Mike Boehm's apologetic for Ozzy Osbourne (Oct. 4) ignores the central issues in the case--intent and consent.
If, as the plaintiffs assert, there is subliminal material effectively encouraging suicide in the album, how can that material be protected by the First Amendment?
Artistic expression is clearly protected. In fact, Ozzy might be safe from prosecution had he titled his album "Why and How to Commit Suicide." Customers would know what they are buying.
Subliminal messages are not artistic expression, by either the artist's or the listeners' standards. If there is such a thing as a subliminal message and it can affect behavior, then a message encouraging suicide falls under the same criminal sphere as pederasty. There would be intent on the behalf of the defendant and a lack of understanding and consent on the behalf of the victim.
As it is, Boehm is blaming the victims. He sounds like a judge who lets a rapist go because he believes that, since the woman was dressed suggestively, she was asking for it.