The Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose just ruled that Joseph Gerber, a California man who used his computer to create sexually explicit photos by pasting images of his 13-year-old daughter’s head onto the fully mature, naked bodies of porn performers in lewd poses, was wrongly convicted of possessing child pornography. After all, the pictures didn’t show minors engaging in sex acts, just fully legal adults with his daughter’s head, which apparently really turned Dad on.
The decision is unquestionably correct from a legal standpoint: no children were harmed to create the photos, and they did not depict child porn of any kind, except in Mr. Gerber’s fatherly mind.
Thus the Ethics Alarms question for Alec Baldwin and the reported 56% of New Yorkers who say that sexting, lying Representative Anthony Weiner should not resign his position because of his personal habit of sending smiling photos of his penis and other body parts to porn actresses, scheduling skype phone sex while his pregnant wife is away, and other similar activities, lying it all the while until lies became impossible:
Would this completely legal conduct, if engaged in by a Congressman, justify the conclusion that he was a disgrace to his office, too irresponsible to serve, and pathologically twisted to the extent that he should not be representing New York, the United States, the House of Representatives, or anything else requiring more judgment, honor, and dignity than a mud wrestling tournament?
Well, why would this be any different from the conduct you readily excuse in Weiner? Arguably, it is less offensive and more ethical, once you discard, as you do, the little matter of bringing shame and disrepute upon Congress. Gerber, after all, never had sexually gratifying contact with any real people. He didn’t send his lewd photographs to others, or put them on Twitter. If you are so willing to say that what a Congressman does in his down time matters not one whit to his ability to do the work of the people, go ahead: now tell me that you would say the same about Congressman Joseph Gerber.
What’s that? You can’t answer until I tell you what party Gerber belongs to?
I thought so.