The standard for achieving shock value these days has reached an alarming level. A jaded, cynical, technologically sophisticated populous is inundated with images, behavior and language that just a generation ago would have been considered disgusting and prurient by any community’s standards. But even amidst this tide of immorality, most Americans still retain their innate sense of right and wrong.
That’s why videos like the ones released last week exposing ACORN’s vast corruption can still shock the average American. In the undercover videos, two young writers for Andrew Breitbart’s web site Big Government, James O’Keefe, an “activist filmmaker,” and Hannah Giles, pose as a pimp and a prostitute, respectively, and seek counsel from ACORN employees in Baltimore for government assistance in purchasing a home to be used as a brothel.
But the housing assistance meeting quickly devolved into a shocking lesson on tax evasion, operating prostitution rings and concealing sex trafficking. If the subject weren’t so serious, the videos could pass as a Saturday Night Live skit. When filling out the proper tax paperwork, the ACORN employee creatively and euphemistically refers to prostitution as a “performance art.” Another employee helpfully instructs her guests on how to avoid or escape a vindictive former pimp.
The most horrifying part of the videos is when an employee learns the pimp and prostitute intend to traffic a dozen minor El Salvadoran girls into Baltimore to work as prostitutes. Without batting an eye, the ACORN employees admonish the sex traffickers to make sure the girls keep their mouths shut—and even suggests the sex slaves be claimed as dependents for tax evasion purposes.
Such a scenario seems so outlandish and absurd that no reasonable, law-abiding person would tolerate, let alone encourage, such blatantly evil behavior. In fact, that was the goal of O’Keefe’s undercover operation.
“Instead of railing against their radicalism, it is best to bring out this type of radicalism,” explained O’Keefe in a blog. “Hannah Giles and I took advantage of ACORN’s regard for thug criminality by posing the most ridiculous criminal scenario we could think of and seeing if they would comply–which they did without hesitation.”