Monday, December 17, 2007
Angela KeatonAt Large Representative
Libertarian National Committee
A big beautiful tent full of libertarians. Join Libertarians for Arts, Entertainment and Culture.
Friends of Freedom:
Norma Jean Almodovar, the Libertarian Party of California's 1986 candidate for Lt. Governor and author of Cop to Call Girl, is facing some serious challenges. Since she has gotten out of prison where she was incarcerated for a victimless "crime," Norma Jean has difficulty finding work given both her record and courageous activism. In addition, Norma Jean's husband is in frail and failing health. A proud libertarian activist, she is struggling to ask for much needed help. Given the family's strong objectivist leanings, a traditional fund raising appeal would be inappropriate. However, you can do the following:
*Norma Jean has significant knowledge of Quark and Adobe software. You have an affiliate newsletter. Hire a layout editor who shares your values.
*Add a link to International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education. Contributions are tax deductable and help educate the public on the realities sex workers face under our current laws.
*Interview Norma Jean on your blog, webcast, podcast, cable access or micro broadcast. Her story is one woman's struggle against corruption and injustice.*Norma Jean is a talented artist. With the holiday season upon us, please support your libertarian artist. They are your values embodied in song, storyline and style.
If you would like to contact Norma Jean, please write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She has led a one woman battle against the LAPD. For that alone, we give thanks.
In liberty, Angela
Thursday, December 13, 2007
With all the porn Jensen has watched (for research purposes, you understand), one can only assume that he summarized these particular movies because they're the most effective at validating his thesis - and the most likely to garner a reaction of shock from readers. So what's the deal with this...?
A scene from Delusional, a 2000 release from Vivid:
Lindsay, the film's main character, is a woman slow to return to dating after she caught her husband cheating on her. She says she is waiting for the right man - a sensitive man - to come along. Her male coworker, Randy, clearly would like to be that man but must wait as Lindsay explores other sexual experiences, first with a woman named Alex, whom she meets online and assumes is a man. Later, after Alex and Lindsay have sex with a man in the kitchen of a restaurant, Lindsay is finally ready to accept Randy's affection. He takes her home and tells her, "I'll always be there for your no matter what. I just want to look out for you." Lindsay lets down her defenses, and they embrace.
After kissing and removing their clothes, Lindsay begins oral sex on Randy while on her knees on the couch, and he then performs oral sex on her while she lies on the couch. They then have intercourse, with Lindsay saying, "Fuck me, fuck me, please" and "I have two fingers in my ass - do you like that?" This leads to the usual progression of positions: She is on top of him while he sits on the couch, and then he enters her vaginally from behind before he asks, "Do you want me to fuck you in the ass?" She answers in the affirmative. "Stick it in my ass," she says. "I love the way you slide into my asshole. ... Deep in my ass. ... I'm coming on your cock in my ass." After two minutes of anal intercourse, the scene ends with him masturbating and ejaculating on her breasts.
So, wait. Where's the degrading part in that scene?
It just sounds like sex. And by some people's standards, pretty vanilla sex. Even for people who would consider it at the kinky end of their personal spectrum, due to the dirty talk and assplay, I really can't imagine anyone finding it degrading who didn't have bigger hang-ups about sex in general. In fact, the only part of that excerpt that I see as degrading to women in any way is this:
Lindsay lets down her defenses
Note, that's not a line from the movie. Those are Jensen's chosen words to describe the onscreen events. I find it very telling that he uses language which casts the woman in the passive role, and the man in an active, even conquering role, with the implication of sex being a conquest and women having "defenses" which must be "broken down" by men.
This is, of course, the sexual script that's reinforced by the dominant culture day in and day out, to the detriment of everyone. This skewed view of gender roles (as Figleaf would say, women as the "no-sex" class) is exactly what Jensen claims to be opposing. Yet with a few words, he's revealed volumes about how entrenched he still is in sex-negative cultural norms.
[Cross-posted at Being Amber Rhea]
Monday, December 10, 2007
Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Service Providers Union posted about the legislation over Bay Area Indymedia. Lisa Roellig, also of ESPU, has this to say over at Bound, Not Gagged:
TVPRA 2007/11 passed the house Tuesday. Below is the link for anyone who has the time to read it in in its entirety. The sections relating to the sex industry clearly conflate all sex work with sex trafficking and the consequences for all workers in our industry I believe could be quite horrific. I believe the passage of the TVPRA 2007/11 through the house should be considered an emergency and all workers and allies should mobilize before the legislation gets to the Senate for a vote.Roellig raises an interesting question about how this affects the porn industry and porn industry workers, since porn models often travel internationally for the purpose of having sex on camera. Under present American legal interpretation, hiring somebody to act in a porn movie is considered distinct from prostitution under the legal precedent established by California v. Freeman; however, this decision is not binding outside of California (even though porn is shot in quite a few other US States) and is not binding on the Federal government. Hence, the Federal government could very well use this legislation to come down on porn production involving an international cast. (I've also heard some suggestions about attempting to apply Lawrence v. Texas to commercial sexual encounters, but as of yet, this is an entirely untested approach.)
I want to know if the porn industry has had any concerns with this legislation. In reading the legislation, I believe sex workers who work on camera have every reason to be as concerned as the sex workers who work “off camera.”
The most troubling aspect of this legislation is that not only does it conflate all sex work with sex trafficking but also that for the way our industry operates, where workers are frequently crossing borders to work, be it national or international, the potential for massive arrests and long periods of prison time are very distressing. Note, up to 10 years for the worker and up to 30 years for the support staff.
Anybody else feeling this?
