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[P]
'American Porn' on Frontline

By demi in Culture
Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:25:31 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Last night my local PBS station aired Frontline's American Porn, an hour-long piece on the current state of the adult entertainment industry. As one might expect, there is much more to the pornography industry than could be summarized in an hour, so the reporting concentrated on brief interviews of producers, directors, actors, public prosecutors, and a brief history of sexual entertainment in America to better contextualize their comments.

The report offered an interesting thesis: that a slacking off in the federal prosecution of obscenity laws during the Clinton administration (1992-2000), coincident with the new distribution channels offered by the Internet, has brought hardcore porn from the backalleys of big cities into the living rooms of suburban America. And to help make this possible, several large-scale information providers with familiar brand names have teamed up with the porn studios, unable to resist the high margins and never-waning demand for more sexually-oriented material.


PBS and Frontline.

For those of you who don't have access to this broadcast, PBS is a private, non-profit media network available in 99% of American homes. It is voluntarily supported by grants, donations, and trusts, mostly from viewers, state governments, and corporations. Frontline is a highly acclaimed weekly television documentary series that airs on PBS.

'American Porn'.

More information on this broadcast is located here. Pornography ('porn', sometimes referred to online as 'pr0n') is a multi-billion dollar industry whose profit margins should make Hollywood jealous. A feature which typically costs less than $50,000 to make can easily bring in 10 times that amount in gross reciepts from video alone (about 15,000 copies at $30-40 each). Adding to that revenue stream are pay-per-view, adult magazines, web feeds, special events, and sex toys. And, as anyone with a publically available email address learns quickly, there are enough genres of porn to cover almost any conceivable fantasy.

Porn is a big business now. Some of the production companies are run by executives with Ivy League degrees and MBAs, and have distribution partnerships with mainstream companies such as AT&T broadband, DirecTV (a subsidiary of GM), and Yahoo!. Much of the growth of the porn industry occurred during the 1990's. According to the report, and an interview with former US Attorney General Janet Reno, this was partially due to a decrease in emphasis on federal prosecutorial intervention during the Clinton administration, compared with the Reagan and Bush I administrations before it. The other factor was the rapid acceptance of Internet-based channels for the distribution of pornographic content.

Obscenity and community standards.

Much of the basis for state and federal prosecution of obscenity crimes comes from the landmark case Miller vs. California (1973). Quoting directly from that Supreme Court decision:

The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Roth, supra, at 489, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. If a state obscenity law is thus limited, First Amendment values are adequately protected by ultimate independent appellate review of constitutional claims when necessary.

In American Porn, interviews with prosecutors showed that the "contemporary community standards" issue has historically been used to block the distribution of pornography in some communities. Typically, it would come down to a jury being shown a portion of a pornographic movie, with said portion possibly being determined as obscene (or not obscene), according to their own standards and benchmarks. This method seems to be more comfortably applied in the 1970's, when pornography was peep shows and movie theaters in the red light district, than in the 21st century, where porn is distributed on-demand internationally. After the long hiatus in obscenity cases, regulation of pornography may take another form, although exactly what that might be is anyone's guess.

The Cambria List.

The modern porn industry, not wishing to see its fortunes reversed by the Bush II administration, is troubled by an upsurge in the availability of a more extreme market for pornography, involving rape and murder, bestiality, and underage sex. To hedge their bets somewhat, porn industry lawyer Paul Cambria has published the Cambria List, a guideline of sorts that producers of adult content should consider to avoid possible vulnerability to nascent obscenity prosecution.

So the porn industry, well-known for being harsh critics of any kind of censorship, may decide to institute a policy of self-censorship in order to protect their business model. This is similar to Hollywood's reaction to attempts at federal regulation during the 1950's. Rather than submit to government control, they formed the MPAA, and later, a movie ratings system that is independent of the US government. Again, this does much to reinforce the argument that porn is now a mature industry, and is quietly making inroads further into mainstream society.

Noteworthy moments in the broadacst.

In my PBS market, American Porn was broadcast in an edited version which had certain [profane] words bleeped out, and body parts blurred out. At the top of the screen was a bar that said something like 'Adult Content', which stayed there for the entire show. The Frontline reporters visited the set of a rape/murder porn feature, whose authentic, violent atmosphere was enough to send them packing early (maybe they were concerned about possible criminal or civil liability). That particular feature was being directed by a woman, a former stripper, who believed that she was safer from criticism for her part in making such a film than a man would be.

The porn actresses they interviewed seemed to be motivated more by money (typically $1000+ for a day's work) than enthusiasm for the job, but quickly made the point that there were many to fill their shoes should they decide to quit. American Porn didn't delve into the arguments related to female exploitation that usually go hand-in-hand with discussions of pornography.

One last thing about sex and the Internet, the broadcast didn't seem to fully appreciate the extent that people use anonymous online access for sexual entertainment purposes. For example, I could get video clips of pretty much any kind of porn imaginable, for free via USENET, IRC, or Morpheus-like clients, all completely anonymous and age-insensitive. Their focus seemed to be much more on how mainstream, family-type entertainment networks such as cable, satellite, and AOL, also offer adult content directly or indirectly. In other words, the same people that provide access to the Disney Channel will also sell you adult movies.

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Poll
Your feelings on pornography.
o Porn is just about people getting off and there's nothing new or dangerous about that. 51%
o I don't care about hardcore, but I might have a problem with violent and/or exploitative porn. 39%
o I don't know or I don't care. 1%
o Porn may not be good for the community and the people involved, so it should be better regulated. For instance, it shouldn't be so easy for kids to watch it over the 'net. 5%
o Pornography is a disgrace and I'm willing to boycott the companies that play a part in its distribution. 2%

Votes: 353
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Yahoo
o American Porn
o PBS
o supported
o Frontline
o here
o Miller vs. California (1973)
o Cambria List
o MPAA
o market
o Also by demi


Display: Sort:
'American Porn' on Frontline | 90 comments (86 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Excellent story! (4.42 / 7) (#1)
by wiredog on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:23:49 PM EST

Helluva lot better than I could have written it.

Michael Kirk produced the program, and was online at WashingtonPost.com. Joining him was Danni Ashe, CEO of Danni's Hard Drive.

If you click around the Frontline site, they have the uncensored version of the program available for download.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"

While you're at the Frontline site (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by wiredog on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:35:56 PM EST

Check out "dot.bomb", their investigation of the venture capitalists and investment bankers of the late 90's. Fascinating. Shows like Frontline are why I send my local PBS station a couple hundred dollars a year.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Good man. (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by demi on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:33:35 PM EST

And it also helps to have a little bit of (unprovoked) public advocacy for PBS from time to time, despite the very high quality of some of their programs. I hope some people will take the hint and give them a chance.



[ Parent ]

I had no idea... (2.33 / 6) (#3)
by sykmind on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:39:55 PM EST

that such major companies were involved in the porn industry. Great article.

Kinda boggling (3.50 / 6) (#4)
by Eccles on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:47:14 PM EST

It's rather boggling just how much money people are willing to spend on porn, given how much is available for free on Usenet, Morpheus, et al. The illegality didn't bother Napster users, so it's surprising to me that there is such a large market. Is it just a bandwidth issue? How many different porno movies does one need, anyway? Is it just a few people buying whole bunches, or lots of people buying a little?

attention spans... (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by gibichung on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:56:34 PM EST

For some reason, porn seems to hold people's attention for a lot less time than music or movies -- so they're not as willing to hunt for (or wait to download) it on the net.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
Who buys porn (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by RadiantMatrix on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:23:29 PM EST

I'm not exactly a porn afficianado, but I'm willing to bet that what you can get for free online is missing something from what you get on paysites.

