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Have American Obscenity Laws Gone Too Far?

I'm an aspiring writer, but overall, I am an American who seeks a better United States of America. Come join me in my journey of truth.

*Note - This article here of mine was initially published on March 24, 2022.

Dr-MasterMind is the author of this photograph.

Dr-MasterMind is the author of this photograph.

The Prevalence Of Nudity In Our Nation

If you live outside the United States of America, the obscenity laws in your nation are probably not as Draconian as they are here in the land of milk and honey, unless, of course, you live in the Middle East. If you live here in the United States of America, then you probably have witnessed how the obscenity laws have changed drastically in our nation through the years; and I don't mean that they have gotten more lenient than before. Nonetheless, Americans continue to push the limits of our laws any way they can do so.

So many years ago I was living in Los Angeles, California. I liked to go to the beach on the weekends; but I did not like to go to the beach in Santa Monica, because there was a multitude of vagrants that lingered throughout the area and I was always afraid that they would steal my belongings from my beach blanket while I was in the water. Therefore, I would travel up to Topanga Canyon Beach where there were fewer people.

Topanga Canyon Beach was family-friendly. You could find families with their little kids everywhere. People liked to bring their kids to this beach, because it was not crowded. You could leave your belongings on your beach blanket without worrying about any hobo grabbing them and taking off with them. Throughout all the time that I had lived in Southern California, I had only spotted one vagrant walking about on the beach only one time.

Everything on the beach was clean and picturesque. Looking down the coastline and taking in all the scenery made you feel as though you were viewing a panorama of Greece. It was also a very rewarding experience to watch the sun set as you looked out to the Pacific Ocean. The smell of the sea air was soothing to the soul.

A day at the beach there was enchanting, and you didn't have to wait until springtime to go to the beach there inasmuch as the weather was usually warm throughout the year. Sometimes the temperature could get into the hundreds in January and February. It was always a good feeling that you could lay back on Topanga Canyon Beach and work on your tan while other people were shoveling snow from their driveways in other parts of our nation where Old Man Winter made his presence known during the months of November, December, January, February and even March. I get homesick about California even describing these surroundings that I experienced during the time that I lived there, and I'm not even from there.

I was well aware that there were numerous nude beaches in California. However, I never went to any of them, because they were simply not my scene. I don't know what the legal procedures are for a group of people to open up a nude beach or to get authorization to change a regular beach into a nude beach out in California. It was not something on my agenda to find out about them.

Nevertheless, after I moved out of Los Angeles, California to the other side of the country, I had to return back to Los Angeles on a business-related matter four years later. After I had gotten everything done that I needed to do while I was out there, I got sentimental and decided to go to Topanga Canyon Beach for the day. Instead of putting on a bathing suit, I wore my regular street clothes inasmuch as I did not want to get a sunburn all over me before flying back home to the East Coast.

After I arrived to Topanga Canyon Beach early in the morning, I noticed that something was strangely different about it. In fact, I was in for a big shock. As I walked around on the beach, I came across people whose children were running around in the nude. These kids were not all necessarily toddlers, which would not have been as alarming to me as it was. Some of them looked as though they were close to 10 years old.

Now, this had not been the first time that I had seen kids in their birthday suits on the beach. When I was still living in California and I had gone to Topanga Canyon Beach for the day, I remember this one incident in which this one French man had told his two sons to strip naked and clean themselves in the outdoor showers. One of the boys looked to be 9 years old, and the other boy looked to be 12 years old. I tried to remember how to tell them and their father in French that we simply did not do those things here in the United States of America.

Nevertheless, when I was at Topanga Canyon Beach this one last time that I had traveled out to Los Angeles, there were naked kids everywhere. I could not figure out what had changed so much regarding the rules of the beach that made it perfectly okay and legal for parents to allow their children to walk around on the beach in the buff.

While I was lying on the beach to relax, this one middle-aged man had a camera. His daughter and her friends appeared to be somewhere in the 9-to-11-year-old age range and they were all completely unclothed. This man asked them to pose so that he could take photographs of them. By that point in time, I was in such a state of shock that I decided that it was time for me to get out of there and go back to the motel where I was staying.

