March 30th, 2004

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02:03 am - 1KWFFH: on the prosecution of victimless sex crimes by underaged self-offenders

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1KWFFH: on the prosecution of victimless sex crimes by underaged self-offenders - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: anisodragnfly Date: March 30th, 2004 - 06:06 am (Link)
yesterday on the plane i caught a glimpse of a newspaper article regarding making it illegal to show porn movies on DVD players in vehicles. Here's a similar article.

anyway, it made me think of you.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: March 30th, 2004 - 06:19 am (Link)

Have I mentioned lately how much I completely and utterly hate stupid people. The worst part is where the cop says "if you want to do that, get windows that are tinted to where you can't see in... except, ISN'T THAT FUCKING ILLEGAL TOO!!!

Dammit... when I'm ruler, a lot of things are going to change...
[User Picture]From: bogosort Date: March 30th, 2004 - 07:23 am (Link)
The driver was also driving while watching the porn on his screen which is clearly banned in most states. Most people should be keeping their eyes on the road to begin with. The thing about showing porn in a vehicle is that anyone who is around them can look in on it, and it's really a public exhibition of such a video. I can understand if parents don't think that their children are ready for such exposure. Many parents who feel the need to reduce the possibility of such exposures to their kids at an early age don't allow them to watch TV, but not going out in public isn't exactly an option.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: March 30th, 2004 - 07:59 am (Link)
Yes, but whether he's watching the road or not is a separate issue. One that is not affected by whether he is watching SpongeBob or Behind the Green Door (fun fact: Behind the Green Door is the porn movie that Jackie Chan's supercar was equipped with in the first Canonball Run movie. And if its good enough for Jackie Chan to drive to, it should be good enough for us all.)

Actually, I happen to be of the opinion that outlawing devices which might lead to poor driving (cell phones, TV screens) is actually pretty stupid. At one point people used to complain that the radio was too distracting to a driver. What needs to happen is there needs to be stricter penalties for bad driving.

Anyway, none of that is the point. The point is this is a reasonable expectation of privacy and personal choice issue. And its a puritainical one at that. First off, its my car damn it. What happens in it should be my business. Ignore that the film might have been visible to the driver. What if it wasn't. What if we were on a road trip and you were watching in the back seat? If the law can dictate what can be viewed in the privacy of my car, then its not a big jump to dictate what I can view in my house. Kids are not supposed to be looking in my windows. If they do, that's really no fault of my own. Am I expected to not watch porn in my living room because kids might come look in my windows? Hell, am I expected to not have sex in my bedroom?

The other thing that bothers me is its another issue of america treating sex as something special. Its not. If I were watching a violent R-rated movie in the back of my car, would there be a case? Maybe for some parents, but what would the law say? What about a PG-13 rated movie? We'd still be talking about something "inappropriate" for the four year old in question to see. What about if I'm just watching TV shows. Completely unrestricted network television. Can I not watch a "parental discretion is advised" episode of ER because some kid might be looking out the side window of his minivan as his parents drive by? Hell, I've known parents that wouldn't allow their children to watch cartoons, or some that would only allow PBS shows, and some that would allow no television at all. Do I have to cater to them as well? That would be ridiculous.

Parents have the right to make decisions about their children's programming, but they do not have the right to dictate that I try to enforce those decisions for them. Now if I were to take their kid in my car and play porn for them, they have a point, but that's not what happened here. If they have a problem with incidental viewing, well then dammit, if you must drive your child around in public blindfold him so he can't see into my car, and leave me the fuck alone.

The problem is, its a slippery slope. Its so easy to say... We're not really censoring, anything important. Its just sex. But where do we draw the line? Once you start setting precedent its impossible to stop. Hey, maybe I don't mind my children seeing sex, but I think its wrong for them to watch films where people eat meat.