There's simply too much buying going on for me to think that people are simply too lazy to look for free porn. And, I would imagine that the primary source of porn from free outlets would be "teasers" from the porn industry.

Am I completely off base here?

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Depends on what you want (5.00 / 3) (#52)
by Hizonner on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 01:05:32 PM EST

Long, high-quality video you mostly have to pay for; not always.

Some of the free still pictures are indeed "teasers", but they can be awfully explicit ones, and there are thousands of them. They sometimes have lower image resolution than the commercial product, and they frequently have ads on them. Many of them are still eminently, um, "usable".

Most commonly, the teasers are selections from longer series of pictures; I think the sellers hope that people will decide they like the models and go buy the entire series. If you like long, long series of pictures of the same people, forming a "story", then you're motivated to buy the rest of the set. Sometimes they post only the earlier, less explicit pictures in a series, sometimes they seem to post a complete sampling.

In addition to the teasers, you can get a lot of complete series of high-resolution, professionally produced pictures... almost universally pirated. There's a philosophical argument over whether it's actually "free". There is, however, an incredible amount of it available; people routinely post whole CD-ROMs full of images to Usenet.

Personally, my single biggest porn turn-on is the idea that the people involved are actually enjoying themselves. I can accept a halfway credible fake, but much commercial porn is so stupidly formulaic that it doesn't work for me. For my personal taste, the free stuff in the amateur newsgroups is often better than most of what you can buy... the photography sucks (especially men seem to have no fucking idea how to photograph themselves), but you can be pretty sure that an amateur picture posted with no ads on it was taken for the fun of it, rather than because somebody was getting paid. Not that the two are mutually exclusive.

[ Parent ]

Location is everything (none / 0) (#71)
by pietra on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:49:38 PM EST

A significant portion of the porn industry's cash is made from pay-per-view hotel purchases, which usually run $8-12 per viewing. It's not so much that you can get the same thing for free online; it's that you can go to a nice private hotel room, often on vacation, with your significant other, and watch some monumentally silly and cheesy movie to get turned on, and fuck like minks. Yeah, you can bring your laptop to the hotel, and watch some porn that you downloaded a while back, but then you run the risk of kicking your laptop off the bed in the midst of things. It's a matter of convenience and location, and man, does it pay.

[ Parent ]
Wow. (2.00 / 5) (#10)
by Sheepdot on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:14:45 PM EST

I won't post what I'm looking at right now, but porn seems to be a favorable topic on K5. I kind of wish I would have voted -1 just to be different.

Looks like 95% of K5 has something in common, an interest in porn.

I love porn! (2.07 / 14) (#11)
by dr k on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:18:40 PM EST

Porn is wonderful!


Destroy all trusted users!

Missing poll option... (4.55 / 18) (#12)
by afeldspar on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:27:16 PM EST

Namely, "Porn is actually good for our society." And I think it is; it provides an important safety valve for some feelings that aren't necessarily going to be satisfied by daily life, and aren't going to go away through wishing away.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.

Is this really for k5? (2.18 / 11) (#13)
by tiamat on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:27:23 PM EST

I mean, what do a bunch of sexualy starved geeks have to say about porn?

Can anyone here really pretend to know what they're talking about?

PS I was going to make the word anyone a link to a diary, but there were too many to choose from.

Great quote from Revenge of the Nerds... (4.77 / 9) (#17)
by demi on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:42:49 PM EST

Betty (feeling good after some oral sex): That was great! Are all nerds as good as you?
Louis : Yeah, because all jocks think about is sports. All nerds think about is sex!



[ Parent ]

I would say . . . (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Dphitz on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:20:41 PM EST

That "a bunch of sexually starved geeks" would have a LOT to say about porn. If one is sexually starved, then porn would be a natural outlet.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
Some people missed the scarcasm here! (2.00 / 1) (#26)
by tiamat on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:46:15 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Higher education (none / 0) (#73)
by pietra on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 08:09:07 PM EST

I was lucky enough to take a class on pornography at UCSC in 1997. It was taught by none other than Susie Bright, author of The Sexual State of the Nation , among lots of other excellent and funny analyses of porn. We spent 10 weeks watching, reading, and reviewing porn, had Nina Hartley as a guest lecturer, and learned all kinds of interesting things about legality, gender issues, and our society as a whole. It was probably the best class I ever took, and definitely the most thought-provoking. I got an A in the class, so yeah, I am qualified to talk about porn.

[ Parent ]
Well, as the saying goes (3.33 / 6) (#15)
by Wing Envy on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:36:09 PM EST

"Supported by viewers like you". I suppose PBS and porn are alike in that respect. Besides, it's not surprising that PBS would try to cash in on a multi-million dollar industry hoping to up the ante. I'm sure they've had more people donate than usual- last I heard people weren't exactly spending millions of their hard earned dollars on Sesame Street paraphernalia :)


You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.
-mrgoat
Another similarity: (5.00 / 3) (#38)
by BitPusher on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 10:01:26 PM EST

They are both "member supported".

(rimshot)

[ Parent ]
Interesting Poll Results... (4.25 / 4) (#16)
by defeated on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:36:48 PM EST

Looking at the poll results, I'm suprised to see that the majority selected the "I don't have a problem with porn, but might have a problems with violent, exploitive..." currently at 21 votes, or 46%. I assume we're not referring to snuff here, just depictions of violence or exploitation. Does that mean that the voter doesn't care to watch violent porn, or that s/he isn't in favor of making violent porn available to anyone?

Violent/sadistic porn. (4.66 / 3) (#18)
by demi on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:49:52 PM EST

Personally, I think if you tried to outlaw violent/sadistic porn you might run into trouble. In some cases what I have seen is extremely difficult to distinguish from reality. That begs the question of whether or not the actress was a willing participant, which would abridge the 'free speech' argument and go right into violent crime. However, people, being the sick animals that they are, will often act in certain ways that outsiders often cannot understand. What could easily be interpreted as abuse might be 'punchy' humor, tough love, etc. It's fine to eliminate that behavior from the workplace, where it is certainly inapproprate, but I don't know that you could do it with regard to entertainment or private conduct.

I guess that I actually have some residual morality and I can say that no studio that produces that stuff will ever get any financial support from me. It's sick IMO and if you can enjoy seeing a woman raped and killed, then good for you.



[ Parent ]

Careful with the word sadism (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by Miniluv on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:06:43 PM EST

First off, you didn't describe sadism in any way. You described violence, which is not actually a component of sadism.

Sadism in porn is pretty common in certain sub-genres, however overall it is quite rare. Most people don't get off on seeing S&M or anything similar, as it sounds like you don't.

I do wonder however why you consider a moral issue to not support porn which harms no one but doesn't cater to your particular tastes. Obviously you're under no compulsion to support it, but the sentiment you expressed seems rather misplaced. Obviously it'd be a moral issue if you really mean porn in which folks are harmed, however I really suspect that stuff is entirely underground.