As I was leaving the beach, a naked 5-year-old boy ran up to me and acted as though he wanted to strike up a conversation with me. I was too freaked out even to look at him. After I had flown back home to the East Coast, I had a whole host of stories to tell my immediate family members.

I recently read that Topanga Canyon Beach used to be a nude beach many years ago. I begin to wonder if it was being converted back into one the last time I had spent the day there. Nothing could have prepared me for that entire episode that day. I grew up in a world where parents did not allow for their children to skinny-dip at their local community pool or at the beach. I remember hearing about nudist camps when I was a little kid, but they were not something that my parents, my sister, or I ever partook in actively.

Nevertheless, even though our nation is arguably one that is based in Christianity, those who defy the Puritanical Power Structure continue to persist in their mission to legalize and normalize every form of exhibition that exists. I'm not saying that we should turn our society into a clone of The Vatican, but we should all be aware that it will never be easy for average Americans to wrap their heads around the idea of making everything rated R and rated X accessible to everyone of every age. It is simply not something that would occur overnight, if at all. Moreover, it is probably not something that should occur.

Pexels is the author of this photograph.

Pexels is the author of this photograph.

The Age-Appropriateness Of Nude Photography Or The Lack Thereof

When I was 9 years old, I remember my parents receiving some kind of sales letter in the mail that advertised a controversial book titled Show Me!, which delved deeply into child sexuality in that it was supposed to educate children about their bodies, their inner feelings, and so forth. The book had a picture of a little boy and a little girl in their birthday suits on its front cover. Being the curious, giggly, little boy that I was back then, I couldn’t stop giggling when I saw the sales letter after my mother had opened it. I also questioned what parents would have allowed their children to pose in the buff for a book like this or even be seen in a book like this.

My mother’s reaction to this sales letter was much different from mine. I had never seen her get so explosively angry before in my life. She talked about how she wanted to beat the tar out of the book’s author, the late Will McBride, if she could get her hands on him. She voiced her hatred of the man in a way that she made it more than clear to me that she thought that he was merely another short-eyes freak looking to profit off of his sickness.

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My mother was so full of rage that it was scary for me to see her that way. She had a homicidal look in her eyes insofar as she probably would have brutally assaulted the late Mr. McBride if he had been living in our neighborhood, and he probably would have either ended up in the hospital or dead afterwards. I became worried after I heard my mother talking to me about her phoning the toll-free customer service telephone number on the sales letter for the book and screaming and threatening whoever answered at the other end. Then again, I wouldn’t doubt that the customer service department that took orders for this book likely received numerous telephone calls from angry suburban housewives who threatened them with legal action or even violence.

American parents simply did not want their little kids to be exposed to what they believed to be sexually suggestive material back in those days. I assume that my parents had received that sales letter, because its sender knew that there was a little kid living in our household and I was that little kid back then. The sender of that sales letter apparently believed that my parents would view the book as being educational for me, but my parents’ reactions toward it were quite negative. At least my mother’s reaction toward it was hostile. My father merely wanted her to throw the sales letter in the trash after he looked at it.

I know that it is maternal instinct for a woman to want to do everything she can to protect her children from all the vermin of society, but I had never known my mother to have become this furious before I saw her read that sales letter for the book titled Show Me!. She would have turned the late Mr. McBride into her personal punching bag if she had ever come into contact with him. Let’s just say that the late Mr. McBride was not someone that women with small children praised and idolized.

Special-interest groups took legal action to ban this same controversial book here in the United States of America in later years. However, the late Mr. McBride kept finding loopholes in the laws to keep this book on the shelves of bookstores across the United States of America throughout the 1980s and even the first half of the 1990s. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the very last copy of this same book was supposedly removed from the shelves of every bookstore here in the land of milk and honey never to be seen again. If any copies of this same book were still legally on shelves in American bookstores by the early part of the twenty-first century, there were likely so very few of them inasmuch as the very few loopholes left in our nation's pornography laws made it difficult for a store owner in possession of this book to steer clear of the authorities. The American court of public opinion had mixed feelings about this same book.

