Coming To Terms
We’re going to be hearing a lot of terms used in the upcoming weeks re the Epstein case, so let’s spell them out for future reference: “Nude” “pornographic” “obscene” “young” and “underage”
Nudity, according to a Supreme Court ruling in the 1930s, is neither de facto obscene (illegal) nor pornographic (maybe legal, maybe not). Their ruling came down specifically in the case of a nudist documentary; they ruled that as long as there was an artistic or informational reason for it, nudity in mass media was permissible.
“Obscene” is a legal definition; famously “I know it when I see it” but in actuality meaning the material is salacious and “without redeeming social value”.
“Pornographic” is a less precise term not so much applicable to the work itself but to the motive behind its distribution. A work may be considered pornographic yet still be legal. A work may also be made with non-pornographic intent yet distributed by others for pornographic reasons.
“Underage” is a legal term; in the United States it’s the age of majority, when a person may drink, smoke, engage in sex, and sign contracts; i.e., 18 years of age.
“Young” is a vague, imprecise term; a 30 year old is young to an 80 year old yet ancient to a toddler.
When evidence is described as “nude photos of young” people, it’s not the same as “obscene photos of underage” victims. The former could refer to relatively innocuous photos of 19 year olds playing volleyball at a nude beach, the latter is evidence of sexual child abuse.
Finally, there is no such thing as “sex with an underage person”, there is only “child rape.”
© Buzz Dixon