Politics / Rights · November 2, 2005

The XXX files


The FBI is reading your blog to ensure that it is not too ‘titillating’.

Barton Gellman of the Washington Post has pointed out that the FBI is recruiting agents for a new anti-obscenity squad. Could this be Agent Skully’s new job?

Special Agents fresh out of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia won’t be fighting terrorists, or hunting for fugitives or missing persons. They’ll be reading smut, and deciding if they should prosecute the writers of that smut.


For those of you unfamiliar with the FBI, it’s beginnings were in 1908, when the Attorney General appointed a bunch of special agents in order to detect crimes against the United States. The FBI has the broadest investigative authority of any Federal law enforcement agency, and has used that authority to investigate famous criminals such as Dr. Albert Einstein and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The current Attorney General, Alberto R. Gonzales, and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III have described the anti-obscenity initiative in a memo as, “one of the top priorities” of the FBI. This memo goes on to say that the best odds of conviction come with pornography that “includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior.”

The new “Porn Squad” has already swung into action and shut down its first web site just a week after forming. The web site owner is now facing obscenity charges.

Oh poor Skully! I hope you have a strong stomach for viewing all those dirty pictures!

But there were no pictures on this web site. No photos, no illustrations. Nothing. The web site, “Red Rose Stories” was a written sexual fantasy site, and was shut down for lurid text.

Okay, something’s not right here. Does this mean that the online edition of the Penthouse Forum must now close down? How strict is the Porn Squad gonna be? Do you need to worry about blogging last night’s steamy sex scene with a one-night stand? Should you refrain from posting about a dream you had, or a fantasy?

Is this the real reason why Anne Rice has abandoned her “Beauty” and “Belinda” books in order to write Christian fiction? And for that matter, is Amazon.com going to be charged as a smut dealer for selling these works?

Am I actually allowed to say, “titillate”?

Don’t get me wrong, I personally believe that many forms of pornography should be outlawed and the makers of such should be dealt with harshly. But the porn I believe should be outlawed all involves those who did not, or cannot give informed consent to be in that porn. (I would include computer-generated images of fictional people who, were they real, would not or could not give consent.)

But Gonzales has instead decided to define porn in different terms – some of which cover so called “hard core” porn that is currently mainstream – such as Bondage, Dominance, and Sado-Masochism.

At what point does it stop being porn and start being a lifestyle? Society has plenty of history to show that at one time, only missionary style sex was allowed. Any other type of sex was outlawed. (The US Military still defines oral copulation as Sodomy, and outlaws it in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This law even applies between husband and wife in a marriage, where one or both partners are military.)

Even Texas, with its very conservative laws, has recently been dragged out of the dark ages when laws against Gay sex and against selling sexual toys were challenged in court.

Communities and support groups have sprung up on the Internet for those people who have questions about sex, and alternative lifestyles. People just get together and talk, online. In writing. Which could leave them open to investigation and prosecution by the FBI

Already artistic bondage sites have closed down in fear of prosecution. Midori – famous for high quality, artistic photos of rope bondage – has shut its online doors. No word if Midori’s book on Amazon will be pulled.

And this skewed sense of righteousness by (conservative) Attorney General Gonzales is spreading thin the resources for threats the FBI should really be worrying about – such as terrorist attacks on American soil. As one FBI agent said, “I guess we’ve won the War on Terror.”

What really annoys me is that this has the mark of the Religious Right all over it. This is the same ‘Promise Keeper‘ type personality that believes Man should be the head of the house with the woman subjugated to him. A Master / slave relationship if ever I’ve heard of one. Not that I object to that – as long as they both consent to such an arrangement. But it seems to me that this would be called “Godly” while the very same people would call the reverse, with the woman in charge, wrong or immoral.

What is next on Attorney General Gonzales’ list of porn to shut down? Is he going to round up and arrest participants at Burning Man or at the Folsom Street Fair? Are Gay Pride parades next?

And who is to say what is porn? Will we become like Iran and arrest attractive mannequins from shop windows if they show too much plastic nipple? Or will we just stop at shutting down Mardi Gras celebrations? Perhaps the FBI will take on fictional ‘immoral’ icons as have Jerry Falwell and James Dobson.

Since the Porn Squad is going after written pornography, I’d like to suggest a possible target for investigation – one that includes scat, bestiality, Sado-masochism, and worse. I’m sure you could guess that I’m speaking of the Bible. In my opinion if you are too young to look at porn, you are definitely too young to be reading anything as lurid and violent as the Bible. (This has been suggested before.) If there were any logic in the Porn Squad, they would immediately start shutting down Internet Bible sites.

Perhaps Attorney General Gonzales should watch the Eric Schwartz video, and then get back to work fighting the real criminals – such as terrorists, organized crime, or civil rights activists.