What’s obscene?

 This is a tricky question. It depends on who you ask. It’s tricky because different people have different opinions or viewpoints on it. And different cultures, backgrounds as well as exposures would define obscenity differently. More than that, depending on you may be with, the answer may also vary.

So, when this question was asked in a courtroom in Pensacola, Florida some years ago, the defence lawyers for a pornographic website operator used Google to help fight his case. He argued that because there are more people searching for sexually explicit materials on the web in that community than say for subjects on “apple pie” or “watermelons” it should be acceptable in that community. 

Would the distribution of obscene pornographic materials be viewed as undesirable when there are many more people wanted it and presumably viewing them in the privacy of their own bedrooms? Does Google really have the legally acceptable answer or could it provide sufficient data to this defence lawyer to win his case?

At the end of the day, it’s not just about what people want, no matter how many there may be but what’s right from wrong. Still, how do we determine what’s right from wrong without a mutually understood or agreed standard? 

Where and what is your standard?

9 March 2021