? YOU decide. On the basis of what YOU want to watch. Every time you choose to watch something or not. As do the people who watch Max Hardcore. If someone has chosen to watch a woman being degraded, and they get off on that, then maybe there is something wrong with them. But I guarantee you that it wasn’t Max Hardcore who made them that way. While we’re making sourceless claims, I can claim that every time someone watches Max Harcore pee on a woman, it keeps that person from going out and peeing on someone themselves. Max Hardcore is a hero! (note: That’s sarcasm. I don’t like the stuff either. So I CHOOSE not to watch it.)

    I advocate balance in all things. This porn, this man, is out of balance. I reject it.

    That’s the most intelligent thing you’ve said. YOU reject it. Good for you. And if everyone thought like you, there’d be no market for his movies and he would dry up and go away. Unfortunately, some people do like them. And they give him money, so that he can keep making them. And women keep signing up to be in them. But in each case, they’re consenting adults who have made the rational decision that “I value money more than my dignity” or whatever rationalization they make for themselves. Maybe they even enjoy it. Maybe they’re broken. I don’t know. What I do know, though, it that so long as all of the people involved are consenting, it’s none of my business. As soon as he tries to forcibly show that stuff to kids (or even unwitting adults), or recruit people who are unable to legally consent, I say nail his ass. Until then, I still live in America and I’ll defend his freedom to have consensual sex in whatever manner he chooses.

  13. abb3w says:

    aeon: Little came across as an evil, bullying, misogynistic psychopath & that film footage should have been enough to see him charged long ago.

    If I remember correctly, “Max Hardcore” was one of a couple actor/producers who Melissa-Ashley (aka Anne Howe) complained in interviews of not recognizing the “safe word” during a shoot. If true (as my memory might well be wrong), he deserves whatever punishment he gets, if not for the reason he’s receiving it. Unfortunately, it’s easier to get an obscenity conviction from a jury than to for assault or rape of a porn actress during production.

  14. Guy Budziak says:

    I don’t have the time or patience to read all the previous comments (And there are many), but being somewhat familiar with Little AKA Max and his repellent handiwork, I can’t help but wonder if whether or not he might find himself on the receiving end once he’s in prison of the same sort of hanky-panky he’s been perpetrating in his videos, that is, degradation and humiliation. The guy looks like a demented criminal type. Whether he is or not is for legal minds to figure out.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Listen, just cause this stuff gets you off you don’t need to defend it. Anyone who has seen any of his stuff (I won’t refer to it as work) knows he is taking advantage of these girls and their situations. Most of them undoubtedly are incredibly regretful and ashamed of their participation. He is a real sadist…nothing pretend about it. He is a bully and essentially a rapist of young women. I take pleasure in knowing what he will experience in prison and he will now be on the receiving end.

  16. A. says:

    This will shortly be disenvowelled, but what is BoingBoing becoming?

    Is BoingBoing a place where limits are placed upon others’ freedom for the sake of comfort and convenience, where personal squabbles are buried and rewritten, and above all, all sorts of censorship are rationalized and subversively promoted?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @A: No, calm down. It’s a place where people blow off hot air on the discussion boards. That’s how things go on the internet. You show me where Boing Boing (not commenters) said or did any of the things you charge, and I’ll fax you a cookie. But yeah: no. Untwist thy knickers.

  17. Ugly Canuck says:

    If this material is only available online, then by what rationale is the public criminal law even involved? It’s private, and it involves consenting adults, and you won’t be exposed to it unless you actually take active steps to see it.
    There’s no harm here sufficient to ground the Criminal Law even getting involved, no public display of nudity or lewdness, no behavior depicted that is not legal for adults in private to engage in, no harm done except – and this “harm” is only such in a manner of speaking, not in actuality – to the “moral sensibilities” of those who would beat their chests in public and say “Listen to me! This disgusts me! Look at how moral I am!”.
    It’s tasteless, but so is Hustler Magazine, and many political ads….a waste of State Resources, to go after “liberals”, to get votes from “conservatives”.
    Far better to spend the money spent on the “Porn Squad” on battered woman’s shelters and income support to those who might otherwise have to engage in this for the $$.
    This “law” really has the same basis and rationale as those that would ban inter-racial marriage.

  18. mikelotus says:

    I will buy his movies even though I find them boring and download them tonight in order to support him financially. The only abomination here is that he was prosecuted by these bible toters in the Bush administration. This goes away in January. Why does this stuff not cause a problem in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, etc.? Compared to the porn produced there, this stuff is pretty mild actually. Anyone offended here needs to go look for the real “good stuff” out there. Kaviar anyone?

  19. Brandon Abell says:

    @49: Who decides what *any* crime is? It’s all necessarily arbitrary. Saying that you can’t classify everything infallibly as “wrong” in everybody’s eyes doesn’t mean that everybody has free reign on whatever they feel like doing. When something is demonstrably harmful without any reasonable amount of redeeming value, it’s not that extreme to say there should be at least some sort of limit on it.

  20. zuzu says:

    Absolutely no sympathy for him, his first amendment rights be damned

    …yes, that’s how it starts.

    You know, there are some words I’ve known since I was a schoolboy: “With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.” The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on we’re all damaged.

    The Drumhead

  21. Ugly Canuck says:

    That being said, in Canada depictions of the degradation of women (as determined by the Judiciary, often Ladies) are banned. Even play-acted degradation. I don’t think there’s been any causal link established between watching such stuff and subsequent Criminal violence towards women, but I’m not against this Law, for reasons similar to the reasons for which I also support censorship of Hate Speech. Which might have lessened the US rush to invade Iraq, had the USA similar laws – lots of hatred expressed for Muslims by by commentators in the American media back then, IMO, urging aggressive War.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Waivers:

    if I sign a waiver saying that I agree to have sex, and then, later, in the middle of it, as it starts to get violent, I say “No”, Is it rape?

    Or does a waiver take away all rights?

  23. Cpt. Tim says:

    #120, yeah. i don’t see anything particularly censory in the article itself, and the discussion here has been heated, but largely polite. Skimming this i don’t see any disemvowelings.

  24. zuzu says:

    is it probable that of all the persons used in these films, at least one was taken advantage of in the worst way? One? Is it possible?

    perfect solution fallacy

    Where’s the uproar over people who were “tricked” into accepting the job of executioner in states that have the death penalty?

  25. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    So far my favorite comment is Cpt. Tim @12. Judging a work of fiction on the basis of the acts it simulates puts you on very shaky ground. As he puts it — and this is a great example — “should furry porn be banned because the animals the people are representing lack the ability to consent?”

    If the basis for legality is whether or not the viewer thinks the actions are factual rather than fictional, you’ve left solid ground behind you. Readings are profoundly idiosyncratic, and cannot be constrained by art or intent.

    Noen:

    Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire.

    If that were true, no one would ever be a kinky deviate, because the vast majority of the desire we see in films is a stylized version of mainstream straight.

    Few watchers notice the feet and shoes in films. A small percentage of watchers experience feet and shoes in them as luminous, numinous, erogenous, and intensely fascinating. Millions of kids watch Sleeping Beauty. Only a few of them get to the bit where the witch-queen Maleficent goes all Dark Phoenix on the Prince, and swoonily vow that they want to be exactly like her when they grow up. Homosexuals and lesbians experience the same constant flood of heterosexual plots and images that straights do. We all grow up watching the same anthropomorphic animal cartoons that furries do.

    That’s some strange kind of teaching going on there.

    I’ll grant that some things are learned. Corsets, bustiers, garters, stockings, and high heels all date back back to the same period as the first mass-produced cheap color photographic repro, which enshrined them as the standard signifiers they’ve been ever since. (Oddly, the titillating signifiers for “little girl” — short trapezoidal ruffled dresses, hatless curls and pigtails, white or pastel stockings, black patent-leather Mary Jane flats — date from the 1930s.)

    Another argument for learned behavior is the existence of kinks for recent inventions. Where were the rubber and latex enthusiasts before those material existed? Where were the furries before the invention of plush toys? Where did the bound foot fetish go when feet ceased to be bound?

    Still, a person doesn’t remember “learning” a sexual response. At most, they remember moments at which they recognized in themself a response to something they hadn’t previously realized was sexual.

    MDH:

    Prohibition teaches us how to desire.

    I’ll grant that “hot” and “transgressive” have a significant amount of overlap. Elizabethans had a thing for bared arms, and Victorians had one for ankles. I think it’s a limited effect, though. If prohibition was primarily what taught us how to desire, kink would be a lot weirder than it is, and no one would be straight.

    Me, I figure that what movies do for sex is suggest possibilities that may not have occurred to us, tell us what’s okay and what isn’t, and give us a storehouse of images to draw on.

    Max Hardcore’s movies aren’t socially objectionable because they appeal to prurient interests, as PDuggie has suggested. First, all functional pornography appeals to prurient interests. That’s its defining characteristic. Second, Max Hardcore’s movies aren’t appealing to that many viewers, even ones who’d happily watch dominance/submission storylines that were presented in a less crude and nasty fashion.

    What I dislike most about them is their message about what’s allowable. Max Hardcore creates the impression of non-consensuality. That’s a known kink, and he’s playing to it more realistically than most porn of that kind. That’s disturbing. I dislike it a great deal. Furthermore, if it’s anything other than an illusion, it’s illegal. I’ll nevertheless defend his right to create that illusion, if that’s what it is.

    Basically, I agree with Cpt. Tim, Wareagle, and Ignatz: if anything should have gotten a criminal investigation, it was what went on during filming, not what got shown on the screen.

    Brandon Abell @34: No, there isn’t a magic switch that gets flipped when you turn 18; but since we don’t have a reliable, objective device for measuring a youngster’s maturity, social awareness, and empowerment, we have to draw the line at an age. Eighteen is where we’ve decided to draw it. Arguments could be made for drawing it earlier, but that’s a question of engineering and implementation.

    PDuggie @47, what the bleep is a “first amendment voluptuary”? Can you please describe what you mean there? Because the concept strikes me as thoroughly bizarre.

    Ill Lich @59:

    I don’t want to ban anything, but I sure wish this kind of thing didn’t exist.

    Amen and amen. It’s repulsive, and it teaches the wrong lessons to some very wrong people.

    I really don’t give a damn about Max Hardcore’s travails. I do care about it as a potential precedent.

  26. TheHowl says:

    @181:

    Winner of thread. A well-spoken response with attention to detail, and articulating a case of the real issues, rather than knee-jerk ‘I don’t like this guy!’ emotional ranting. Including the (correct) view that while Paul Little is a smarmy little piece of shit in a cowboy hat, the case he was convicted under has a wide-reaching scope that affects us all.

    I just hope that those upholding his conviction on this board never get their own 1st Amendment rights shut down because the government decided to slip’n’slide on this slope, with the ignorantly happy consent of those to be punished in the future.

  27. otto117 says:

    /”Not infrequently, [Max Hardcore] scenes are fraught with pedophilia themes, beginning when he stumbles upon his subjects in playgrounds,
    where they sit alone, in pigtails, talking baby-talk, and sucking on lollipops. “/

    “Not infrequently” means? Well, it makes no difference anyway. Anyone who has the slightest interest in underage girls wouldn’t be interested in Max. They’re too busy watching videos of Maria Isabel, which are far more erotic than anything in Hardcore’s films. You people who trade in kiddieporn paranoia should really get over it. You will NEVER be able to censor enough material to stop people from fantasizing. (That goes for images of girls over AND under 18.)

  28. ill lich says:

    I don’t want to ban anything, but I sure wish this kind of thing didn’t exist.

    Defending the 1st amendment sometimes means defending a creep, and Max Hardcore is undeniably a creep, and yet I can’t bring myself to defend him.

    Max Hardcore reminds me of Deniro’s “Max Cady” from the remake of “Cape Fear”– maybe he hasn’t broken any laws, but everything he did is still wrong, there’s an underlying sinister-ness about it all; he hasn’t committed pedophila or rape, but that is pretty much his intent. I hate to infer intent, but in this case it’s pretty obvious. But then there are plenty of films that portray murder. . . and I have no problem defending them.

    Which brings me to what a friend said about “The Blair Witch Project”– it didn’t scare him because he knew it wasn’t real, despite their attempts to make it seem real. There’s something “too real” about Max Hardcore movies, I mean, they are obviously real, and not just the vomit or sex, but the degradation too. Like others here I can’t believe the actresses were 100% consenting– they are portraying being abused too well, if it was an act then they should be doing serious drama with that talent. Maybe Mr. Little will claim it’s a form of “method acting”, but I’m not buying it.

    Is this verdict part of the slippery slope or not? Time will tell. Maybe it won’t hurt the rest of the porn industry– what Max Hardcore does is not the same as what Vivid (et al) do; he has more in common with “snuff” films than erotica.

  29. fightcopyright says:

    Hello Xeni,

    There are hundreds of posts in this thread, and I don’t know if you have time to read them all…

    I’m begging you not to defend this man.

    Free speech has nothing to do with this. There have to be boundaries, there always have been. This is just another kind of snuff. No one dies, but poor helpless people trade their humanity for money.

    Consent has nothing to do with it. I’m a research scientist… everything you do with a human subject has to pass IRB. One of the specific guidelines is that you can’t offer participants too much money to participate in a study.

    Why?

    Because money is power, and it’s easy to take advantage of people who are powerless. These poor girls “consent” because Max buys their humanity.

    I admire your work, and your courage, and your desire to expose injustice. But Xeni, how is Max’s business different from an exploitative corporation victimizing its workers in Africa or Asia? It’s worse… much worse.

    These girls need help, and Max deserves to be in prison.

    David

  30. noen says:

    Samf
    Logic is not an ideology. A or NOT A is a simple logical statement.

    It is a semantic system that structures reality, that’s ideology. You can’t get from axiomatic systems to maths without making assumptions. Picking and choosing among alternatives in order to get the results you want isn’t what I think of as an absolute foundation. Math is a language we created to describe our experience. It is not Nature’s own language. Nature as such doesn’t exist.

    My shirt is black, or it’s NOT black. I either am free, or I’m NOT free.

    More Hegel! This black or white thinking of yours is like poison.

    I’ll offer the words of Nobel Laureat Milton Friedman

    He didn’t get that prize in economics that’s for sure. We are in a global recession and on the verge of complete economic collapse thanks to Miltie’s neoliberalism project.

    The duty of philosophy is to ask questions such as “What does it mean to be free?” Not are we free or not. It ought not play metaphysical games of absolute truth. It asks a simpler more humble question. “What do you mean when you say this is true?” And if freedom is the absence of coercion then no one is truly free.

  31. Takuan says:

    I fear you misapprehend me. There is no justice in this life save what we make ourselves. The law is an industry and business and takes no notice of justice. If one person was victimized – and I believe that certainly true – then justice is served by the four year sentence. However accidentally.

  32. zuzu says:

    We decide collectively. When only individuals decide you no longer have a community, you just have an aggregate of individuals. A community is stronger, more resilient and better able to weather adversity than an aggregate. That’s why they evolved.

    I’m seriously opposed to the collectivism of which you speak. It is an anathema to me, and I’ve resented all attempts towards me of it my entire life.

    Well that’s one opinion. Such opinions, in my mind, ignore the human condition. I’m unconvinced that all information must be free. Your argument seems to be that having such knowledge is irrelevant to whether or not people act on it. This is sheer nonsense. Out of seven billion people someone somewhere is going to act on that information, it’s just human nature. As technology advances, information and human nature collide at some point and the possibility for catastrophe increases. I’d rather that not happen.

    Admit it, you’re secretly Bill Joy, aren’t you? :p

    Also, is that a strong tone of Hobbesonian social theory I’m hearing?

    What external authority? The police, the Justice Dept. and the US Attorney General represent our collective will. They aren’t “external”. They are poor representatives perhaps, corrupt and dysfunctional sure but they are an expression of our society. That says something about how much work there is to do.

    External to me.

    How do we arrive at a social consensus? By doing what we are doing now, talking, arguing (presenting rational arguments for or against a proposition) and ultimately by voting, by participating in democracy.

    I don’t give a fig about your “consensus”, or democracy for that matter. I’m capable of minding my own business and can’t see why everyone else can’t do likewise.

    However all human societies centralize power, authority, one way or another. Other systems do not work.

    The iron law of oligarchy is a problem to be dealt with, not something to be condoned or accepted. And in fact, the spontaneous order of genuine Free Trade does provide a completely distributed ad hoc and leaderless way (i.e. the market) to coordinate human activity.

    Seriously, Noen, you sound very very much like the neo-conservative social philosophy (which is also almost exactly like the neo-theocratic philosophy of the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran and elsewhere).

    It seems that Friedrich Nietzsche was correct in his tremendous forecasting of sociobiological evolution. As it has slowly dawned on humanity that, now that God is Dead, “Nothing is true, so everything is permitted.” and some people just can’t cope. So you get people trying to revert to other collective truths, which gave us the political religion of worshipping statehood… which gave us the Nazis, and Communism, and Truman’s Americanism, and even now the resurgent rise in nationalism in the United States, Russia, and China. You also have the “clinging to religion” and the rise of fundamentalism, regardless of religion (e.g. Christianity and Islam), as well as the various mixtures of the two that the Neo-Cons ala Leo Strauss have promulgated (in declaring the “failure” of liberalism, or what perhaps would more accurately be described, as you have, as libertarianism — i.e. classical liberalism).

    But likewise, I generally agree with Nietzsche, in that this retrograde behaviors must be eschewed in favor of confronting the Outside Context Problem and decide for ourselves exactly what we as individuals will make of ourselves. (Though I also suspect this includes all strains of transhumanism, whether singulatarian, extropian, or otherwise.)

  33. zuzu says:

    @40 – Zuzu, you cannot consent to harm. Otherwise you’d never have a malpractice suit because the doctor’s waiver would cover his/her entire ass. Unconscionability trumps whatever supposed “consent” has taken place. Maybe we’ve “consented” to what Bush has done to our country and shouldn’t complain?

    Nonsense. I consent to harm all the time… by the dentist’s drill, by the surgeon’s blade. Turns out I prefer that kind of controlled harm to the alternatives. “Harm” is entirely subjective, because it depends on an individual’s preferred condition of property.

    And there are plenty of people in this world who prefer to be choked, spanked, cut, and beaten, in the same personal situations as most everyone has sex or masturbates.

  34. Brandon Abell says:

    @57 – No, I never receive compensation. Perhaps I am the most efficient charity operation in existence. :-)

    You’re getting *way* too hung up on “consent.” Having the “right” to do something isn’t the same as having the ability to do something. You don’t think a lot of those girls in those movies probably want to stop but are so afraid from being so thoroughly abused at point that they “consent” by staying silent out of fear? Is that real consent? Are battered women in abusive relationships consenting to that abuse? Do you really want to go down that road?

  35. Euryale says:

    David (Fightcopyright @ 123) and others, I don’t see anyone here defending the asshole, or arguing that he shouldn’t be locked up. I see people saying that we should instead be locking him up for committing actual crimes. An obscenity law is, in itself, an obscenity. Prosecute him for his rapes and abuses–yes, please do that–not for videotaping it.

  36. Stupendousman says:

    Noen,

    “Ah but it does harm you, just as America torturing goat herders in Afghanistan harms you. Just as the constant drum of violence in the media that debases your culture harms you’

    This may be hard for you to believe but you have no idea how I, in particular, think. You seem pretty similar to the neocons you rail against.

    “Do you think there should be no limits at all?”

    That which directly harms another person should be actionable, everything else is permissible. By direct I mean a punch in the face, theft, assault, etc.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I love Max Hardcore. I’ll defend him.

    Why does everyone who thinks hes deserves jail here have to make the fantastical assumption, against all indications otherwise, that the woman hes boning haven’t actually consented? For someone to claim that a persons will isn’t a valid indicator of their intentions is abusing them more than Max when hes pissing on them. THATs offensive.

    That hundreds of women have consented to the sex acts to the degree of finding Max, flying/driving in to meet him, get set up in costume, bring ID and sign legal documents, be supervised my managerrs and agent, get paid handsomely, then carry out the sex on camera-just to have others say they “must not” have consented is absurd.

    The calling card of tyrants is that they insist they know whats good for you, better than you.

    I know agirl who was offered a scene with Max, she declined over the dollar amount. Must have beeen her true non-consent due to a sense of decency, right?

  38. mikelotus says:

    What everyone seems to forget is that I can go on the internet a watch much worse made in Germany, Japan, Denmark, etc. The US Government’s sensibilities do not have any impact on this.

