Can We Have A Multi-State Immorality Zone, Too?

Can We Have A Multi-State Immorality Zone, Too?

It’s easy to understand the appeal of things like gated communities, age-restricted retirement communities and other self-segregated living arrangements. It’s comforting to us humans to be surrounded by those to whom we find it easy to relate and who share our views, interests and/or aversion to young whippersnappers, what with their loud music, multicolored hair, neck tattoos and whatnot.

It gets tricky when you start trying to impose agreement on people who just happen to live in the same area you do though, because if the rules of the community were never posted before they moved in, how were they supposed to know there was no running by the pool, or spitting on the sidewalk, or streaming porn the local state representative finds disgusting?

Down in Mississippi, state Rep. Tracy Arnold has proposed the creation of a nine-state “area of moral decency,” which would be created by those states banding together to ban online pornography and immorality. Many people have decried the idea as unconstitutional call for censorship, but Calico can’t help but wonder if there’s room for compromise — some sort of solution which would give Rep. Arnold the southern decency zone he craves, while also leaving space for us perverts to do whatever the hell we want, unperturbed by moralizing legislators.

What is the compromise Calico proposes? Find out in her latest post, “Can We Have A Multi-State Immorality Zone, Too?”

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– Calico Rudasill, Immoral Films For Women and Couples. Click here!

One of the trickier parts of the “Miller test,” the legal standard applied to decide whether any given work is “obscene” and therefor not protected by the First Amendment, is the notion of “contemporary community standards.”

It’s an important part of the three-prong test, which holds that obscenity hinges on “whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find that the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ appeals to ‘prurient interest’ (2) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (3) whether the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value,” as the folks at Cornell Law School summarize it.

You Have to Give Him This Much: The “Area of Moral Decency” Has a Nice, Paternalistic Ring to It

But how do we define the “community,” particularly when people are going online to download, stream or otherwise view porn? Does it matter where such a person is physically located at the time, if they’re not walking into a brick and mortar video store or adult theater?

One state legislator in Mississippi, Rep. Tracy Arnold, has an idea for defining his community as a nine-state area – one that he wants to declare an “area of moral decency.” Arnold’s proposal to create this area of moral decency against immorality is HB 1116 and its companion bill, HB 1120

Leaving no doubt what he thinks is required to maintain an area of moral decency, Arnold’s bill calls for “banning internet and web-based pornographic content in the southern states.”

Since analyzing this sort of bill is something that (a) ought to be left to lawyers and (b) is boring AF, I will instead do what I do best: Unfairly mock the whole idea, while offering a ludicrous alternative proposal of my own.

A Curiously Narrow Moral Vision

One of the curious things about Arnold’s proposal, to me, is that while it seeks to create an area of moral decency, the only thing it mentions enacting in the process is a ban on porn and the advertising thereof. Call me crazy, but it seems to me there’s more to “morality” (not to mention “decency”) than not watching porn. 

How about incessantly lying? Is that something which would be discouraged in an area of moral decency, or would declaring lying to be immoral unnecessarily complicate Arnold’s life with respect to the presidential candidate he supports?

Even if you accept as true (which I do not) the claims these bills make about porn’s corrosive influence on its viewers, is porn the only sort of expression that taints the minds of those who consume it? The proposal is filled with statements about porn “promoting immorality and unhealthy sexual expectations” and “objectifying women and teaching girls they are to be used,” for example. Has Arnold never seen a beer commercial or watched a “mainstream” sexploitation flick?

Introducing: The Area of Moral Turpitude

Don’t get me wrong – I’m decidedly not calling for the “southern states” or any states to ban beer commercials or sexploitation movies. In fact, if we could have some sort of grand bargain in which the Area of Moral Decency can be offset by a competing multistate Area of Moral Turpitude and Americans can then decide whether to live in the former, the latter, or one of the 38 states which joins neither ideological union, I’d have a tough decision ahead of me if Arizona decided not to be among the states on Team Turpitude.

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If you’re not familiar with the term, “moral turpitude and immorality” is a “description of conduct that is shamefully wicked, an extreme departure from ordinary standards of morality, justice, or ethics; a base, vile, or depraved frame of mind” (hat tip again to the fine folks at Cornell Law).

You know, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of an Area of Moral Turpitude. After all, many of my favorite relatives, friends, coworkers and codefendants have been described by someone as base, vile and/or depraved, so I think it would represent a “community” with “standards” to which we could conceivably conform.

It sure would make life easier for criminal prosecutors within both the Area of Moral Decency and the Area of Moral Turpitude and Immorality if their jurisdictions were so labeled, wouldn’t it? 

Just think, the prosecutors in the states which would comprise Arnold’s Area of Moral Decency – Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi – could bring obscenity charges knowing that, at the very least, the materials at issue were very likely to fail one prong of the Miller test! 

Meanwhile, out west in our Area of Moral Turpitude, prosecutors could spend their entire careers… oh I don’t know, high on the drug(s) of their choice, not having to prosecute anything at all, because realistically, who is doing any law enforcement in a place called the “Area of Moral Turpitude”?

OK, so there may be a few holes in my Area of Moral Turpitude and Immorality concept. The same can probably be said of Rep. Arnold’s Area of Moral Decency. 

But hey – at least we’re out there trying to stuff the world into a moral mold more to our own liking. What have you done in furtherance of imposing your vision of decency (or lack thereof) on your neighbors and peers lately? Have you ruthlessly shamed someone on social media, at least?

Looking to bring a little Moral Turpitude Into Your Life?  Check Out For lots Of it!  Click Here.

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