The New York Times reports that a trial lawyer in Florida defending a man accused of distribution obscene materials is taking a novel approach. To prove something is obscene, a jury must be convinced that the subject matter in question violates community standards.
The Florida lawyer, Lawrence Walters, believes that a look at Google Trends, sifted to represent searches made locally, can make his case.
Mr. Walters chose Pensacola because it is the only city in the court's jurisdiction that is large enough to be singled out in the service's data.
"We tried to come up with comparison search terms that would embody typical American values," Mr. Walters said. "What is more American than apple pie?" But according to the search service, he said, "people are at least as interested in group sex and orgies as they are in apple pie."
The Google service does, however, show the relative strength of many mainstream queries in Pensacola: "Nascar," "surfing" and "Nintendo" all beat "orgy."
Really. Raise your hand if you've played four-player Mario Kart. Okay. Raise your hand if you've played a four-player, uh, non-game. That's what I thought.