  39. FoetusNail says:

    Fresh flesh, slingin’ down your street.
    Fresh flesh, won’t you eat my meat?
    Fresh flesh, oozin’ through the slime,
    Fresh flesh, and the city’s mine!
    Fresh flesh! [x2]
    Under the subway ditch,
    Shoot down some old bitch!
    With nothin’ else to do,
    I just might you.
    If you get in my way,
    I cut your leg off, pay!
    Drop you off downtown,
    watch you crawl around!
    Fresh flesh!
    Fresh flesh!
    I wanna fuck you to death,
    I don’t wanna smell your breath.
    Piss on your warm embrace!
    I just wanna cum in your face!
    I don’t care if you’re dead,
    and I don’t care if you’re erect!
    I don’t care if you’re all cut up –
    blood on your dress!
    Fresh flesh!
    Fresh flesh!

  40. Anonymous says:

    You should check out “Graphic Sexual Horror – The Documentary” it tells the story of Insex.com that was shut down through the use of the Ant-Terrorist Patriot Act.

  41. empirechick says:

    @ 54 Duncitstrue

    Much of the work of defending porn is done by the Free Speech Coalition, a trade organization of the adult industry.

    I work for an adult retailer, and we decided several years ago to not carry Max Hardcore’s products. We sincerely believe in his right to make them and for consenting adults to watch them, but we also believe in our right to keep our doors open by not facing lawsuits from the government for selling them.

  42. zuzu says:

    I have to watch Videodrome and go have a calm down now…

  43. FoetusNail says:

    In this dirty old part of the city,
    where the sun refused to shine
    people tell me there ain’t no use in tryin’.

    My girl you’re so young and pretty,
    And one thing I know is true,
    You’ll be dead before your time is due!

    We gotta get out of this place
    If it’s the last thing we ever do
    We gotta get out of this place
    ’cause girl, there’s a better life for me and you

  44. deckard68 says:

    I’d have been for an investigation over whether his contracts with the models were legitimate. I.e., the attorney general could have contacted as many of the models as he could find, learn whether any felt they’d been misled, and he could have created a civil suit to win additional compensation for the models.

    But a criminal case with no actual victim named, either real or even theoretical? Jail time rather than damages that could have gone to a good cause?

  45. gk says:

    Am I getting something wrong here ?

    1. the DoJ is going after porn (extreme porn, that is) and has nailed this guy on obscenity charges (by current US law, this guy’s production is obscene) – BUT we believe they are going after free speech and do not believe that obscenity is the point.

    2. that Max Hardcore guy replies by calling his production a work of personal expression, as “speech”, as in “free speech”… – AND we take this for granted and debate about free speech rights.

    I don’t buy it. This is not speech, this the video recording of ugly fantasies that seek satisfaction in degrading *other* people (strictly women).

    It is factual, almost documentary, made possible by the fact that _PAYING_ adults for anything, makes that thing _legal_. This is abusing law, just as MH abuse of the first amendment for his defense.

    So please, I love to hear you all debate about freedom, but not for somebody that is actually using you for the negation of freedom.

  46. Brandon Abell says:

    @62: If you actually want something, it’s not harm. If it’s doing something beneficial for you, it’s not harm. You didn’t answer my point about malpractice — if you’re correct in your analysis, there would be no such thing.

  47. zikzak says:

    I think what’s confusing people is that there are two “enemies” here: a misogynistic, censorious, fundamentalist government, and a misogynistic, sociopathic rapist porn producer.

    “Max Hardcore” is a rapist, straight up. There are multiple personal accounts of actresses urgently asking to end the shoot they’re in, and being ignored – effectively coerced to continue. Yes, most of the actresses involved consented to everything, but “Max Hardcore” has clearly demonstrated his willingness to ignore questions of consent in his shoots.

    However, the government is equally, if not more misogynist for its role. Rather than advocate for the women who were raped and brutalized by him, they completely ignore their plight and focus on the more politically advantageous and constitutionally questionable censorship case.

    This is Saudi Arabia-style opposition to porn: it reveals no concern whatsoever for the real women who are abused in its creation, only a concern for enforcing a restrictive moral code.

  48. Rob says:

    Studies have long shown that TV violence causes real harm.

    [citation needed]

  49. Anonymous says:

    There were some fantastic responses here on this article. The only reason I read it, other than the fact that I have seriously strong beliefs about our first amendment rights, was that I have stumbled up Max Hardcore’s work before, and its extremely prevalent. Yes its disgusting. But I have seen ALMOST as bad, in person. I’ve had girls ask me to run a knife along their skin in an effort to increase eroticism. Did I do it? No. But I could have.

    They obviously had deeper issues. But the bottom line is this: Those women WANTED that degradation. Had he gotten them high, and then received consent, we would have seen law suits left and right, long before this guy walked into a court room. He would already be locked up. They consented. These aren’t people with mental disabilities, these are people (women, and him) who ENJOY this stuff. Other than walking and smelling funny for a few days, no harm was done. The harm was already done by some other factor in their lives.

    Its YOUR freedoms being trampled, not this guys right to make vile movies.

    XELA

  50. QuinacridoneRose says:

    I am so fucking sick of the ‘free speech’ card being played. I have the feeling when our founding fathers wrote the constitution, they had something in mind along the lines of being able to speak out against the government or simply have an opinion without fear of being punished, not glorifying shitting on, pissing on, butchering, raping and degrading women. You should consider yourselves lucky that you have the luxury to watch another human being tortured and degraded, because it’s your ‘right.’

    “Ah but it does harm you, just as America torturing goat herders in Afghanistan harms you. Just as the constant drum of violence in the media that debases your culture harms you.”

    thank you, Noen.

    This being said though, I don’t think it should be censored. Humanity is a stupid, stupid child. Telling a stupid child not to do something only makes him want to do it more. He has to really and truly hurt himself and learn the ramifications of his actions for himself and others before the problem can really be solved.

    Now, I am going to go watch the guy beatboxing on the jaw harp, to remind myself that sometimes humans do beautiful things too.

  51. noen says:

    Zuzu re: limits and boundaries
    Who decides?
    Why can’t people decide for themselves?

    We decide collectively. When only individuals decide you no longer have a community, you just have an aggregate of individuals. A community is stronger, more resilient and better able to weather adversity than an aggregate. That’s why they evolved.

    why not let these boundaries be determined by internal social consent, rather than by external authority

    What external authority? The police, the Justice Dept. and the US Attorney General represent our collective will. They aren’t “external”. They are poor representatives perhaps, corrupt and dysfunctional sure but they are an expression of our society. That says something about how much work there is to do.

    How do we arrive at a social consensus? By doing what we are doing now, talking, arguing (presenting rational arguments for or against a proposition) and ultimately by voting, by participating in democracy.

    However all human societies centralize power, authority, one way or another. Other systems do not work.

    And NO, there must be NO LIMITS on what can be communicated…

    Well that’s one opinion. Such opinions, in my mind, ignore the human condition. I’m unconvinced that all information must be free. Your argument seems to be that having such knowledge is irrelevant to whether or not people act on it. This is sheer nonsense. Out of seven billion people someone somewhere is going to act on that information, it’s just human nature. As technology advances, information and human nature collide at some point and the possibility for catastrophe increases. I’d rather that not happen.

    In this particular case we have the technology of the cheap efficient distribution of information colliding with the basest of human nature. I claim that this kind of pornography degrades us as surely as it does those who masturbate to it. In the past the damage would have been restricted to a small segment of society but with the explosion of the internet the power to do real harm has increased exponentially.

    re: Al Capone & tax evasion.
    The ends justify the means, eh?

    Sometimes yes, if that’s all you have. I’m a pragmatist, not an idealist, god save us from ideologues, like this next one:

    Decius
    You either believe that human beings have a fundamental right to think and to express those thoughts in whatever way they see fit, or you do not.

    That’s a pretty bright line there and you are either on one side of it or you are on the other.

    You’re either with us or against us huh? The choice to draw that bright line where you want to draw it is entirely yours. It doesn’t just exist naturally, it isn’t a feature of reality. It’s a feature of your construction of reality.

    If strippers are just expressing their right to free speech in the way they see fit aren’t those who throw bricks and bags of urine at the police also expressing their thoughts? And the police who beat them in return? If actions are thoughts made external, like, you know, pole dancing or flying planes into buildings, and if all thoughts must be absolutely free, then all acts must be freely allowed, no? This is a recipe for chaos.

    The truth is that there is a dialectic between the absolute expression of free speech and complete censorship. Neither extreme is desirable.

  52. gk says:

    pussies are bullshit

    You might want to read Martin Amis’ article about his visit to the porn industry : http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/mar/17/society.martinamis1

    (talking to Stagliano)
    “Answer me something. How do you account for the emphasis, not just in your . . . work but in the industry in general, how do you account for the truly incredible emphasis on anal sex?”

    After a minimal shrug and a minimal pause Stagliano said, “Pussies are bullshit.” Now John was being obedient to the dictionary definition of “bullshit” which is nonsense intended to deceive.

    With vaginal, Stagliano elaborated – well, here you have some chick chirruping away. And the genuinely discerning viewer (jack-knifed over his flying fist) has got to be thinking: Is this for real? Or is it just bullshit?

    With anal, on the other hand, the actress is obliged to produce a different order of response: more guttural, more animal. As Stagliano quaintly puts it, “Her personality comes out.” He goes on: “You want guys who can fuck really good and make the girls look more . . . virile.” Virile of course, means manly; but once again Stagliano is using the King’s English. You want the girls to show you “their testosterone”

    Almost charming, isn’t it ? Read on, there’s a bit of evidence also about MH habits.

  53. abb3w says:

    Zuzu: I’m not interested in your society. Leave me the hell alone. I choose with whom I interact with on a person-by-person basis.

    You’re to some degree correct about societies being constructed bottom-up via consent; however, there is also an element of imposition, in that if you do wish to interact in a particular fashion with someone, there is an inherent requirement of achieving mutual consent to the nature of such interaction. Such emergent properties are just as real as the solidity from the atoms of a block of ice. (Or, at different temperatures, fluidity or vaporeality.)

    Society exists as a set of mutually understood guidelines of limits and allowability on action and interaction. To the extent you wish to interact with other people in a normal fashion, you should put forth efforts to try and preserve this degree of “society”. While it’s possible to act analogous to a parasite and benefit from the efforts of others to maintain the society, imitation of this tactic resulting in in increased parasitism leads to greater and greater stress on the host, usually leading to its demise. This, from an evolutionary stance, is undesirable.

    From an economic standpoint, the additional negotiations between societies to address potential dispute resolution (at whatever point such potential is clear) act as an uncertain surcharge to individual transactions. As long as the net costs of maintaining membership in society are lower than those from inter-individual transactions, society facilitates efficient trade and is worth having.

    If nothing else, all humans must be a member of at least one society: that containing just their own self. So, anytime you interact with someone, you either must form a new shared society, or interact as separate societies. And the default conflict resolution method between such rests on Ultima Ratio Regnum.

  54. Anonymous says:

    this is sad, there’s so much worse.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumfights for instance.

  55. SamF says:

    For those that might question whether this is indeed about rape and not really about the 1st amendment at all(although I know many of you want to discuss the 1st amendment– fair enough), please read the list of Max’s nastiest scenes linked on Breslin’s blog

    It is about the 1st amendment. Absolutely. Pure and simple. Because despite the fact of all of the scenes that are available, the charges that were brought against him were about distributing obscenity across state lines. Not only did the government create a specific task force to combat “obscenity”, but they had to actively seek a jurisdiction that would even put him on trial. Why? Because most judges know that “obscenity” is a bullshit charge. There are people committing ACTUAL rapes out there, not just depicted ones. But the government is wasting the time and money of the American people and the judicial system to try to prosecute people for made-up crimes.

    What happens from here? The government has now gotten a conviction of one person transporting porn from one state to another, just based on the feelings of 12 of the people in that state. Now they can find someone who is not as bad as Max Hardcore, but maybe has done one or two of the same things and say “see? This is the same. Put this guy in jail, too”. And it continues from there until they can prosecute anyone who points a camera at two people having sex, because there’s some community somewhere that doesn’t like that.

    I really hope that this case gets overturned at a higher level. Our forefathers probably didn’t have Max Hardcore in mind when they wrote our constitution. But then I don’t think they had any specific person in mind when they wrote it. They had all of us in mind. They knew that if one person were given the power to tell another person what to think, say, or do in their own home, that none of us could ever truly be considered free.

  56. greyscale says:

    People who simply dismiss Max Hardcore as a “piece of shit” who needs to be “fucked in the ass in prison” help to shed light on some the deep dark roots of this issue. There are people whose sexualities sometimes encompass humiliation, domination, and *gasp* ugliness. Many commenting cannot wrap their minds around the fact that there are people (and yes sometimes women) who choose to swim in these murky waters. Yakuza mobsters holding performers at gunpoint? That sounds like a scene straight out of Lynch’s “Lost Highway”- tantalizing, but its the exception, not the rule, I’m guessing. There was a notable interview with porn star Belladonna where she cried and expressed vulnerability during a challenging mainstream interview. Weeks later she is back in her subculture element, proclaiming that anyone who truly knows her knows that she loves performing, etc. This might suggest that some highly sexual people have fluid, changing concepts of self. It is not “cut and dried”, it is “alive and complex”. This is an extremely hard thing to empathize with when someone’s sexuality is more rigid or conventional (nice and clean) in structure. Belladonna is a “gonzo/hardcore” performer and she will soon host a high-profile awards ceremony at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. She is gaining mainstream credibility, even as she makes videos featuring rough anal insertions and urination. I think the reason people (men usually) choose “hardcore” entertainment is because increasingly, their personal lives become devoid of not only sexual contact, but regular gratifying physical contact like hugs and even handholding. The hardcore acts crack the armor these people create to defend themselves against a mutually antagonistic world. I personally don’t find satisfaction in a MH production,(so maybe there’s hope for me). but I can see how some people in zero-touch tolerance professions (clergy, politics, education) could ultimately end up getting into this “shit”.

  57. markfrei says:

    Have any of you ever actually met someone that does this kind of work? Are you so certain that this stuff is non-consensual? Because my own experience working in this field points to the contrary.

  58. Takuan says:

    if I import tribesman from the most remote,undeveloped places and indenture them into servitude at appalling terms “of their own free will” with agreements they can’t begin to understand, is that OK? Whereas a comic book artist makes no victim beyond his pen and soiled paper.

    The porn film industry at this nadir is inevitably about uneven power. The consumers of the product are just as likely to be consuming it for “practice” as they to be sublimating.

  59. NotLukeakaCindi says:

    I am really interested in your article and all your commenters have to say as I have a personal interest in this case. I am a writer in the adult industry and when people are convicted on obscenity for making an X movie, it can change the whole dynamic for what is filmed and how it is filmed in the X rated world. I have some stories about this on my blog also. http://www.LksBck.cm But there, most of the opinions and stories are written by people involved in the adult industry. It’s interesting to read the different take on the topic. Good job!

    NL aka Cindi

  60. zuzu says:

    If it’s doing something beneficial for you, it’s not harm. You didn’t answer my point about malpractice — if you’re correct in your analysis, there would be no such thing.

    Then you’re just referring to what torts are for.

    I’m in favor of torts and arbitrated dispute resolution over unilateral laws and judicial rulings.

  61. Val says:

    At last! It’s been years since they have tried to get this bastard!

    It disgusts me that people are trying to defend this guy. I suppose most of you have not attempted to watch one of his movies.

    He doesn’t film the humiliation of a character, he films the humiliation of the actresses themselves. The distress is real in many cases: just read a few interviews with actresses who have worked with him and how many only finished the filming because they were scared shitless. Brianna Banks even quit porn for a while, after her 8 hour ordeal with Max Hardcore. No doubt doubt some less

    Read the details of the physical injuries he has caused. A small glimpse can be caught in the documentary “Hardcore” that Channel 4 in the UK did, the subject of the documentary is only saved from rape because the documentary crew intervened.

    They couldn’t build a good sexual abuse case and went for a different charge. Whilst I don’t agree with censorship and I have a good amount of porn, this is different. Consent of a prostitute afraid of her pimp and consent of a porn actress coerced into some of this stuff is no different. How can anyone of you be so disrespectful of human dignity to call this consent or defend this guy? Or are you doing it without knowing the facts? Freedom of Speech? Does that apply to what is effectively snuff movies?

  62. Anonymous says:

    oh my god, this issue is so titillating, i could not resist commenting. I was porn surfing tonight and stumbled upon a max hardcore video of a girl being forced to give felatio and who then vomited on the penis then was immediatley penetrated by said penis. I could not believe the disgusting perversions before me so I checked out another of his works just to be sure. In this one he slaps a young girl hard in the face and tells her all she is is a f**k hole and she begins to cry, like, really cry. at that moment i wanted to wrap a blanket around the tiny girl and carry her home to feed her soup and cookies. I wanted to cut off that man’s penis and poke his eyes out with it. would any of you been aroused by that? probably.
    Of all the pseudo intellectual babel and battle of the brain bullsh*t that is happening here, i feel like we have really lost sight of the deeper issues. i understand fetishes and i get that people are turned on by different things. But what is happening in those videos is not right. Those girls are being abused. Turning 18 does not mean you are suddenly mentally prepared to do hardcore porn, or go to war. turning 21 does mean you are ready to drink alcohol responsibly. turning 30 does not mean you are ready to raise a family and settle down. nor is it true that young people dont know what love is. no one can mandate how we mature or when we are really ready to take on the many hurdles life presents us. thus, we have a duty to each other, as a society, to set not so much limits, as precedents. Max hardcore feeds off the sickness that is rampant among us. we suffer from a horrific deficiency of respect for each other and ourselves, of love and consideration for other human beings and operate with a self serving agenda that ignores the atrocities we commit upon each other in order to have our own needs met. by arguing on the side of degradation and violence we compromise ourselves. can you really say that we gain anything by the purveying of such acts? rape and murder have been around forever, but should we stand for the glorification of these acts? by making them more mainstream or accessible does that strengthen our society and satiate healthy appetites? honestly, there is something fundamentally wrong with a society in which this type of smut is in demand. we should strive for health and equality and prosperity. i question the reasons why i myself am sometimes attracted to this kind of stuff and i see it as a problem i’d like to be rid of. i will never stop watching porn, but i pray to god to grant me a world where one day all bare busted women are smiling or at the very least, i can watch with the comfort of knowing that at anytime they can yell cut. and at the end of their days, they are not going to look back at what they have done with shame and disgrace but with contentment. and last but not least i pray that my son and daughter grow up believing that the freedom of speech is not synonyms with allowing the objectification and abuse of others.

  63. mikelotus says:

    Countries with the highest amount of hard core porn available tend to have the lowest amount of sexual oriented crime.

  64. Rampant says:

    A lot of these comments are thoughtful (and mostly correct) in decrying it. The only part I disagree with is that it is repugnant. It might be repugnant to most, but someone (even if just “Max Hardcore” it yet remains legitimate) or multiple people out there enjoy viewing these forms of pornography. I am not even worried about where the line becomes drawn, as I highly doubt there is going to be an excursion against other forms of “unusual” pornography or, say, a news stories about autoerotic asphyxiation deaths being struck down. What I am concerned about is that this is a violation of thought and our enjoyment of thought and their legitimate, consensual expression. No matter how anathema it may be to most, or even the consenting actor, ‘strapped for cash’ or whatever may cause her to do something repugnant to her, it is legitimate. Even if they are simulating pedophilia, it is not actual pedophilia. If it were, then by our legal system, he would rightfully be indicted. I do not care about the first amendment or not – I care about common sense protection of rights.

    Now, if one does want to make it an issue of this opening the door for offending rights more often in the future, then it does set a terrible precedent for allowing that to happen, with the obvious first loss being any pornography with any harmful acts at all. I am sure some actors love being in these types of films; mayhap ones not as brutalizing as Max Hardcore, as the man seems intent on producing porn to satisfy his own childish misogynistic desires, and not to encourage any legitimate BDSM type of relationship. There are many much more well structured types that no one would particularly think are wrong, but this would open up the door for any of them to be marginalized. It would even technically allow for any forms with this type of speech in a misogynistic vein to be banned, I would think. I believe, however, that this is simply not a line that will be abused because first amendment outcries almost always gain sympathy in the nation. The only reason that might not hold true here is your typical conformist mental tykes in this nation’s aversion to admitting they have any fetishes at all and that any fetishes are shocking and terrible.

    Also, no, I do not need to watch any of this stuff by “Max Hardcore”, as it would be hard to fathom this being that vastly different from swap.avi, which is perfectly humorous.

  65. Kibble says:

    I have two brief comments to make.