The exploitative or violent porn I object to is that very underground stuff. The porn of urban legend, such as was the subject of the film "8mm". Obviously some of it does get made, as there is a huge demand for it throughout the world. I object to children (say 10 and younger to try to avoid overgeneralizing the word children) being exploited for sexual gratification, let alone money. I object to unwilling participants being filmed in any form of act, especially sexual. However I don't at all object to willing participants simulating a scene of rape, murder, torture, etc. I have no problem with 18+ women who look younger being in movies and acting in a manner that simulates that of a child, as long as there's proof of age, and it's made clear to the purchasing audience that it is not child pornography.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

8mm vs. Reality TV. (4.60 / 5) (#30)
by demi on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:52:26 PM EST

I take my definition of 'sadism' from the Oxford English Dictionary:
sadism, n. A form of sexual perversion marked by a love of cruelty. Now understood as cruelty that evidences a subconscious craving and is apparently satisfied, sexually or otherwise, by the infliction of pain on another by means of aggressive or destructive behaviour or the assertion of power over that person; also loosely, deliberate or excessive cruelty morbidly enjoyed.
You may have a different idea of what sadism is, maybe a more benign one, but when I see torture and murder sold as pornographic entertainment, warning bells go off in my head.

I don't propose to keep anyone from enjoying their pastimes, no matter how distasteful they may be to me. But say you were watching one of these torture movies, how can you tell that the violence depicted on film is or is not real? In the case of the feature shown in American Porn, according to the words of the director, the violence was indeed real (except for the murder and dismemberment of course) and definitely not underground. If you don't see any harm in getting beaten up and fucked for money, then that is your view, which is perfectly legitimate. I'm not sure that I think it should be banned, but it is definitely up there on my "High Price of Ensuring Free Speech" list.

I would link to a transcript of the interview, but it has not yet been posted to the PBS site.



[ Parent ]

Movies (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by marx on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 12:09:13 AM EST

But say you were watching one of these torture movies, how can you tell that the violence depicted on film is or is not real?

Say you were watching "Pulp Fiction", how can you tell that the violence depicted on film is or is not real?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Re: Movies (2.66 / 3) (#43)
by Kalani on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:52:46 AM EST

Say you were watching "Pulp Fiction", how can you tell that the violence depicted on film is or is not real?

Everyone knows who made the movie. They have too much to risk to do anything that extreme. No-name people can get away with that kind of thing more easily.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Reasonable POV (2.00 / 1) (#78)
by Miniluv on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 11:47:12 AM EST

We agree on the definition of sadism in modern English, however I would say that common usage, especially in porn, doesn't quite match this definition.

Sadism is usually accompanied by the word masochism when used in descriptions of movies. There is a thriving subculture for whom this isn't only something they like to watch in movies, this is something they do in their own lives, in their own homes and gathering places. Yes, the violence is real, otherwise it wouldn't be worth watching.

I really don't see how any of this reaches the "High Price of Ensuring Free Speech" list. I would say that a movie like "Faces of Death" would be much harder to defend than a movie that can usually be proven to be the result of consent on the part of all involved. Any film house not getting consent statements (as well as proof of age as required by law) deserves to get run out of business for terminal stupidity in addition to any crimes they may commit.

As far as whether I can tell while watching, whose problem is that other than my own? Ultimately, responsibility for interpretation lies with the viewer, and there are certain reasonable steps the film makers can take to ensure protection from prosecution for crimes they did not commit.

I'm still unclear on just why "warning bells" go off in your head when you see movies made with content you don't like. It really is sounding like you're rationalizing a secret desire to censor those things which fail to move you from flaccid to erect and back again.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

I will explain. (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by demi on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 08:24:20 PM EST

Before I defend anything I have said, or take issue with anything you have said, I want to wonder aloud (echo on) if you have seen American Porn. If you haven't, then perhaps my comments would make more sense if they were not taken out of context. As others have pointed out, the Frontline crew visited the set of a movie where a rape/murder porn feature was being made, and it became clear to them that the actress that was being beaten may not have realized beforehand that the violence was supposed to be real, although clearly she was going along with it. We're not talking about Sid and Nancy getting punchy here, or a husband and wife that can draw each other's blood and get turned on by it, this is a naive girl that wanted to make money and probably said 'okay whatever' to the director and producer.

If this was going on in my community, I would call it battery at the very least. It's not 'harmless'. Even if she was glad to take the money for it, she was harmed, and not in the 'victimless crime' sense, either. We have violent entertainment, which is legal, and violent porn, which is also legal (in most places). I don't have any problem with any of it a priori, but watching the documentary made me realize that paying people money to be beaten and fucked may have some negative consequences after all. I learned something, and I actually questioned my libertine beliefs. If this is the admission that you wanted, here it is: I can see that my saying 'OK' to widely distributed violent porn may put some people at risk of physical harm and real emotional damage, and I'm not sure I like that.

I'm still unclear on just why "warning bells" go off in your head when you see movies made with content you don't like.

I can watch Cock and Ball Torture, and not like it, but if some guy wants to have his nuts smashed by a board with nails in it, good for him! If I witnessed some woman being raped, who may be crying out 'Stop!' as part of the act, or possibly for real... that bothers me, whether cameras are rolling or not.

It really is sounding like you're rationalizing a secret desire to censor those things which fail to move you from flaccid to erect and back again.

Not going to take that bait, but I will point out that it is very childish to say such a thing about someone you do not know. I would hope that someday you do watch the documentary, and maybe it will make you wonder whether or not you would say the same things again.



[ Parent ]

Quoth (3.22 / 9) (#19)
by zephc on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:07:06 PM EST

"This next song is about my love of hardcore, barely legal porno" - Will Farrell as Neil Diamond

Neil (none / 0) (#45)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:07:28 AM EST

Why does SNL hate Neil Diamond so much anyway? He goes on about Nazi's, talks about how "I killed a drifter to get an erection," and so on.





[ Parent ]
My biggest problem with the Cambria List (4.50 / 8) (#21)
by georgeha on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:22:17 PM EST

is that black man white woman action could cause legal problems; apparently white man white woman won't, black man black woman won't, black man asian woman won't, white man hispanic woman won't.

But if you just happen to show one of those ebony studs getting some action with a white woman, watch out!

Yeap, 2002 and America is still very racist.

Well, the Cambria list is actually a very good (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by terpy on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:07:58 PM EST

thing for the industry to have. You have to understand that the list wasn't designed to limit the industry, or propagate racism or any other ism. It's about reality, and how to keep your compnay from spending all profits fighting legal battles brought to bear by people who are offended by these things. As these companies expand their empire and market saturation, society changes too. (Whether or not it's the cause or result of societys changes is another topic.) The more society changes, the more leverage the companies will have against the fewer and fewer people who want to control your porn intake and/or sexuality. Also, if you look closely, you'll notice that the Cambria list is very well respected and is used by almost 75% of major porn producers as a guideline for their productions. A guideline, not the decisive rule, muchless unchangeable. I saw the PBS show as well last night and of course, Larry Flynt and Hustler were featured prominently throughout. If you've ever picked up a copy of Huslter, you'll quickly notice that almost every issue violates in some way, at least one of the Cambria guidelines. Hustler has made a name for itself by printing things that other mainstream mags won't.

In conclusion, yes it is 2002 and racism (and all the other isms) are still widespread, but please note that it is not EXCLUSIVE to the US, or even western culture.

-- if it's not one cathode ray tube, it's another
[ Parent ]
It is exclusive (2.66 / 3) (#31)
by marx on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:00:17 PM EST

but please note that it is not EXCLUSIVE to the US, or even western culture.

I hardly think you can find a single western country which criminalizes black male/white female porn (or any other race-based criterion) while white male/white female porn is legal. Go ahead, find it.

I don't care if the "community standard" is local, it's still US law.