The area of international anti-trafficking legislation is an area where "porn lobby" groups like the Free Speech Coalition have been really asleep at the wheel and needs to be more on top of.
Writing one's Senators and asking them to remove the "sex tourism" section and similar sections of the bill as harmful toward sex workers and criminalizing legal, consensual behavior might be worthwhile, though considering the sexual conservatism of most politicians and the overwrought rhetoric of prostitution abolitionists, changing politicians minds on the subject is a long shot. But then again, hearing more "I support sex workers, oppose the criminalization of consensual adult behaviors, and, BTW, I vote" messages from their constituency might just plant a seed.
Oh, and one other thing struck me about this legislation – about a month ago, I was listening to a story about problems in Iraq with Blackwater mercenaries, about how they were guilty of outright war crimes, but nobody in the US government can figure out their legal status, that is, whether they're under jurisdiction of Iraqi or US military or civilian law. Yet, when it comes to the simple act of buying sex, something that's legal in much of the world, suddenly sweeping international jurisdiction is real easy to come up with!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
For starters, to quote this excerpt from Chris's review:
He does not, of course, ever say that we should just cloister ourselves and live lives of sexual abstinence. But when he does try to give solutions to the nightmare world that he depicts, Robert Jensen’s words lose their fire. His description of a positive sexuality is vague and bloodless, and speaks little of sex as a physical act but in semi-mystical terms about light and mystery and touch. It’s bland and dull, but even worse, it gives little in the way of practical advice. In the 90’s, I came away from reading sex-positive writers like Carol Queen and Susie Bright with sophisticated ways of thinking about safer sex techniques, talking honestly about limits, and what consent was and wasn’t. All that I get from Jensen is an admonition that we should try to make sex be more about light, and less about heat. (And god help me, I’m still not sure what that means.)
It took until this morning before reading that graph when it really did hit me: what Jensen means by his version of a "bloodless sexuality" that contains "more heat and less light" is similar to what the cultural feminists of the 1980s described as a "feminist sexuality" that would be imposed as much on women as on men. In that vision, sex would be concieved as much less a physical pleasure and more of a transcending, supernatural presence which would somehow go beyond the experiences and sensations of the individuals; more of a sprirtual and universal experience in communal bonding than any individualistic physical act. Of course, such a transcendent phonenom would be totally shorn of such "patriarchial" nonsenses as erections, body fluids, or even orgasms; such trite physical sensations would be whisked away by the sheer revolutionary outer-body experience that "feminist sex" would produce in men freed from their evil "patriarchial" ideas of power and domination. It's almost as if Jensen and his radicalfeminist mentors see his crusade against "masculinity" and the porn that he alleges is the foundation behind it as the key to ending world war, hunger, economic and social inequality, and most other ills of the world.
The problem with such a utopia, though, is that it comes dangerously close to an equally restrictive and "transcending" view of sexuality: that of the Religious Right.
It is no accident that the social conservatives have so appropriated much of Jensen's core theory about male sexual rapicity towards women; albeit with the aim of supporting and abetting their own traditional sexual morality of restraining sex within the act of procreation within marriage. The contraposition of the "liberating" and "beautiful" and "uplifting" power of what they call "the marital act" when "two become one" (or "when two become one") in the conception of a child, with the "ugly", "selfish", "compulsive", and "addictive" acts of sex for physical pleasure alone; has been a stable of conservative and traditionalist thought about sexuality since time immortal. Strangely enough, it has now been appropriated by the most sexually conservative feminists as a means of "protecting" women from the "male gaze", but with an added twist: "personal intimacy" and "emotional integrity" within codependent monogamy has replaced hetero marital procreation at the top of the privileged and sacred pyramid.
The emphasis may differ with each movement: the antipornradfems seek to regulate the supposed out-of-control nature of male sexuality at the hands of the "patriarchy"; while the fundamentalists target what they perceive as the threat of unbridled female sexuality in defiance of "God's law" (or "Allah's", or "Yawheh's" or any other deity of choice). But the effect is nevertheless the same: to inprision and restrict men's and women's sexual choices and impose a rather strained, exclusive, and repressive system of sexual regulation and choice by the use of shame and guilt (and with the full power of the State as a backup just in case the "gentle persuasion" and "conciousness raising" doesn't elicit the changes sought).
That such a reactionary concept of sexuality can be passed along as "progressive", even "Leftist" is one of the utter tragedies of this book....almost as much as the complete denial of female sexual agency that lurks just underneath the surface of Jensen's jerimiads.
The other thought that reared its head at me was about the individualistic approach that Jensen takes in his activism towards men who might be suspect to his illogic. He seems to see progressive activism as most of the culturalist Left and liberals of the 1970s do: as a means of consciousness raising of people already with "privilege" to confront, accept, and then repudiate such privilege and see the world as their apparant "victims" of such racial or gender or imperial privilege would. (Call it the "Walk a mile in their shoes" type of movement, if you will.)
This kind of activism sounds all well and good at first...but it ultimately suffers from the same flaw that most culturally-based movements falter on: the inability to take on fundamental physical institutions of inequality; and the confusion of individual acts of cruelty with institutional acts of inequality. Rape may be a universal crime of sexual anger and rage directed by men towards women (but don't forget anti-gay hate, either!!!), and certainly may be exploitable as part of larger hate campaigns against certain groups; but that doesn't change the basic fact that rape is for the most part an act of extreme violence done by an individual (or group of individuals) against an individual person.
Conversely, as much as many people might find facials or double penetration or anal sex "demeaning" and "filthy", the fact remains that even loving and caring and committed people can engage in such activities and find them personally upliftiing, or simply arousing. The difference is in the overall political and cultural outlook of whomever is making the prejudgment about such acts; not in the acts themselves.