    The first is that, entirely apart from the legal issue, on which I won’t comment, I find this kind of material deeply disturbing, and I worry very much about anyone who wants to make it, and anyone who wants to watch it. Some will call me a prude or worse, but I worry anyway.

    The second is that I must now stop visiting boingboing. The picture of the girl accompanying this story is so far over the line that I find it hard to believe it was posted. I don’t return to sites that spring those kinds of photographs on me.

  66. Takuan says:

    having seen the range of human variability in desire and the range of human folly and baseness of character,I am prepared to err on the side of protecting the weak and confused. If it is truly the ultimate need of anyone to seek out that which they require for completion, they will surely find their way through any guards I might set to protect the defenseless.

  67. BXRWXR says:

    But I poop from there!

  68. Greender says:

    If you don’t like Max Hardcore work fight it, criticize it, but don’t make it a crime, because it is not.
    I hope that you all enjoy the dystopia you are constructing letting your goverment get away with all those mistakes, wars, torture, you name it. I can only hope all that control and loss of liberty doesn’t spread to other countries.

  69. liquado says:

    “Not infrequently, [Max Hardcore] scenes are fraught with pedophilia themes, beginning when he stumbles upon his subjects in playgrounds, where they sit alone, in pigtails, talking baby-talk, and sucking on lollipops. “

    I appreciate your mention of Susannah Breslin’s post in here, Xeni, because it tempers the rallying “First Amendment” call — and rightly so, imho. I believe quite strongly in freedom of speech and expression, but I also believe in protection of minors. Yes, there’s lots of “teen sex” pr0n out there, using young-looking 18-20-year-olds, but I really have issues with stuff that’s explicitly engaging and titillating to those with sexual proclivities for relationships with children, as it sounds like Little’s materials attempt to do.

    In my book, it’s not a moral law — it’s protection for those who don’t wield the emotional development to engage in a hugely unequal power balance relationship. This falls under the statute of protecting children from those individuals, by unequivocally restricting access to materials that encourage that behaviour. Little’s filmwork sounds to be as much about power imbalance and control as it is about sexuality.

    As much as I struggle with agreeing to anything “anti-obscenity,” I tend to think this is the right call. A difficult one, to be sure, but I think unfortunately necessary.

  70. zuzu says:

    I am prepared to err on the side of protecting the weak and confused. If it is truly the ultimate need of anyone to seek out that which they require for completion, they will surely find their way through any guards I might set to protect the defenseless.

    Which brings us back to the point that by criminalizing these presumably consensual acts as “obscene”, they are driven further “underground” where help for legitimate cases of rape etc. will not be available.

    What won’t you do? What’s too far for you? The answer to that question speaks volumes about you.

    I’m enthusiastic for this line of inquiry. To paraphrase Nietzsche, all philosophy is autobiographical.

    Finally, if anyone reading this thread hasn’t also already read Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, please do. Then let’s talk some more.

  71. hesopreisto says:

    The actresses Max Hardcore employ know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. Even if they don’t, I am positive that his reputation precedes him. People are forgetting that all the actresses LEGALLY agree to all the acts that are performed on them.

    Not only that, if some people feel that Max Hardcore takes advantage of barely legal women, do you people not understand that there are THOUSANDS of other porn producers that they could work with, without being pissed on. Who is this law protecting? Nobody; it makes some people feel better about some pervert going away and some people mad about the First Amendment being “trampled” on. Actresses will still gladly sign up for degradation and people will still certainly enjoy it.

  72. MichelleMcCormack says:

    Why did you guys do this story? At least, why did you go so in depth? What is creative model for this site? What do you expect me to do about this situation? Do you think that deseminating this story, in detail, will change things? And if so, what makes you think readers of Boing Boing are the activist audience you need for that to happen. I am so pissed off right now that I suffered through that, and I am still suffering. Don’t you think you are now part of the problem, Boing Boing?

  73. zuzu says:

    So, according to this government, acting in porn is out, but torture is ok?

    I guess the G-men don’t want anyone muscling in on their abuse and humiliation racket.

  74. Dizbuster says:

    One word: Florida.

    Same state that fucked over artist Mike Diana over 10 years ago. He wrote a comic called (I think) Boiled Angel that was filled with a lot of transgressive images. I can’t remember if he was jailed, but get this–he was forbidden by law to DRAW anymore. He was persecuted merely for his imagination. We aren’t talking about physical acts like this sicko Max Hardcore. I am not sure what Diana’s situation is now. Google him, but be warned, the comics are pretty fucked up.

  75. Sister Y says:

    Whilst I don’t agree with censorship and I have a good amount of porn, this is different.

    But they can (and will) use that same law to go after the non-rapists who made your porn.

  76. Lucien says:

    Has anyone seen this?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/film-and-tv/features/her-first-orgy-i-couldnt-face-it-680502.html

    It was documentary on the UK’s Channel 4 several years back. In that (and it’s a pretty even handed film), Max Hardcore comes out of it looking like a psychopathic rapist.

    If what happened in that documentary is representative of Little’s behaviour to his other “stars”, why is the US DoJ going after him with a freedom of speech case? The guy is scum, why not leave the First Amendment out of this? It looks like they could just as easily be nailing him on rape charges?

    The bigger picture here is that the Republicans are trying to drive a wedge in. The next prosecution will be against something slightly less shocking and then a lesser one after that. It’s the standard model for rolling back your freedoms.

  77. Takuan says:

    I do not use “obscene” as a shield or sword. There is a simple judgment of the equality of power, not a value judgment of the worth of any behavior.

  78. noen says:

    SamF @ 88
    So you’re saying that what’s offensive to one person is offensive to everyone?

    No, please read what I said. I built my argument on two things: 1) There need to be limits to what is allowed and 2) I place the limit at material that causes harm. The description by Aeon @ 86 is enough to suggest Max Hardcore has caused real harm. I am a reasonable person, convince me there has been no harm and I might change my mind. Funny how that works huh?

    Not to get off subject, but where have libertarian “free market” economics failed?

    I agree with Naomi Klein Wall St. Crisis Should Be for Neoliberalism What Fall of Berlin Wall Was for Communism.

    “So, what I want to argue here is that, among other things, the economic chaos that we’re seeing right now on Wall Street and on Main Street and in Washington stems from many factors, of course, but among them are the ideas of Milton Friedman and many of his colleagues and students from this school. Ideas have consequences.”

    Neoliberalism = Milton Friedman = Libertarianism. The utopian illusion that has been promulgated by the above has collapsed. The Real has once again asserted itself, it always does.

    re: TV violence
    Source? Some correlating evidence?

    Studies have long shown that TV violence causes real harm. I am aware that there are counter studies. I give them as much credence as I do studies from tobacco corporations showing cigs are good for you.

    The real problem is that people don’t like the implications of all this. It means we might have to grow out of our adolescence and become adults. Choosing some things in moderation and eschewing others. So instead people react in hysteria attacking everything but the argument.

    re: his films are a commodity and markets should be free
    some people do like them. And they give him money, so that he can keep making them. And women keep signing up to be in them.

    Reading the thread there is a fair amount of doubt about how much consent there really is. So yes, it is our business. His actresses probably aren’t aware of what they are getting into. He drugs them and abuses them in many ways. Are you going to advance that tiresome and fallacious argument that prostitutes are really just free entrepreneurs cast out by society and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we made prostitution legal? That “Whore with a heart of gold” delusion is old. Fred Cherry never got anywhere making it. It’s a fantasy, you want to believe that whores and porn stars have honorable professions because you don’t want to deal with reality. So you weave your fantasy world and live in it. Eventually it collapses and you are left once again in the desert of the Real. Wouldn’t it be better to skip all that and figure out how to live without illusions?

    Even if there has been consent in the making of these films I’m not inclined to view them as anything other than obscene and therefore illegal. We have to have limits, we really do. So if we are going to have limits I submit these as Exhibit A in my argument that here is a really good place to draw a line.

  79. zuzu says:

    This falls under the statute of protecting children from those individuals, by unequivocally restricting access to materials that encourage that behaviour.

    Has this ever been proven as a causal relationship?

    Little’s filmwork sounds to be as much about power imbalance and control as it is about sexuality.

    You are aware of BDSM, right?

  80. Anonymous says:

    I’m quite upset by many of the comments made here by boingboing readers. I’ve not seen any of Max Hardcore’s films but I am familiar with many of the arguments made by posters here, especially the ‘I don’t support censorship but….’ Ones.

    These are the ones always levied at sex workers. That working as a sex worker is always wrong and women should not do it. When women who ARE sex workers want to do it they are told that are opinions count for nothing. Apparently sex workers can’t consent freely because they are coerced by men, or addicted to drugs, or living in poverty. What they mean is women are too stupid to know there own minds and should do what they are told.

    Sure there is some exploitation in the sex industry but the same can be said in any field. And it may surprise you that many people enjoy hardcore humiliation and pain during sex. There are far more subs in the BDSM world than doms.

    The women who performed in these films are adults. Saying that they do not have the capacity to truly consent to perform is an insult and far worse than censorship. You are lessoning their worth as human beings.

  81. SamF says:

    Such emergent properties are just as real as the solidity from the atoms of a block of ice. (Or, at different temperatures, fluidity or vaporeality.)

    Yes, but one atom in a block of ice doesn’t care how atoms at the other end of the block interact. It individually negotiates its interaction with each atom that it comes in contact with.

    And yes, societies and governments are the natural evolution of millions of individual inter-personal negotiations occurring, and the expediency of having a readily-available and agreed-upon conflict resolution mechanism (although I disagree that war is the default resolution mechanism).

    The problem is that in the sort of scale that we have with humanity, it becomes impossible (or at the least highly impractical) to form every possible society and group everyone by their preference of agreed-upon resolution guidelines (i.e. laws, government, etc.) In theory, this means that we should collectively agree to the minimum required collective guidelines, and work out the rest for ourselves individually.

    Unfortunately, there are 2 groups of individuals who enable our current society to get as convoluted as it has. There are the lazy who say “I don’t want to have to decide everything for myself, I’ll let society/government handle it”, and there are the power-hungry who say “I not only want to decide what’s right for me, but for everyone else”. The first group enables the second group, and together they form a majority which shapes our society. Those few of us saying “I want to have the responsibility of my own choices” are either ignored or shouted down by the rest.

    And even if we were to want to undertake the difficult feat of uprooting our families and joining a society of like-minded members, we look around to find not that, as you said, “the net costs of maintaining membership in society are lower than those from inter-individual transactions”, but that the cost of changing societies is greater than the freedoms we would gain, as most other societies are either largely like ours, or worse.

  82. SamF says:

    I can’t comment specifically on Xeni’s motive or reasons for posting this story, but if I had to guess, I would say that there were probably several reasons. One would be to spark a dialog about freedom of expression and how far it extends and what it protects. Which has obviously worked. Another reason might be that BoingBoing has always advocated individual freedom. DRM, copyright, freedom of speech, freedom from oppression. And this is very much a first amendment freedoms issue.

    BoingBoing is a directory of wonderful things. That’s what it says under the name of the site. Now, a picture of a girl with lipstick smeared like clown makeup on her face, and bodily fluids on her, may not be a wonderful thing. But our individual freedom of speech and expression is. And if we just sit back and let people get put in jail for obscenity – not rape, not torture, not crimes agains the women themselves – but obscenity…a crime against the sensibilities of people who hadn’t even seen the videos until they were in that courtroom…when we start allowing that to happen without challenging it or even voicing opposition, then we complacently allow the government to take away our freedoms. Our expression. Our rights to decide what “pleasure” means to us. We give them the implicit ability to take wonderful things away from us.

    So, thanks Xeni for posting this.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @SamF is correct about my motivation for posting the story. Michelle, if you find this post upsetting, please skip to the next item, which may be more to your sensibilities.

  83. Anonymous says:

    How are these movies different from something like the “Saw” movies? As long as they take place between consenting adults, I don’t really see the harm.

  84. scottydel says:

    Paul belongs in jail. If it’s truly “consenting” adults, then take away the money. The girls probably get paid more than they otherwise would in the industry. It’s the paycheck that brings them there. They are all young, dumb, insecure, and I’m guessing don’t come from a solid family who loved them since they were in diapers. I wonder how the adult industry would turn out if it was all done for non-profit?

  85. pduggie says:

    Oh yes, the government is hypocritical.

    They should enforce *all* the laws, those against obscenity (see the Frontline special on how the Clinton justice department decided never to prosecute it, even though it wins in court 99% of the time) and those against torture

  86. aeon says:

    #107 SAMF:

    “There is a reason that the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence are called inalienable.”

    I know it’s difficult for citizens of the US to conceive of this, but your Declaration of Independence is actually wrong on that point. There is no such thing as an inalienable right. Rights are societal constructs made by people who believed things would be better if they existed and persuaded others to go along with it. Personally I think they were correct, but I’m not so naive as to think that if society changes it’s collective thinking then those “inalienable rights” can’t just as easily disappear. I wouldn’t argue against the existence of a societal agreement of “rights”, but they are in truth aspirations and nothing more.

    Incidentally, neither does the US government itself believe Declaration of Independence rights are inalienable – they only apply to US citizens physically on US soil, ie. on the right side of Customs and Immigration…

  87. miss girl says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Max Hardcore, but I LOVE watching him ramble on. He’s hilarious – his voice, his wording, everything! I hope this blows over.

  88. Anonymous says:

    I have seem some of Max’s work and it is enough to make anyone go puke. He fails to do what porn film are meant to do. Instead he put to much emphasis on making himself look like a child molester. Besides, his member is smaller than average, take away the kiddie porn talk and you got nothing.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Censorship is wrong. If you want to prosecute this scum for what he’s done to the women, that’s one thing. Then you can subpoena the unedited footage and look it up and down to find a crime. But don’t start closing in on an industry and locking up these guys for putting out videos. After too long you’ll be coming after more mainstream stuff, and by then it’ll be too late.

    I ask everyone who values our freedom to join in the outrage.

  90. crayonbeam says:

    When I read “I have a hard time believing the actresses are really and truly consenting.”

    What I can’t help but hear is “Women should be treated like children and the mentally incompetent and not allowed to sign contracts and make decisions on their own.”

  91. chrisjoel says:

    Id like to know who JAILS those that Jailed Max ? no one thats who…. Fortunately his body of work is out there in video form and THAT is something his jailers cant take away from those that enjoy hardcore porn. Unless of course THEY start breaking down doors and jailing those of us that posses his movies. Again who jails the real criminals here no one, as they keep getting away with whatever they want….

  92. kilranian says:

    @151: Exactly.

  93. noen says:

    Val
    They couldn’t build a good sexual abuse case and went for a different charge.

    Exactly.

    How can anyone of you be so disrespectful of human dignity to call this consent or defend this guy?

    Ideology destroys human dignity every time. The operative ideology for some here is free speech absolutism.

    Decius
    There is an obvious distinction between speech and action.

    There is? Well then by all means write your legal opinion and collect your prize!

    The same is true in a number of other cases, like libel, slander, harrasment, trafficing in credit card numbers or child pornography or stolen copyrighted materials. In each of these cases there is a specific harm associated with the speech

    Oh dear! What happened to that bright line of yours? That people have a “fundamental right to think and to express those thoughts in whatever way they see fit”. It’s spreading out and getting all fuzzy and stuff. You see, there is always going to be this gap between your ideology (free speech absolutism) and the Real.

    When you’re talking about obscenity you are talking about strictly criminalizing the expression of an idea, not an action or a tangental harm that is the product of the speech

    I’ve been pretty consistently arguing that as a pragmatic matter if you can’t get this guy by showing intent, it’s really hard to do ya know, then you use what legal tools you have. The analogy here with the Mafia and RICO leaps to mind. That this A-hole caused real harm to people who very likely didn’t consent, who were taken advantage of and brutally abused, should be obvious to all by now.

    I’ve also tried to argue, somewhat less successfully perhaps, that material of this nature harms us all. Just trying to get past the emotional hijacking and make basic concepts clear has been difficult.

    Cpt Tim
    if you think there ARE limits, obviously there are books that should be put on the bonfire in your opinion.

    Do you mean physical books? Probably not. That’s a bit of a canard though. Information? Yeah, highly classified top secret (and non political) information really shouldn’t be widely published or known by everyone. This administration has gone way too far in the other direction though.

    Samf
    re: a defense that this is just BDSM
    Sorry, noway would this jerk last a second in any well run dungeon. This isn’t BDSM.

    No, they evolved because I can’t possibly produce all of the goods and services that myself and my family require to live.

    Communal life predates agriculture. Virtually all mammals live in some sort of community. For humans it’s been the tribe and more recently other higher forms of organization.

    Absolutely false. You either believe that I have the right to my own freedom of choice, or you don’t. There’s no grey area.

    Ummmm, sure. Bald assertion is not an argument. You have presented no reasons to justify your ideology. I have given plenty of reasons in opposition.

    You’ve already stated your position. You’re against freedom. You’re opposed to individuality. You don’t believe that human beings should be able to live their lives separate from their community.

    No, I’m not against freedom and I have a feeling that what I mean by freedom isn’t what you mean. I’m not opposed to individuality, I just have a different conception than you do. I don’t think the self stops at my skin. Finally, I don’t think it’s even possible to live separate from one’s community.

    Zuzu
    I’m seriously opposed to the collectivism of which you speak. It is an anathema to me, and I’ve resented all attempts towards me of it my entire life.

    That’s nice. How’s your share of AIG comrade?

    Also, is that a strong tone of Hobbesonian social theory I’m hearing?

    Let go of your crutches, be healed and walk free!

    I’m capable of minding my own business and can’t see why everyone else can’t do likewise.

    Ah well that is the problem isn’t it? Other people, what to do about them? On the internet though one can pretend that all others are just reflections of one’s precious self. It never lasts though.

    The iron law of oligarchy is a problem to be dealt with, not something to be condoned or accepted.

    You aren’t arguing, you’re just pointing (linking) and gesturing. And just how is it that “iron laws” have exceptions to them as discussed in the link?

    now that God is Dead, “Nothing is true, so everything is permitted.”

    It was Dostoevsky and these days it’s more like “god is dead, therefore everything is prohibited.” People believe more than ever today and the social imperative is against dangerous excess. We are encouraged to consume coffee without caffeine. Get TiVo, TV without commercials. Those who truly indulge in their enjoyment, chain smokers, junkies, are social pariahs. The absence of Law universalizes prohibition.

    in fact, the spontaneous order of genuine Free Trade does provide a completely distributed ad hoc and leaderless way (i.e. the market) to coordinate human activity.

    Still trying to sell that BS? The UK just nationalized it’s entire banking system. The US should follow suit if we want to survive. The whole system is falling down around your ears and you’re still cheerleading?

    I have to watch Videodrome and go have a calm down now…

    I don’t understand this, I really don’t. I’m calm as can be here. Why all the fuss?

  94. FoetusNail says:

    The bloggers, in my opinion, have a deep concern for freedom and the abuse of power that currently threatens us all. They also, it would appear, understand that even this piece of shit has rights. If the government had prosecuted Little, as others have mentioned, for criminal acts of abuse or assault, then the bloggers, would probably applaud his conviction. I would bet my case buck, they are just as disgusted by this type of porn as most of us. However, as the post and comments state, the DoJ purposely found a time and place to convict him on interstate obscenity charges. As BB also crosses state lines, they understand the threat this poses to online freedom of speech. Furthermore, the governments actions are made all the more suspect in light of the abuses suffered by detainees all over the world. Obviously, this is not about the heinous nature of Little’s video’s, but about opening the door to restricting the interent.

  95. Kobo says:

    I am not sure Breslin’s piece is authoritative at all. Sure, she gets the description down but where is the prescription? I just see her attempting to dismiss the opinion of Greenwald without offering any thoughts of her own. Of course her own feelings are easily implied by the rest of the piece, but where is the solution or anything?

    I have viewed many clips of Little’s work to understand the full impact of this sickness. I also am familiar with the Dworkins and MacKinnons of the world, and I agree with much of their analysis.

    What I disagree with is the legal ramifications. I fully believe the work that Little produces is an abomination and something that must be addressed and fought. But certainly NOT legally. Obscenity laws have no place in a free and open society. Greenwald is 100% right in his legal analysis of the situation.

    We need education, open discussion, an examination of the realities of porn and its repercussions, etc. We do not need to bring draconian laws and courts to settle this in a backwards manner.

  96. ill lich says:

    #151 SAMF

    It is about the 1st amendment. Absolutely. Pure and simple.

    My point is that it didn’t need to be about the 1st amendment, the justice department made it about rights and censorship when they could have just charged the guy with rape (or maybe I assume too much, perhaps all those women who regret working with Max Hardcore were unwilling to press charges, or just thought that because they had been paid, a rape charge was off the table).

