On the very day the Communications Decency Act was struck down as being unconstitutional, a different (albeit older) form of communication fell under attack. Yet another fundamentalist organization is attempting to censor a valuable work of art. The Academy Award-winning film "The Tin Drum" has been declared obscene by an Oklahoma judge based on an IMPLIED sex act which takes place in the film. After the ruling, on June 25th 1997, Oklahoma city police raided six Oklahoma video stores and removed the film from shelves. Not stopping there, the police also used video rental records to find the remaining rented copies from people's homes, according to the ACLU.
Tried and true, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the OK (but not at all 'okay') police department and the city, citing violations to free speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizures, and due process. Said the ACLU, "The movie, which won the 1979 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is the allegorical story of a troubled boy growing up in Nazi Germany. The movie includes one scene that suggests, but doesn't actually depict, an oral sex act between the boy, aged 6 to 7, and a teenage girl."
No matter what kind of sex act is suggested, the Oklahoma courts in this decision have obviously confused the issue of exactly what constitutes child pornography and have ignored prior court decisions defining the term obscenity. With "The Tin Drum" ruling, a film with one scene that can be found offensive to some, has been rendered entirely obscene, despite it's profound literary, social, and political value. This goes completely against previously established court litmus tests for obscenity and sets a dangerous new precedent that puts any work of art with as much as one scene that might offend a segment of the population in jeopardy. It is our opinion that this is the intent of the religious right as they usher in the new buzzword of "indecency" in an attempt to get things that offend them, previously not covered by "obscenity laws" declared illegal.
Rock Out Censorship urges you to contact the following and let your voice be heard:
- The local Blockbuster in Oklahoma City where the ACLU Plaintiff, MICHAEL D. CAMFIELD's rental records were used to unconstitutionally track down the remaining copies: 2400 North MacArthur Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.