On the other hand, though, laws specifically created to restrict and constrain sexual expression and behavior amongst consenting adults do far, far, far more damage to progressive activism than any of the dire consensual sex acts that so excise Jensen and his radfem mentors. Not only do they literally invite the State to intervene in matters of personal sexual tastes and asthetics that are better left to individual choice and free will; but they are the ultimate gateway to justifying more explicit political censorship.....the kind that has been traditionally used against the Left and against liberals in general for time immortal. Can't Jensen see the connection between McCarthyism and the anti-"homosexual menace" movements of the 1950s?? The intimate links between White supremacism and religious bigotry and sex crime so starkly seen in the castration and lynching of Black men (and rape of Black women) during the Jim Crow years??) The undercurrent of sexual bigotry and fear underlying the current memes against "illegal aliens" (read, anyone Latin@ who isn't a paid agent of the GOP or not useable as a slave for multinational corporations)?? The antiabortion movement and the attack on basic women's control of their own reproductive systems and all the "sluts get what they deserve" rhetoric??
Maybe Bob Jensen with his doctorate and his upper-middle-class background can overlook all this...but I as a working-class Black man certainly can't.
There are far, far more important issues of racial and gender and economic inequality -- and the institutions of capital and State that buttress and reinforce such inequality -- for liberals and Leftists to tackle; it is a distraction and a ruse and a dead end to get caught up in baiting and hating men for having impromptu erections (and women for getting damp panties and engorged clits) at the mere sight of imagery that doesn't fit a narrow ideologue's personal squicks. Save the hate for the rapists and true misogynists who earn it....and work the energy someplace else more fruitful than getting into every man's boxers....and every woman's panties.
[Cross-posted to The SmackDog Chronicles]
Thursday, November 29, 2007
This comes directly from the Zoey Zane website, straight on the heels of the report of her confirmed murder and abandonment (with a tip of the hat to James over at the Adult Sites Search Yahoo! group).
Of course, it surprises me like not at all that the tabloid media is playing up the "innocent girl corrupted and killed by porn" angle, it's the only way they know how to get ratings these days.
We currently are working with a local bank in Kansas to setup a reward fund for the capture of Isreal Mireles. Please check back to this url for updated info.....
18-year-old Emily Sander was a college student from Kansas who was missing for nearly a week after Thanksgiving weekend. She was last seen leaving a bar in El Dorado, Kansas about 30 miles from Wichita, with a man identified by police as Israel Mireles, 24 years old, authorities said. El Dorado police found evidence of foul play after entering Mireles' hotel room where he was living. A nationwide hunt went on to find Emily. Emily was a beautiful, young spunky girl - 5'3" at 105 pounds. She had shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes that could light up the room. She had just started college and was looking forward to getting her degree so she could move back home to Texas where all her friends and family were.
Sadly, Emily's body was found 50 miles East of where she was last seen with Mireles, on Thursday, November 29, 2007 around 2:30pm near Toronto Lake in Kansas. Emily's life ended too soon. Her case was quickly updated to a homicide, and a nationwide manhunt is now under way for Mireles and his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend, who both started on the run just after Emily's disappearance, known to be heading South. Mireles was driving a 2007 Ford Taurus rental car, which turned up Tuesday, November 27 in Texas, just near where he had family. Authorities believe that he is either trying to cross the Texas border to Mexico, or have already crossed the border. He also has family ties in Mexico.
It truly saddens us to see, in this day and age, that we still live in a society that ridicules a women for doing something that is completely legal. There was some incorrect information leaked to the press yesterday by a unknown individual named "David Thomas" claiming to have information about Emily's "Porn" career. We want to set the record straight. Emily was a solo nude model whose site went live September,25 2007. She was exactly that - a solo girl. There was no interaction between Emily with any Male. It was just Emily, her fun-loving personality, and the camera. We decided, a day before the media reports came out about Emily's "porn" career, to take down her website out of respect to Emily and Emily's family. We were unaware if Emily's family knew of the site and didn't want to add any unneeded stress or burden to them. The last thing we wanted was for her case to turn into a "missing porn star" case, which is exactly what the media turned it in to, which sadly took away the focus of Emily's disappearance and the importance of finding Isreal Mireles.
And it doesn't surprise me one bit either that all the usual antipornradicalfeminist posse will exploit this case as a wedge to indict and convict all porn and all the men who consume it for the apparant individual crime of Isreal Mireles.....that is the only way THEY can seem to keep their myopias afloat.
And....no freakin' surprise that some will attempt as is the usual to try to pin the blame on Ms. Sander/Ms Zane for her own death...as if her chosen hobby, her body piercings, her love of sex, or her choice of drinking partners had anything to do with the nature of her far too premature death.
(Don't even try, ByrdBrain....this blog is not a free carrier.)
All I care about is that a woman who hasn't even begun to live her life has had it taken away from her tragically, suddenly, and horribly.....and the real culture of sexual fear and loathing and sex-hate -- the REAL culture of death -- has claimed another victim.
Only God and the criminal justice system will ultimately judge Isreal Mireles....but untill we get over ourselves and accept that young women should be fully free and responsible to make their own choices with their own bodies, sexually or otherwise, and have those choices respected and accepted....then the ultimate judgment will fall on all of us who watch all this happen and merely blink and nod in response.
This, ladies and gentlemen and 'ye of transgender, is what sex hate ultimately leads to.
Presente, Ms. Emily/Zoey.
