“Political speech is generally regarded as ‘the highest form’ of protected speech, and the best example is probably flag burning, which the Supreme Court has very specifically ruled on as being covered by the aegis of the First Amendment. And yet every few election cycles there is always some ill-educated rube who wants to run for office on the platform of adding a constitutional amendment banning it, and a fair amount of yahoos line up behind it in the name of “Freedom.”
Obscenity is not protected speech, but pornography is. I have heard it said that pornography is the legal version of obscenity, which is cute, but not entirely accurate. Certainly most of the art and literature that has been deemed obscene over the years is of a sexual nature, but certainly no one would conflate what Lenny was spouting with pornography as such.
The working definition of obscenity, set in 1957 by the Supreme court’s decision in Roth v. United States was “whether to the average person applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,” which was the Court’s way of saying, ‘Hey, you guys figure it out for yourselves, and quite bugging us every time someone gets their knickers in a twist.'”
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