    Nevertheless, we all agree that there are limits to the 1st amendment: it is not constitutionally protected speech to openly call for the assassination of a public official. The fear we all have is that of unfettered censorship, the slippery slope that leads from banning one piece of violent porn, to banning all porn, to banning “Ulysses” and “Naked Lunch”, to banning political speech. That is a valid fear, obviously. But sometimes I think the slippery slope leads in the opposite direction too; defending Max Hardcore comes dangerously close to defending child porn and/or rape. A “snuff” film in which a victim is actually killed is clearly not allowable; murder is illegal. Rape is also illegal, and Max Hardcore has essentially been making “rape” films in which he actually rapes (some, not all) of the actresses. He found a loophole: the actresses have signed off on the rape, so they have essentially said “yes” despite all the “no”‘s that they might utter during the filming. It’s a weird netherworld of vague definitions of what constitutes “rape.” There are no such vagaries regarding murder– I can’t sign a waiver allowing a director to actually kill me during filming; I will be dead, he will be prosecuted, the damning evidence is on his own film. The definition of “rape” can be made malleable, and Max Hardcore figured out how to take advantage of that.

    There was a time in my life when I would have defended all porn, however repugnant, simply on 1st amendment principles. The fact that I reached a limit when confronted with Max Hardcore does not mean I am suddenly in favor of banning James Joyce as well.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Um … actually, if you want something it’s still harm. I used to like having my girlfriend cut strips into my arms. Illegal over here, but we both enjoyed it so we both did it. The scars are pretty damning evidence of harm though.

    I don’t think anyone’s going to argue that this bloke’s a nice guy, but what it boils down to is a fight between consent and censorship. And, since this clearly hasn’t been made clearly enough for some people, forced consent is not consent. It doesn’t count. And there is noone here, I’d be willing to bet, who would not support his being sent to gaol if such coercion could be proven. If you’re going to imprison someone, it should be for a real crime and proven to be such, not some bollocks created by disapproving concerned citizens so they don’t have to look at the weird people next door.

  98. noen says:

    “You’re a hypocrite! Therefore I can do anything I want.”

    Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire. As such, filth like this truly is obscene and I have no problem making it illegal.

  99. The Lizardman says:

    Hardcore’s actors are obviously not children, they mostly wouldn’t qualify for the faux teen / barely legal market. This has as much to do with kiddie porn as full grown men wearing diapers and being tended to in cribs by fetish nannies – which would be absolutely nothing. Ruling and sentence are a travesty. Hardcore is offensive and no one should hesitate to call him and his work unpalatable if that is their opinion but he is not a criminal and putting him in jail protects no one and serves no good interest.

  100. Glandmaster says:

    Volenti non fit injuria. I had to stop reading the comments (despite the fact that some are insightful and engaging) as the thought lawyers and mental hygienists out there have me chewing my desk so I apologise if I am covering old ground.

  101. quantax says:

    This is a highly concerning excursion of the government into the affairs of consenting adults. While the material in question seems rather disgusting and something I’d find difficult to watch, my revulsion is completely immaterial to the fact that the actors within signed release forms and were fully cognizant of what they were making. Barring actual illegality such as pedophilia (not the simulated version of dressing a 18+ year old in pigtails), there is no reason for the government to be wasting valuable resources going after the producers of this supposedly obscene material.

    Obscenity is a word that has no true definition in the rule of law. What is obscene to one is fine to another, it is a subjective analysis of the material. What qualifies this judge to remove a human’s freedom for 4 years over their personal thoughts on what is obscene?

    With all the problems pressing our society, such as high dropout rates, a dismal economy, a drug war that seems to have neither and end nor any impact, jailing Max Hardcore will not have a single effect upon any of this except to intimidate those who would produce more such material.

  102. 3des says:

    I have no use for Max Hardcore or this genre of porn. Free speech or not, what he does is violent, despicable, and in extreme poor taste to all but the most deviant of sub-humans shamefully crawling the planet. I hope he will now have the opportunity to be a recipient of his vile acts in his new home. Bye bye scum bag.

  103. SamF says:

    The pragmatic reality is that if you have to show real intent to cause harm you end up with a broken legal system.

    True. You don’t have to prove intent. You can prove negligence. But before there’s even a legal issue, there needs to be someone who has had something wrong done to them. A breach of contract. An assault. A death. An actual instance of harm. A crime.

    Some mumbo jumbo about how “the people” are harmed by this is something I’d expect out of China. Not a free country, where I’m mature enough to decide on my own if I’m harmed by this or not (hint: I didn’t participate in or watch any of the videos, so I wasn’t.)

    If sex is legal and having children is legal then why isn’t having sex with children legal?

    Seriously, I have to doubt whether you read what you type before you hit “post”. The obvious answer is that kids aren’t old enough to consent.

    If you should reasonably have known that the person signing the contract was impaired, it would void the contract. The standard for due diligence in the porn industry is very high.

    I believe it varies by state, but regardless, it’s very hard to prove except in extreme cases. And even if the person was drunk when signing the contract, you’d have to prove that they were still beyond comprehension while filming. The contract would say something like “you agree to do all this stuff, and I agree to pay you X dollars.” If you sober up and say “no, I don’t want to do all this stuff”, the other person can’t legally force you to do it. They can just withhold payment, or sue for compensation if they’ve already paid you.

    • Antinous says:

      If you sober up and say “no, I don’t want to do all this stuff”, the other person can’t legally force you to do it.

      You don’t watch much online porn, do you.? They pick up a woman, film the sex and then have her sign the waiver. The whole transaction could be over in two hours and she’s been deposited on the street corner where they found her.

  104. zuzu says:

    I then say “No, we need limits, there need to be boundaries”.

    Who decides?

    Why can’t people decide for themselves?

    All societies need boundaries in order to exist. Otherwise, like the cell whose membrane is ruptured we descend into chaos and die. There is probably some information that ought not to freely disseminated. We need emotional boundaries, territorial boundaries, legal boundaries. It is a good thing that there are limits to what one can say or depict in TV, on the radio, on film. As a practical matter you and I would probably agree on the details of how those limits should be set. I’m just coming at it from a different direction then you.

    I think it was Stafford Beer… I might be wrong on that… who pointed out the danger in misapplication of analogizing one complex system with another (particularly cellular biology to sociology).

    That said, why not let these boundaries be determined by internal social consent, rather than by external authority? Particularly since social control causes the atrophy of self-control.

    And NO, there must be NO LIMITS on what can be communicated via television, radio, film, online, or via any other medium of information exchange. I didn’t bat an eye at the dissemination of the “Anarchists’ Cookbook” or the detailed plans for constructing a fission bomb were shared online in the mid-90s. (I even volunteered for the PGP internationalization project.) Because possessing the knowledge is irrelevant next to the choice of people whether (and in what circumstances) to build or exercise that knowledge in the physical world. There’s no problem with my neighbor stockpiling rocket launchers; there is a problem with my neighbor stabbing people with pencils.

  105. decius says:

    @NOEN

    Not sure if that was a troll. Of course, I never said that all actions are thoughts made external. You just burned a straw man.

    There is an obvious distinction between speech and action. I don’t think all actions should be legal. I think all speech should be legal.

    Some left wing protesters do have a problem understanding the difference. Groups protesting the WTO and G8 summits have in the past intentionally attempted to block access to roads or prevent politicians from reaching a meeting, while simultaneously claiming to be simply exercising their right to freedom of speech. This is disingenuous and I don’t take it seriously.

    When the police arrest these people for blocking roads, or as you put it, for “throwing bricks or bags of urine.” They are arresting them for their action and not for the expression associated with the action.

    The same is true in a number of other cases, like libel, slander, harrasment, trafficing in credit card numbers or child pornography or stolen copyrighted materials. In each of these cases there is a specific harm associated with the speech, a harm to someone’s reputation or their privacy or their intellectual property rights, which is really what is criminalized in these cases.

    When you’re talking about obscenity you are talking about strictly criminalizing the expression of an idea, not an action or a tangental harm that is the product of the speech, but the very idea itself, based on the notion that it is harmful in and of itself and that people who come into contact with it cannot help but be depraved or corrupted by it.

    I reject that idea. I think that I can come into contact with depraved ideas and not be corrupted by them, and I don’t want the government protecting me from other’s depravity. The idea that I get to decide for myself what I think is depraved is a basic intellectual freedom that I think is important. Based on your previous posts I can see that you don’t.

  106. Takuan says:

    consent implies capacity. capacity is clearly not always there.

  107. Cpt. Tim says:

    #1, i share your basic sentiment, but just a devils advocate type question (watered down from the actual subject at hand)

    should furry porn be banned because the animals the people are representing lack the ability to consent?

    Personally i hate max hardcores stuff, and i wonder how just how consensual some of it is. I care far more about the possibility that girls are really being bullied than i care about what is being simulated.

    I’d rather it be a consenting adult with pigtails and a lollypop than a hesitant adult bullied into the industry or supporting a drug addiction and doing plain tame non-fetish porn.

    Once you take the fight away from “is it consenting?” to “what is being simulated?”, then you open the door to banning all sorts of other media for similar obscenities. There are a lot of books you could try to ban on similar grounds under the argument that reading something could give someone ideas or spur them to do something similar.

  108. ophite says:

    Even if you accept that Max Hardcore has a right to depict what he depicts in pornography, that does not give him the concomitant right to commit the acts he commits in order to film them. There is a legitimate worker-safety argument against allowing pornography of this type. I’m amazed that no one else here appears to see it.

  109. Takuan says:

    in a world filled with uninvited, undeserved injustice and suffering I will first look upon with my finite resource those trying to make it better, rather than those who, at best, would hold a line established by martyrs to freedom and human rights.

  110. russ3llr says:

    Please, do read the Independent article linked above (thanks, Lucien).

    I am exceptionally happy this miserable asshole has been put behind bars. I have mixed feelings about the use of obscenity laws to do it.

    On the other hand, with the US rape conviction rate estimated around 20%, and report rate estimates at 16%, what – really – is the likelihood a successful prosecution from an adult industry acress who had agreed to work for this slime? And what would it do to her career?

    They got Al Capone for tax evasion – maybe sometimes that’s just how it works.

  111. noen says:

    Quoting myself:
    Studies have long shown that TV violence causes real harm.

    It occurs to me that my language may be a problem. So let me shift the frame to a more pragmatic one. Perhaps there is no absolute basis from which one can say that TV violence or violent, degrading porn can be said to cause “harm”. From a purely abstract sense it is neither here nor there whether these things are harmful or their opposites are edifying. The question is really a matter of what kind of society do we want to be?

    “As you think, so shall you become.”

    We all make choices in our lives and those choices determine who we are. There is a reason that America is perceived by the rest of the world as a violent society. We have chosen to be violent, our culture is drenched in it. If we really wish to be a different kind of society then we need to make different choices. It’s as simple as that.

    It’s our choice.

  112. zuzu says:

    Hear hear, CrayonBeam and Anonymous @127!

    Re: Aeon, this is a classic debate about natural rights (i.e. inalienable rights) versus legal rights.

  113. zuzu says:

    Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire. As such, filth like this truly is obscene and I have no problem making it illegal.

    Noen, please explain how your position does not amount to favoring thoughtcrime.

  114. zuzu says:

    They got Al Capone for tax evasion – maybe sometimes that’s just how it works.

    The ends justify the means, eh?

  115. Glandmaster says:

    consent implies capacity. capacity is clearly not always there.

    Deal with that semantic spook and get back to us and, dare I risk the pun, consensual reality ;)

  116. Takuan says:

    I reject your reality and substitute my own

  117. Cpt. Tim says:

    #11 its not thought crime, just media crime, so lets stoke the bonfires, i’ll donate my copy of american psycho, because we all know that after reading it, practically everyone went out and nailed a hooker to the floor and cut off her lips with a razor blade.

    oh.. wait.

  118. olmsteader says:

    With all the injustice in the world, I can’t believe the keystrokes wasted on this turd of a man. So they nailed him! So what, he was a douche of all douches. How about we talk about the Leonard Peltiers of the world instead?

  119. aeon says:

    #91 Zuzu is quite correct that unwillingness (like my own) to defend a nasty piece of work like Paul F Little is ‘how it [erosion of civil liberties] starts’.

    But with individual rights come responsibilities to your neighbours and the society that grants you those rights. Rights are only there as long as your fellow citizens agree that you should have them. If you abuse your rights then they can take them away in the same way that they granted them, just by making it so. Surely the argument should be with the Max Hardcore’s of the the world who are so irresponsible that they make freedom of speech hard to defend and persuade people to restrict it in response?

  120. Belac says:

    What many people have said is true. Max Hardcore’s stuff would be evil and illegal if he was forcing the actors to participate–but so would other, less extreme porn.

    The extremeness doesn’t make it more wrong, except that it makes it more likely/plausible that he is forcing them. It does, however, make it more disgusting and revolting.

    For the record, I’ve seen some. It was so over-the-top that I couldn’t believe they weren’t formally consenting, although I would be very surprised if they weren’t drugged or otherwise abused beforehand. It fell into the uncanny valley, where only people playing out a scripted role could do something like that. Not arousing, somewhat revolting, very unsettling.

  121. Kieran O'Neill says:

    I agree with most of the posters here. The material is repugnant, but unless the actors themselves are being exploited, it shouldn’t be banned.

  122. SamF says:

    I built my argument on two things: 1) There need to be limits to what is allowed and 2) I place the limit at material that causes harm. The description by Aeon @ 86 is enough to suggest Max Hardcore has caused real harm. I am a reasonable person, convince me there has been no harm and I might change my mind. Funny how that works huh?

    Absolutely. I agree 100%. REAL harm. Actual provable harm. Fortunately in this country, you have to convince a jury that there HAS been harm, rather than the other way around. Otherwise, every time someone created a post hoc ergo propter hoc link between one person’s act and another person’s crime, the first person would have to go to jail for the second person’s actions.

    He drugs them and abuses them in many ways.

    If that’s true, then prosecute him on THAT. If he’s truly raping these women. If he’s truly doing things to them that they have not agreed to and have asked him to stop doing, then stick him away in Federal “pound-me-in-the-ass” prison for a long time. And if someone watches his videos and decides that it’d be a good idea to imitate them and does something along those lines to a woman against her will, lock that person up too.

    The problem I have is when you put a causal relationship between “someone made a disgusting video” and “someone else committed a crime.” Even if that person watched that video. Even if the acts they carried out were similar to those in the video. It was solely the responsibility of the person committing the crime to “pull the trigger” as it were. I don’t doubt that Max Hardcore is a despicable brute. And I honestly hope that some of his actresses press charges and he goes away for a long time on REAL charges of REAL harm. But every time you put someone away for something that one group of people says is “obscene”, you open the door to lock all of us up for one reason or another.

    Are you going to advance that tiresome and fallacious argument that prostitutes are really just free entrepreneurs cast out by society and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we made prostitution legal?

    Fallacious how? What about strippers? How about women who pose in a bikini to sell cars? The fact that they recieve money for their services (services that they willingly offer, and charge an agreed-upon rate for) means that, by definition they are entrepreneurs. All consensual sex is a negotiated transaction. Some times the negotiations are unspoken and non-specific. Other times they are explicitly agreed to and very specific. Why is it that becuase the explicit agreement involves the exchange of money, it’s suddenly wrong? To paraphrase the Carlin quote from above, if selling is legal and sex is legal, why isn’t selling sex legal?

  123. Cpt. Tim says:

    #133 Antinous

    that betrays a pretty strong ignorance of how the porn industry actually works. or a certain gullibility on your part in regards to what they’re showing happening and what actually happens..

  124. FoetusNail says:

    How many times does someone have to say, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THIS LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT or worker safety. We all agree these are heinous degrading acts. THIS IS ABOUT SETTING PRECEDENT. Using this easily vilified piece of shit to do so gains your support for an agenda, which no doubt will be aimed at many other lessor content providers. I can probably find some red state town somewhere, say Wasilla, AK for example, that would love to see boing boing prosecuted.

  125. SamF says:

    There is no such thing as an inalienable right.

    So, how do you take away someone’s right to life? You can take their life. But you can’t take away their right to it.

    Incidentally, neither does the US government itself believe Declaration of Independence rights are inalienable – they only apply to US citizens physically on US soil, ie. on the right side of Customs and Immigration…

    First off, I’ll definitely agree that the US government has been infringing our (and others) rights. It doesn’t make it moral, though. it wasn’t right when the slave owners did it hundreds of years ago, and it’s not right now.

    Unfortunately, as I mentioned, just because I have the right to liberty doesn’t mean I have liberty. If someone is able to exercise force against me then they can use that force to try to influence my decisions. They can even imprison me if I don’t go along with what they say. But that doesn’t remove my right to be free. There’s nobody in the world who can claim the right to possess me and force me to do anything against my will. They may possess that ability. But it doesn’t make it right.

  126. decius says:

    @OPHITE

    I agree with you. I haven’t seen these films and it doesn’t sound like I want to, but if people really were abused by this guy, then there is a need for the state to step in. However, there are right ways and wrong ways to regulate that and an obscenity conviction is the wrong way.

    Its not as if they dusted off obscenity law specifically to get this guy. This is part of an overarching federal program to renew obscenity prosecutions across the board.

  127. Anonymous says:

    @#1: The human brain is fully capable of distinguishing fantasy from reality. Just like people that engage in bondage are not more likely to forcibly tie up and rape people, and people that play violent games and watch violent movies are not more likely to commit serial murders, people that watch women dressed up to look like they’re under 18 having sex are not more likely to go out and rape real children. I know that “think of the children” is a convenient excuse for destroying civil liberties, but it’s a really bad one, and the sooner it dies the sooner we can (hopefully) have a little more sanity in the world.

  128. DCE says:

    I suspect sales and viewership of Hardcore’s “work” will increase dramatically given his arrest and media exposure. By attempting to censor his expression (foul though it may be), the court has promoted it better than Max ever could have.

    It’s the sense of taboo and wrongdoing that allow people like Hardcore to flourish. If the court really wanted to suppress them, they might consider removing all barriers to their free expression. That which is readily available and commonplace becomes far less interesting…

  129. zuzu says:

    First they came for the Hardcore pornographers, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Hardcore pornographer.

    (No pun intended! :p )

  130. Cpt. Tim says:

    “To the extent you wish to interact with other people in a normal fashion, you should put forth efforts to try and preserve this degree of “society”.”

    “No, please read what I said. I built my argument on two things: 1) There need to be limits to what is allowed.”

    and to some people this degree of society are the outdated sodomy laws.

    I’m interested noen in what books you think should be burned?

  131. SamF says:

    They got Al Capone for tax evasion – maybe sometimes that’s just how it works.

    But that’s not how it should work. William Blackstone said it’s “better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer”. Franklin thought it should be 100. There’s plenty of discussion about the idea. How many guilty men is it permissible to allow to escape so that one innocent person does not suffer? What about the other way around? Would you go to jail if it meant that one criminal would be imprisoned? Would you do it if two, or ten, or 50 guilty people were imprisoned? How many people would you want to see locked up before you allowed yourself to be locked up as well? Sure it’d be easy to say “I’d go to jail if it meant that 100 murderers and rapists were off the streets and kept my family safe.” But would you say “I’d go to jail for my porn tastes, if it meant that 10 Max Hardcores also went to prison”. Would you go to jail for having a glass of beer if it meant that dozens of brewers went to jail? That’s what prohibition did. The same prohibition that gave rise to Al Capone, and eventually led to him being imprisoned for something completely unrelated to prohibition. Would Capone have still been a criminal if prohibition didn’t make him a criminal? Probably. But who knows for sure. All I know is that the government has history of creating criminals out of whole cloth. When is it going to be you or me who has to go to jail because the government decides that our personal activities are now crimes?

  132. markfrei says:

    #71 Lucien
    Perhaps more concerning is that this will have a chilling effect on the more responsible content producers.

    This will not make this market go away. Instead it means that the producers that are doing things right will shy away, leaving the market open to the scumbags (and yes, you can make this material in a way that is good for the performers and for the audience) .

  133. noen says:

    <>Wht s bscn t n s fn t nthr, t s sbjctv nlyss f th mtrl.

    Bllsht. Ths typclly lbrtrn crtq s bsd n n gnrnt ndrstndng f hmn sxlty. Jst s w hv sn th bjct flr f lbrtrn “fr mrkt” cnmcs, w cn ls s th flr f lbrtrn ds n th gnrl cltr.

  134. Sean Grimm says:

    @noen
    Making something illegal just because you don’t like it is the first step to let someone else make something illegal because he or she doesn’t like it. Freedom of speech HAS to protect the bad in order to protect the good, otherwise what worth does the good have?