Yes, Iraq probably also has racist laws, but the US is not a country like Iraq.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Not a law. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by demi on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:07:27 PM EST

I hardly think you can find a single western country which criminalizes black male/white female porn (or any other race-based criterion) while white male/white female porn is legal. Go ahead, find it.

First of all, the Cambria List is not a law. It is not even uniformly observed in the porn industry. It's a proposal for self-policing, based on this guy's idea of what most local communities might find to be offensive and/or obscene. Even material that is legally classified as 'obscene' is not illegal to own, it is just illegal to distribute in some locales.

There's nothing unique about the US having some places where people are offended by porn.



[ Parent ]

It's based on law (2.00 / 5) (#33)
by marx on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:41:49 PM EST

First of all, the Cambria List is not a law. [...] Even material that is legally classified as 'obscene' is not illegal to own, it is just illegal to distribute in some locales.

The Cambria List is a "guideline [...] to avoid possible vulnerability to nascent obscenity prosecution.". I.e., it shows what kind of material can get you into trouble with the law. Thus the Cambria List reflects the law.

Even material that is legally classified as 'obscene' is not illegal to own, it is just illegal to distribute in some locales.

Uh, why is this relevant? If it's illegal to distribute, then there's still a law against it, isn't there?

There's nothing unique about the US having some places where people are offended by porn.

No, but we're talking about what's legal or not, not about what's offensive or not. I think it's safe to say that the US is the only western country in which certain porn is criminalized based purely on racial content.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Wrong (4.50 / 4) (#34)
by blues is dead on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:53:01 PM EST

It does not define US law. Rather it reflects common sentiments in certain US communities, shared by law enforcement and civilians alike, that could result in future banning.

No country is immune to this phenomenon. However, America has a nasty puritan streak at times.

[ Parent ]
Cambria List vs. Law (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by RadiantMatrix on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:16:34 PM EST

The Cambria List is a "guideline [...] to avoid possible vulnerability to nascent obscenity prosecution.". I.e., it shows what kind of material can get you into trouble with the law. Thus the Cambria List reflects the law.
Imprecice. Actually, most 'obscenity' legislation defines obscene as "what a reasonable person would consider obscene". Granted, it does so in complex legalese, but that's the long and short of it.

So, what the Cambria List reflects comes down to two things:

  1. What you're likely to be sued (civil, not criminal) over.
  2. What some ninny prosecutor is likely to assume a reasonable person finds offensive.
Chances are, the porn-maker would win most of these cases -- but fighting in court is expensive. Better to avoid it than prove a point.
If it's illegal to distribute, then there's still a law against it, isn't there?
Nope. It may be illegal to distribute porn in Somewhereville, USA; however, a Somewhereville resident cannot be prevented from owning, using (watching), or purchasing porn. All [s]he has to do is buy it outside Somewhereville's jurisdiction.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
Denial (2.25 / 4) (#40)
by marx on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:38:05 PM EST

If it's illegal to distribute, then there's still a law against it, isn't there?
Nope. It may be illegal to distribute porn in Somewhereville [...]

Frankly, I'm sick of arguing this any more. There's clearly some sort of mass denial going on here.

You see, if I ask "is there a law against it?", then that is equivalent to asking "is it illegal?". If you answer "Nope. It may be illegal...", then I don't see how we can be having an argument anymore. The sun is blue, my father is Santa Claus. Bla bla bla. It's just nonsense.

What I've seen is that a lot of people are not condemning racist laws in local communities. I think this speaks for itself.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Missing the point (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by RadiantMatrix on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:22:44 AM EST

Obviously, if you think we're in denial, you're not reading carefully. Allow me to over-simplify.

Just because it's illegal to distribute something in one place doesn't mean it's illegal to have or use.

Basically, making porn illegal to distribute in a locale only keeps porn shops outside of town.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Apartheid (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by marx on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:36:40 AM EST

Just because it's illegal to distribute something in one place doesn't mean it's illegal to have or use.

I've never stated that I care whether ownership or distribution is illegal. If distribution is illegal then that's bad enough.

Maybe you can explain to the EFF that their DeCSS case is irrelevant, because all that's been criminalized is the distribution of DeCSS, you're still allowed to own it.

Basically, making porn illegal to distribute in a locale only keeps porn shops outside of town.

This is like saying that a "whites only" bar is ok, all you have to do if you're black is go to the bar in the next town (or the next after that etc.).

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Scale of Distribution (none / 0) (#77)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:27:02 AM EST

Firstly, I never said that illegalizing distribution was a good thing -- merely that illegalizing distribution is not the same as illegalizing a product.
Maybe you can explain to the EFF that their DeCSS case is irrelevant, because all that's been criminalized is the distribution of DeCSS, you're still allowed to own it.
Here's where scale comes into play -- making distribution illegal on a national scale is a huge problem. The issue at hand with DeCSS is more that of precedent than instance, though, and that makes a big difference.

Besides, since I can download DeCSS from international sources -- legally -- how has illegalizing US distribution really affected me?

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Finding racism where distaste is all that exists (none / 0) (#79)
by Miniluv on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 11:56:25 AM EST

Obviously you really want people to seem far more racist than they are. Please stop, it makes you look pretty rabid and rather silly.

The fact that Cambria believes that a big black stud fucking the brains out of some white chick might get you sued in certain jurisdictions, and thus he warns his comrades in the porn industry that this might get them sued has nothing to do with legalized racism. It has everything to do with understanding that some parts of the country are backward and racist, and that if you want to do your best to stay on very solid legal ground you'd best not show this. However, I watched porn just last night that violated several of his rules, and it was made by one of the larger porn houses.

Yes, people are racist. Yes, racism often gets applied to pornography. No, it has no basis in the law per se, instead it is based around an old free speech ruling which states that if a community finds it obscene, it is. For that community only however. The way most of us fight this is by not living in said communities, and instead living our happy, non-racist lives in areas where we can freely buy poorly produced video tapes of all races getting together for the splendid pastime of orgy.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

It must take a lot of guts (none / 0) (#85)
by marx on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:57:24 AM EST

has nothing to do with legalized racism [...] if you want to do your best to stay on very solid legal ground you'd best not show this.

Come on. These two statements (even in their contexts) are in direct contradiction. Either there is a legal base for these racist "laws", or there isn't.

The way most of us fight this is by not living in said communities [...]

Wow, what a way to make a stand.

Why don't you advocate the removal of the obscenity law instead, as I do? This would solve the problem, instead of having to try to ignore it.

It seems to me that you actually accept this racism. Maybe you want to live in a racist society, but I certainly don't.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

You're not quite getting it, either of you. (none / 0) (#63)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:43:35 PM EST

What I've seen is that a lot of people are not condemning racist laws in local communities. I think this speaks for itself.

If I understand his point, there are no explicitly racist laws as you seem to assume. There are laws against obscene material according to community standards which the law itself does not define.

Which means that there is a conflict here between community standards and individual rights. Your argument should be that invoking a community standards law to make such a racial distinction violates the equal protection of the law for citizens of the race in question.

--em
[ Parent ]

You Misunderstand... (none / 0) (#56)
by DarkZero on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:58:53 PM EST

From what I understand, the Cambria List is based on laws and community standards. It doesn't sanction banning or even limiting these types of pornography, it's just giving its fellow porn workers fair warning about what types of porn will probably get them into trouble legally.

As you touched on, the problem is more with America than with the list. The list is just about reality and the problems that porn films may face, not about enforced or even suggested moral standards.

