Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Walker on Sex, Segregation and the Lost Politics of Obscenity

Anders Walker, Saint Louis University School of Law, has posted A Horrible Fascination: Sex, Segregation and the Lost Politics of Obscenity. Here is the abstract:
Taking Virginia editor James Jackson Kilpatrick’s publication of The Smut Peddlers in 1960 as a starting point, this article shows how southern segregationists used the battle against pornography to build a constitutional coalition determined to prevent the Supreme Court from wresting further power from the states, this time under the rubric of upholding morality - itself a front for undermining civil rights. Rather than a quixotic, one-man quest, Kilpatrick’s turn to prudence joined a larger, regional campaign, a constitutional guerilla war mounted by moderates and extremists alike that swept onto cultural, First Amendment terrain even as the frontal assault of massive resistance succumbed to federal might. Dubious moral regulations emerged across the South, extremists and moderates alike declared the need to reinvigorate decency, and land bridges between the South and the nation began to rise out of the Warren Court’s perceived sea of liberal, degenerating jurisprudence.
Image credit: Outhistory.org.

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