    People are going to have a wide range of opinions on this but my feelings are pretty-much the same as that Glenn Greenwald quotation. How can you have the balls to prosecute consensually filmed acts when you’re in another country torturing people against their will, without any humane oversight or human rights? I’m probably already on a list for questioning the absolute power and authority of the US government. Who am I to question its divine and God-driven actions?

  135. TheHowl says:

    Ahh, refreshing. I just love people who make arguments starting with ‘I’m all for free speech, buuuuut….’

    Makes it so easy to figure who’s worth listening to.

  136. Antinous says:

    I have a lot of friends who have lived and worked in the demimonde. The probability that some of the ladies were drugged beyond the point of consent is not insignificant. That doesn’t even have to imply that the pornographers did the drugging. They can just go out and cruise for women who are already fucked up. But the consent is still missing.

  137. ophite says:

    How many times does someone have to say, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THIS LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT or worker safety. We all agree these are heinous degrading acts. THIS IS ABOUT SETTING PRECEDENT. Using this easily vilified piece of shit to do so gains your support for an agenda, which no doubt will be aimed at many other lessor content providers. I can probably find some red state town somewhere, say Wasilla, AK for example, that would love to see boing boing prosecuted.

    Is Boing Boing a filmed depiction of an actual felony? Does it promote and sell filmed depictions of felonious conduct? The creation of a Max Hardcore film necessarily involves criminal conduct, in a manner almost identical to the creation of child pornography. Max Hardcore is what (for instance) Catherine MacKinnon believes pornography to be; her arguments, which are inapplicable in almost every other case, are applicable in this one.

    The fact that the government relied on conventional anti-child porn jurisprudence (which relies heavily on the “filmed depiction of a crime) in this case, rather than spinning fresh legal arguments out of nowhere, leads me to believe that this it does not create a wildly extensible doctrine until this is appealed to the Supreme Court

    The fact that the Democrats are going to have control of the Justice Department at that point leads me to believe that this is not going to hurt anyone but the serial rapists among us.

  138. FoetusNail says:

    Just ask the old jews or the young blacks of L.A.,
    About their lives when the police have their way.
    Living in fear of the knock at the door,
    The barking of orders as jackboots hit the floor.
    Smashing your head for only one reason,
    It’s not the same as theirs;
    You’re the animal in season.

  139. Cpt. Tim says:

    noen, i can process what you’re saying, and i understand it. What i don’t understand that if you think there ARE limits, obviously there are books that should be put on the bonfire in your opinion.

    I’m asking you to put your money were your mouth is and name some.

    So we get an idea of YOUR limits.

    How about american psycho?

    Burn worthy?

  140. WarEagle says:

    all you have to do is watch a few small slices of Hardcore’s movies and you can quickly see that many time the “actresses” appear under the influence of something, in a daze, and lots of times crying. Who knows, maybe they really can just simulate things that well, but i think #10 hit in on the head in saying that while they may have signed away their “consent”, the true motives could be drug related or desperation etc..

    This isn’t enough in my book to jail Hardcore, but perhaps he could be more closely watched and regulated to ensure the subjects of his twisted movies truly are of proper mind when they are giving consent.

  141. SamF says:

    Surely the argument should be with the Max Hardcore’s of the the world who are so irresponsible that they make freedom of speech hard to defend and persuade people to restrict it in response?

    So…restric free speech in SOME cases so they don’t get restricted in other cases? That is yet another very slipperly slope.

    Rights are only there as long as your fellow citizens agree that you should have them. If you abuse your rights then they can take them away in the same way that they granted them, just by making it so.

    There is a reason that the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence are called inalienable. It means specifically that they CAN’T be taken away arbitrarily. The key to your sentence, then, is “if you ABUSE your rights”. Consensual sex between two people is an issue between those two people. YOU don’t give me the right to have sex with my wife, or to decide what kind of sex we can have. If I do something to violate HER rights, then SHE can have me prosecuted and jailed. Not you. And if Max Hardcore has done things to his actresses that they did not agree to, and he has raped them, or even if he has broken his contract with them, then they can file a lawsuit against him (and should). In this case, though, the state of Florida said “we don’t like what we see here” and has put him in jail.

    Maybe part of the problem is that he has a good lawyer who has written his contracts so that he can get away with just about anything. And that’s very unfortunate. I would urge everyone to have a lawyer look over any contract you are going to sign, ESPECIALLY one so important that your dignity and your life are tied up in it. Also, there are contract terms that, even though agreed to, won’t stand up in court. So if someone wants to perouse his standard contracts and sue him on that basis, great. Go for it. But unfortunately, the ugly side of being free to enter into individual negotiations between two people is that if one person is not vigilant about the agreements they enter into, they could end up in a losing proposition. THAT is the responsibility that comes with individual rights. The responsibility to make sure that YOU are vigilant in YOUR dealings. Not to cry foul when you don’t like the product of some other contract that you are not a part of.

  142. SamF says:

    If you sober up and say “no, I don’t want to do all this stuff”, the other person can’t legally force you to do it.

    You don’t watch much online porn, do you.? They pick up a woman, film the sex and then have her sign the waiver. The whole transaction could be over in two hours and she’s been deposited on the street corner where they found her.

    You have no idea. :D

    But I think you’re missing the essence of what I’m saying. They legally cannot force you to do it. In those online porn videos, the girl knows exactly what she’s getting into before she does it. She knows she will be having sex. She knows that it will be filmed. She knows that it will be put on the internet. Even if the waiver is presented afterward, they can’t force her to sign it, and they can’t show the footage unless she does sign it (Ok, they can, but both are criminal acts). In fact, in most cases, the waiver is signed before any filming goes on. They just pretend like it wasn’t planned from the start. I’m not naiive enough to think this is always the case. But as you said, “The standard for due diligence in the porn industry is very high.”

  143. Anonymous says:

    i agree that he shouldn’t have gotten four years in prison for directing porn, if not real harm was done during the recording sessions. that is the question. if they haven’t made any effort to know the answer to that, then it’s quite weird.

    maybe they have i don’t know.

    but having watched a lot of porn myself, i totally agree that the business should be more controlled and the actors more protected. especially the women in porn often seem to be in a very non-safe situation, having little ability to shield themselves.

  144. Daemon says:

    Anything that is legal to do, should be legal to film and distribute. And whether you like it or not, it’s perfectly legal to perform a consensual pretend-rape with an adult woman who is pretending to be a little girl. Disturbing as hell to me and most other people… but legal.

    Honestly, I don’t really see this as being that much differant thant the Saw series – which I will also never watch, for much the same reasons.

    #7 – If you need movies to teach you how to desire, something has gone seriously wrong…

  145. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious that so many people seem to have “come across” his films by accident, and all seem to have found it disgusting! You have to be searching in the darker side of the Web to find his movies, and I’ll be honest enough to admit that I really don’t find any of it objectionable; certainly not to the point of illegality! I hate to rain on the parade of the censorious, moral majority, but some girls do actually enjoy the treatment that people like Max mete out. That thought may be unpalatable, but it doesn’t make it less true. The formative years of these girls lives have led them to a sexuality that most would find extreme, but just because their pleasure appears dependent on being abused and humiliated, makes it no less valid than that of the average man or woman who only ever indulges in missionary position sex. Merely because some people can’t envisage getting their kicks in such a fashion, shouldn’t be enough to imprison the man responsible for fulfilling their needs. The girls involved often appear in similarly themed pornography, so I would deduce that a pattern of behaviour is evident here. I can’t understand why anyone would wish to be whipped for sexual gratification, but I’m tolerant enough to realise that human sexuality is a vast spectrum of tastes, and that no two people are identical in their erotic make-up. Who am I to say that mine is more valid than yours? Sex for humans is more psychological than physical, so if a girl is aroused by the concept of being abused in ways such as being urinated or ejaculated on, and myriad other indignities then maybe, just maybe, we should allow her that freedom. And if people find it so disgusting, don’t watch it! It doesn’t take long to work out the gist of his movies if you do happen to “stumble across” one, and seeing as Max was prosecuted for being obscene, if nobody watched, there could be no offence, in both senses of the word! I’ve often wondered why so many beautiful women would allow themselves to be degraded by some rather unpleasant people. I imagine that many times poverty, drug addiction or poor education are driving factors. What I think is obscene is that so many young women are poor, drug addicted and often badly educated in a country as wealthy as the US. If, as was not shown in court, the girls involved were unwilling participants in what would be tantamount to filming rape, then he is guilty of a crime. However, the prison term given was under arcane, ambiguous obscenity laws; laws which are by their very nature subjective. A slippery slope of precedents being set is a dangerous place to stand, because upon whose moral judgement are we to be tried? Ultimately, freedom of expression is under threat, and not just for the likes of Max who many find odious, but for us all. If we allow government agencies to pick on any individual for thought crimes, you could be next!

    N.B. Dropping bombs on people is obscene and inexcusable. Dropping bodily fluids on people may not be your cup of tea, but please don’t call it obscene.

  146. Lauren O says:

    I think obscenity laws are bullshit, and generally I am the kind of person who thinks misogynistic porn should be criticized rather than censored, but I am having a hard time drumming up any sympathy for a man who actively spreads blatant misogyny. I have spent a lot of time arguing against the Dworkin/MacKinnon school of thought, but cases like these really make me reconsider my stance.

    I have a hard time believing the actresses are really and truly consenting. I have a hard time believing people would do this if they didn’t have dire economic concerns.

    I know it is hard to draw a line between what is objectionable but ultimately acceptable and what is not at all acceptable, but I know which side of the line this kind of porn falls on.

    The photo of that woman with the smeared lipstick is literally making me sick to my stomach. I can’t finish my breakfast.

  147. ill lich says:

    #129 CRAYONBEAM

    When I read “I have a hard time believing the actresses are really and truly consenting.”

    What I can’t help but hear is “Women should be treated like children and the mentally incompetent and not allowed to sign contracts and make decisions on their own.”

    Hold on, I think they aren’t truly consenting NOT because of their gender, but because something in their eyes and faces and body language says so. Look at the photo of the girl above– is she enjoying this sexual experience? There are plenty of porn movies where you could look at the women in them and say unequivocally that they are clearly enjoying the experience, including many bondage/domination films. Max Hardcore films are another story altogether.

    Maybe they are actually just very good actresses, and this is all part of their craft, but I doubt it. As someone on Susanna Breslin’s blog commented “These are not fictional portrayals of sexual torture and humiliation. They’re really doin’ it!” That’s part of what porn is all about– it’s not simulated sex like in a Hollywood movie with no penetration and sheets covering all the “action”, it’s SEX, and I’m fine with that, but I can no more defend Max Hardcore than I could defend pay-per-view live torture of suspected terrorists (and to digress, I bet there would be a huge market for that in the US).

    As many have noted here, this may not really be a 1st amendment issue at all, and the way the Bush DOJ went about trying this as an obscenity case implies either a certain ignorance, or a some ulterior intent.

  148. russ3llr says:

    @zuzu
    “The ends justify the means, eh?”

    Hmmm. Maybe. Some ends do justify some means.

    Maybe more that the law’s a blunt instrument. A lot of people are put away for crimes less or different than those the prosecutors believe they’ve committed; legal prosecution’s complicated and I get the impression sometimes you settle for what you can get.

    And NO, there must be NO LIMITS on what can be communicated via television, radio, film, online, or via any other medium of information exchange.

    I disagree. As Xeni put it at the top – “the story is complicated”. Perhaps it’s possible to move away from “nothing should be censored” without going all the way to “all speech should be restricted”.

    That opens the question of where we draw the line, and who decides – which is complicated, but the fact that censorship is a complicated issue is not a reason to dismiss it out of hand and retreat to the simplicity of absolutes.

    (I’m aware that the above are two different arguments – I’m not trying to be weasel-y, both points seemed important)

    /@zuzu

    My first instinct is that censorship is bad, and that’s where I started the article from.

    My second is that depicting the degradation of women for simple prurience (there’s already a “literary merit” provision in the obscenity laws) is bad – That one’s open to argument from the BDSM crowd.

    Then finally there’s the implication that there was actual forced degradation, if not real rape, in the making of these films (@Lucien, @ill lich). That’s just fucking evil.

    So I have mixed feelings about using obscenity laws to prosecute the guy, and even more mixed about weighting the dice by cherry-picking the state to prosecute in.

    But I’m glad the asshole is going to jail.

  149. russ3llr says:

    @decius

    You either believe that human beings have a fundamental right to think and to express those thoughts in whatever way they see fit, or you do not.

    That’s a pretty bright line there and you are either on one side of it or you are on the other.

    Thankyou for a cogent, polite response to my point. It is clear that I am on the other side of your “bright line”.

    I disagree, I think, on the slipperiness of the slope. I am someone who would hope to be able to make it “politically untenable to expand the scope of censorship any further” earlier rather than later but that is, and has to be, a public discourse. I hope that makes me a realist rather than a hypocrite.

  150. ophite says:

    Incidentally, the modern remains of obscenity laws are similar to the post-Lawrence remains of sodomy laws: they are unconstitutional unless applied in a manner that’s otherwise constitutional. In several states with pre-MPC criminal codes (like Idaho and the South), prosecutors regularly use sodomy charges as a plea-only charge, or as an adjunct charge to another sexual assault charge.

    This works, of course, because ‘nonconsensual sodomy’ forms an exception to ‘it is unconstitutional to criminalize consensual sodomy’ in the same way that ‘filmed depictions of a criminal act’ forms an exception to ‘it is unconstitutional to criminalize speech.’

  151. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    How hypocrite can get the US gob without looking just plain stupid?
    If it´s a movie with consenting adult and marketed to adults WHY it should be banned? Because some feel that they dont like THAT kind of porn?

    There is a great line in Goethe´s Faust that resumes it all:

    “We to chaste ears it seems must not pronounce
    What, nathless, the chaste heart cannot renounce.”

  152. SamF says:

    I have a lot of friends who have lived and worked in the demimonde. The probability that some of the ladies were drugged beyond the point of consent is not insignificant. That doesn’t even have to imply that the pornographers did the drugging. They can just go out and cruise for women who are already fucked up. But the consent is still missing.

    Actually it does need to imply that the pornographers (or their agents) drugged them against their will. The law doesn’t recognize self-impairment due to drugs or alcohol as an excuse to void a legal contract. If you spike someone’s drink with the intent to impair them, you are guilty of assault. If they just drink so heavily that they don’t read the fine print, they are guilty of irresponsible behavior. And again, there ARE things that won’t stand up in ANY contract (like if I sign a contract that allows you to kill me, you still can’t kill me).

    So, for the final time before I head out for the night, I am all for the prosecution of Max Hardcore on charges of actual wrongdoing against any of his actresses or anyone else for that matter. But to prosecute someone for DEPICTING a crime, without actually committing a crime, is just crumbling away at the edges of freedom.

    • Antinous says:

      The law doesn’t recognize self-impairment due to drugs or alcohol as an excuse to void a legal contract.

      Yes it does. If you should reasonably have known that the person signing the contract was impaired, it would void the contract. The standard for due diligence in the porn industry is very high.

  153. FoetusNail says:

    My first post @45, IMNSHO, says it all. Despicable pieces of shit like Little, bring out the fascist in me. S’pose I should add, AND THAT IS PRECISELY why they went after Little.

  154. abb3w says:

    Those on both sides of whether rights are inalienable are overlooking they implicitly assume answers to a prior question that I’ve spent over two years meticulously considering and come up unable to give clearly, simply, and without circularity. (Not to mention millenia of philosophers unable to do better than Rand’s horsefeathers….)

    What is meant by a “right”, please?

  155. js7a says:

    I’ve got mixed feelings about the conviction for the ridiculous filth. But four years? That’s more than the average time served for all violent crimes, where someone is actually hurt. Four months would have had the deterrent effect that the neocons were going for here.

  156. Sekino says:

    @ VAL (and everyone else who cries that anyone here is ‘defending’ this guy)

    If you actually bother reading and comprehending the arguments instead of jumping on you high, emotional horses, you will see that no one on here is defending or remotely justifying what this guy is doing. To just blindly state this without even acknowledging the full range of arguments is insulting.

    Most people who ‘defend’ this guy are concerned that he only got his just desserts on obscenity charges, and rightly so. Yes, we do realize it takes him off the streets for a while; but it also takes the focus away from the people you are claiming to protect: the porn actresses. They are still out there, getting junk all over their faces (only by someone other than Max, perhaps better, perhaps worse). Only, you won’t see it.

    This is not justice or respect for the actresses, do not kid yourself. Obscenity laws are meant to protect the PUBLIC (a.k.a YOU) from disturbing, ugly material.

    Again, it DOES NOT make these situations disappear. The message sent by this verdict isn’t that we respect all women and that porn actresses should be viewed as real people and protected against coercion. The message is ‘EEEW! This is ugly and it makes clean, decent people cry! Make it all go away!’

    That is what censorship does: Making bad things less visible so you can imagine they are actually gone. Censorship doesn’t save people, it fools them.

    You are right, VAL: Prostitutes are no different. And the only reason prostitution is illegal is NOT because we care about women. It’s because most of us hate to think and see that some people resort to it; because WE wouldn’t. Nooo! We’re WAY too proper and healthy and well-adjusted. So we BAN it, as if it makes it all better; for the women, for children… So prostitutes still exist out there, but they are driven in dark alleys, in bad neighbourhoods; they have no protection against rape and abuse because the ‘good’ people banned them as members of society.

    If we do the same thing with porn workers, we will drive them into the same, dangerous corner. The fact that someone like Max Hardcore can get arrested for ‘obscenity’ means that others will follow, including porn actresses. They will be increasignly treated like filthy, deranged people with no credibility or sense. Hardcore porn will still be distributed, you can bet on it, only underground where no control or monitoring will be done. Just like prostitutes, porn actress will still conduct their business, only in even more dire circumstances.

    In lieu of pointing fingers, wringing our hands and weeping like Madonnas, we could acknowledge that there are situations out there that we don’t like but CAN’T ignore thanks to the cover of censorship. We could accept the sex industry (even the one that features kinky practices we don’t approve of) as legitimate and allow for safety features, inspections, easier access to legal and judicial aid in the case of abuse, etc…

    But NO: Instead, sex workers can take comfort in knowing that there are people out there who really, really care for their dignity and safety and are ready to embrace them as people as soon as they get out their weird, disgusting, sad lifestyle.

    Your self-righteous disapproval truly serves the world, people. Keep giving yourselves a big slap on the back.

    And while I’m at it, I see you were criticized several times in this thread; but THANK YOU XENI for not being afraid to bring up serious, disturbing topics to the table. I would bet that you were probably troubled by this story and perhaps shaken in your beliefs on censorship, hence why you brought it up. Boing Boing often instigate debates and I think it is interesting to see how many people back off from their principles (or from the table) the minute issues get ugly.

    Even if it raises the blood pressure a bit, I appreciate that BB treats it’s readers like adults and allow them to debate on a wide range of topics.

  157. Stupendousman says:

    “Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire. As such, filth like this truly is obscene and I have no problem making it illegal. ”

    Wow, talk about a fragile mind.

    I don’t watch this stuff but it doesn’t harm me. It doesn’t harm you either. What I find filthy and obscene is people like you who want to go around dictating what and how others’ should think.

  158. Anonymous says:

    To begin with, I can’t believe Greenwald wrote his opinion without even viewing any of Hardcore’s material. Perhaps it’s a lawyer’s desire to avoid an emotional reaction, but one should at least be familiar with the content one writes about.

    That being said, this is a phony controversy.

    The so-called “degradation” and “humiliation” that takes place in Hardcore’s films is consensual, compensated, and probably even desired by the recipient as a peak experience. Hardcore’s practices are well-known in the industry, and it is highly unlikely that the participants were unaware of what they were about to engage in, performers are paid by what they are willing to do.

    Can the same be said for the humiliation and degradation experienced by people in their day to day lives, which is mostly experienced as involuntary, undesired, and certainly not compensated?

    What about depictions of violence, real and imagined?

    From the history of the species, one can easily tell that these acts preceded the images of them. Yet, Breslin would have us believe that the images train us how to act. Hardcore is supposed to be indoctrinating us to degrade people.

    Yet, one would be hard-pressed to engage in the acts Hardcore depicts without express consent all around. Imagine trying to piss or vomit on someone you picked up at a bar without their consent. You would proably wind up in jail, or get the crap kicked out of you by them or their friends at a later date. Imagine trying to force someone you picked up at the bar to vomit or piss on you. In all probability, they would probably not oblige you.

