Interesting story from Virginia Beach, Va.:
Police, saying they were responding to citizen complaints, carted away two large promotional photographs from the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Lynnhaven Mall on Saturday and cited the manager on obscenity charges.
Adam Bernstein, a police spokesman, said the seizure and the issuance of the summons came only after store management had not heeded warnings to remove the images.
The citation was issued under City Code Section 22.31, Bernstein said, which makes it a crime to display “obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles.” He did not say what was being done with the pictures and when the manager, whose name was not released, is scheduled to appear in court.
The manager, reached by telephone, declined to comment on the incident Saturday, saying that he was conferring with and waiting for guidance from Abercrombie corporate officials.
The mural-like black-and-white photographs were taken from the store at midafternoon.
Bernstein confirmed that one depicts three shirtless young men from the back, walking through a field. The man in the lead appears to be about to pull up his jeans, which have slipped down enough to reveal his upper buttocks.
The same image is displayed on the Abercrombie Web site.
The other image is of a woman who is topless and whose “breast is displayed with her hand covering just the nipple portion,” Bernstein said. “You could still pretty much see the rest of the breast.”
Most of the comments on the article took the police and citizens who complained to task for being too prurient. But, there’s another way to look at this.
Most everyone would agree that it’s not OK for a business owner to display pictures of hard-core pornography or giant photos of a grisly murder scene. (At least if kids may walk in front of the store.) So, most of us concede that society has the right — through its laws and court system — to limit freedom of expression to a certain extent. After that agreement, we’re really just talking about where to draw the line.
So, should the line be drawn at the point where you’re most comfortable? Or should we draw the line at the point where everyone’s most comfortable?