[Crossposted also to The SmackDog Chronicles]
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Thoughts should be forwarded to her official Yahoo! fan group:
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
..but, could you PLEASE, do me a big favor and update the BPPA blogroll link for the SmackDog Chronicles to my current blog?? You still have the old link put out, which is out of date.
Obviously, men and women tend to respond to such sexual stimuli with the fantasy of wanting to have sex with their favorite performer. In most cases, when both sides treat each other with respect and understand that it's just a fantasy; it can be not only very fun, but quite arousing.
Unfortunately, for a few folks who have a...shall we say, twisted view of women who do porn and sex work, the fantasy tends to be taken a bit too seriously...and venture out into dangerous and threatening ground. Then it is less a harmless fantasy and more like verbal attempted rape, and even stalking....and has done much to not only sully performers' opinion of their fans, but also feed the typical stereotypes of antipornradicalfeminists.
Case in point: One of my favorite porn starlets recently recieved a particularly nasty (and not in the good way, either) email from a "fan" (the quotes are deliberate, for reasons that should be obvious) reacting to her MySpace blog. For her protection and safety, I have redacted her name from the email, and I will not give out the blog location; but if you know the women whom I have memberships with, I figure that you will obviously figure it out on your own.
U have a wicked Oral Fixation?? Yes u do...like no other dirty ass slut...u
are the fuckin Whore of Whores!! The fuckin Tramp ass Queen of this shit!!
Dirty..and nasty..and filthy..and just what I fuckin lust after.. I am going 2
make u lust me baby.. I am going 2 make u lose your fuckin mind.. u big titty
bitch.. u have had a lot of dicks..but u have never had mine.. Oral Fixation..?
My cock..in your mouth..spells the greatest face fuck this world has never
known.. get your asshole stretched..get your tits plucked..and get your tight
ass pussy torn 2 shreds when u fuck with me.. I am Blasphemy baby..do not think
I do not know who the fuck u are.. u are a star..and I am the sun.. and u will
not get any rest..even after I am done.. I am going 2 wear that pretty pussy of
yours out.. and when we cum..we will cum 2gether..and we will change the
weather..because I never..enter any pussy..and fail 2 make the bitch cum at
least twice! u are fuckin with the baddest [target of hate redacted]..I am
nothing nice.. and never will be.. now dream about me..u fuckin slutty ass whore
of a bitch!!
Now, this nonsense might play well at a JM Productions site/message board or with some other hardcore "gonzo" outlet, and there may be some women who might even dismiss such talk as classically over the top lust....but in this case, the targeted starlet was startled and frightened enough to ask the question, "Why is it that some people think that they can talk to women that way??" She noted that she has gotten similarly hateful emails before from such "fans"; even enough that she thought about pulling all her non-paid sites and blogs in protest. Fortunately, the men who are the regulars to her blog were quick to respond and repudiate this "fan" as a brute, an asshole, and a braggart who probably couldn't back up his harsh talk with action; and reassure her that most of her male fans do respect her as a performer and as a person.
But it does make me wonder as a sex-positive porn fan and activist what it is that makes people like this "fan" go so hyperagggressive and so over the top. Is it the lingering deep clash between the body being turned on by sexual images and the mind still caught up in such negative stereotypes of "bitches" and "whores" and the still popular myth that women who do porn have no worth other than the sum of their cunts and anuses?? Is it just that some men will forever turn into sheer asshats at the sight of a naked lady who shows off her love of sex?? It's one thing -- and perfectly normal, in my view -- to want to fuck a gorgeous woman who offers her body in public....but, "to wear that pretty pussy out"?? To "get your asshole stretched...your tits plucked...your tight-ass pussy torn to shreds"??? Kinda extreme, if you ask me.
Moe than likely, this fool simply picked the wrong girl to brag about his sexual "prowess" with; and hopefully he gets his sorry ass filled with buckshot so that he remembers not to make that same mistake again. I only hope that the men out there who happen to be real and genuine fans of porn and sex work will show a bit more respect for the women who make their desires possible. Just because they happen to enjoy showing themselves off doesn't mean that they aren't still human beings worthy of empathy and respect. Even if they do have "oral fixations."
Nationally known journalists and sex-positive advocates to judge "Sexies"
Contact: Susan Wright, 917-848-6544 or Miriam Axel-Lute
To hear some people tell it, all of "the media" is a degenerate, sex-drenched affair. But although there's plenty of talk about the sex lives of celebrities and a willingness to use a scandal to sell a paper, when you get into the content of actual news stories, things often take a turn for the Puritanical: Soccer moms' fabricated allegations about kids being exposed to nudity in a hotel hosting a swingers conference get printed as fact and never retracted. Religious minorities are assumed to speak for all religious Americans, or even all Americans, when it comes to whether "abstinence" should be the teen sex-ed gold standard. Usual standards of fairness and objectivity fall prey to reporters and editors' squeamishness.
In response to this state of affairs, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the Center for Sex and Culture, Babeland, and journalist Miriam Axel-Lute are launching the 2008 Sex-Positive Journalism Awards (the "Sexies") to promote fair, accurate, and non-sensationalized coverage of sexual topics. The awards are currently accepting entries that meet both high journalistic standards and the Sexies award criteria.
"For the past decade, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has dealt with media reports that include sensationalized and false information about sexual issues," says Susan Wright, NCSF spokesperson. "These articles cause harm by encouraging discrimination and persecution of adults who engage in consensual sexual expression. NCSF is proud to support the Sexies and sex-positive journalism in America."