    This whole controversy stems from a phony, romanticized version of sexuality that eschews the more primal or experimental outliers.

    Maybe the “sensitive” “story-line” pornos will be next.

    None of these issues were touched upon by the so-called authorities.

  159. Sekino says:

    The real problem is that people don’t like the implications of all this. It means we might have to grow out of our adolescence and become adults. Choosing some things in moderation and eschewing others.

    Even if there has been consent in the making of these films I’m not inclined to view them as anything other than obscene and therefore illegal. We have to have limits, we really do. So if we are going to have limits I submit these as Exhibit A in my argument that here is a really good place to draw a line.

    See, that sounds like a complete contradiction to me.

    How are we supposed to ‘grow out of our adolescence and become adults’ while demanding a nanny state to make decisions for grown adults?

    Are you going to advance that tiresome and fallacious argument that prostitutes are really just free entrepreneurs cast out by society and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we made prostitution legal? That “Whore with a heart of gold” delusion is old. Fred Cherry never got anywhere making it. It’s a fantasy, you want to believe that whores and porn stars have honorable professions because you don’t want to deal with reality. So you weave your fantasy world and live in it. Eventually it collapses and you are left once again in the desert of the Real. Wouldn’t it be better to skip all that and figure out how to live without illusions?

    No. I, for one, don’t view prostitution as ‘free entrepreneurs’. However, I do think YOU are hoping for a fantasy world by wanting to shove situations and behaviours YOU find too ugly and disturbing to discuss with a cool head and real facts under the carpet. You seriously think that will make them all go away? It’s been DONE.

    The illusion is to think that by marginalizing and further criminalizing the sex trade, we are helping women (and/or people… But from what I see, people are more upset when women are on the receiving end). You think the women who got puked on in Hardcore’s movies are suddenly working in an ice cream store because he got sacked for ‘obscenity’?? Whatever issue they had that compelled (or coerced) them to participate is still around now. They’ll just move along, finding other gigs, possibly just as bad but perhaps less high-profile, whether it is because they have to feed a habit, a child OR because they like the money. Until we ask THEM, we don’t know squat.

    I rather have prostitutes and porn stars being legitimized and kept in view so we CAN monitor for actual crimes. Because they are NOT illusions. They might not be a pretty, decent part of you little righteous world, but, oh well; if making them disappear makes you actually sleep better, carry on.

    But don’t call everybody else delusional.

  160. zuzu says:

    A Day Without Boiled Angel Is Like a Day Without Sunshine

    By Mark Frauenfelder

    One of the best ways to boost a publication’s sales is to get it censored. Boiled Angel is a perfect example. “My publisher is selling more copies than ever,” says creator Michael Diana. “Now they have them in stores.”

    Twenty-five-year-old Diana holds the honor of being the first cartoonist in America to be convicted on obscenity charges. His comic book, Boiled Angel, graphically depicts serial slayings, date rapes, and priests engaged in pedophilia. Government officials in Florida, offended by the comic book, set up a sting operation in 1992 to get Diana. An undercover agent, posing as a fan, ordered Boiled Angel through the mail. It took the agents two years to send Diana a summons to appear in court on charges of publishing, distributing, and advertising obscene materials.

    The trial was held in Pinellas County during March 1994. The prosecution hired a crack team of expert witnesses to present its case. Two were professors from Eckerd College who claimed that Boiled Angel was void of artistic or literary merit. Expert psychologist Sidney Merin testified that Boiled Angel appealed to “deviant groups,” including the “fringe element,” the “bizarrely unstable,” and “those who have a libertine bent in their thinking.”

    The jury deliberated for two hours and returned a guilty verdict. Meanwhile, Diana spent three nights in jail in the Pinellas County’s maximum-security unit awaiting sentencing. He received three years’ probation, was ordered to perform 1,248 hours of community service, pay a US$3,000 fine, complete a psychology evaluation at his own expense, and take a course in journalism ethics, also at his own expense. But the shocker was Judge Walter Fullerton’s decree forbidding Diana from drawing anything, even for his own personal use, that the judge might consider obscene.

    The case is on appeal. In June, Diana paid the court US$3,000 (given to him by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which is funding his defense and his appeal) to postpone his probation until after the appeal.

    Diana was pretty bummed, especially about the community service part of the sentence. “I don’t like working for free,” he said, but added: “The notoriety was worth the hassle.”

    And the court’s attempt to keep him from drawing whatever he wanted was useless, Diana says. “I kept my drawings hidden, anyway.”

    Boiled Angel: US$6.66 each. Michael Hunt Comix: Box 226, Bensenville, IL 60106. +1 (708) 794 2723. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: (800) 992 2533, +1 (413) 586 6967.

  161. lowestfi says:

    Are we outlawing convincing acting in porn?

    Seriously, what is the problem here? Why does this guy have to go to jail if it was between consenting adults? If there was an issue of consent, then sure, but just because the porn is too filthy for your taste doesn’t mean someone needs jail time. Are we still puritans? WTF? It wasn’t even a snuff film.

    If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. It’s not hard to avoid. I find mayonnaise revolting so I avoid it. No one’s making you watch it.

  162. noen says:

    Cpt. Tim
    i’m still waiting on noens list of books to burn.

    All societies need boundaries in order to exist. Otherwise, like the cell whose membrane is ruptured we descend into chaos and die. There is probably some information that ought not to freely disseminated. We need emotional boundaries, territorial boundaries, legal boundaries. It is a good thing that there are limits to what one can say or depict in TV, on the radio, on film. As a practical matter you and I would probably agree on the details of how those limits should be set. I’m just coming at it from a different direction then you.

    What happens with issues like this is that someone usually says “Everyone should be FREEEEE!! Let’s all just do whatever we want, however we want to. No rules! No laws!” Or only one law, “Do unto others…”

    I then say “No, we need limits, there need to be boundaries”. It is my perception then that people tend to react 180 degrees to that. “You want to take away ALL our freedoms!” And so there tends to be a ping ponging between extremes. It’s very frustrating, I often feel as though I’m not being heard and sometimes I’m less than polite, sorry about that.

    SamF
    there needs to be someone who has had something wrong done to them. A breach of contract. An assault. A death. An actual instance of harm. A crime.

    Those aren’t the only laws we have. We have obscenity laws along with other laws that deal with social issues. Do drugs hurt no one but the user? We have the right to decide what kind of society we want to live in. We have the right to set limits, to say “no, you can’t do that”. I happen to believe that a culture in which drugs are legal, prostitution is legal, snuff porn were legal and so on, would be a very dysfunctional society.

    mumbo jumbo about how “the people” are harmed by this is something I’d expect out of China.

    I’m a democratic socialist, I believe in a mixed economy. I believe that the cult of the Self is a creation of corporate America. All the better to sell you eight different flavors of crap.

    The obvious answer is that kids aren’t old enough to consent.

    Touché.

    Re: Sex workers
    What I can’t help but hear is “Women should be treated like children and the mentally incompetent and not allowed to sign contracts and make decisions on their own.”

    Non sequitur. I does not follow that saying the poor or disadvantaged are unable to make the same free choices others can is the same as saying they should not be allowed to make contracts.

    Zuzu
    this is a classic debate about natural rights

    What do you say? I’m uninterested in what wikipedia has to say. What is your argument?

  163. FoetusNail says:

    Ophite, I hope you are right and wish I had your knowledge and confidence in the system.

  164. zuzu says:

    Bullshit. This typically libertarian critique is based on an ignorant understanding of human sexuality. Just as we have seen the abject failure of libertarian “free market” economics, we can also see the failure of libertarian ideas in the general culture.

    COMMUNITY. IDENTITY. STABILITY. No thanks!

    Making something illegal just because you don’t like it is the first step to let someone else make something illegal because he or she doesn’t like it. Freedom of speech HAS to protect the bad in order to protect the good, otherwise what worth does the good have?

    Free speech is only for speech you disagree with. Even Stalin supported Free speech for speech he agreed with.

    This isn’t enough in my book to jail Hardcore, but perhaps he could be more closely watched and regulated to ensure the subjects of his twisted movies truly are of proper mind when they are giving consent.

    Welcome to the exciting field of neurolaw.

  165. Kobo says:

    #19. LAUREN O

    I think your aversion to Max’s work is pushing you into a dangerous black/white camp. The problem with Dworkin/MacKinnon (in many cases) is not their analysis and description, but their PRESCRIPTION. You can agree with parts of things while finding a lot of it objectionable, ya know? :P

    I definitely find Max Hardcores’ work to be sick, degrading, and an abomination. It should be fought against. Where I disagree with Dworkin/MacKinnon is HOW and WHERE you fight against it. Obscenity laws, courts, criminal sentencing, etc. is NOT where you go. Just like it is not where you go for drugs or many other crimes.

    What drives this work? What drives people to consent? To take part? What in their background? What economic reasons? Etc. This is where the Dworkin school of thought, among others, provides plenty of insight.

    But all of that insight must be pulled together in a rational and reasonable manner to provide a genuine argument and strategy to fight this scourge.

    Relying on so-called BS obscenity laws, judges, trials, prison is a shammockery!

  166. fnc says:

    It’s interesting to me that so many people watch horror films and all collectively agree that they occupy an entertaining and cathartic place and get parsed as such, but porn like this couldn’t possibly work in a similar way but with an erotic twist.

    Anyway, yes this guy’s actresses should get carefully scrutinized to ensure they are not being exploited in any way. But I’d much rather see the attitudes engendered in this film drug well out into the light, analyzed, and discussed at length. Just saying “a mental sickness” attempts to sweep it under a rug without really addressing the root cause of the motivations for making or enjoying something like this, which are what gives me pause. It’s not that this guy makes it, it’s that people are demanding it. That’s what we need to be concerned about, rather than merely the expression of the attitude. Because, as someone else has pointed out, we’re now engaged in an obscenity war that is analogous (and would be about as successful as) our war on drugs. And we know stopping the product won’t stem the demand at all.

  167. gk says:

    I had prepared a long post to basically say : so many good advocates for such a bad cause, and then I read the Independent article mentioned above…

    read it and make your mind up, we are not talking about freedom, we are talking about legalized, merchandized violence using people that are in dire need of money and consideration.

    may that guy and the likes rot in jail.

  168. ill lich says:

    For those that might question whether this is indeed about rape and not really about the 1st amendment at all (although I know many of you want to discuss the 1st amendment– fair enough), please read the list of Max’s nastiest scenes linked on Breslin’s blog, although many are little more than urination (oy vey. . . mere urination, it hurts to say it), there are several where even the most forgiving of us would admit that the definition of rape has been met, as the women are clearly saying “no” or “stop” on camera and he ignores them or says “I don’t care.”

    Example from the list:

    “Bubble Butts 17 (1993)
    -Pamela Dee; In 1992, Little sent performer Pamela Dee to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank “after she suffered vaginal hemorrhaging during a taping,” writes Nick Ravo in the 2/98 ICON magazine. Dee, a writer in Reno, Nevada told Ravo that Paul came up behind her and, without warning, rammed his fist into her vagina. “I never heard of anything like that done to anyone before. I felt ripped open. He also said he would pay my medical bills, but he never did. He could kill someone – he should be behind bars. But no one in the industry criticizes him because he makes a lot of money. He really screwed me up.” – Lukeford.com”

  169. Jerril says:

    #17/#20, Wareagle: I think you’re mistaking bad acting for “under the influence of something/in a daze”.

    You don’t have evidence of anything. At best, you have something that might be enough to encourage an investigation of the productions – but really, do you think this administration wouldn’t be ALL OVER the chance that some of the actresses were really raped?

    They could tar the entire porn industry with the same “rapist” brush if they could do that.

    I think the fact that they HAVEN’T indicates it’s been investigated, and discarded because the actresses really did consent.

  170. Whiteops says:

    @neon:
    “Bullshit. This typically libertarian critique is based on an ignorant understanding of human sexuality. Just as we have seen the abject failure of libertarian “free market” economics, we can also see the failure of libertarian ideas in the general culture.”

    That is interesting, as Canada is a free market economy (mostly) and we are doing pretty well.

    I would avoid calling bullshit on things that you don’t understand, such as calling down a platform of ideals due to the perception of failure on a single point within that ideal set.

    By your logic you should make robbery legal because the Republicans think it is wrong, and well look at what they did to the economy…

    That is a pretty basic fallacy in logic.

    But don’t get me wrong, I still hate the Republicans, I was just trying to make a point.

    And if you were just trolling, well, you got me.

    Also more on topic, I disagree that this is even bad for society, if you look at these stats you may notice that the coloration between media control over pornography and actual instances of rape per capita are practically non existent. Denmark and Germany are at about the same level as Thailand, and the control over pornographic material is rather divergent in policy for those nations.

    I feel that the law should not interfere in matters where there is no direct victim, and in this case you would be hard pressed to find one I think.

  171. Bill Albertson says:

    You know, it is ironic that some folks on this site were totally up in arms over some Imam or Mullah trying to force women to cover everything but a single eye, and then folks gotta have a major freakout over whether some other women consenting to be filmed while taking part in some nasty BDSM/fetish play are being obscene.

    Um, do women have the right to make these decisions on what to do in their free time, or don’t they? Or is it only on Imam day, or do we trade off between readers’ opinions on different days? Who really has the right to tell adult women what to do consensually?

    Oh, yeah, the women themselves do. Quit trying to stand up for them. They are big people, they know what they are doing, and they chose to do it on their terms with some older guy in a cowboy hat.

    You think the DA in this case didn’t track down every single actress and try to induce them to testify against him? Nobody with an axe to grind? Nobody looking for a payday saying “Ah wuz so abusehd!”? No? DA’s do check out that sort of thing, you know. And if they can’t find some means of positive inducement, they are pretty good at using negative inducements as well.

    But the DA couldn’t even dredge up some kind of other crime like prostitution or possession vs the actresses to compel any kind of testimony against him -much less threats of using CPS vs their families, etc. No, all the DA could get was obscenity in a completely different part of the country. Keep that in mind when deciding who is being exploited here.

    And, yes, there are plenty of women and men who do stuff like this all the time. They usually don’t film it though. Try doing some street level AIDS education and find out what some people do for kicks before you start judging everyone by your personal metric, is all I’ve got to say. A couple of years doing that really opened my eyes up to what people do consensually.

  172. SamF says:

    Noen, please don’t change my words around. I said that BDSM was another form of consensual sex that many people find obscene, which could be prosecuted under obscenity laws.

    Bald assertion is not an argument. You have presented no reasons to justify your ideology.

    Logic is not an ideology. A or NOT A is a simple logical statement. My shirt is black, or it’s NOT black. I either am free, or I’m NOT free. Grey is NOT black. Mostly free is NOT free.

    I suppose my own words would be inadequate in describing freedom to you, so I’ll offer the words of Nobel Laureat Milton Friedman:

    The essence of political freedom is the absence of coercion of one man by his fellow men.

    I’ll let you read the wikipedia article on Political Freedom, if you want to see what Friedrich Hayek says about what freedom is NOT.

  173. wylkyn says:

    I know that a lot of people have a hard time believing that actresses would do this of their own free will. But what you and I find objectionable (and I do find his work disgusting) other people might view as just funny. I know that might be shocking, but hey…lots of various opinions out there other than yours. Is yours the “right” one?

    I don’t get the impression that porn actors and actresses spend a whole lot of time agonizing over what is misogynistic. I imagine the thought process is probably something along the lines of, “You’ll pay me $1000 to be barfed on? Pffftt…no problem!” As for the talent required to act dazed and out of it…that’s not exactly the most challenging emotion to realistically portray. It sounds to me as if some of you are looking for reasons to be okay with this verdict.

    I would be interested if the prosecution asked any of his actresses if they felt abused or degraded. I’m guessing that they didn’t. This was a trial about obscenity, after all. Who is the victim here?

  174. Anonymous says:

    Is anything obscene? That’s the question that needs to be answered honestly before any other conversation can continue. Is there anything that is beyond the bounds of decent behavior.
    It’s interesting to note that even Max Hardcore said that there are some things beyond the bounds of decency. If you watch/listen to his interview on Howard Stern prior to the obscenity trial, he says that “throwing a girl off a cliff after having sex with her” is too far. He wouldn’t do it.

    What won’t you do?
    What’s too far for you?

    The answer to that question speaks volumes about you.

  175. Anonymous says:

    what’s the male/female split on opinions here?

  176. e_to_the_m says:

    I’ve watched several clips from Little’s work and it makes me physically ill every time. His work is hateful and exploitive and I don’t understand how any person could watch it and feel aroused. I think it’s disgusting and repugnant and would be happier if I’d never seen it. It makes me sad that my little girl is growing up in a world where this type of film can make money.
    That being said, I have to agree with Kobo (#6). Just because I, and others, are horrified by this man’s work does not mean it should be illegal. I kind of wish it did, but it doesn’t.

  177. Anonymous says:

    Not to trump the thoughtful analysis, here, but–

    ME: 15-year-old rape victim
    Dad, cops, doctors, etc: “Your life is over!”
    ME: (lungs still working) “um, really? How long will I live?”

    Sure, rape and sexual coercion suck, and can be traumatic forever. I find murder, however, (a much bigger fear during a stranger-attack) far worse!

    Yet modern western censorship condemns a naked butt while celebrating wholesale violence including heartless murder and fountains of blood and guts… I just don’t get it!

    If we can critically examine murder in all its subtlety, surely we can do the same for sex, no matter how deplorable most of us (including me) find his content. After all, lots of people like Dexter, CSI, and similar — doesn’t mean they do anything even slightly nasty ever.

  178. Sekino says:

    @ FNC: Anyway, yes this guy’s actresses should get carefully scrutinized to ensure they are not being exploited in any way. But I’d much rather see the attitudes engendered in this film drug well out into the light, analyzed, and discussed at length. Just saying “a mental sickness” attempts to sweep it under a rug without really addressing the root cause of the motivations for making or enjoying something like this, which are what gives me pause.

    Thank you.

    It’s interesting to me that so many people watch horror films and all collectively agree that they occupy an entertaining and cathartic place and get parsed as such, but porn like this couldn’t possibly work in a similar way but with an erotic twist.

    I couldn’t agree more. Funny that while I vehemently defend the necessity (NOT as much a right) to keep freedom and transparency of expression, I would personally never submit myself to watching Hostel or Saw because I know it would be a highly negative experience (Same reason I’ve never watched A Clockwork Orange; even if it is a classic). But it is a decison I make for myself because I know myself. And if the truth is that a LOT of people sit and eat popcorn while watching these, then who am I to deny it…

  179. Brandon Abell says:

    Taking advantage of the mentally ill, and this guy’s crap does that on many levels, should be a crime. You don’t even need to get into the obscenity argument.

    I am also split between amusement and horror that some people here seem to think there’s some magical switch that gets flipped 18 years after you leave your mother’s body that suddenly turns something that should be a crime into something that shouldn’t. Consumers of Little’s “work” are most certainly in the realm of pedophilia. Saying it is something different just because these are “consenting adults” is like saying that many/most fans of Ultimate Fighting aren’t watching it for the violence, just because the participants are “consenting adults.”

  180. Crash! Bang! says:

    anyone struck by the irony of the “dirty jobs” promo at the top of the page?

  181. Catmother says:

    I will admit I haven’t read this comment thread in its entirety, but I did at least ctrl+f’d to make sure I am contributing something new: brief, telling excerpts on Max Hardcore from David Foster Wallace’s essay “Big Red Son.”

    The 15th Annual AVN Awards are actually split over two consecutive nights, a tactic that Max H. [Hardcore] thought the legit Oscars would do well to emulate: “Get all the bullshit out of the way the first night — best packaging, marketing, best gay, shit like that. Who wants to sit through that shit?”

    Mean hetero-zealotry, sure. Whatever. (Bare in mind I couldn’t find this online and actually typed it out!)

    Good old Max Hardcore, for instance, is a total psychopath — that’s part of his on-screen Gonzo persona — but so is the real Max/Paul Steiner [Little]. You’d almost have to have been there in that suite. Max sits holding court in his hat and pointy boots, looking at once magisterial and mindless, while his red-suited acolytes laugh on cue [...] but the Premiere photographer, who is no actor, does such a poor job of disguising his repulsion at Max’s self-regard that the atmosphere of the whole suite gets stilted and complexly hostile, and the rest of the interview is kind of a fizzle-yield, and overall Dick Filth [a composite adult industry journalist that may or may not have been Generation Kill author Evan Wright] said that we failed, in his phrase, to “penetrate the core of the essence of what it is to be Max Hardcore.”

