Monday, 9 January 2012

Making a Fist of It: The Law and Obscenity

I've had an article published on the Freedom in a  Puritan Age webzine in which I offer my take on the recent Obscenity Trial.  I gathered a few background/analysis pieces together in this previous blog post.

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Elly said...

i left a comment at FIPA but it's not been published yet.

I had a small criticism of your use of Foucault. a) in the court they only quoted the first part of his statement so it didn't really make sense - about the three categories: different, abnormal, sick.

His point that those three are 'conflated' though, I don't think he says that is 'wrong', merely that it happens. Foucault emphasised how powerful 'discourse' is so even if a concept is undesirable it is still 'real'. People who are different ARE treated as 'sick' in society whether we like it or not.

also I wasn't 'delighted' to hear Foucault (badly) referenced in court. I think he'd have been horrified that that case took place at all. And, he said that even the 'positive' discourses around sex contribute to its repression/oppression. Talking about it is part of the problem!

Elly said...

also not a criticism of you but an observation:

the two 'live tweeters' in court were feminist women. One went on to write a piece in the Guardian/observer on the trial.

The two academic 'experts' were feminist women.

Jane Fae who wrote pieces on it also a feminist woman.

Brooke Magnanti whatever label she uses is to my mind a feminist woman.

You're the only man I have seen write about this!

what's that all about?

Chris Ashford said...

Myles Jackman is a man and has written about it and has also appeared on the high-profile BBC radio programme, PM so there's been a guy front and centre of the story. I don't share your concerns therefore about the commentary on this (thus far).

On the Foucault point, yes I agree with you in terms of the definition. As a postmodernist, it would be surprising to see him conclude it 'wrong' and would have an interesting take more generally. I think you're absolutely right in relation to the 'positive' discourses point and it will be interesting to see how this case plays out.

Elly said...

yes but he's one of the lawyers from the firm involved in the case. In terms of the surrounding 'discourse' I think it's been feminist-female dominated. I mean, david allen green has written on it but he's very much pandering to feminism with his 'liberal' moralistic approach. and is also a lawyer. So all the men commenting are directly involved in the 'law'. all the women, directly involved in 'feminism'.

I dunno, it feels biased to me.

Elly said...

p.s. I left the same roughly comment at Fipa , the first comment, and they won't publish it. And they won't follow me on twitter because I am a 'troll'.

This is the 'discourse' and 'power' Foucault would be interested in!

I know I am annoying sometimes. So I appreciate you publishing my comments even when they are critical. Not everyone does!

Elly said...

the thing that gets me is how people don't make the link between censorship and cases like this.

Do I have to spell it out? Even though Foucault already has?!

The FIPA debacle made me very depressed about the 'sex positive' community.

Elly said...

sorry for holding forth!

here is my piece at Open Rights Org zine on the trial:

Elly said...

last but not least, my post on the 'censorship' of me by FIPA:

I was amused to see they follow 'index on censorship' on twitter. Let's hope they learn something!

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