"The media's frequent failure to apply balanced journalistic standards to sex-related topics affects real people's lives," says Carol Queen, PhD, co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture. "A sensationalistic perspective can turn neighbors against each other or make it hard for someone accused of a sex-related offense to get a fair trial. It also means that too many of us worry about whether we're 'normal,' and don't realize there are sex-positive communities, sources of information, and professionals out there. Just as in the political arena, when the press does not do its job, there is real fallout."
The winners of the Sex-Positive Journalism Awards will be chosen by an outstanding panel of judges, who have expertise in both journalism and sex-positive advocacy: Dan Savage, author of the popular sex-advice column “Savage Love”; Carol Queen, PhD, writer, speaker, educator, and activist with a doctorate in sexology; Liza Featherstone, journalist and author of “Sex, Lies, and Women’s Magazines” (Columbia Journalism Review); Jack Hafferkamp, a former journalist and journalism professor and co-editor/publisher of LIBIDO: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility; Judith Levine, journalist and author of the award-winning Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex, Doug Henwood, contributing editor to The Nation; Marty Klein, PhD, certified sex therapist, therapist trainer, and author of America’s War on Sex; and Claire Cavanah, an activist, writer, speaker, and educator in the field of human sexuality and a founder of babeland.com.
"All but the most confident and self-assured among us are affected by the messages we receive about sex," says Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland.com, a founding sponsor of the Sexies. "It's freeing to read an article that assumes that most people want a pleasurable, vibrant sex life. Sex-positive media creates space for readers to think about sex in a way that goes against some of the damaging messages that our culture perpetuates."
"There are journalism awards rewarding good coverage of everything from private aviation to colon cancer," says Axel-Lute, "but there was nothing out there to reward writers who went the extra mile to be fair and accurate about something as essential to human identity as sexual expression. The Sexies fill that gap."
The Sexies will be given in four categories: news, feature, opinion, and "unsexy" (the most egregious violation of the Sexies' criteria). The first three categories have three divisions each: daily general-audience newspaper, weekly or biweekly general-audience newspaper, and online general-audience news publication. [Divisions updated Nov. 7. See press release or criteria page.] The Unsexy award has no divisions. Articles must have been published in 2007. Article series must have started or ended in 2007. Submissions are due by March 23, 2008. Both writers and readers can submit articles for consideration. For full guidelines and a submissions form are available on the website. Winners will receive a cash prize and a plaque. The Sexies are seeking corporate sponsors and individual donations to support our mission. Donations can be made at www.sexies.org/support.html.
A couple of excerpts follow:
Jensen, on the other hand, sees pornography as part of the “sexual exploitation industries” which include stripping, phone sex, and prostitution as well as the McPorn that comes out of the San Fernando Valley and the amateur sites that pepper the web. Jensen is a well-known activist and writer on other progressive causes, specifically racism and anti-war politics, and he sees his opposition to porn as the logical extension of that work (and vice versa). Men who are interested in social justice, he argues, can’t use pornography or patronize sex workers without betraying those principles at a fundamental level.
To Jensen, pornography is a mirror, a dark and violent one which few can bear to look into without flinching or deceiving themselves about what they see there: “Pornography forces women to face up to how men see them. And pornography forces men to face up to what we have become.”
The first two-thirds of the book are spent looking deeply into the mirror of pornography and the ethical problems that Jensen finds in its creation and its use. It is a personal narrative as well as a political treatise. For any man writing on pornography, either pro- or anti-, it could hardly be any other way; one thing that most men have in common is that we started out our sexual lives with porn. However we feel about that, it’s almost an inevitability, and now with the internet, is even more so than when Jensen saw his first pornographic magazine in the early sixties, or when, in the seventies, I found my dad’s Playboy magazines, filled cover-to-cover with naked Farrah Fawcett wannabes. It is, in a way, a language that we all speak, no matter how we feel about it, and so it’s even more urgent that we be able to speak honestly and openly about it.
Jensen starts immediately with some sleight-of-hand regarding pornography. In explaining where he wants to go with the book, he says very specifically that he's going to focus on a textual analysis of the content of mass-produced heterosexual pornography. In short, the main product of good old Porn Valley. In itself, that seems like a fair strategy. It wouldn't be illegitimate for a literary critic to write a book focusing on post-war hard-boiled fiction instead of writing about every subgenre of mystery fiction from The Murders in the Rue Morgue to Carl Hiassen's latest. But we would expect such an author to draw conclusions about the style of Jim Thompson vs. Raymond Chandler — not about Arthur Conan Doyle's place in Victorian culture. The conclusions that Jensen draws from his narrow survey, in contrast, are sweeping in nature about how sexually explicit imagery affects our views of ourselves and others. Jensen's conclusions are not a critique about the mentality of Porn Valley, or of the specific kinds of porn that Porn Valley pecializes in, but are an assault on porn as a genre. Porn isn't a good thing made bad by greedy and stupid people. It's just rotten to the core.
Thirty years ago, Jensen might have been able to get away with that. Both the production and the audience for porn were more homogenized before every American home was equipped first with a VCR and then with a PC linked up to the Internet. More importantly, the conversation about genders and sexualities was much more homogenized. In those days, there were men and there were women; there were gays and there were straights. But some remarkable things have happened in the last twenty years or so; sexual politics has become radicalized in a way that Jensen and his ideological allies couldn't have imagined back then, and seem unable to appreciate even now when they're staring those radical notions straight in the face. We're now faced with the notion that gender isn't just x and y, but z or xy or yz *x or any number of other combinations. The notion of orientation as binary and immutable is considered by many of us not only as antiquated but repressive. Sex workers now demand the right to call themselves feminist without calling themselves victims of their work. Queer and feminist activists now look at power play of all kinds as a part their sexuality that enhances, rather than opposes, their radical politics. And women actively create and critique porn, not just for men, but for themselves.
