President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography  

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"During the 1960s and 1970s, Earl Kemp was involved in publishing erotic paperbacks through a company, Greenleaf Publishing, where he was employed by William Hamling. In an example of détournement, Kemp published an illustrated edition of the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. According to Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide, the book was "replete with the sort of photographs the commission examined." Kemp eventually was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence for distributing the book (as was Hamling). However, both served only the federal minimum of three months and one day. The story of their arrest and prison time was covered in Gay Talese's Thy Neighbor's Wife."--Sholem Stein

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A 1968 United States Supreme Court decision which held that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes caused the United States Congress to fund the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, set up by President Lyndon B. Johnson to study pornography.

The commission's report, called Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, recommended sex education, funding of research into the effects of pornography and restriction of children's access to pornography, and recommended against any restrictions for adults. The report was widely criticized and rejected by Congress.

In an example of détournement, Earl Kemp published an illustrated edition of the report known as the Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (San Diego: Greenleaf, 1970) through a publishing company owned by William Hamling called Greenleaf Classics. Kemp and Hamling were eventually sentenced to one year in prison for "conspiracy to mail obscene material," but both served only the federal minimum of three months and one day.

Contents

References

  • "An Interview with Earl Kemp of Greenleaf Classics" by Michael Hemmingson, Sin-A-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties edited by Brittany A. Daley, Hedi El Kholti, Earl Kemp, Miriam Linna, and Adam Parfrey. Feral House, 2004. page 36.
  • Freedom of the Press: A Bibliocyclopedia : Ten-year Supplement (1967-1977) by Ralph Edward McCoy, Southern Illinois University Press, 1979, page 163.

See also


History

In the United States, the 1969 Stanley v. Georgia decision which held that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes caused Congress to fund a commission that President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed to study pornography. The Commission is also known as the 'Lockhart Commission' after its chairman William B. Lockhart.

A large portion of the Commission's budget was applied to funding original research on the effects of sexually explicit materials. One experiment is described in which repeated exposure of male college students to pornography "caused decreased interest in it, less response to it and no lasting effect," although it appears that the satiation effect does wear off eventually. Other research included reports by on the sexual revolution in Scandinavia, more specifically, statistal reports by Berl Kutchinsky that seemed to show a negative correlation between the relaxation of pornography laws and the prevalence of sex crimes.

In 1970, the commission's report, called "Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography", concluded that "there was insufficient evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials played a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior." but still "recommended sex education, funding of research into the effects of pornography, restriction of children's access to pornography, and recommended against any restrictions for adults."

Significantly, the Commission's report was immediately denounced by President Nixon who "categorically rejected its morally bankrupt conclusions" and promised that "pornography which can corrupt and poison the wellsprings of American and Western culture and civilization" would be controlled if not eliminated under his aegis.



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