    Here at the footnote to this is where it gets interesting:

    (Apparent pun accidental … although one of your corresps. [i.e. Wallace in a weird "1st person plural" conceit he keeps up for the whole length of the essay.], on receiving Filth’s overall review in the fleeing taxi, responded that surely we had penetrated as far into the core of Max as any sentient organism could ever want to penetrate. Filth’s subsequent rebuttal, which consisted mainly of a long string of unsubstantiatable Max Hardcore stories, is, for basic legal reasons, here omitted.)

    I add this mainly because it’s nice to hear what a dearly departed author has said about this guy, but also because (despite the obvious concerns for 1st Amendment precedent) it’s worth entering further hearsay of this man’s pariah status in the adult film world.

    This being the internet and all.

    Someone hunt down Evan Wright’s take on this!

  182. zuzu says:

    Finally, I’d like to point out that legally you can’t consent to having a crime committed against you. Even if you ask someone to beat you up, if they do, they are committing assault. The fact that the police tend not to bother with things like that doesn’t mean it’s legal. It’s not.

    Then what’s professional boxing? or Ultimate Fighting Championship? or American football, even?

    How is it assault if you consent to someone paddling you, but not assault if you consent to someone drilling into your teeth or cutting you with a scalpel?

    This stuff is obscene. All porn is. I think drawing a line is pointless, stupid, and impossible.

    But drawing a line about what is or is not “porn” isn’t pointless?

    On these very pages, Xeni made a big stink when the US required all providers of porn to be able to prove that all the people in the work had signed contracts and had their ages legally verified, whining about the “mom and pop” porn providers it would hurt. That was a stupid opinion to have then, and right here is why: we wouldn’t need to worry about “censorship” if the industry was well-regulated enough to make sure crimes weren’t being committed. That seems to be the central issue here.

    The problem with USC 2257, in addition to its Sarbanes-Oxley like bureaucratic pointlessness, is that it stigmatizes actors who work in pornography. Child pornography (i.e. using actors under the age of 18) was already illegal (c.f. the Traci Lords scandal).

  183. L33tminion says:

    If anything is obscene, this dude’s work is.

    Of course, I’m sure some will argue that nothing is obscene or that obscenity shouldn’t be a crime, but I think they made the right call on this one.

  184. noen says:

    kuanes
    Please think before you post some of things you do. You have some of the most ill-informed opinions on human nature, sociology, politics, etc.

    My opinions are highly informed, they just aren’t yours.

    I mean, read that stuff out loud to yourself. Do you realize how nonsensical this stuff is?

    “…our beliefs and our very identities are easily shifted and mutated.”

    Beliefs, opinions, attitudes are routinely manipulated by our social net. The people around us, media, advertisements, religious dogma, government propaganda, all of these contribute to how we perceive ourselves. They even determine how we perceive reality, literally. It is my argument that because we are not the rational monads some would have us believe, that we are deeply embedded in our social group, that we should therefore be careful about the kinds of media we permit within society. I’m not against all porn, just this particular pornographer and his work.

    “Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire.”

    I do not make idle statements. The full quote is from Slavoj Zizek’s “The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema”: “Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire – it tells you how to desire”

    What does this mean for us? I think it means that we have a duty to ourselves and to society, which is just the Self writ large, to set limits on behavior. Just as we have a choice of who we wish to be, we as a society also have a choice of how we wish to be.

    How can this be? Who I am, my desires, my needs, even my thoughts, are hard coded into my brain. Not so. The World is not simply what it is. We tell the world. Change the narrative and you change the world, within limits of course.

    Stupendousman
    I don’t watch this stuff but it doesn’t harm me.

    Ah but it does harm you, just as America torturing goat herders in Afghanistan harms you. Just as the constant drum of violence in the media that debases your culture harms you.

    obscene is people like you who want to go around dictating what and how others’ should think.

    I’m not dictating anything to anyone. I’m suggesting that there exists a dialectic between absolute free speech and censorship. You on the other hand are mired in binary, everything is all black or all white, stinkin’ thinkin’. Free your mind from your binary chains.

    So what should we limit about you?

    I have all kinds of limits placed on me here and in real life. Do you think there should be no limits at all? I doubt that. Well then, if there must be limits in order to have a functional self or society then where should we place them? Shouldn’t we talk about that? Isn’t that what we are doing now? I think this particular pornographer and his work is beyond the pale and should be banned. I don’t have a problem with most run of the mill porn, though I suppose I wouldn’t know, I don’t watch seek it out so what do I know.

    I advocate balance in all things. This porn, this man, is out of balance. I reject it.

  185. desiredusername says:

    Ask yourself these two questions:

    Who do we know to be worse and why?
    Joe Francis or Paul Little?

  186. noen says:

    Making something illegal just because you don’t like it

    Not because I don’t like it, because it is harmful. I’m also in favor of limiting TV violence for the same reasons, it causes real harm.

    Re: the hypocrisy of prosecuting consensual acts when engaged in torture.

    As I thought I made clear, the hypocrisy of those in authority is no excuse for material that causes harm. That the police abuse their authority is no excuse to throw bricks at them. That is a childish, adolescent response. Your criticism is based on a false view of human nature. People are not rational monads. We are social, so much so that our beliefs and our very identities are easily shifted and mutated. Propaganda works, advertisements work, they create demand where none existed before. The Self is not located in your head, it is spread around in your social net. That is why we were able to take detainees and virtually wipe their minds clean and install in them new beliefs, a new identity.

    People need limits, societies need limits. That’s what culture is. Otherwise you’re just a troop of monkeys shitting on each other.

  187. noen says:

    Stupendousman @ 93
    That which directly harms another person should be actionable, everything else is permissible.

    Yes, that is one ideology. I’m not convinced such a world would be a desirable place to live in. Furthermore, no one actually lives this way. If it were true then there would be no need at all for rules and moderators online. But we find that we do need such rules. Therefore your proposition is false.

    This is what I mean by fantasy, an ideology that structures reality, but there is a gap. People don’t actually live this way but maintain the fantasy for psychological reasons. Eventually the illusion cannot be held, reality intrudes and the structure collapses. How much better then to avoid all that and just deal with problems straight off?

    SamF @ 104
    you have to convince a jury that there HAS been harm

    The pragmatic reality is that if you have to show real intent to cause harm you end up with a broken legal system. Besides, I think the videos themselves are evidence of harm done to the body politic.

    It was solely the responsibility of the person committing the crime to “pull the trigger” as it were.

    I’ve already said that I don’t accept that we are rational actors utterly alone, adrift in society. What you have said makes sense only within the ideology that the Self is utterly unique and individual and separate from society. That doesn’t mean that I have gone all the way to the other extreme, that we are legion, come join us. There is a dialectic. Exactly where along that dialectic is best is up for discussion.

    Why is it that becuase the explicit agreement involves the exchange of money, it’s suddenly wrong? To paraphrase the Carlin quote from above, if selling is legal and sex is legal, why isn’t selling sex legal?

    If sex is legal and having children is legal then why isn’t having sex with children legal? George Carlin is a comedian not a philosopher but the short answer is “because it is degrading to you and to society”. The reality of the sex trade and of sex workers is very different than the wanker fantasies of horny net geeks. It’s brutal, it’s ugly, the women and children are often sold as slaves and traded around the world. There very well may be a few who do choose sex work but the vast majority do not. Most women and children engage in sex work involuntarily or out of sheer necessity.

    You’d be surprised at what you would do if you’re hungry enough, or in need of a fix badly enough. You too would get on your knees and go at it with gusto. But I wouldn’t call that “freedom”.

  188. SamF says:

    My point is that it didn’t need to be about the 1st amendment, the justice department made it about rights and censorship when they could have just charged the guy with rape

    Exactly. That’s exactly the problem. Rape is a crime. If he has raped someone, then put him in jail for that. But this case is not about rape. It’s about him selling videos of things that he did to women with their consent.

    Even if you accept that Max Hardcore has a right to depict what he depicts in pornography, that does not give him the concomitant right to commit the acts he commits in order to film them. There is a legitimate worker-safety argument against allowing pornography of this type.

    Another good example. If he has done some provable harm to the people that work for him, then by all means, arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate him. I’d love to see that trial. This trial was not about that. This trial was about whether the images in his videos were suitable for you or I to view. And I won’t have someone else making that decision for me. I have already long ago made the conscious choice that his type of pornography is not enticing to me. I’ve already censored him in my house and in my mind. And all adults should be free to do the same. It’s not about whether we should actually see these images or not. It’s about whether we should have the freedom to consciously choose to see them. If the actual acts that he performs are crimes, then prosecute him for those. But the DOJ consciously chose to make this not about rape or abuse, but about censorship.

    It disgusts me that people are trying to defend this guy. I suppose most of you have not attempted to watch one of his movies.

    I won’t speak for everyone else, but as for myself, I am not defending “this guy”. I’m defending a right. An idea. If we say that “this guy” should go to jail for distributing “this type” of pornography, then you can substitute any name and any type of porn into those quotes. You could say that “Hugh Heffner” should go to jail for distributing “tasteful softcore” pornography. I’m not defending “this guy”. I am, in essence, defending myself. And you. And anyone else out there who might be doing something that “the collective” may decide is “obscene” or “tasetless” or “morally unsound”.

    defending Max Hardcore comes dangerously close to defending child porn and/or rape. A “snuff” film in which a victim is actually killed is clearly not allowable; murder is illegal. Rape is also illegal, and Max Hardcore has essentially been making “rape” films in which he actually rapes (some, not all) of the actresses. He found a loophole: the actresses have signed off on the rape, so they have essentially said “yes” despite all the “no”‘s that they might utter during the filming.

    Exactly the point here. There IS a clear difference between killing someone vs. having rough sex with them. There IS a clear difference between having sex with someone incapable of entering into a legal contract vs. having sex with someone who’s signed a contract to consent to certain sexual acts. The important distinction is that my rights end where yours begin. I may have the right to want to see someone bleed. I do NOT have the right to make you bleed just to satisfy my desire. But I CAN express that desire to you, and if you say “I kind of like pain actually. So if you hurt me a little, we will both get something out of it.” That’s the whole idea of the BDSM scene. Shall we lock them all up? How far do we go there? Do I go to jail too because my wife likes it when I spank her now and then?

    We decide collectively. When only individuals decide you no longer have a community, you just have an aggregate of individuals. A community is stronger, more resilient and better able to weather adversity than an aggregate. That’s why they evolved.

    No, they evolved because I can’t possibly produce all of the goods and services that myself and my family require to live. So I go to my neighbor who raises chickens and offer him some of my wheat in exchange. And I go to a neighor who makes clothes and offer to help him repair his house. But if my two neighbors find out that my wife was sick, but she got better all on her own, does that give them the right to come burn her as a witch? This “we get to pass judgement on you and decide your fate” mentality is exactly the kind of thing that led to the witch trials, and book burnings, and all sorts of other nasty “colectivist” activities.

    You either believe that human beings have a fundamental right to think and to express those thoughts in whatever way they see fit, or you do not.

    That’s a pretty bright line there and you are either on one side of it or you are on the other.

    You’re either with us or against us huh? The choice to draw that bright line where you want to draw it is entirely yours. It doesn’t just exist naturally, it isn’t a feature of reality. It’s a feature of your construction of reality.

    Absolutely false. You either believe that I have the right to my own freedom of choice, or you don’t. There’s no grey area. As soon as you say “we’ll all decide together”, you’re taking away my right to decide for myself. Even if it’s just sometimes. You’ve already stated your position. You’re against freedom. You’re opposed to individuality. You don’t believe that human beings should be able to live their lives separate from their community. I won’t mention some of the “great leaders” of history who thought the same way for fear of having this thread Godwin’d.

    And comparing a stripper (someone who willingly sells a service to people who willingly come seeking that service and offer an exchange of money for that service) to a rioter throwing a bag of urine (an act of physical assault committed against someone against their will) is a leap of the utmost willful ignorance. It is this type of logical fallacy that “collectivists” have to resort to in order to attempt to restrict individual liberty. But it is a treason of the mind to accept these falacies as fact and give your freedom up for the illusion of safety and security.

  189. Anonymous says:

    My god, our freedom of speech is being so infringed upon it’s unbelievable!
    Let me just say, “First they came for the deepthroat gag and sh!t and p!ss porn producers, I said nothing….” ;-)

  190. buddy66 says:

    I’ve followed this thread for a few days with a high degree of interest generated not by the subject or its broader implications, but by the quality of the exchanges between participants. It’s as heavy a discussion as I’ve come across on bb, with a minimum of tomfoolery and silliness. Bravo to all!

    FTW, however, it is NOEN. She knows more about cultural anthropology than the rest of you put together. You dismissed or ignored the importance of what she calls “the social net.” I only wish she had elaborated.

  191. Anonymous says:

    If they prosecuted Paul Little on behalf of some his former performers because he really didn’t coerce them then that would be one thing. They didn’t. Because this DoJ that defends torture doesn’t really care about that. This in a dangerous encroachment upon first amendment rights. I was shocked, disturbed and more than a little frightened when I found out about this.

  192. ophite says:

    Sekino:

    A lot of capital letters does not make a good argument. There are effective, legitimate ways in which to discourage the sexual exploitation of women: define the harm; find the victim; write the law.

    Traditional sexual exploitation jurisprudence thinks that (for instance) prostitution somehow harms the society by tempting men to become johns. This is a crock of shit. By and large, the person harmed is the prostitute: many turn their money over to pimps; all have no legal recourse when abused by their johns.

    Decriminalize prostitution. Brutally discourage pimps. Decriminalize acting in a pornographic film. Brutally discourage directors whose stock-in-trade is filmed rape. This drives the people actually harming people underground while depriving them of their main source of control over their victims.

    It’s not rocket science.

  193. Cpt. Tim says:

    the bottom line should always fall on what is actually happening. and not what is being depicted.

    media of all forms depicts a variety of crimes. A good previous example is torture porn. In fact a few violent movie directors have been investigated in the past because the authorities couldn’t believe what they were seeing were just special effects.

    but they were just effects and acting, and when that was bore out, all charges were dropped. they were investigated in regards to what actually happened. Not some law about what is moral or immoral to simulate.

  194. W. James Au says:

    Thanks for bringing up Breslin’s reporting, Xeni, Max Hardcore’s stuff is truly disturbing. I don’t think it would pass the “California” definition of obscenity in even the most liberal region of the country. (Actually, given Hardcore’s utter hatred of women, it’s probably more offensive in, say, San Francisco or Cambridge, than anywhere else.) I’m a First Amendment absolutist, but it was still nice to see Hardcore weeping like a pathetic little bitch in front of a female judge.

  195. Cpt. Tim says:

    “I have a hard time believing the actresses are really and truly consenting. ”

    Me too, there is a distinct difference between his porn and other “rough” porn. Ashley blue does a lot of rough porn but i rarely feel like she’s anything but into it.

    I think rather than looking into what was being shown, they should have looked into what actually happened. Interviewed the actresses extensively. If they ever said no and things went bad and they were offered more money or coerced at all.

    buying someone out doesn’t equal consent.

  196. lowestfi says:

    If it’s a case of rape, then it should be tried as rape. Censoring disgusting videos eats away at our rights and covers up the true problem. If this guy is a rapist, the people in the video probably need therapy of some sort. Throwing this guy in jail under obscenity charges doesn’t help anything.

  197. Takuan says:

    there’s a difference?

  198. MaxIsKing says:

    what tastes better an apple or an orange?

    well… that would be a matter of opinion, the same goes for what is obscene.

    using and interpreting the law to force your personal political ideals on to other people is obscene.

    making people out to be monsters and trying to ruin their life just because you dont like what they are doing is obscene.

    sentencing a person to 4 years in jail as part of a pathetic attempt to make an example of them and scare off other would be producers goes beyond obscene, its bordering on a dictatorship.

    For fuck sake! Are they really going to suggest that max put his girls though more pain than mike tyson did to his opponents? Hell no! But I dont see boxing being made illegal.

  199. Ignatz says:

    I think the sticking point here is the apparent consensuality of the acts being performed. Little’s work shows him as a predator, going out and finding little girls to humiliate. The performers do not appear to be engaging in something consensual. He’s creating elaborate rape fantasies. The acts themselves are shocking, but not too far removed from what Ashley Blue or Audrey Hollander might do in one of their videos. The difference is that Ashley Blue and Audrey Hollander come across as actively enjoying the acts, while Little’s actresses do not.

    Little has been accused of getting his actresses drunk or stoned before shoots, and before getting them to sign the consent forms. I think there should be more investigation into how sober these young women were when they agreed to work with him. Nothing wrong with BDSM, rape fantasy, etc., but it’s gotta be consensual. Provably so, if necessary.

  200. desiredusername says:

    One part of the post says 4 years and another says 46 months. Which is it?

    “Adult film director Max Hardcore sentenced to 4 years in prison on obscenity charges”

    or

    “Judge Sentences Porn Producer To 46 Months In Prison (Tampa Bay Online).”

  201. Crash! Bang! says:

    anyone else see the irony in the “dirty jobs” promo at the top of the page?

  202. desiredusername says:

    I’m an idiot.

  203. pduggie says:

    ” What is obscene to one is fine to another, it is a subjective analysis of the material.”

    I doubt that.

    Obscene is that which appeals to a prurient interest. Some people may be fine with their prurient interest, but that doesn’t make it not prurient.

    People who like to see this stuff are horrible people. full stop.

  204. Brandon Abell says:

    @36: Just to clarify your logic, what if Little’s videos were sold as “instructional” videos? Would those be ok? If not, then what makes that substantively different enough than what he is doing now to make that a crime and these not?

    What I’m getting at is that “consent” (which is a much more nebulous topic than you give it credit for) isn’t really at issue here.

  205. kuanes says:

    @NOEN – For the past 12 to 14 months, I’ve seen most of your comments here on BoingBoing, so I’ll consider myself something of an expert on your doublespeak:

    Please think before you post some of things you do. You have some of the most ill-informed opinions on human nature, sociology, politics, etc.

    “…our beliefs and our very identities are easily shifted and mutated.”

    “Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire.”

    I mean, read that stuff out loud to yourself. Do you realize how nonsensical this stuff is? I’m not trying to flame you, but I grow weary of your self-aggrandizing, self-righteous drivel that you seem to post on a consistent basis.

    In regards to this BB article, the very ability for you to spout fabrications and non sequiturs in the comments is employed by Max Hardcore. He makes a statement with his films (no matter how repugnant he may be to you) just as you make statements like “The Self is not located in your head, it is spread around in your social net.”

    Sheesh.

  206. desiredusername says:

    Thank you, Xeni.

  207. SamF says:

    The creation of a Max Hardcore film necessarily involves criminal conduct,

    What criminal conduct? And if there was, why wasn’t he tried for that? That’s exactly the important issue in this case. That whatever this guy actually DID or did NOT do, what he was charged with was “knowingly use[ing] an interactive computer service … in and affecting interstate commerce for the purpose of selling and distributing an obscene matter” (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0531071max1.html). It wasn’t for performing any of the depicted acts, or even for filming them. It was for selling the videos. THAT is what is wrong in this picture.

    Hell, from the Salon article, one of the quotes was:
    “The person that was involved in the conduct sat [in court] with a smile on her face and wrote your honor a letter saying, ‘Judge, this was a beautiful part of my life.’”

    Did they pay her off? Coerce her? Is she a broken and sick individual? I don’t know. All I know is that he wasn’t put on trial for any actual criminal conduct, and as soon as they start using a vague concept like “obscenity” to convict people, we’re all potential targets.

  208. Anonymous says:

    No no no. Max Hardcore is a piece of sh*t and some decent people took him out. Although we love to glorify our elaborate system of laws, the real world does not run on the lines of the constitution. You play with fire you get burned. Simple as that.

  209. zuzu says:

    I am also split between amusement and horror that some people here seem to think there’s some magical switch that gets flipped 18 years after you leave your mother’s body that suddenly turns something that should be a crime into something that shouldn’t.

    But if anything, it’s the relatively new social construction of “adolescence” which has extended “childhood” past the age of puberty to 18 years.

    I agree there’s no magic switch at 18, also including for drinking alcohol, or smoking, or driving, or flying an airplane, or gun ownership, or voting. Citing “pedophilia” (or more accurately “ephebophilia” perhaps conflates the real issue: consent. How can the degree of ability of consent be detected? I think by focusing on the problem of determining consent can both legitimate sex work and youth rights be reconciled.

  210. desiredusername says:

    Exactly..what is the difference? They are both two overly agressive sociopathic men.

    Only I don’t think they can convict Francis of Obsenity….

    yet.

