THE GOVERNMENT VS. EROTICA: The Siege of Adam & Eve

Philip D. Harvey, Author, Nadine Strossen, Foreword by THE GOVERNMENT VS. EROTICA: The Siege of Adam & Eve

Harvey traces the various prosecutions (beginning in 1986) of his company, Adam & Eve, which started as a mail-order supplier of condoms, then branched into the distribution of adult films and sexual paraphernalia. This expansion may have been a mistake, since Adam & Eve was headquartered in North Carolina, and the Supreme Court had established that a jury must apply contemporary community standards when determining whether an item was obscene. Fortunately, Harvey obtained excellent legal help and ultimately prevailed, though at great cost. Although presented from the defendant's point of view, the account of the political and legal landscape behind these prosecutions is fair. Harvey's defense of the sexually explicit material sold by Adam & Eve is equally spirited, but somewhat less convincing. He contends that sexually explicit material—as long as it is consensual and nonviolent—is harmless, even salubrious, but even Harvey clearly senses the limitations of the sexually explicit. When the jury is asked to watch six hours of adult films, he concedes, "I am acutely embarrassed in this context, with the jurors forced to watch all this material in our presence and in the company of each other." Equally facile is the condemnation of world religions: "[O]rganized religion has caused more mischief in the world than it has done good." Despite these shortcomings, Harvey writes engagingly and provides an excellent anecdotal way to get a handle on the ongoing pornography debate. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 296 pages - 978-1-61592-540-7
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