Obscenity is Gross: Late Night Thoughts on John Stagliano’s Trial

by Jiz Lee on / BDSM, Queer Porn

On the left edge of my laptop as I type this is a minimized screen of a pay-per-minute porn depicting milk enemas.

Ass checks spread, the milk is pushed out and white streams hit the ground and other performers mouths and genitals. The milk is very white (as milk is) which happens to pick up well on camera. Enemas can also be done with water, colored water, milk, and soy milk too. I myself have done cleansing enemas, not clean enema expulsions such as those in this tape. Right now I’m viewing Milk Nymphos 2.

[a thin stream milk dribbles out of a squatting ass.]

Today was the first day in court for John Stagliano, who is a defendant in a Federal obscenity charge that if he loses may sentence him to 35 years in jail and $7 million in fines, if convicted. When he was charged in 2008, many in the adult industry came to his aid with the film Defend Our Porn. You can read more, including brilliant posts by his wife Karen on defendourporn.org. He’s a business man, family man, and pornographer. Of the empire of works Stagliano produced, the three videos in question are: the trailer for “Belladonna’s Fetish Fanatic Chapter 5“, “Joey Silvera’s Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice“, and Jay Sin’s “Milk Nymphos”. The first two are available online, however I can’t seem to find a non-torrent version of “Milk Nymphos”. Because I feel it’s unethical to watch a pirated free version of a porn made by a guy who has been burdened by financial and legal bullshit for the last two years, I decide to instead watch its sequel with my minutes on HotMoviesForHer.com.

[three-way, milk squirts onto a blowjob. her aim is terrific.]

I imagine Milk Nymphos 2 to be much like the original Milk Nymphos. In court today, the jury watched 50 minutes worth of excerpts from the 3-hour film. That fact alone might be a whole other topic: watching porn in the courthouse. A row of jurors with headphones watch the footage, which is faced away from press and public who observe the jurors reactions in silence. The fact that it isn’t outrightly shown to everyone makes it seem like it’s already a shameful thing. Then again, if the court forces others to watch something potentially “obscene”, is that legal? The question of the jury watching/not watching/partially watching the material creates, as Mark Kernes of AVN eloquently points out, a Catch-22. Another great article is on Reason.com.

[i am fast-forwarding]

The trailer for Belladonna’s Fetish Fanatic Chapter 5 is no longer available on EnterBelladonna.com, nor is it on posts like Fleshbot where it may have appeared when he was charged in 2008, as Violet Blue chronicled on TinyNibbles.com. So my minutes continue on HotMoviesForHer.com with not the trailer but the movie itself. Like a lot of Belladonna’s stuff, it contains large colorful dildos, hard fucking, enema expulsions, feet, and a powerful female ejaculation that almost knocks over a co-star. But I’m still not sure what the objectionable content is for any of these films. And if anything in the three films on trial are found obscene, does that mean that ANY film which contains these same elements will be banned? Gulp.

The 1st Amendment is supposed to protect our freedom of speech. There’s nothing illegal about the porn in question, which was purchased by a Federal Agent (Bush Administration) who sought them out looking for the most extreme content he could find. If it were up to me I’d drop the charge and spend more money on sex-positive sex education, ending sexual shame and understanding consent.

What also seems unjust, that I feel I can’t leave out of this post, is looking at our justice system and society’s priorities. Compare the trial to that which recently happened in the Bay Area: Johannes Mehseler, a white former BART Cop might face a 5-14 year jail sentence for killing Black civilian Oscar Grant Jr. (News, blogs, and multiple videos of the killing are online.) This is proof of a flawed system with obscene priorities. 14 years vs. 35 years and $7 million. With all the shit going on in the world, there are other issues far more extreme than the sexual acts on the screen.

Porn already faces much censorship. If I had a nickel every time I’ve explained to someone that DVD distributors do not allow vaginal fisting in the content of the films because of possible obscenity charges, and the person I’m telling this cocks their head in confusion and asks: “Why? What’s wrong with fisting?”, well, let’s just say I’d have a lot of money to put towards a sex-positive culture.

Though none of the DVDs I’ve done show fisting, you can find it and more liberated sex on the queer porn site CrashPadSeries.com. The reason it’s okay for this to occur online is the definition found within the obscenity language which describes “community standards”. An online community is not so easily confined to geographic location, such as tracking shipping of a DVD. Queers live everywhere, and the fact that many think it’s ridiculous that fisting might be considered obscene is proof of how it fits into community standards. In the queer community, fisting is common and natural. And awesome.

I’ve got a little sidetracked. If you’re wondering what’s going on in that screen to my left, Belladonna’s Fetish Fanatics is still at it. I’ve decided to forgo “Joey Silvera’s Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice” because it’s getting late, and judging by the description there looks to be a lot of female ejaculation. Which is real and isn’t gross, end of story. On my laptop Girl/Girl scenes with latex and gaping assholes have sped by. I’m watching adorable Belladonna, in pig-tales and doggy mask, bark at her puppy playmate Clare Adams. Their silicone doggy-tailed butt plugs wag joyfully as the two star performers play and stiff each other’s asses. Claire pins Belladonna down, growling low and furious, then springs up to hump Bella’s leg just before gaping her ass with a glass dildo. It’s silly, it’s sexy, and really… who doesn’t like puppies?

