It's happened at last. A jury has seen sense and might force the ridiculous Obscene Publications Act to be reformed. Michael Peacock was acquitted yesterday of six counts of publishing obscene materials. The OPA defines obscene materials as that which 'tends to corrupt or deprave'. The DVDs marketed by Peacock might reasonably be said to contain images which would stretch the bounds of decency, but the likelihood of them corrupting or depraving anyone seems pretty slim to me. Given that the acts performed were some pretty 'out there' ones (gay fisting, urination etc.), it's fairly hard to envisage anyone renting the wrong DVD at Blockbuster and being scarred for life as a result.
Now here's the problem I have with all this nonsense. The acts contained in the offending articles are without exception legal ones between consenting adults. Why then might it be considered illegal for anyone else to voluntarily pay to watch them? I find 'reality' TV repulsive, but would it be right for me to legislate against it? I was horrified to switch on my television one night to find myself staring in awe at that weasel George Galloway on all fours pretending to be a cat, licking his 'paws' and to clean his whiskers, all in an apparent attempt at impressing a Polish countess. I hate to think of this absolutely shocking waste of the gift that is television, but I absolutely stand by the right of anyone stupid enough to watch this stuff the right to do so without interference.
In this case, the prosecution lawyer had the unmitigated gall to describe the likely audience for this kind of material as, "a man, in his 40s, married, whose wife doesn't know of his secret sexual tastes." So, are we to believe that, if this material were never published, this "man in his 40s" would continue to lead a perfectly 'normal' life? I imagine the jury was as unimpressed by this delusion as I am.
The OPA was and is an attempt to legislate morality. I am sick and tired of politicians, that happy band of highly moral lawgivers, constantly telling me what's good for me. I'm a grown up and perfectly capable of making my own mind up as to what publications I invest my hard earned in. This was a victory for sexual freedom, but it was more than that. It was a warning to those who think they know better than us that it's time they had a rethink. I seriously doubt, though, that it will occur to them for one minute to pay the slightest attention.
By the way, do you want to know what I think is obscene? Well, I'll tell you. I find footage taken from a smart bomb's onboard camera as it flies down the air vent of an air raid shelter, killing several hundred civilians obscene. Think we'll ever tire of showing that before the watershed?