[ Parent ]
Just commenting on the poll selections (4.66 / 9) (#22)
by gauze on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:31:00 PM EST

Porn isn't about people getting off anymore than
Lenscrafters is about providing people with Quality Affordable Eyeware. It's about money.
More power to them, I worked about 60 hours hauling broken concrete out of a Lenscrafters to make the $1000 a woman can make in a few hours getting it in the butt (isn't that what 99% of the porns made today are about?)

Which one of us is being more used? :-P


There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
Porn= Big Business (3.33 / 3) (#23)
by sisyphus on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:39:46 PM EST

The reason porn is such big business is because the target age for viewers is +25 mainly, which for reasons of ignorance or discretion prefer to pay for the service, (i.e credit card), even though it is available for free.The only other reason for paying for porn (or anything that is free) would be quality, but i don't know about other people but the effect of a particular film/website/whatever is temporary and thus needs to be replenished with new stuff, which is the perfect business model, just look at cola, all it is is coloured carbonated water, but we keep buying it and making the corporations rich, however porn can't go mainstream with how cool their product is but have the advantage of being underground and thus desirable (forbidden friut). I don't know about America, but porn here (spain)is available for free everyday more or less, it isn't new, most films circa 1995, but it serves it's purpose,on the question whether k5 readers like porn, the answer seems obvious Male:single: high availability. However i never understood how pornography is legal but prostitution illegal, does this mean that if someone is taping you having sex that is ok with the law?.
The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
I think it's illegal to offer money for sex (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by georgeha on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:57:03 PM EST

in most parts of the US, which is how prostitution is defined. Whereas in pornography the male actor isn't offering any money to the female actor.

My recollection is poor, but I did read up on this once. Somehow a case in California was brought against a pornographer on charges of prostitution which the state of California lost, thus inadvertantly legalizing pornographic film making.

[ Parent ]

Legal prostitution (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by sisyphus on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:54:05 PM EST

I know in Germany they have conceded to the fact that prostitution exists, as in the dutch model, but i recently heard that in Catalunya ( a state in spain), they are going to regulate brothels because prostitution can't be eliminated so they might as well make sure that some standards are followed and that no one (illegal inmigrants) are forced to prostitute themselves to avoid being chucked out, it's possibly something like marijuana, you're not harming anyone so we will take a lean view.
The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
[ Parent ]
Sentences (none / 0) (#28)
by greenrd on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:04:49 PM EST

Your posts would be easier to read if you used shorter sentences, and stopped using a comma where a period would be better. Just a piece of friendly advice.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Grammar (4.00 / 4) (#39)
by qpt on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:31:02 PM EST

Your posts would be easier to read if you used shorter sentences, and stopped using a comma where a period would be better. Just a piece of friendly advice.

There should be no comma in your first sentence, and your second sentence is a fragment.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

re:Legal prostitution (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by selmer on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 09:06:45 AM EST

In Holland we haven't just conceded to the fact that prostitution exists, prostitution has actually legal for the past couple of years (since somewhere 1999 or somewhere 2000, if I recall correctly). Prostitutes do have to pay taxes and they do have to own the correct paperwork if they want to work at a club.

[ Parent ]
Pandering vs. prostitution (none / 0) (#72)
by pietra on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:57:46 PM EST

Prostitution is defined, legally, as a person paying another person to have sex with the payer. Pandering is defined as taking payment from another person to facilitate an act of sex (i.e. pimping). The hooker has sex with the john, but the john pays the pimp. Porn falls into a legal gray area, because both of the participants are getting paid to have sex, but not by the person they're having sex with. Some states have decided that porn qualifies as pandering, whereas others have concluded that it doesn't. The vagueness of the laws, and also their subsequent enforcement, can make for some interesting reversals.

[ Parent ]
John Asscock (4.36 / 11) (#35)
by mlinksva on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:59:19 PM EST

I'm no fan of Janet Reno, but she's the only talking head in the show that made any sense -- very loosely paraphrased "people are getting murdered out there, we prioritized violent crime at the expense of porno proescutions." People who want to throw people in jail for creating porn that people watch in their own frigging homes violate my community standards!
--
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
Good things II (none / 0) (#44)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:03:47 AM EST

> ... a slacking off in the federal prosecution of obscenity laws during the > Clinton administration (1992-2000)


I knew there had to be something good from the Clinton administration besides the reappointment of Greenspan!



[ Parent ]
Good sex -- rebellion against the state? (none / 0) (#81)
by annenk38 on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:27:04 PM EST

Many states already have laws regulating consectual sex of marries couples in their own private homes. These have been all but forgotten, but it appears with Ashcroft leading the way, they could be resurrected once again. Traditionally, in the US, any pleasurable human activity, including sex and pornography, have always been viewed as rebellion against God, and hence against the state. Nothing be blessed unless it has somehow been anointed and circumsized. This has been pointed out quite well in Orwell's '1984'.

And if my left hand causes me to stumble as well -- what do I cut it off with? -- Harry, Prince of Wales (The Blackadder)
[ Parent ]
Porn is a choice! (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by kha0z on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:28:11 AM EST

There will always be some sort of argument for and against pornography -- just as there is always an arguement about drug use, alcohol use, abortion, and the such. The bottom line is that just like in all the other black market and mainstream industries the bottom line is who has the largest buck. An industry, like the pornography industry, is bound to flourish in a capitalist society such as the United States. Additionally, any contraversial industry will also face problems moral, ethical, legal, religious, and various other contexts. Aside from these driving and obstructing factors, there is still one simple arguement that is still left -- should the consumer be allowed to chose whether or not to purchase (or download for free) the products of these industries? Isn't that what it comes down to? After all if there were no market for it, there would be no demand for the product, and therefore no industry. In fact, when you consider that (for the most part) all the participating parties involved in the creation of a porn product are all consenting adults, then it is clear that no legal restriction should be placed on the production and distribution of these said products and services. Exploitation of children, rape, murder, and the like are additional issues that need to be dealt through formal litigation.
--kha0z
Free choice - no way (none / 0) (#48)
by Cornelius on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:02:50 AM EST

The question of consent on the part of the particpants in porn is highly questionable. A majority of the films are made in poor countries, many of the people involved suffer from substance abuse or have psychological issues. If it was actually a free choice, no coercion, no dependency and if the partcipants could make a decent living through other means the amount of porn available would drop.

Porn has always existed - that is of course true, but should we in modern society accept the a massive, indistrialized exploitation and degradation of the weak and poor?

I am no saint I like a nude goodlooking girl as much as the next guy, but I can't say I like or approve of seeing poor eastern block girls abused by psycopathic men. Give these girls a job and they won't do it. It's as simple as that.


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
Virtual porn (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by QuantumG on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 12:11:18 PM EST

The sooner we can script together those polygons the better then right?

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Unsubstantiated broad-brush (5.00 / 2) (#51)
by Hizonner on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 12:41:34 PM EST

By far the majority of porn, certainly the stuff that the major corporations are involved in, is not the "forced lolita bestiality" stuff that's coming out of Eastern Europe. To use "porn" as a generic term, and treat that stuff as representing the entire industry, is unfair. I believe most widely-distributed porn is (still) shot in Los Angeles.

The really poor countries seem to have almost no share of the market; white customers don't want brown models.

You get points off for assuming that people in porn are always being degraded (although I agree that there are some who are). Your standard fucking-and-sucking porn is degrading only if you consider sex (or sex outside marriage, or without love, or whatever) degrading, or if you have such an overdeveloped concept of privacy that you can't imagine wanting to be watched. There are lots of people, in porn and out of it, who don't have those issues.

