Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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Obscenity

Thanks to a unique convergence of Christian conservatism and full-fanged feminism in the chambers of the Supreme Court of Canada, it is now possible to commit the crime of obscenity any time you make a sexual image (in words or pictures) that someone decides to find offensive. The Supreme Court’s R. v Butler judgement of 1992 redefined legal “harm” (previously thought to require, minimally, that you punch someone) to include the “perception” of harm, “especially to women” in the representations of sex. The harm, wrote Justice John Sopinka, in a unanimous decision, consists of people, especially men, acquiring bad attitudes that might lead them to do bad things. The judgment has made our highest court an intellectual laughing-stock in law journals across the English-speaking world.

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