  211. pduggie says:

    “I suspect sales and viewership of Hardcore’s “work” will increase dramatically given his arrest and media exposure. By attempting to censor his expression (foul though it may be), the court has promoted it better than Max ever could have.”

    No! No! It will have a chilling effect! Thing of all the other Hardcores of the world who will not make their disgusting films. That’s the true loss.

  212. Takuan says:

    what is the purpose of his films? Who buys them? Who watches them? Why?

  213. FoetusNail says:

    Despicable pieces of shit like Little, bring out the fascist in me. Despicable hypocrits like those populating the DoJ, leave me disgusted and embarrassed. Please, please bring on the sleepy-headed kittens.

  214. Anonymous says:

    It’s always OK to do to women what you would never agree to do to any other class of person. If you think it’s right, just insert “black person” into every sentence instead of “woman” or “girl.”

    Suddenly, it’s a hate crime, which is what this man’s work is, plain and simple. I hope he’s raped in prison, repeatedly.

  215. Lauren O says:

    When I read “I have a hard time believing the actresses are really and truly consenting.”

    What I can’t help but hear is “Women should be treated like children and the mentally incompetent and not allowed to sign contracts and make decisions on their own.”

    Oh wow, this is exciting. I’ve been called a feminist cunt and PC thought police, but I have not yet been called a misogynist. An Internet first!

    Let me elaborate. First of all, there is a coercion factor. Women are more susceptible to economic coercion than men, having fewer economic options than men do. This is especially true for poor women. A woman who consents in full consciousness to appear in one of these films only because she desperately needs money is not, by my definition, “really and truly consenting.”

    In addition to that, please read through this thread and you’ll see tons of examples where consent becomes even blurrier when drugs are introduced into the mix, not to mention the many examples of blatant rape.

    But yes, by all means, put him behind bars for rape and crimes against women, as that is what is really wrong with these videos. Obscenity laws are bullshit; what is obscene is misogyny and rape. And put him behind those bars for a much longer time than 4 years. (If the jail time for obscenity charges is longer than the jail time for multiple rape offenses, I am going to cry and then die.)

  216. Kyle Armbruster says:

    My $0.02:

    1) This stuff is obscene. All porn is. I think drawing a line is pointless, stupid, and impossible.

    2) Living in Japan, I’ve seen some pretty horrific stuff that I simply do not believe to have been produced consensually. I hear real terror in the “actresses’” voices, and I suspect very strongly that girls are tricked into signing some waiver or, even worse, coerced/threatened into signing one after the fact. The Yakuza runs the porn industry over here, and if you had any brains at all, you’d take their threats seriously and decide to leave “raped and humiliated” as good enough–no need to add “beaten to death” to the list. I haven’t seen Little’s stuff, and don’t care to, but this is much more important an issue than the record he produces with his cameras.

    3) On these very pages, Xeni made a big stink when the US required all providers of porn to be able to prove that all the people in the work had signed contracts and had their ages legally verified, whining about the “mom and pop” porn providers it would hurt. That was a stupid opinion to have then, and right here is why: we wouldn’t need to worry about “censorship” if the industry was well-regulated enough to make sure crimes weren’t being committed. That seems to be the central issue here.

    4) Finally, I’d like to point out that legally you can’t consent to having a crime committed against you. Even if you ask someone to beat you up, if they do, they are committing assault. The fact that the police tend not to bother with things like that doesn’t mean it’s legal. It’s not. Here is a guy who has released movies depicting real-life violence against women. Waiver or not, strictly legally speaking, that is a crime. Going to jail for obscenity: bad idea. Going to jail for beating up women: totally appropriate. And I think that’s really what he’s going to jail for, so fuck that guy.

  217. desiredusername says:

    It makes me sad that you couldn’t see that difference, Tak.

  218. pduggie says:

    I should start a farm. As a condition of working on the farm, you agree that I have the right to beat you, on film, if I find your work unsatisfactory. I’ll pay you a lot, but I get to beat you. Then I go to Mexico and hire people to work on my farm.

    When I beat them and sell the films, first amendment voluptuaries will come rushing to my defense!

  219. SamF says:

    Well, I guess I’ve rambled and repeated myself enough for one subject (albeit an extremely important one). Thanks all for the intelligent and honest discourse.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to exceed the speed limit on my way home to spank my wife, and then watch 2 girls 1 cup while I relax with a J. :D

  220. Anonymous says:

    I used to work the warehouse for Circuit City when I was in college. I hated that job and my boss treated me terribly. I really didn’t want to work there but I needed the money. All things considered, it was degrading and humiliating and, if not for the money, I would not have done it. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

    When’s the DOJ going after Circuit City?

    Killing people and eating them is illegal. When is the DOJ going after Anthony Hopkins for playing Hannibal Lechter in movies?

    Whenever people say that a society needs limits to what consensual activities it allows; the “as long as those limits comply with my own moral code” is almost always left silent. Why is that?

    It is very easy to ignore 1st amendment rights when you loathe the material in question. It’s also easy to say censorship is “good for society” when you dislike the material being censored.

    Not too long ago, homosexual relationships between consenting adults were illegal for a lot of the same reasons for banning Hardcore’s work I’ve seen tossed about in this thread. Homosexuals were once put in jail too. It’s somehow different because one situation is offensive to you yet the other isn’t? Lot’s of folks still consider homosexuality to be obscene. Should we go back to jailing them for the good of society?

    I truly do not understand the mind that embraces censorship. I’ve seen Max Hardcore’s work in the past. I didn’t like it. Just the smell of puke would put me off of sex instantly and I don’t find humiliating another person to be arousing. I didn’t watch it again. Never once did I think, “That guy should be in jail for making pornography that I don’t enjoy.”

  221. Sekino says:

    My concern with obscenity laws, on top of the ones already mentioned, is that I actually don’t want to see this sort of filth (I am trying to find another, more objective term, but I am failing) further driven underground.

    There is no doubt that such material is absolutely revolting and nauseating, but it IS out there and throwing some blanket obscenity law upon it doesn’t actually make it disappear. If anything, it creates a false ‘out of sight, out of mind’ sense of control that accomplishes nothing (aside from having the impression that our world is a whole lot cleaner than it really is).

    I agree that we need to ensure that the people involved are indeed adults and consenting beyond all reasonable doubts. However, dismissing the entire thing as illegal just shoves it in the dark further from proper inspection, regulation and public vigilance. I understand that it is difficult for most (including myself) to conceive that anyone would participate in such acts without coercion. But we must be willing to keep the dialogue opened and two-sided so that everybody involved is protected by and from the law no matter what they choose for themselves.

    “films(…)teach us how to desire”

    I’d be more willing to bet that out upbringing, education and interpersonal relationships (and no genetic sociopathic tendencies, if they do exist) teach us how to desire. If films were the foremost influence on North Americans’ drives, we’d have become a smoking wasteland long ago.

  222. zuzu says:

    Not because I don’t like it, because it is harmful. I’m also in favor of limiting TV violence for the same reasons, it causes real harm.

    No causal relationship has been proven in this matter either. Again, you advocate for thoughtcrime and mental hygiene.

    People need limits, societies need limits. That’s what culture is. Otherwise you’re just a troop of monkeys shitting on each other.

    Then how did culture emerge before the very concept of authority was invented? Culture originates from within each of us “monads” (our individual tastes, preferences, and morals — which are all really the same thing), and emerges with how we interact based on those individual differences in subjective interpretation. (c.f. methodological individualism, perspectivism, value pluralism)

    The point being: culture is not top down (with “limits”), it’s bottom-up with emergent consent.

  223. Sekino says:

    Sekino:

    A lot of capital letters does not make a good argument.

    No, but it grabs the attention enough so perhaps someone actually reads the arguments through. At least, it made you respond, which I appreciate. I’d rather not use caps, but some people have a tendency to skim over important subtilities.

    And by your response, I see we can agree on many points.

  224. mdh says:

    Films do not give us what we desire, they teach us how to desire.

    No Noen. Prohibition teaches us how to desire.

  225. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t watched any clips of this guy’s stuff, but I’d like to weigh in as someone into BDSM as a bottom.

    Yes. There are people in the world that get off on being degraded and violated. The key to all of it is that it’s consensual. That dazed/drugged out appearance could be what’s called sub-space. It’s a state of mind you enter that’s quite similar to many types of drugs when you’re into such things. I’ve been flogged to the point of an out-of-body experience.

    I was expecting more from you boingboing commenters. Restrictions on speech? And what about the Maker/Creative Commons bent? This porn gets made because someone is watching it. Go ahead and ban it. It’ll just be passed around on torrent networks. Then the homemade stuff will get passed around. You can’t legislate human nature.

  226. sg says:

    Now that the feds have claimed this scalp, maybe they will go after Genki next.

    Because if you think it’s disturbing to watch Max peeing on a skinny 25-year old with smeary makeup, you’ll probably want to gouge your eyes out when you see what that woman does with all those goldfish.

    The moral of this story is: people everywhere are f**ked in the head about sexuality, and applying laws to pretend that it ain’t so isn’t going to make anyone have healthier attitudes about it.

  227. Stupendousman says:

    “The Self is not located in your head, it is spread around in your social net.”

    Yes, I think part of our identity is defined by our culture but to state that it’s totally a construct of it is stupid. The word means the exact opposite of what you’re saying.

    “People need limits, societies need limits. That’s what culture is. Otherwise you’re just a troop of monkeys shitting on each other.”

    Seems like you’re projecting to me. I’ve followed the idea that what you do when no one is watching is what defines you, that your worse deed, not your best is how you should be judged.

    So what should we limit about you?

  228. Sister Y says:

    But yes, by all means, put him behind bars for rape . . . , as that is what is really wrong with these videos. Obscenity laws are bullshit . . . . (If the jail time for obscenity charges is longer than the jail time for multiple rape offenses, I am going to cry and then die.)

    Yes. This. Though I think that misogyny is not “obscene,” in the sense of “worthy of criminal sanctions” – just the rape part.

    If a rapist gets raped in prison, we have a hard time feeling sorry for him. But rape is still wrong. If George W. Bush were prosecuted for obscenity, yeah, I’d have a hard time feeling like it was a big injustice, but obscenity laws are still wrong.

    Basically I want to live in a world where rapists go to prison, but the kink.coms of the world can go about their business in peace.

  229. decius says:

    I disagree. As Xeni put it at the top – “the story is complicated”. Perhaps it’s possible to move away from “nothing should be censored” without going all the way to “all speech should be restricted”.

    That opens the question of where we draw the line, and who decides – which is complicated, but the fact that censorship is a complicated issue is not a reason to dismiss it out of hand and retreat to the simplicity of absolutes.

    You either believe that human beings have a fundamental right to think and to express those thoughts in whatever way they see fit, or you do not.

    That’s a pretty bright line there and you are either on one side of it or you are on the other.

    To acknowledge that fundamental right is not a retreat from complexity and the fact that one can find offensive ideas does not make this question complicated.

    Where you stand on this line is important and where you stand on this conviction is important. This conviction was for thought crime … for thinking and expressing an inexpressible idea. It is the first such conviction in a major federal program which is designed to target people for thought crimes.

    This conviction is a precedent and it will bring more prosecutions and more convictions for thought crime. If you look the other way because you don’t like this guy or you don’t like his films or you are concerned that there might be some other crime that was committed here that ought to be illegal, you are giving tacit approval to a federal anti-obscenity program as well as copy-cat prosecutions by state agencies. Those programs will target movies, books, articles, poetry, websites, zines, comics, and music. The scope of what is prohibited will expand and expand until it becomes politically untenable to expand it any further – until enough people are opposed to what is going on that the program must be reigned in.

    Obviously the conviction of this film maker provides a news event upon which those who abhor this kind of material are going to reflect. If there are legitimate criticisms of this kind of material, or there are legitimate concerns that people were mistreated by this film maker, I think the people who have those concerns ought to find another way to address them than supporting this prosecution outright. This case is a cornerstone in reestablishing the legitimacy of political control over speech in America, and failure to oppose that will ultimately have great consequences, notwithstanding any legitimate concerns which might be raised about these particular films.

  230. duncitstrue says:

    This makes me sick, but that’s not the point.

    Who decides what is obscene? Who decides? If nobody liked what this guy does he wouldn’t be in business.

    And prosecuting using the “well they didn’t really consent to THAT” brings the rest of tamer porn into question as well. If the actors are being blackmailed or otherwise railroaded into doing this stuff then prosecute that.

    The problem with prosecuting “obscenity” is that it opens the door to anything being considered obscene.
    I’ll be surprised if the ACLU doesn’t jump on this one.

  231. Austin63 says:

    I remember seeing something so horrific it defined pornography for me and I was at the tender age of 6 or 7. It was the most disgusting thing one person could do to another and there is was in a film clip for all to see. I saw it, my younger bother saw it, my mother saw it and my father saw it. I shudder to even remember it and yet, like then, you can see it now on various documentaries. Then, like now, there was no outcry of disgust or protest, and no mention of prosecuting the television channels that showed it.

    The film clip I have burned in my mind is that of a young Vietnamese boy being executed. A handgun pressed to the side of his head, the pull of a trigger and the opposite side of his head exploding outwards spewing blood, brains, and bone.

    There was no consent by the young boy and no consent to my viewing it. However, there it was.

    And now, with the advancements in filming, we can see that take place in many violent movies. I still watch those movies and at times, when a scene resembles the film clip, I remember the young boy. However, I know what is reality and what is fantasy. Max Hardcore movies are just that, fantasy.

    It may not be yours, and it may just be his very own fantasy. Either way it is fantasy. As most movies are based on fantasy.

    Should we condemn the producers, director and Stephen King for ‘The Green Mile’ because they made us think of the rape and death of two children. Of course it was not actually depicted but did not it have to be, it alluded to it and in your minds eye you saw it in your very own way. And there are mainstream movies which depict the act of rape and death of a young girl albeit without penetration shown and we do not have lawyers crying it’s a snuff film.

    This is what I learned about our society, depiction of death, real or not, is acceptable but the depiction of sex must only be shown in a sweet and loving way because if not, then it is evil, objectionable and degrading. For some any depiction of sex is just disgusting and immoral, therefore, it should not be seen, written or thought about.

    So it all comes down to this, if you find it objectionable then don’t watch it! But maybe it’s not to me, him or her and no one needs you to tell any us what is right or wrong, moral or immoral, and reality or fantasy. Just as no one should tell you what you should or shouldn’t watch, read or listen to.

  232. zuzu says:

    The reality of the sex trade and of sex workers is very different than the wanker fantasies of horny net geeks. It’s brutal, it’s ugly, the women and children are often sold as slaves and traded around the world. There very well may be a few who do choose sex work but the vast majority do not. Most women and children engage in sex work involuntarily or out of sheer necessity.

    It’s only brutal and ugly when it’s illegal, because then that competitor to government (i.e. force) gets involved — organized crime. Just as prohibition on alcohol created Al Capone, just as prohibition on cocaine created the drug cartels, and just as closing the immigration border with Mexico brought the Mexican gangs to sneak people across the border. Legalize the selling of sex, and the trafficking of sex slaves will be severely curtailed from the demand-side.

    You’d be surprised at what you would do if you’re hungry enough, or in need of a fix badly enough. You too would get on your knees and go at it with gusto. But I wouldn’t call that “freedom”.

    Freedom is freedom-to, not freedom-from. And as has been noted with the Dirty Jobs comparison, there’s lots of literally shit work people will do because they need the money. Hell, let’s begin with military recruitment.

    I’m waaaaaaay more comfortable (figuratively speaking) getting fucked for money than killing people for money. That’s just me though.

  233. loraksus says:

    I’m “thrilled” that so many people are completely willing to accept and embrace this ruling, completely ignorant of why people object to it.

    I’m “thrilled” that so many people are completely oblivious of the past cases and abuses, or even how “obscenity” was defined less than a generation ago. Or how those definitions of “obscenity” were invalidated, overturned and ultimately replaced.

    But, sadly, I understand why. The guy’s stuff is offensive. It’s vulgar. It’s slimy, dishonest. His actions, his callousness and demeanor make his actions seem indefensible. This case just riles up emotions and pisses people off.

    Which is exactly what it is supposed to do – focus you on the case. Focus you on the picture of the crying girl with the smeared lipstick. Focus you on your emotional reaction.

    Because once you’re focused on the terrible, disgusting things here and the emotions have taken over, most people won’t take the time to educate themselves about the issue, and will just pound out a rage driven post on the keyboard.

    Interestingly, it’s not that they feel the history, the ramifications, the setting of precedents, the scummy actions of the federal government or even relatively basic knowledge about the subject aren’t important – it’s that none of these things are even considered.

    And that’s how it devolves into a monkey shit flinging competition. Meh…

    I wrote this as a comment on a photo site, crossposting it here.

    So don’t get me wrong, I think the guy is a shock jock douche. The stuff he produces is… not my cup of tea, to say the least. Part of me even wants to be ok with this.

    But the other part of me is pissed.
    Why?
    It’s because I thought we were done with this sort of stuff 30 years ago.
    It’s because there is an active “obscenity squad” at the FBI.
    It’s because we now have federal judges who are actively involved in not only the censorship of content, but also a system where the federal government will blatantly, publicly and unapologetically cherry pick venues in order to secure a conviction.
    It’s not only that the cherry picking of venue is abusive towards defendants who face the possibility of traveling across the entire country for their trials, but also because this isn’t a case of “we’ll have a better chance of winning” – it’s a case of “there is no way in hell that we could pursue this case in any other venue in the USA”

    In California, they wouldn’t have a chance. In Florida, they got a conviction and a sentence of 4 years in federal prison. Seems that there is a bit of disparity there.

    Part of me hopes that this will get appealed, but the realistic and perhaps cynical part of me thinks that whatever the appellate court comes up with, it won’t be good for anyone who ever takes a picture with even the hint of a nipple.
    I know, I know, the slippery slope might not always apply, but we’re seeing a pretty clear case of the federal government in a case of malicious prosecution. I find that is something far more detestable than anything this guy had put out.

    I know that most of us here just focus on stills. I know that most of us (including me, btw) aren’t in this particular industry.
    Still. Censorship is censorship.
    The same folks are also responsible for Title 18, Section 2257 – I know that’s a whole other topic, it’s something that the majority of us could potentially have legal trouble because of stuff we’ve done in the past. Stuff that we considered completely harmless.

    Then again, I’m a Canadian citizen and Canada has a censor board. What the hell can I say, eh?

  234. movingout says:

    “Jim slapped Johnny and got away with it so I should be able to slap Mike and get away with it too.” That’s the arguement circulating here with about as much logic behind it. Yes, violence in media seems commonplace so why attack one man? I’ve got a question. Has anyone her ever actually seen Paul Little’s work? Have they ever seen him piss in a girl’s ass who looked about 16 and made her drink it with a straw? How about slapping a crying teenage girl whom he’s painted with lipstick and called an ass clown after destroying her rectum with everything he can grab ahold of? How about the girls who actually went to the hospital after ‘acting’ on his set?

    People who defend Paul Little under the first amendment without knowing his work are irresponsible lazy alarmists who really don’t add anything meaningful to this or to the country.

    I don’t think the problem is porn. In many ways this country is entirely sexually repressed and porn (as it becomes more commonplace to our culture) helps create better and honest dialogue between the sexes. On the other hand we have to protect those who don’t have the incentive, intelligence or maturity to protect themselves. Prostitution is illegal yet if we can all watch via porn it’s not. Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction in values to anyone? Some would say we should legalize prostitution but I think the real problem is most American’s have the ‘as long as it’s not me’ syndrome. That is, we know at some level that people do get hurt and lives get ruined in the sex industry but “as long as it’s not me (or my sister, daughter, or mother)” then so be it. And as for the bs “consent” arguement, you’re arguing against incentive. If an 18 yo girl can make $1K in one afternoon by having sex or make the same in a month pulling fries from a greasy vat there’s a lot of incentive- but no one tells her she’s going to loose a part of herself for the money and no one certainly warns her about the kind of abuse Paul Little (Max Hardcore) would put her through. You wouldn’t do that to your worst enemy.

    So, I’m glad he’s going to jail and I think all ‘consenting adults’ should be 21 to participate in these films, plain and simple. We need these young girls to have a chance before we throw them in the meat grinder.

    If you think porn is just fine as it is then all I ask is for you to look up facial abuse and meat holes then ask yourself if you’d like a female you care about to be in any of those sites. If you can’t look those up then perhaps you don’t have the stomach to back up the freedom you believe we should have at any cost. Real freedom cannot survive without responsibility.

  235. desiredusername says:

    That’s a weird timestamp.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @desiredusername, yeah, our MT install is a little b0rked. Sorry. Either that or YOU IS PSYKIK