As for the minority of violent or "explicitly degrading" porn, well, I know people who enjoy feeling (and inflicting) pain and/or degradation during sex. They don't all seem to have any problem with separating that from the rest of their lives, although admittedly some of them do. And most people seem to have at least a little bit of a transgressive streak during sex.

Even supposing someone does feel degraded, as some porn models almost certainly do, who are you to tell that person what money is worth?

As for substance abuse and psychological issues, can you substantiate that, or is it just your personal opinion, or something you read on some propaganda Web site? And how many is "many"? And exactly how many psychiatrists have to declare me mentally squeaky-clean before I can be in porn?

I don't believe that porn is a better example of the exploitation of the weak and poor than, say, 90 percent of the clothes and shoes on sale in the US... and I think there ought to be a rule that, before you get to complain about exploitation, you first have to actually do something to provide the "exploited" people with an alternative. People are too damned eager to complain about somebody being paid 40 cents a day in a shoe factory, when they'd be willing to let that person starve to death after the factory shut down.

The "amount of available porn" is hard to measure, since there's so much more of it than anybody could view. I doubt that the LA porn industry would have any trouble taking up the slack from Eastern Europe, except maybe in the really far-out areas.

By the way, speaking of the degradation of women, were you aware that there's such a thing as gay porn?

[ Parent ]

Re: Free choice - no way (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by DarkZero on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:53:04 PM EST

Well, yes, forced labor in the pornographic industry in poorer countries is a problem, but I think you're missing the larger picture in an effort to defame pornography.

In many poorer countries, there are tons of malnourished children that are forced to work in sweat shops to make the sorts of clothes that you find in the average Wal-Mart. However, there are also many consenting workers that make clothing at decent wages. Should we stop wearing clothes because of the exploited minority, or should we simply try to stop the exploitation of that minority, while trying our best to give our patronage to the good organizations that are paying their workers well and keeping them healthy? The porn industry is in the same situation. There are, contrary to popular belief, very many people that absolute love their jobs as strippers, porn stars, porn directors, and other workers in the "adult entertainment" industry. Should these people's works be shunned because of the minority that is being exploited in other countries, or should we simply help those minorities while spending our money only on quality pornographic works that are made in healthy and consensual conditions.

We don't stop wearing clothes because of the exploited minority, so we shouldn't stop watching porn for that reason, either. We should, however, do our best to make sure that none of our money goes to those exploitation works, and do whatever we can to have them shut down.

[ Parent ]
Apologies in advance.... (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by TheAJOfOZ on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 12:06:46 AM EST

Should we stop wearing clothes because of the exploited minority

Well, it would hit two birds with one stone*, you wouldn't need to take advantage of people in the porn industry or the clothing industry......

* Disclaimer: I do not have a bird hitting fetish....

Sorry......

[ Parent ]

Regarding Free choice (none / 0) (#69)
by Cornelius on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 03:22:05 PM EST

You misrepresent my intentions. I have no intention to "defame" pornography.

I cannot see that your sweatshop example affects my argument whatsoever. As to whether people stop wearing clothes from sweatshops I think some do. I think the genral public is largely unaware of the working conditions of some of child workers in poorer countries, would they know that a certain bran acted unethically many customers would boycott that brand. Companies with bad ethics have sometimes suffered in the market place and been forced to change strategy.

However, before I get sidetracked on that issue I'd like to ask you: Can you substantiate your assertion that "very many people that [work in porn industry] absolute love their jobs as strippers, porn stars, porn directors, and other workers"? I think it absurd that you would imagine the great majority or a significant number["very many"]working in hard-core porn as liking their job. I cannot think for one minute what might be so enjoyable with having intercourse (regular and otherwise) with (groups of) men, who are complete strangers, and who might be carriers of transmittable diseases and who furthermore quite regularly treat their counterparts with total disregard for their worth and dignity (striking them etc). (However, I agree that nude models working for Playboy and similar papers might like their job.)




Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
You lack imagination. (none / 0) (#74)
by Hizonner on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 09:26:06 PM EST

Can you substantiate your assertion that "very many people that [work in porn industry] absolute love their jobs as strippers, porn stars, porn directors, and other workers"?

I imagine DarkZero can substantiate that assertion about as well as you can substantiate yours about mental illness and substance abuse. Go do a Web search, and you'll find lots of porn models running pages on which they state that they like their work (even while admitting that they're faking a lot of orgasms and whatnot, and having some negative words to say about their more obnoxious fans). You can find books with similar statements. I don't personally know any porn models, but I've known strippers who seemed pretty pleased with their jobs.

You can, of course, claim that they're all lying... and none of this proves anything statistically, any more than anecdotes about drugs or mental illness would.

Everything I've seen seems to indicate that there are people who like the work, and that their numbers are significant. There are also people who feel exploited, and/or who suffer unpleasant psychological consequences... not so much, I suspect, from the work itself, as from the incredible amount of social condemnation it gets.

Undoubtedly there are more of the latter group in the shadier parts of the industry, and there were probably also more of them back when porn production was more "underground". Absent real evidence, there's no obvious reason to think they predominate in any part of the industry. Certainly it's way out of line to claim that there can't be a significant number of people who enjoy the work.

I cannot think for one minute what might be so enjoyable with having intercourse (regular and otherwise) with (groups of) men, who are complete strangers, and who might be carriers of transmittable diseases and who furthermore quite regularly treat their counterparts with total disregard for their worth and dignity (striking them etc).

Well, I certainly can. :-)

I've seen (not heard about, but seen) more than one woman pay $50 (not get paid $50, but pay $50) to get into a club, for no other purpose than "having intercourse (regular and otherwise) with (groups of) men, who are complete strangers, and who might be carriers of transmittable [sic] diseases". It's quite uncommon, even among women who enjoy alternative sexual pursuits, but it does happen. It would seem reasonable to expect such women to be heavily overrepresented in the sex industry.

Such behavior is, of course, so common among men that it's not even worth arguing about.

Admittedly, the women are usually accompanied by husbands and/or boyfriends (well, except at the all-female parties that a few of my friends go to once in a while). If it makes you feel better, feel free to make up stories for yourself about how the women are being forced into this for the sick sexual gratification of those men. I'm sure there are cases where that's true... but I haven't seen too many signs of it.

From what I've picked up from the "sex" media and from minor discussions with people involved in the industry, the most common negative feeling about the job seems to be boredom. It's a job, after a while. It has tedious parts, like other jobs.

The porn industry is relatively paranoid about disease these days, although the particular precautions they take (obsessive testing, mostly) aren't, in my opinion, as reassuring as they might be.

As for striking people, there are people who like that. A lot. And, as for "total disregard for their worth and dignity", you should remember that

  1. The fact that you see something as damaging to their "worth and dignity" doesn't mean that they see it that way.
  2. Porn is fiction. You know fiction? Where people act?

I'm not saying that there's nothing screwed up in the porn industry. Especially not in certain segments of the porn industry. But for you to run on about how no "significant" number of people in that industry can like their jobs, because you can't imagine it, is just stupid.

[ Parent ]

No need (none / 0) (#75)
by Cornelius on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 04:37:41 AM EST

There's no need to call me stupid. I understand that you don't like me not agreeing with you but there's no need to be rude. I fully respect your point of view.


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
Warning: don't waste time reading this (none / 0) (#82)
by Hizonner on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:35:35 PM EST

I apologize to the group at large for posting this largely personal response. I'll let any reply to this be the last word in this subthread. I advise skipping this unless you like flamage.

