Grunion Moon (grunionmoon) wrote,
Grunion Moon
grunionmoon

Old business: The second-order lynch mob


I had intended to write something more about the Max Hardcore/Paul Little case that I wrote about here. My earlier bit was I think the important part - DO go back and read it if you haven't; for one thing, if you don't you won't know what this is about now - and I delayed on writing about the other bit because I thought it might have detracted from the important part or might have diverted attention from that. But that might have been a mistake, because it actually broadens the point in a way.

I didn't save the links I was looking through then, and I don't want to do another big research burst on it, which I think is all right because I didn't mean to go terribly long. Suffice it to say that there was a certain amount of cheering for what happened to Paul Little - even from people (according to their posts) inside the adult industry.

What is interesting is that it was not cheering for the obscenity verdict as such. But some people were cheering because they said that Little had in fact committed criminal offenses against women working in the videos (or other women?), and that police hadn't concerned themselves with because the victims were sex workers and non-credible.

Therefore, the idea was that justice had been done by the Feds taking him to Florida and convicting him of something else.

Let's go over this. I can without distortion rephrase the end of that last sentence to say, "convicting him of something else where proving a case was not needed." But I already made that point. Anyway, the trial in Florida was about "whether a film was obscene".

Meanwhile, look at these reasons back in California. I completely agree that genuine sex crimes, rapes, criminal assaults and so on are completely possible in the context of the sex industry, and I am freezingly sure that they do happen from time to time.

And I think that, if police and more particularly D.A.s do not pursue and prosecute crimes in these areas, because they're worried about their conviction rates or whatever, then they are not doing their jobs and are allowing violence in precisely an area where many of them would speak at length about vulnerable women and speak of victimization and brutalization. (I should repost an old entry from my first diary, about "rain-shadow".)

But I would also eat my shirt if the porn industry is not at least as prone to gossip, rumor, and slander as any other sector of society.

And this guy, and his films, are not liked by a lot of people there. I don't think it's stepping outside the lines for myself to just stipulate that he's a pig. Any investigation of his films would underline this stipulation. Ugly piggish fantasy, extraordinarily arduously played out by women who are earning every penny and who you might say are underpaid that day WHATEVER the amount.

What kind of rumors would there be about this fellow?

Reading these posts, I could not even discern what the unprosecuted offenses actually were, or if the posters knew themselves, or had specific knowledge themselves, or were just going by what they had heard, however vaguely, BUT WERE SURE OF.

What exactly were we even talking about here?

I actually wish I had one of the Web pages I remember, because one of them had a commenter named "The Colonel" who said he was a porn-industry insider. He was vociferously on the side of Little's having done brutal and horrible things that the cops refused to pursue, and he talked fervently and at length about "heroes" who were "willing to go beyond the law" when necessary to set things right - meaning in this case the Feds. (I'm pretty sure the Feds in question were interested in prosecuting the porn films.) The Colonel's response to requests for specifics, or to any doubt, was to descend immediately into obscenities and condemn the soul of the doubting questioners in great angry scatological detail rather than giving specifics. I couldn't tell if he thought he knew anything specifically - only that he thought there was no question.

(Random background thing: somewhere, way back, I remember reading a quote from Max Hardcore. He was saying that people asked him how he got these girls to do all these things. He said the answer was to feed them constantly, a buffet table at the side of every shoot, etc. What this has to do with what he was doing in the films, or his attitude generally, is a question mark... Just put in for trivia, I guess.)

I have no freaking idea whether Little might have done these things. (Again, I don't even know what "these things" are or are supposed to be. During the films or outside them? Actual rape crimes or assaults? Or what?)

This guy could be guilty of whatever it is. This guy might not have done anything.

The thing is, there is a way to resolve these questions. Whether or not that way happened, it is the way to resolve them.

The way to establish the truth about whether Max Hardcore committed these unspecified nonconsensual violent crimes against women is called a trial.

The paradox: You would need to do the same thing, to have a trial proceeding, even to approach the peculiar go-beyond-the-law question of whether it might indeed be right for him to be convicted of something else, never mind what, just because. Because you would need to ascertain and make sure of the facts.

Back when I wrote the original entry about the obscenity verdict, I did not write a comparison that occurred to me: that an obscenity trial, in the respect in which it is more like a bill of attainder than like a trial, is like a lynch mob - as indeed any bill of attainder is like a lynch mob - where, never mind fact, the thing is to get the person because we want to get the person. No trial is needed or intended.

This subsequent second-order discussion I was reading was an extension of this, even more like a lynch mob: the suggestion that there is reason - untested and undetermined by a trial, with no need for it, and defined not by specifics but by certainty - that a person should be taken care of in some other way that does not even have to do with the same thing, which doesn't matter anyway because it is not a real trial at all.

I wouldn't trust any one of my rights, or any legal questions involving my neck, to that Colonel fellow for anything.

The spirit of any legal system involving rights is like this bit out of A Man For All Seasons:

Margaret More: Father, that man's bad!
Sir Thomas More: There's no law against that.
Thomas Roper: God's law!
Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him.
Margaret More: While you talk, he's gone!
Sir Thomas More: Go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!


(The remedy, if there was in fact reason to need remedy, and sometimes there definitely is: Prosecutors should damn well prosecute crimes of violence wherever they happen. To ignore them because, after all, they happen over there, so that people over there come to learn they can't go to the police, is to be more culpable than almost any of the people over there.)

(I'm out of time, but I'll re-post the old entry I was thinking of when I come back.)
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