The late Will McBride was an American citizen from Saint Louis, Missouri. However, in later years, after he had received so much backlash from the American public, he immigrated to Germany and subsequently became a German citizen. He died in 2015. His book titled Show Me! is still being sold on E-bay for over a thousand dollars the last time I heard about it. However, to the best of my knowledge, it is completely illegal to possess a copy of it here in our nation, and it is, therefore, now considered to be a form of pornographic contraband.

Even to this very day, controversy continues to persist among Americans on whether our criminal justice system and our lawmakers should allow for the late Will McBride's book titled Show Me! to be used as an educational tool in schools throughout our nation. Below is a video from a little over a decade ago wherein Americans discuss whether the ban on this book should be lifted here in our nation and whether it should be used as an educational tool for children.

A Trailer From A Film About The Most Controversial Sex Education Book Ever Titled "Show Me!"

In watching the video clip above, it becomes very clear that the Americans interviewed had a mixture of opinions both in favor and against the unbanning of Show Me! here in the United States of America. Most European nations don't seem to have any problem with this same book being made available to the general public. Then again, the societies in these nations are not as sheltered as that of the United States of America.

Shortly after Show Me! was first released, another equally controversial matter took root over in Germany. The German rock-and-roll band named Scorpions released an album that showed a 10-year-old girl in the buff on its cover. The name of the album was Virgin Killer. Most European nations had no problem with it. However, after it resurfaced in the United Kingdom in 2008, the authorities there decided to take legal action. The American authorities eventually followed suit.

The young girl who was in the picture on the above-described album cover admitted 15 years after it was taken that she still had no problem with it. At the same time, she continues to keep her identity anonymous, although it is rumored that her name might be Jacqueline.

Steven Robert Whitsett, an American who is currently residing in Germany, can attest that Americans walk the white line here in our nation to avoid a confrontation with our obscenity laws. In his video below, he provides an explanation of how such laws in Germany are so different from what they are in the United States of America.

Steve Robert Whitsett Describes How Diametrically Different German Obscenity Laws Are From American Ones

According to Mr. Whitsett in the above video, the Germans don't appear to make an issue out of child nudity so long as it is deemed to be harmless. Some of you may have seen the German film titled Alice In The Cities. In that movie, child actress Yella Rottländer played the role of a 9-year-old German-Dutch girl named Alice, who was the protagonist. There was a group of scenes in it in which Alice (Yella Rottländer) was either swimming topless or sunbathing topless. Perhaps American film producers would never have gone down that same road, but German film producers don't appear to have a problem with it. Then again, Alice In The Cities was released in 1974, and the American obscenity laws were not as strict back then as they are now.

Anyhow, Mr. Whitsett is correct in his assertion that the laws regarding pornographic contraband are so strict here in the United States of America that someone could even get arrested for photographing a fully clothed minor here in our nation. A fashion photographer named Matt Duhamel who goes by the username of The Outspoken Offender on social media fell into such circumstances in Utah merely because the female models on his website were wearing clothing that the Federal authorities did not like. In other words, such laws here in our nation are highly subjective in terms of how investigators perceive what they are observing.

Mr. Duhamel posted a video on YouTube wherein he explained in detail how those same laws work here in our nation. In his video, he described the two tests in connection with the American child pornography laws. Unfortunately, he has recently closed down his YouTube account. Therefore, the video itself is no longer available. However, he still has the video transcript posted on the Medium platform that provides you with the gist of that same video of his.

According to Mr. Duhamel's video, someone could even get arrested for a thought crime under the Dost test pertaining to our nation's obscenity laws. The Miller test provides for variations in how these laws get enforced depending on the geographical location of the suspect and his or her alleged actions to violate these same laws.

It is interesting that Mr. Duhamel brought up the subject of Jock Sturges in his above-cited video, because a photographic exhibition of his stirred up a whirlpool of controversy in Russia back in 2016 as reported in Tom Balmforth's article titled "Defenders Take To Social Media Over 'Pornographic' Photo Exhibit Shuttered In Moscow." None of what happened in Russia should come to anyone as a surprise, because the rise of Christian fundamentalism under the regime of Vladimir Putin has encouraged such Puritanical attitudes within the Russian culture in recent years despite that Russians have always been known to be open-minded about such topics in the past.