UPDATE: The charges have been dropped! Here’s an XBiz article describing more. Congrats to John, Karen, Evil Angel and the defense team. As Lorelei Lee (a friend of mine who performed in the films and who was going to testify — provided the court would allow her to do so under her stage name — exclaims “WE WON!” Here’s a video from Reason.TV of John Stagliano after the news:

Jiz Lee

9 Replies to “Obscenity is Gross: Late Night Thoughts on John Stagliano’s Trial”

DucatiGuy

Wow! Not only do you deliver some thought provoking messages but you do it in a wonderfully articulate way.

Thanks for getting behind John (how’s that for role reversal? ). I’ll be trying to do my bit, too.

DG

Reply
angry

I can’t believe this trial is even taking place… 🙁 … I don’t think he’s going to jail but you never know.. :/

Reply
Jiz Lee

Thank you DucatiGuy and AngryDyke.

And thank you to http://www.Reason.com for adding this post to their list of links!

It’s a great list, check it out here:
http://reason.com/blog/2010/07/14/some-stagliano-links-to-follow

Twitter folks: I’ll be following the twitter hashtag #Stagliano (or #StaglianoTrial, though honestly I am always partial to shorter hashtags.)

UCSB Professor Constance Penley was slated to be expert-witness in the trial. ReasonTV offers her great perspective on the case and obsenity and pornography:

Reply
ted

Jiz:

Thanks for the updates and the links. Hopefully some common sense and a stop of wasting our tax dollars of the prosecution on what is the right of an adult in our society to view materials made by and for for adults will hopefully prevail.

Ted.

Reply
Michael

Thank you for covering this story. I had no idea this trial was even going on; it is a troubling reminder of the skewed sense of “justice” in this country.

I’m currently reading Eve Sedgwick’s “The Epistemology of the Closet” in which Sedgwick offers truly significant theorizations of the role of “the closet” and “coming out” to a vast system of discourses and binarisms in our society. In a passage about a third of the way through, she discusses several trials involving firings based not so much on sexuality but on the disclosure or non-disclosure of sexualities (the offense of coming out or the offense of not coming out, apparently equally punishable during the 80s when Sedgwick was writing). Similarly, it seems as this trial is not so much centered around the purportedly “offensive” acts being committed in these films, but around the documentation and distribution of these actions in supposed opposition to the sense of “decency” being touted by the prosecution (with absolutely no discussion of the genealogy or constructed history of said “decencies”). There is no regards for the fact that (re: Foucault, etc.) sex and sexuality have been elevated to positions of significant truth/knowledge within our culture, and as such pornography functions not only as a site (sight?) for subversion and resistance to dominant representations/demonstrations of sexuality in our culture, but a space for the documentation of the diverse range of human sexuality AS IT IS PRACTICED within our culture. The very fact that there is a market for these films suggests that there is a resonance with these documentations within the populations to which they are supposedly an offense. To say the least, I am disgusted with the yet-again blatantly skewed biases of our legal system. Yet another attempt to legislate/regulate morality rather than crime (which in itself is not uncomplicated). One can only hope (and support and work towards) that said systems will eventually become responsive and representative of the diverse constituency that they have been formulated to serve.

Also: Amazing video featuring Constance Penley. Thanks for sharing that as well. She makes so many exceptional points. Wish I could take her class.

Thanks so much for you relevant, articulate, and inspiring blogging.
Best,
-M

Reply
Julien

It’s amazing that a video of non-violent non-criminal consensual actions can be considered a jail worthy offense. I’ll never understand the mentality that considers shameful to explore our bodies and to enjoy ourselves in a safe way.

Reply
lau

oh the brain is the sexiest organ of all. thanks jiz for writing as well as you fuck. I so enjoy visiting your reality from my reality as a mama in the midwest.

interested in the constance penley link. I read this and immediately thought about the acts portrayed as symbols of the incredible power of the female body (I will conceed that men could squirt milk out their asses justs as beautifully)and the absolute fear of this power. so, it becomes obscene. what an old story.

I had no idea fisting can’t appear in a DVD! I join the ranks of those who think that is crazy.

in my work with childbirth, I’ve watched many women fully opened, except it was a baby coming out not a hand(s)going in. and often they were enjoying the experience… though ecstatic birth on the continuum of female sexual experience is another topic entirely there is a correlation. if the hand fits, why censor it?

oh for the time when we can honor bodies and not shame them.

lau

Reply
AVN Awards 2011

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[…] 5 Posts AVN Nomination Best New Web Star/let’s Celebrate! Sex Lists and Slut Pride Obscenity is Gross: Late Night Thoughts on John Stagliano’s Trial Belladonna Strapped Dykes Trailer FTW! Joanna Angel Blew Up My […]

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