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Not the Proudest Day in the Battle for Free Speech

You know how Voltaire said even if he disagreed with your opinion, he’d fight for the death for your right to state it? I’m betting he never had to fight to the death for the rights of a guy who made child pornography, or if he did, Voltaire’s life was much more interesting than I was led to believe.

Like a dedicated friend forced to back up their buddy’s drunk, racist ramblings at a cocktail party, the forces protecting free speech have been put into an uneasy alliance with sleazemonger Michael Williams in his battle to be allowed to fraudulently advertise child pornography.

Williams was caught with "some pictures" of children and was apparently using false promises of even more to market his other, legal pornography. He got five years in jail for the kiddie porn itself, and now they’re arguing about whether to give him another five years for the ads, which promised dirty pictures of children but were in fact just perverted lies told to other perverts. His case, which went in front of the Supreme Court this week, can basically be boiled down into a simple, two-sided argument.

Side A: Advertising that you have child pornography, even fraudulently, clearly contributes to the exploitation of children, and it is the spirit of child pornography laws to protect said children. Therefore, it should be considered tantamount to the crime itself.

Side Holy Fuck We’re With THIS Guy?!: Come oooooon! It’s not like he really had any kiddie porn! Well, other than the kiddy porn he originally had. Besides, if you make this guy stop advertising fictional kiddie porn, you’ve got to stop all fictional representations of adolescent sex. There goes Cruel Intentions 2.

The latter part of the argument, that asking a man not to tell people he’s made videos of children having sex in his dingy basement means we can’t watch American Beauty, is getting the most attention from the Justices. “They seem torn,” says the article.

Really? Is this really THAT difficult a differentiation to make? To help decide, I’ve devised a simple test. Here are some items. Can you tell which are exploiting children and which are legitimate forms of creative expression?

  • The movie Traffic
  • A video of a guy fondling a boy on the bus
  • The sunscreen bottles with a picture of a dog pulling down a girl’s bathing suit
  • Pictures of a guy pulling down a girl’s bathing suit
  • Lolita
  • A webcam reenactment of selected scenes from Lolita
  • Could you spot the smut? Congratulations; you are qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice!

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    Michael Swaim

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