Mr. Sturges had his own fires to put out here in our nation previously after the authorities zeroed in on him for taking numerous nude photographs of adolescent girls. As Mr. Duhamel explained, American photographer Jock Sturges was able to shake off prosecutorial efforts against him here in our nation when his criminal defense attorney showed the judge in that matter that all of Mr. Sturges's photography was of artistic value under the Miller test.

All of these events could explain why the portrait of Marie-Louise O'Murphy named The Blonde Odalisque by French artist François Boucher continues to be exhibited throughout our nation without any interference from the law. If you don't know who Marie-Louise O'Murphy is, she was the mistress of King Louis XV in France back in the 1750s. She was only 13 years old when Mr. Boucher painted her in the nude. Shortly thereafter, she got involved with King Louis XV. He was in his forties at the time. He got her pregnant when she was only 14 years old. The story behind the young girl is equally as controversial and shocking as the portrait of her itself. Below is a video about her.

Heather Chrisler Describes The Shocking Story Behind Marie-Louise O'Murphy

Probably the most similar couple to King Louis XV and Marie-Louise O'Murphy in this day and age would be Doug Hutchison and Courtney Stodden in that Mr. Hutchison was in his fifties when he married Ms. Stodden, who at the time was only 16 years old when she wedded him. The major difference is that King Louis XV and Marie-Louise O'Murphy's baby survived childbirth, whereas Doug Hutchison and Courtney Stodden sadly lost their baby to a miscarriage. Also, King Louis XV and Marie-Louise O'Murphy were never legally married to each other.

The American people showed their adamancy to deviate from the status quo with respect to our obscenity laws after the Italian film titled Maladolescenza was banned here in our nation. That same movie depicts hedonistic behavior among adolescents as young as 12 years old. A famous European actress who starred in this same film was Eva Ionesco to whom I will make reference further on herein.

It appears that the recent French film titled Cuties may be going down the same pathway as Maladolescenza in terms of our nation's obscenity laws because of its sensitive content. Both former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and Donald Trump, Jr. have sniped at the producers of this same film for making it overly explicit in its depiction of minors. Joshua Barbour chastises the producers of Cuties in his two videos below.

Joshua Barbour Explains Why He Wants The Movie Titled "Cuties" Banned In His Nation

We all must keep in mind that Mr. Barbour is a minister. Therefore, naturally he is going to take a socially conservative viewpoint on this issue. He also lives in Canada, which has tougher obscenity laws than even those of the United States of America. However, let's also note that he has a very strong following here in the United States of America, and his fans take him seriously.

Mr. Barbour has posted informative videos on YouTube in the past. I don't necessarily agree with him on everything he says in both his videos above, but I'm always interested in hearing what opponents to a particular issue have to say. I find it interesting that he brings up the subject of a controversial bill that passed in California in his second video above, which was California Senate Bill 145.

How Canada should handle its obscenity laws is another article for another time. Our main concern here is in what direction the United States of America will ultimately take its obscenity laws. I'm all for the protection of children, but I don't want our nation to become an oppressive police state either.

EME is the author of this photograph.

EME is the author of this photograph.

The Protection Of Children Under The American Obscenity Laws And The Likes

What greatly changed the course of American history regarding how the obscenity laws would protect children from danger was the specific development of child-pornography laws in 1978 here in our nation. Then John Walsh co-founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ("NCMEC") in 1984, which is currently headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

It appeared that our nation was on a positive trajectory away from the problems that once plagued the most vulnerable members of our society. However, the austerity of our obscenity laws and the likes that followed also produced concerns that perhaps our culture could regress to the way it was during the Salem witch trials so many centuries ago.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe that our lawmakers and our criminal justice system have to establish some kind of boundaries to protect kids from harm. French actress Eva Ionesco is a strong example of a female entertainer whose mother robbed her of her innocence after making her pose in raunchy photographs from the time that she was 5 years old. She should not have been posing nude in Playboy or Penthouse magazines when she was 11 years old, because those magazines were exclusively for adult entertainment. Until recently, I was unaware that her true story served as an inspiration for the movie titled Pretty Baby, which was a film about a young girl and her sister struggling to lift themselves out of a life of sexploitation to a promising future.