I didn't call you stupid. I called your position stupid. No, that's not even true. I called your "I can't imagine that so it can't be true" statement stupid.

I don't have enough information about you, in general, to know whether you're stupid or not.

As an example of the difference, I consider the "[sic]" that you called me on to have been a stupid move on my part. I do not consider myself a stupid person.

As for the "stupid" comment, it was a forceful statement, perhaps a bit rude... but I found your "I think it absurd that you would imagine [reasonably verifiable fact]" comment to be rude, and deserving of a sharp response. Rudeness isn't always in the language; sometimes it's in the attitude.

[ Parent ]

Sic (none / 0) (#76)
by Cornelius on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 04:41:49 AM EST

What's with the [sic] in my quote?


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
Me being snotty... (none / 0) (#80)
by Hizonner on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:13:34 PM EST

... certainly unnecessarily, and perhaps unjustifiably so. The preferred form, especially for diseases, is or used to be "transmissible". But you're still correct, and I'm still being a jerk.

[ Parent ]

A radical notion (none / 0) (#88)
by pietra on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 11:24:26 PM EST

I cannot think for one minute what might be so enjoyable with having intercourse (regular and otherwise) with (groups of) men, who are complete strangers, and who might be carriers of transmittable diseases and who furthermore quite regularly treat their counterparts with total disregard for their worth and dignity (striking them etc).
Money, baby. Big fat wads--er, buttloads--er, giant--er, lots and lots of cash. It's not uncommon for a woman to make $1000 for an hour's worth of work, and big-name stars can make $10,000 for that same hour. Here's another no-brainer: some women like sex a lot. Really. You ever think that it might be good to get paid to have sex all day? In addition, porn is just about the only industry where there is a gender gap *heavily* weighted towards women, both in terms of pay, and also in terms of treatment. Male porn stars don't treat their female counterparts with total disregard for their worth--quite to the contrary. The guys are support mechanisms for a penis, period. They get ignored on the sets until it's time to be useful; Susan Faludi's Stiffed has a highly entertaining chapter about precisely this issue. If they smack their partners around in a non-S/M movie, they won't ever work again in porn. Period. As far as communicable diseases go, you'll notice that a hell of a lot of modern porn involves condoms, and the industry standard is that everyone gets tested for HIV every 30 days. Obviously, not everyone follows this to the letter, but think about it: there would be a lot more John Holmeses out there if a majority of them didn't. Working as a receptionist often means being figuratively screwed for very little pay and horrible treatment. Working as a porn actress means being literally screwed for lots of money and relatively decent treatment from your bosses--you are the only reason why they make money. The primary down side, from my point of view, is that porn is also one of the few industries where years of experience result in *lower* pay.

[ Parent ]
Of course its choice! (none / 0) (#65)
by NDPTAL85 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 02:20:32 AM EST

What about the upswing in the suburban wife porn sites? You know the ones where the married comfortable middle class women just decide to put up porn sites for the thrill? Its not like they need the money or were raised in countries where its easy and simple to exploit women. An example of such a site can be found here: http://www.unknownwife.com/wivesclub(c).html

[ Parent ]
Myth (none / 0) (#67)
by Cornelius on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:23:46 AM EST

The "horny house-wife" turned prostitute/porn star is a myth.


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
And you know this .... (none / 0) (#90)
by NDPTAL85 on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 11:43:20 PM EST

....how? You've interviewed each and every one?

[ Parent ]
My view (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by Zeram on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:59:38 AM EST

Speaking as someone who is the submissive of a professional Domme, I have to say that there is nothing wrong with violent porn. The mantra that the BDSM community chants is "Safe, Sane, Consentual". As long as what is being done, is at a professional level and is consentual, there is nothing wrong with it. Obviously peoples opinion vary on this (and water is wet, and the sky is blue....) but as long as the proper limits are observed, where is the harm?
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Don't assume the rest of us are vanilla (none / 0) (#60)
by RobotSlave on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:04:34 PM EST

I know a thing or two about bdsm myself, and frankly, the rape film shoot that Frontline attended lacked many of the elements of safe, consensual bdsm play.

Did you watch the program and think about it, or are you rushing to a knee-jerk defense of your sexuality?

Where was the discussion beforehand between the participants about what they were comfortable with? Where was the safe word? Clearly, the female lead had discussed the film with the (female) director, but I got a strong impression that there had been little if any discussion between the female lead and the male actors. Further, with filming underway, the director did not appear to be prepared to cut the scene at any point.

That film was not bdsm. Consensual, in a sense. Lucrative, certainly. Violent, most definitely. But it was a far cry from the service a pro-dom provides, and, I believe, well outside the "proper limits" that you allude to.

Bdsm takes a lot of work, and a lot of careful preparation. I didn't see any evidence of that on the film set.

[ Parent ]

You are correct (none / 0) (#66)
by Zeram on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 02:32:55 AM EST

and more or less said what I was alluding to by saying "professional". I did not see the program myself, I was only makeing a general comment, especially based on the one poll option.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Counterpoint (none / 0) (#83)
by Miniluv on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:09:30 PM EST

This is going to come across incredibly harsh. I know this in advance, and can't motivate myself to care. Don't take it personally.

Your argument seems to be that since you wouldn't do it that way then it must've been done wrong. Just because it wasn't on the almighty cathode ray tube you substitute for reality, not to mention God, then obviously it never happened. Just because you couldn't hear the very thoughts of the director you feel justified in creating them in a likeness you find suitably useful for making your point.

Everyone in the BDSM world defines SSC differently. My wife (slave) and I do things other people probably wouldn't, and we know other kinky folk who do things we certainly wouldn't. We've done the 24/7 lifestyle thing where there were no safewords, there was no pre-scene discussion, there was just a general list of things that were off limits. Sounds about like what you described as the pre-movie discussion between the female lead and the female director.

Ultimately, as long as consent happened, I have no problem with it being filmed. I don't care if the actress regrets it in the morning, even if the actors don't respect her. I don't care if she didn't understand what she was getting into, if she signed on the line next to the X then she got herself into it. If it's not illegal to do in my own home, it shouldn't be illegal to do in front of a camera for money.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

Not harsh, just incredibly stupid. (none / 0) (#86)
by RobotSlave on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 10:52:07 PM EST

Clearly, you didn't watch the program either. Television is apparently beneath you, or the bright lights confuse you, or something.

The events depicted in the film under discussion are illegal in your own home, fuckwit. The film ends in a murder, for fuck's sake.

Real murder was not comitted during the shooting of the film, of course, but real rape may have been, depending on local statuate, and real assault and battery as well.

You choose to ignore the fact that though there may have been a "general list of things that were off-limits" drawn up between the actress and the director (and there was no evidence of even that much, mind you), there did not appear to be any agreement whatsoever between the actress and the male actors. The question here is, in fact, whether or not consent happened. It appears that if anything, it happened only through a third party.

How far removed can consent be before it isn't consent at all? Is consent by proxy valid? If so, then under what circumstances? How many proxies can be involved? Do you realize where this line of questioning leads?

Just because you have difficulty with television doesn't mean you're allowed to make stuff up about a program that someone else has watched and commented on.

Your self-identification as a top does not make you right, and does not give you any authority whatsoever outside of your own home. This fact, which you do not seem to have come to grips with just yet, must cause you a great deal of frustration.

I laugh at you.

I laugh particularly hard at your collection of Gor novels.

[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 0) (#87)
by Miniluv on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 01:08:07 PM EST

I didn't watch the program, nor have I ever attempted to state or convey the impression that I did.

