Rome’s public shame

An editorial in the local Rome, GA paper points out the overwhelming absurdity of the Gordon Lee case:

AS THIS SPACE has repeatedly pointed out, the zeal with which elected officials are pursuing consistently trivial “family value” issues locally reflects negatively on the community. First of all, the single theme of these “big deals” give the appearance of Romans being throwback Puritans left behind by the sexual revolution — hardly true, as the local unwed pregnancy rate alone attests.

The local chamber of commerce and others work overtime to enhance the image of Rome as a great place to live, work and play — and some local officials seem to work overtime to make certain nobody outside of Rome believes it.

This comic-book case is particularly nutty — and if our observations now makes it impossible for an impartial jury to be seated, then so be it. Any jury anywhere else in the state would probably laugh this one out of court.


The piece goes on to reveal the piece de resistance of all this — near the courtroom where this legal farce is taking place, stands a statue of Romulus and Remus suckling the teats of a she-wolf, with their own naughty bits dangling out. “They don’t show a thing that the Picasso picture didn’t also show,” states the editorial.

romeromrem Romes public shame

Bully even found a photo of it.

As the editorial suggests, Georgia is particularly prone to these kind of senseless prosecutorial vendettas. The state where, until 1998 oral sex between a husband and wife was a crime punishable by 20 years in jail, was also the setting of the the Genarlow Wilson outrage: a 17-year-old boy was sentenced to 10 years in jail as a sex offender for having consensual oral sex (on tape!!!) with a 15-year-old girl. He ended up serving two years of his sentence while prosecutors fought appeal after appeal as the absurd case kept being overturned.

Our advice? Stay out of Georgia.

Comments

  1. Better yet, just stay out of the south in general.

  2. Rakarich says:

    I have a naive legal question…

    Considering how many times the DA’s office have acted in this case, can Gordon Lee or the CBLDF sue the city/county/DA for the costs? I only ask this because I remember something about the DUKE lacross players taking action against the DA who was on their case.

  3. Rachel says:

    When I first saw this picture I thought “Oh, The Beat went to Romania on their vacation.” Seriously, that statue is in every city in Romania (okay, it’s at least in the 7 cities I’ve been to). The urban legend is that the statues were given to Romania by Italy a few decades ago.

  4. “Romulus and Remus suckling the teats of a she-wolf, with their own naughty bits dangling out. “They don’t show a thing that the Picasso picture didn’t also show,” states the editorial.”

    Right, because nudity of an adult man is nol different from the nudity of a baby boy? Wow…relativism ad absurdum.

    As for the statue itself, maybe adding a couple of Ten Commandment tablets would be enough to trigger enough outrage to remove it from the public square.

  5. Hear! Hear!

  6. Laurel Maury says:

    My Mom’s from Rome Georgia. She escaped (her term) when she came north to Maryland (which as far as Georgia is concerned, might as well be the north.

    That statue’s caused problems before. I believe it was a gift from Italy, something the town was proud of. Then WWII rolled around, and since we were fighting Mussolini, they hid it in the basement.

    After waiting a decent interval after the war, they quietly put it back out.

  7. CBrown says:

    “Right, because nudity of an adult man is nol different from the nudity of a baby boy? Wow…relativism ad absurdum.”

    If they were comparing a pornographic photo of an adult male to this statue, it would be. But comparing a non-pornographic, non-exploitative drawing to this statue, no, I don’t think that’s an absurd comparison.

  8. Marcus Lusk says:

    CBrown: “If they were comparing a pornographic photo of an adult male to this statue, it would be. But comparing a non-pornographic, non-exploitative drawing to this statue, no, I don’t think that’s an absurd comparison.”

    It’s not an absurd comparison at all.
    I hope Lee’s attorney has nice big photos of that statue on hand to show the jury. He should suggest they have a look in person on their lunch break.

  9. Robert Newsome says:

    You know what? Fine. Stay out of Georgia. Attitudes like yours are no better than the idiots prosecuting this farce anyway. I mean, obviously if there a few idiots in a place, then the whole thing’s completely invalid, right?

    Georgia gave you guys Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, one of the best comic shops in the US (Bizarro-Wuxtry in Athens, and no, I don’t work there) Otis Redding, Little Richard, Bill Anderson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and on and on and on, but OH NO, there’s a silly frivolous lawsuit going on so STAY OUT.

    Please do. I don’t need any more short-sighted jackasses in my state anyway.

  10. As someone who lived in Atlanta for four years, I wasn’t wild about that last bit either, Ace. Yes, there are provincial attitudes and local politicians making stupid grandstanding gestures, but now I live in New York City, and all you have to do is look at the Post or the Daily News to see how well that applies here as well.

    That being said, I would advise anyone visiting Georgia not to show any penises to the local authorities. Theirs or otherwise.

  11. Torsten Adair says:

    Hmmm. The North American headquarters of Pirelli Tires is in Rome, Georgia. I hope the DA doesn’t see the new calendar!
    I suspect that the freethinking segment of Rome’s population migrates to Athens or Atlanta, as there is not a university located in the city. As for politicians, Georgia has produced both Jimmy Carter and Newt Gingrich.
    Would I visit Rome as a tourist? No. It’s not on the Interstate, and there’s nothing of interest to see.

  12. Marcus Lusk says:

    No a university in Rome? Uh, I think the faculty and students of Berry College would disagree: http://www.berry.edu/

  13. Marcus Lusk says:

    Two very important excerpts from that Rome, GA editorial:

    “in that previous case the store owner was convicted of selling a pornographic comic book to an adult (the contents at the Entice adult store today no doubt making that thought hilarious). Police also seized hundreds of allegedly “obscene” comic books but had to give them all back, plus the city and district attorney’s office had to pay a $18,000 judgment, after the store owner sued them and won.”

    And this:

    “The comic book store gave out 2,200 free comics as treats to children during a Broad Street Halloween of which apparently that one, and only one, was mistaken handed to a child by an employee. There would seem little evidence of a massive conspiracy to degrade public morality or pervert children in that. Nor was the comic in question actually “porn” of any kind, but appears to fall under the legal definition of ‘art.'”

    Gordon Lee is guilty of nothing more than an oversight happening on his watch. No reasonable-minded person would think this man belongs in jail, or that this case has been worth the hundreds of thousands of public dollars expended on it. (Not to mention the 80+ grand the CBLDF has shelled out.)

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