Robert Jensen's passion is reserved for visualizing women's sexual pain. Never once does he turn that passion the other direction to look at the possibilities for women's sexual pleasure. There is not, in the end, so much difference between Jensen and the most misogynist, exploitative porn director; neither can imagine the sexual role of men as being anything other than to fuck, nor can they imagine women's roles as being anything other than to be fucked. And that's why, regardless of my doubts about mainstream porn, I can never, never imagine aligning myself with Jensen and his ilk. Because at the heart of his arguments, I see the same misogynist bullshit that I want to excise from pornography.
By all means, go and see the full review ASAP.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
But I just ran across this, and am entirely creeped the fuck OUT now.
http://www.recl usiveleftis t.com/?p=685
(take out the spaces.) (poss trig -- the video shows graphic footage of verbal abuse and beating)
These people see a horrific video of a woman being degraded, insulted, and finally beaten, in which there is no sexual content at all, and all they can think of is "that's BDSM porn?" I quote from a comment quoted in the post:
Feminists would no longer be unanimous that scenes of him saying all those hateful things to a woman while doing specifically sexual violence to her on film were abuse. Some would defend it as sexual freedom. Some would praise it as transgressive BDSM erotica and therefore pro-woman.The one thing I want to ask these people -- really, really want to ask -- is why everything is porn to them. Why everything is BDSM. I don't get it at all. It almost seems to me like they *want* these things to be porn. Like they *want* them to be sexual.
And that terrifies me. It terrifies me much more than the thought even of someone unapologetically hoarding and collecting pornography depicting mock torture and watching it over and over.
Because these people are sexualizing real abuse. And for all their indignance, I don't know why they would do that. It's like they're wishing she were naked, wishing she were being raped here, because it would serve their ends.
And how creepy is it that if it were depicting rape and beating, they would be watching it (over and over if my hunch is right), commenting on it, reproducing it, linking to it, pointing at it over and over to prove them right?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
What really galls me, however, is that far too many self-styled progressives and leftists, so unconscious of their own sex ignorance and loathing about sexuality, are so willing to fall for his sophistic analysis and deep guilt-tripping disguised as “feminism”.
Case in point: Jensen’s latest tome on the evil threat of porn as the tool of “masculinity”, titled Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, recently recieved a major endorsement from the executive editor of the progressive news service Alternet.org, Don Hazen; who explained in an introduction to a posting of an excerpt from Jensen’s book how he was converted from a traditional liberal libertarian point of view to Bob’s APRF vision:
Part of my thin king on pornography has been shaped by seeing what is on the
Internet myself, and part, by reading Robert Jensen’s powerful and provocative
book, excerpted below: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity.
Jensen has convinced me that something as powerful as the porn industry and its
sexual extremism must not be kept under the rug due to liberal
shoulder-shrugging about the First Amendment. The porn industry should not enjoy
our collective denial in terms of its real-world impact on women — and men —
simply because we might be berated by first amendment purists or be
uncomfortable grappling with complex issues of sexual expression.
Never mind the fact that the actual “real world impact” of explicit sexual expression might be a bit more diverse and much less “extreme” than what Hazen sees through Jensen’s rose-colored spectacles…or that there would be no mention of “First Amendment extremism” or fears of “First Amendment purism” when the subject turns to things like opposing federal snooping and wiretapping of innocent citizens, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or organizing unions or even gender discrimination…..nope, in the mind of Hazen and the others who run Alternet, Jensen and the APRF (aka, the “feminist”) point of view is the only logical and true vision.
And what a narrow and tunnelled vision that Hazen and Jensen support, too. To buttress his notion of how far low porn has become, Hazen whips out the old tired and true “gonzo” card, as if this is the only form of sexual expression that exists these days:
One phenomenon in porn is the ascension of Gonzo films. There are two
styles of films — one are features that mimic, however badly, the Hollywood
model of plot and characters. But the other, Gonzo, has no pretensions, and is
simply the filming of sex acts, which, Jensen writes, while also occurring in
features, are “performed in rougher fashion, often with more than one man
involved, and more explicitly degrading language which marks women as sluts,
whores, cunts, nasty bitches and so on.”
The Gonzo films, which have come to dominate the industry, also
emphasize the newer trend of sexual acts, which include: double penetration —
anal and vaginal — and ass to mouth, or ATM, where anal sex is followed by stic
king the penis in the women’s mouth. In addition, many of these films include
men, often in multiple numbers, ejaculating into the faces and mouths of the
women performers. The women usually swallow the semen, but also can share it
mouth-to-mouth with a female partner. For Jensen, the most plausible explanation
of the popularity of these acts is that women in the world, outside of
pornography, don’t engage in these acts unless forced. “Men know that — and they
find it sexually arousing to watch them in part because of that
As Jerome Tanner, porn film maker explains, “One of the things about
today’s porn and the extreme market, the gonzo market, is so many fans want to
see much more extreme stuff that I’m always trying to figure out ways to do
something different. But it seems that everybody wants to see a girl doing a
double penetration or a gang bang. … It’s definitely brought porn somewhere, but
I don’t know where it is headed from there.”
Mitchell Spinelli, interviewed while filming Give me Gape, adds:
“People want more. They want to know how many dicks you can shove up an ass.
It’s like “Fear Factor meets ‘Jackass.’” Make it more hard, make it more nasty,
make it more relentless.”
