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Craigslist Bites Back in S.C.

Posted on May 20, 2009

It seems now that Craigslist has not done enough to remove either sex ads or shadowy outlines of women from the site.

Craigslist is seeking legal action against South Carolina’s Attorney General Henry McMaster after McMaster criticized the online classifieds site despite the removal of its erotic ads section. Craigslist is, amazingly, looking for “declaratory relief and a restraining order” from the vigilantly moralizing Southerner.


Craigslist said Wednesday it is suing South Carolina’s attorney general over the threat of criminal charges against the Web site and its executives.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court, Craigslist says it is “seeking declaratory relief and a restraining order” connected to accusations by Henry McMaster, the state’s attorney general, that the classified ad site has not adequately removed “advertisements for prostitution and graphic pornographic material.”

In a blog post Wednesday morning, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said that the charges are egregious:

In addition to being unwarranted by the facts, legal experts agree that the charges threatened represent an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech, and are clearly barred by federal law (sec 230 CDA).

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 21, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Criminalizing selective morality is part of the smoke and mirrors used to induce feelings of divisiveness and fear of the most mundane issues. Constant programing of deceptions,... “what that behind you”!

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By ardee, May 21, 2009 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

I know of a woman who was raped while jogging, a horrific experience, obviously we must ban that form of exercise before it happens again.

I know of a student who was cheated by a used car dealer, we must ban the selling of used cars, and quickly.

This nation has lost its way, and rather radically in fact. Most solutions we put forth are actually worse in effect than the problem they seek to alleviate. Maybe its something they put in our water?

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By CJ, May 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Good for Buckmaster and CL. This is starting to look a little like Flynt v. host of persons and entities. Which was really far more about free thought v. Orwellian attempt to control any thinking whatsoever. Far more than about free speech, though First Amendment has served (thankfully) as a kind of “out” for courts. Founding Dads got that much right.

CL is finally standing up to the fascist attitude that’s lately been trying to tell CL what it can and cannot post. I couldn’t figure out what was taking CL so long to get to this.

WHAT is IT with these people: these AGs and legislators, evidently so sadly needy beyond needy for votes? They reside in terror of everything! Especially of breasts and vaginas. But of penises too. Most of all of their parts, whether male or female. Of their own sexuality. (Not so easy being in power.) I half expect a war on “terrorist” whores. Who, according to Mc-Masters (Mc-MASTER?), one would think hell-bent on bringing down the state by way of corruption of otherwise…what? Who? Innocents? First, how is, and when was, sex ever corrupting? McMaster might or might not know of what is actually corrupting. Not sex, much less provider of same, unless provider is hired by a one party to bribe another officious party.

Perkins talks in his book of how sex was provided in a process of corrupting him. Still, nothing per se to do with sex or pornography. There’s nothing corrupting about either one. Sex has nothing to do with morality, though pretentious condemnation of anything pleasurable has long served power. Whether power in form of state or of religion.

Whores of both genders post at CL in a process of trying to make a living. Not really as “terrorist” gangstas out to bring down the state. (If only! Marcuse wrote a vision of Eros INFORMING civilization. Well worth the read, though he means Eros in the wider sense. Marcuse was way ahead of post-modernists, as Marx was way ahead of feminists.)

Most all is officially deemed sinful. Sin is everywhere according to fascist-minded true believers. All ostensibly tut-tut-concerned for other people’s salvation, if not so much for that of their own hypocritical selves.

Power is terrified of real life, and so despises thought. In general, never mind the authentic sexual. Thus skinny-ass models and metrosexuals who serve as spectacles in ongoing appeal to prurient/vicarious interest. So long as contact is never made. Thought cannot quite be policed and then prosecuted. Power dreams on. Now one more time on the occasion of CL’s transgressing. This is of what Orwell wrote most insightfully. Before Foucault described the anti-human will to power more explicitly. (That Winston makes fleshy contact with a lover in her flesh is a revolutionary act. The body also thinks, also desires. To be free. Which is a very good, since wonderfully human, thing. See Plato too. Who like Marx was never Marxist, was never Platonist.) 

Witch-hunting is long-standing American tradition. (As is water-boarding, which was carried out in more drastic fashion on women believed to be witches back then.) That did not disappear with Cotton Mather. Hunting is with us today. Larry Flynt is witch and so now too is CL, which, until sorta caving in, provided a space whereat sex workers could post for clients.

Were any seriously interested in doing actual good, sex work would be decriminalized. Maybe even legalized. So that sex workers would not have to work underground, which is where they remain easy targets. No way by legislative accident.

After decriminalization, sex workers might then be allowed to post openly/freely wherever they liked, while at the same time not forced to fear so much for their safety. And while lost causes like robocopper, McMasters, might have more time to play with something else. In a playpen if that’s his personal preference. I’d never judge him for his preference that way.

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