We have freedom of speech and expression in this country for a reason.
[User Picture]From: bogosort Date: March 30th, 2004 - 01:17 pm (Link)
What needs to happen is there needs to be stricter penalties for bad driving.
Any politition that can pass and get enforced such penalties will get my vote. I'm still amazed that such screens actually cause drivers in other cars to be worse because they try to figure out what movies are being played.

We have freedom of speech and expression in this country for a reason.
Even though we have the freedom of speech, we don't necessarily have the freedom to force others to be exposed to our outlets of such expression. People hate telemarketers because even though they have the freedom to promote their products, people don't want to be forced to listen to them. Society is ever evolving, and thus the law should be ever evolving about what is considered reasonable material to show in public. People should be allowed(and even encouraged) to experiment with these various outlets on private property, but the state of public property should reflect society's whims about what is and isn't acceptable.

If people should be allowed to watch questionable content in their cars on public roads, then do you think that there should also be billboards in plain sight with such content? How about if a large screen TV were mounted on the back of a truck with questionable content driving in front of the school bus every day? Or maybe taking a projector and displaying such things in front of a school every morning. Slippery slope arguments work in both directions unfortunately.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: March 30th, 2004 - 08:24 pm (Link)
Actually we do have the right to force that speech upon others. Within in reason anyway. You have the right to peacably assemble. You have the right to demonstrate. That's how protests work, for instance. In theory this means that you can display whatever you want on your property for instance. In practice however, decency laws (which I tend to disagree with) actually tend to get in the way of it. Frequently comic book and porn stores feel the brunt of this. Eides (the record and comic store in downtown Pgh) for instance was damn near put out of business a couple years ago, because people complained about band photos in their windows being over sexualized. They nearly lost their lease, until the ACLU and CBLDF stepped in to fight for them. That's the entire point. Not wheter its legal, but whether its right. If its ok for you to tell me I can't watch sex on my property then is it ok to tell me I can't play violent video games? Can you tell me I can't worship as I please? It really is dangerous ground to tread.

Your example isn't a slipperly slope. There is a specific difference between playing a movie inside my car and displaying it on a billboard. If I display it on a billboard, or even on a screen attached to the back of my car, I am trying to push the image to you. If I am watching it in my car then its your fault for invading my privacy. Honestly you aren't supposed to be looking in my car. You're invading my privicy. If there's something you don't want to see, then tough noogies.

That said, I also think that decency standards are pretty stupid. I think you should be able to put up a billboard with sex on it... I think that free speech is the most fundamental of our rights, and I think it should trump the right to be puritanical. But that's just me.
[User Picture]From: bogosort Date: March 31st, 2004 - 06:58 am (Link)
I guess we'll just have to disagree about the ability to force speech onto others. Protests and demonstrations and other such mass gatherings ideally are a means to show the power of ideas rather than an excuse for mob rule(which many of them devolve into). These sorts of assemblies should show those with power the strength of their ideas not coerce others into agreeing with them.

Watching on screens visible to the outside of your car is a public exhibition. The reason why car windows aren't allowed to be tinted to be a specific level is because certain parts of the interior of the car are supposed to be viewed by the public. Now if the laws were setup such that the interior of cars weren't supposedly a publicly visible space, then I'd buy the invasion of privacy argument. Back in the days of huge vans and floor mounted TVs where only the passengers can see it this never was an issue. With laptops, I know there exist a wide array of privacy filters that essientially limit the viewing angle so that not everyone can see what's going on.

What would you think about someone sitting on one of those sidewalk tables outside a coffee shop watching such materials on their laptop? On one hand they could be doing a public showing, on the other hand, they could be trying to form a bubble of privacy. What if instead of watching a such materials, they were handling private data? I'd argue that the burden of keeping the private things private lies on the exhibitor.

With all of this said, I do believe that decency standards are stupid, and when I raise kids, they will learn how to deal with being exposed. However if society seems to think that certain things aren't ok in public, then society has every right to enforce those things in public areas.

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