Reading about the dark side of Eva Ionesco's childhood put tears in my eyes. There can be no question that her mother, Irina Ionesco, did her wrong. Irina Ionesco is now in her nineties. I would have to question whether she would ever have an attack of conscience before she takes her last breath. I'm sure that her daughter would at least like to hear her apologize to her for all the trouble she caused her in her childhood even if it is on her deathbed.

If Irina Ionesco had to confront the same criminal laws in France back when she was involving her daughter in erotically nude photography during her childhood that exist on the American law books now, she would be spending her last days in a correctional facility. A woman who would do something that unconscionable to her own daughter is not someone who has any business becoming a parent.

As an American with French in my ancestry, I realize that France has vastly different statutes on their law books regarding what is considered appropriate or inappropriate for children in both the entertainment industry and the photography industry than the United States of America does. However, Irina Ionesco had to have known that what she was doing to her daughter would have everlasting adverse effects on her.

There is really no easy answer to this topic. However, even John Walsh once warned the American people that the reactionary swing of the pendulum to the right was not the solution to the problem of children falling prey to such depravities that Eva Ionesco encountered at the hands of her mother during her childhood. Any time that our elected officials push a new obscenity law through legislation or the likes, they need to take the time to research it and ensure that it will not needlessly hurt innocent individuals in its line of fire but rather punish the culprits to which it is supposed to apply.

If other nations are able to get along perfectly fine without the same harsh obscenity laws that the United States of America has, then our nation can make the statutes currently on our law books work to protect children from dangerous predators without placing the wrong people in their line of fire. Elected officials simply need to take the time to do their homework before ratifying anything into law. That is, they need to look before they leap. It's plain and simple. For example, the enactment of the International Megan's Law was a very unwise decision on the part of our Congress and President Barack Obama.

Wadams is the author of this photograph.

Wadams is the author of this photograph.

Final Thoughts

As Americans, we are living in reactionary times with respect to our elected officials and our nation's overall leadership. People always get up in arms every time a juvenile-justice-related matter surfaces in our entertainment industry or the likes. There are foreigners I've come across on the Internet who admit that they will not travel to the United States of America because of what they view to be all the problems with our kids.

There are teenage minors, even preteen minors, out there who want to let the good times roll. However, parents and politicians don't want our American laws to allow them to get involved in hedonistic behavior that could have repercussions for everyone involved in the future. The war against the French film titled Cuties and the tough obscenity laws here in our nation should tell us that it is simply not in our DNA to leave minors to their own devices or turn our nation into a playground of hedonistic anarchy for everyone who is not legally old enough to vote.

I appreciate the argument that society here in our nation should not cause youngsters to feel ashamed of their own bodies. Nowadays it's even risky to go skinny-dipping without chancing the possibility that the authorities will treat you like a sex criminal if they spot you doing so. I've recently heard that there are activists seeking laws against an adult even having a benign conversation with a minor on the Internet. Where does the austerity end?

If our nation continues on the pathway it has been on, not before long prisons and jails are going to run out of space to house everyone who has a confrontation with the multitude of obscenity laws and the likes that are currently on the books. Wouldn't it be ironic if the entire database to all of the sex-offender registries crashed and all of the information on them was accidentally deleted? All of these self-proclaimed child advocates who crusade for these Draconian laws would then be ripping out their hair in frustration. Sex-offender registries have been known to be vulnerable to hacking in the past.

I have nothing against our society having laws to protect minors from harmful individuals. However, at the same time, we need to get rid of the school of thought that every adult man in our planet is a potential sex fiend seeking to deflower every innocent that falls within his pathway. Living in fear will benefit nobody. Learning the facts will.

A Poll For Americans Who Are Concerned About Our Obscenity Laws Pertaining To Children

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Jason B Truth

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