Now, aside from the total fallacy of quoting porn producers and insiders as the literal Gospel in saying what men who buy these videos (or who simply download them, legally or not, for free) really want from them; there is the total and complete ignorance of what exactly “gonzo” really is. Actually, the term simply describes sex videos that feature sex unemburdened by plot; nothing about the particular acts involved. A film featuring a single couple engaged in conventional sex without plot would be considered “gonzo; as much as a video of an mulit-person orgy featuring traditional fucking and sucking.
Now…there certainly in within the genre of “gonzo” the more extreme and exotic subgenre which does include some of the acts that so inflame (arouse???) Jensen and Hazen; including double anals, double vaginals, bukkake, creampies, facials, and AtM. It is certainly open to debate whether women performers are being ”coerced” into performing them, or whether these particular acts are being promoted as things women should do in private (forgetting, of course, the possibility that some women might even — horrors — LIKE such acts done to them in private). But to conclude from that that fans of such acts are merely expressing their total hatred for the women performers — nay, heaven forbid, ALL women — merely by watching and getting off on viewing such acts is simply bizarre. The “extreme” market is just that; one market in a field of many in sexual media; and hardly representative of the majority of the hardcore sex genre. The overwhelming majority of sex videos are those featuring either (1) single women stripping and masturbating, usually with sex toys; (2) women having sex with one or two other women (i.e., “girl/girl” or “Hot Lesbian Action”, never mind if they are really lesbian or bi, or merely curious); or (3) a single woman having sex with her significant other (boyfriend, husband) or a male friend that she already knows and respects enough.
Of course, since Jensen has already clearly stated that he considers even the more conventional images of women in porn to be innately “misogynistic” because even the softer images degrade and dehumanize women by reducing them to “sex objects” and “fucktoys”, I guess that any discussion of the heavier and kinkier brands of “gonzo” are basically totally moot…or simply agitprop to convert the more gullible liberals and “leftists” to his agenda.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Robert Jensen essay without the obligatory detailed description of a “typical” gonzo scene, as well as him (and by proxy, Hazen) imposing his (their) ideology on the performers, whatever they may actually think. Quoting again from Hazen’s intro:
Jensen clearly decided in writing his book that the often overwhelming
reality of the behavior and values of the porn industry must be experienced by
the reader, at least in written form, to understand what the issues are. Thus,
in the book, he describes porn scenes, quotes dialogue in the porn films, and
includes interviews with porn actors to help capture what they are thin king.
Some of this is a little hard to take. Here is one example:
Jessica Darlin tells the camera she has performed in 200 films and she is
submissive. “I like guys to just take over and fuck me and have a good time with
me. I’m just here for pleasure.” The man who enters the room grabs her hair and
tells her to beg the other man. She crawls over on her hands and knees, and he
spanks her hard. When he grabs her by the throat, she seems surprised. During
oral sex, he says, ‘Choke on that dick.” She gags. He grabs her head and slaps
her face then forces his penis in her mouth quickly. She gags again.The other
man duplicates the action, calling her a “little bitch,” Jessica is drooling and
gagging; she looks as if she might pass out. The men slap her breasts, then grab
her by the hair and pull her up. Later in the scene, “One man enters her anally
from the rear as she is pushed up against the couch, The other man enters her
anally while his partner puts his foot on her head. Finally one grabs her hair
and asks here what she wants. ‘I want your cum in my mouth,’ she says. ‘Give me
all that cum. I want to taste it.’ “
Jensen writes, “In researching the porn industry, one of the most difficult
parts is writing about the women who perform. Men see women in porn films as
objects of desire (to be fucked) or ridicule (to be made fun of.) When porn
performers speak in public they typically repeat a script that emphasizes that
they have freely chosen this career because of their their love of sex and lack
of inhibition.” Nina Hartley is one former porn star who frames her experience
in the porn industry as empowering — a feminist act of a woman ta king control
of her own life. But Jensen notes that while “we should listen to and respect
those voices, we also know from the testimony of women who leave the sex
industry that often they are desperate and unhappy in prostitution and
pornography but feel the need to validate it as their choice to avoid thinking
of themselves as victims.”
The fact that Jessica Darlin is actually an actresses enacting a scene in a movie, which involves a particular theme, and openly states that she has no problem whatsoever doing such scenes (of course, she must either be lying or under the spell of that evil male choking and spitting on her!!); seems to be lost on both Jensen and Hazen; certainly they would not think that when Michael Douglas and Glenn Close did that sex scene in the elevator in Fatal Attraction, they were really representing the real feelings of women and men, would they???
And we all know about how Jensen and other APRF’s really feel about Nina and other women who do happen to defend their right to make porn…right, Sam???
Oh….and Nina’s not a “former porn star”, Bob…she is still quite active in making and producing video; and has even enjoyed a sort of renaissance in the subgenre of older mature sex performers (also known as the “MILF” and “Cougar” subgenres). But I’m sure that she can defend herself better than I ever can….if you would ever allow sex-positive criticism of Jensen in your site, that is.
Moving along, we see Hazen practically spill his own seed in tribute to Jensen’s brilliance:
So that you understand, Robert Jensen is a true radical. His positions on
masculinity, race and pornography are way out of the mainstream. He thinks that
concepts of masculinity make men less than human and should be junked. “Men are
assumed to be naturally competitive and aggressive, and being a “real man” is
therefore marked by the struggle for control, conquest and domination. A man
looks at the world, sees what he wants and takes it.”
In writing his book, he turns to one of the most vilified feminists,
Andrea Dworkin, as his guide. One of Dworkin’s books, Intercourse,
enraged many readers. “In it, Dworkin argues that in a male supremacist society,
sex between men and women constitutes a central part of women’s subordination to
men. (This argument was quickly and falsely simplified to “all sex is rape” in
the public arena, adding fire to Dworkin’s already radical persona.)” But Jensen
embraces Dworkin for best understanding pornography and notes that “her love for
men was so evident.”