I was replying to what you said, and using those things you stated about the show as the basis for my comments. However, I find it interesting that you believe that illegal acts happened and yet PBS showed them on the air without stating anything regarding prosecution. Don't you think the cops would just love to be all over busting up a pervert porn ring?

As far as consent goes, I still have zero sympathy for an actress who signs a contract without getting specific enough to protect that pretty ass of hers. As far as the movie ending in a murder that didn't actually happen, boo fucking hoo. How is this illegal? Why the hell are Quentin Tarantino, John Travolta or Samuel L. Jackson still walking the streets? They sprayed someones brains all over the inside of a car...but wait, that didn't really happen either.

Don't cry to me about the supposed potential rape of a porn actress on the set of a movie she signed a contract to do, but might not be so happy about doing at this point. Someone waved money in her face and she did the typical human thing and acted without thought. She knew just what she had to do to get her big paycheck, and it went a little further than she thought it would. Again, boo fucking hoo.

Regarding your attacks on me, I'm really rather confused as to what makes you think any of what you've said. I have no authority over anyone, save the poor bastards who work for me, and even that is pretty damn limited. As to the relationship my wife and I have regarding BDSM, it's really not particularly relevant. If you'd really like to know we can have that discussion, however it's not going to be a forum for you to attempt to vivisect her and I in front of K5 as I just don't get off on stuff like that.

I'm semi-ashamed to admit I have indeed read one whole Gor novel, however I refused to enjoy it. In fact, failing to enjoy it took little to no effort as it was talentless, unerotic schlock. So we do indeed have one issue we see eye to eye on. However, I find it rather sad that you would choose to mock someone based on their choice of erotic fiction. What haunts you such that you must mask your pain by reveling in the mockery of others?


Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

Still haven't watched it, eh? (none / 0) (#89)
by RobotSlave on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 06:47:43 PM EST

If you'd bothered to watch the program, which is available on line at the Frontline web site, or read the summary presented in the story, then you'd know the the PBS team left the scene of the possible crime before it was finished, which would compromise their value as witnesses.

Do you think crime that is not prosecuted isn't crime? Does the fact that a crime would be difficult to prosecute make it less criminal? If any members of the camera crew had in fact consulted with lawyers or the police, would it not be a violation of journalistic ethics to comment on unresolved personal legal procedings on air?

We've already established the fact that you feel no sympathy for the actress. You probably don't feel any sympathy for rape victims who were wearing tight clothes, either. I doubt you have any sympathy for prostitutes who've had their earrings torn out and their faces bloodied. They got paid good money, after all.

What makes me think you have authority problems is that you are telling all of us what to think about this program without having watched it, that you assume that the rest of the world should submit to your stupid opinions simply because you state them "harshly," and you have shown nothing but contempt for victims of sexual violence.

I don't buy into the notion of a "bdsm community" any more than I buy into the notion of a "gay community" or a "feminist community," but I hope there isn't an idiot like you representing the "velvet underground" on the stand when the Republican DOJ tries to use cases of very real and disturbing sexual violence to outlaw the sorts of consensual violent sexuality that so many of us have learned to enjoy.

You do not have the right to assume consent for others. That goes for third parties on TV as much as it goes for little girls on the playground. I, in turn, do not have the right to assume nonconsent, but I can suspect it, and I can state my reasons for my suspicions. You can not make those suspicions go away by repeating your blind assumptions over and over again.

Your bullshit "more extreme than thou" macho posturing is liable to ruin the party for everyone, yourself included. Take your fist out of my ass for a second and think about it.

Please.

[ Parent ]

Cambria list: unintended positive consequences (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by Hizonner on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 01:07:27 PM EST

Maybe the Cambria thing will shake up some of the tedious conventions that seem to have gotten an unshakeable grip on porn.

Losing all those money shots is a damned good start. I mean, it's not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with cumshots, but do we have to have them every time? Who has sex that way? Not me. Can't identify with that at all.

Whee, money shots (none / 0) (#70)
by pietra on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:41:34 PM EST

Money shots exist to affirm that yes, this is "real" sex, as the guy really is coming. Otherwise, see, he could be faking it! His female partner, on the other hand...

[ Parent ]
Nitpick: "PBS" (none / 0) (#54)
by crank42 on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:02:15 PM EST

PBS is not a private broadcaster. It's not-for-profit, and it is a corporation, but it is actually not even a network in the traditional sense. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a federal non-profit, which receives (now very little) money from the federal government; and the various stations are independent associates who can accept or reject anything the CPB offers[1]. Finally, the stations have to support themselves by local fundraising, grants from state governments, and whatever else they can do. Some of them get financial assistance from the federal corporation, as well.

[1]Well, sort of. They have to accept certain shows in order to remain in the PBS fold. But because they are absolutely free to broadcast them at whatever hour they choose, some shows that the CPB wants broadcast across the country get effectively no audience in some areas.

Here is how they describe themselves. (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by demi on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 07:13:36 PM EST

From the Inside PBS page:

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, non-profit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week.
That's where I got my information about PBS being private.



[ Parent ]

Poll Options (4.00 / 4) (#57)
by DarkZero on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 03:03:45 PM EST

As someone else has already touched on, the poll options only range from hatred of porn to indifference to porn. There really should have been a poll option for those of us that think that porn is a wonderful, helpful thing that can make a community better, and who believe that porn should be much more accepted in mainstream society than it is.

Was I the only one that noticed this bit? (3.66 / 3) (#59)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:03:08 PM EST

From the Cambria list:
  • No black men-white women themes

--em

Art imitates life. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by demi on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:41:52 PM EST

No, em, you aren't the only one to notice it, as several people have pointed that out. Not that I would ever take any position of advocacy here for either side, but remember that the Cambria List is sort of like the vague, nebulous, 'R' rating issued by the MPAA, which has never been clearly defined and seems to change with the times. I anticipate that eventually the porn industry will create its own self-oversight body, which will try to protect the mass-producers of adult content, while leaving the more brave and extreme filmmakers to take risks on their own. The main reason you might see something on that list is because, in a lowest-common-denominator sense, joe or jane six-pack is likely to deem it highly offending. Don't expect any kind of definition carved in stone because it's not a contract or piece of legislation.

As for why 'black man on white woman' porn might be borderline, or beyond their safe standards, it's certainly a reflection on the racism, insecurity, and ignorance of many white people, who may be okay with black people living next door but don't want them dating their daughters. The way I interpreted "No black men-white women themes" to mean is in reference to the "Little White Woman Big Black Dick" type of feature, which isn't simply black men having casual sex with white girls. I'm sure a quick search on Morpheus would turn up some of that kind of material if you wanted to judge for yourself.



[ Parent ]

What's with the distinction in violence? (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by Secret Coward on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:41:15 PM EST

Looking at the poll options, 40% voted:

I don't care about hardcore, but I might have a problem with violent and/or exploitative porn.

I picked this one because of the keyword "might". I'm really not sure. Should I have a problem with violent and/or exploitative porn? We see violence on TV and in mainstream movies all the time. On the other hand, if people are getting off on rape, murder, and torture, should we be worried about those people?

Further contrasting mainstream entertainment with porn, when we see rapes on TV, it is generally portrayed as an unpleasant event fitting in with the story line. I presume that porno rapes are portrayed to fulfill someone's sexual fantacies1. How do other people feel about this?

---

1 I say this having never seen the material in question.

'American Porn' on Frontline | 90 comments (86 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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