Jensen’s book is a serious effort to deconstruct pornography and
connect it to the society in which it grows and, in some ways, dominates. He
addresses in detail the arguments that justify porn and the research that may
connect porn to violence. His narrative, interwoven in the book, is about a
lonely journey to shed the straight jacket of masculinity, and the pain and lack
of acceptance that goes with the territory as he relentlessly pushes his ideas
into the public domain.
In the end, the book grapples with a fundamental question. “If pornography
is increasingly cruel and degrading, why is it increasingly commonplace instead
of more marginalized? In a society that purports to be civilized, wouldn’t we
expect most people to reject sexual material that becomes ever more dismissive
of the humanity of women? How do we explain … increasingly more intense ways to
humiliate women sexually and the rising popularity of the films that present
those activities?” Jensen concludes: “… this paradox can be resolved by
recognizing that one of the assumptions is wrong. Here it is the assumption that
the U.S. society routinely rejects cruelty and degradation. In fact the U.S. is
a nation that has no serious objection to cruelty and degradation.”
Robert Jensen is on a quest. And he has taken a major step forward in
his journey in producing a book that the reader can’t run away from or casually
dismiss. It is filled with facts, data, intelligent observation and analysis, as
well as examples of the raw product of an industry gone gonzo. I know this may
sound like a cliche, but I guarantee that after reading this book, almost no one
will think about pornography in the same way again.
I’ll just let you wander through and behold the magnificance of such bullshit for a while. You wonder then why progressive activism in the US is in such horrible shape???
And then, Hazen turns the floor over to Bob for an excerpt from his book….and it it so typical classic Jensen sex-hate and loathing. And well deserving of another fisking….but that will be anon.
[Crossposted as well to The SmackDog Chronicles]
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The SmackDog Chronicles: Sam Berg: Stalker of Women (Especially Women Who Don't Share Her Sex Fascist Vision)
Friday, November 16, 2007
There's the consistent browbeat of right-wing propaganda thinly cloaked under the brand of "Fair and Balanced News". The revolving door between certain luminaries and commentators of that network and the Bush/Cheney administration-cum-Mafia. Bill O'Reilly. Sean Hannity. Tony Snow. Bill O'Reilly. Bill "Bomb the shit out of Iran and Syria" Kristol. Neal Cavuto. Bill freakin' O'Reilly.
But...for some progressives out there, that alone isn't quite enough....they would like to expose Fixed Noise (to use Keith Olbermann's classic gloss....although for this particular story, Bina Becker's acronym of "FUX Snooze" would be more appropos) for something entirely different.
As a peddler of porn.
What's that, you say??? How can a right-wing media outlet like Faux News be even remotely involved with an industry that most of their base viewers would find beyond the pale???
Easy, says Robert Greenwald, who was the producer of the documentary Outfoxed which was one of the first exposes of FOX News' corrosive impact on the public at large: They use gratituous sexual images and "misogynous and innapropriate" sexual media to attract their audience to their news and information programs.
Greenwald has been a busy man of late pushing his "FOX News peddles indecency while attacking it" meme: he has released film clips over at YouTube (one example of which appears here) depicting how everyone there from BillO to Neal Cavuto to the regular news programs splatter gratituous T&A (and even the occasional blurred XXX image) into their news coverage. He has developed a spoof website (foxnewsporn.com) to promote his efforts; He recently wrote an article for the "progressive" daily Alternet.org promoting his efforts (and claiming that his video clips were "censored" by both YouTube and Digg by not being linkable; kinda not true since I just linked his clip two sentences ago); and he has gotten significant airtime, even to the point of scoring an interview segment on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Most of his case consists of replaying clips of where some FOX luminary prattles on about the "sexual decline" and "moral decay" of the country...while images of pretty risque and suggestive sexual activity (or merely sexy images) fill the background screen.
For instance, there is BillO moaning and groaning about the infamous Carl Jr's hamburger ad featuring Paris Hilton doing her Jenna Jameson imitation and nearly mounting her car and having multiple orgasms over their hamburgers....while Paris winds and grinds uninterrupted in the background.
Or, in another BillO segment, another attack on "secular progressive San Francisco (read, "homoSEXual") values", as represented by the annual sex freakery known as the Exotic Erotic Ball....complete with detailed coverage and footage of said acts of freakery from a journalist who was there. (Apparantly, BillO skipped last years Folsom Street Fair, so he wasn't able to report on that particular alleged atrocity of "secular progressive" values.)
Or...there is a "breaking" story about an alledged sexual assault over at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles...a perfect excuse for gratituous T&A shots at Hugh Hefner and his stable of bikini beauties frollicking about nearly nekkid.
Or...how about another "breaking story" scaring the viewers about rapists running amok during Spring Break....featuring strippers and thong-clad dancers flashing their naughty bits (pertinent parts electronically covered, of course).
Or even today, on Cavuto's program: a warning about strip clubs "enticing pre-teens"...complete with some pretty saucy pics of said patrons to entice....errrrrr....scare them.
All this, Greenwald asserts, proves how corrosive FOX News is to the body politic; and they must be stopped by any means possible, up to and including media boycotts.
Now, being a prime Fixed Noise hater myself, I normally would be willing to add my support to anything that piles them on. But I just can't hitch myself on this campaign, for the following reasons.
First: This is nothing new with Rupert Murdoch. He is well versed in the art of using skin and sex to bait the trap to get consumers; how else did he make his millions with his tabloids in Great Britain (see the Page 3 Girls) or with his FOX cable network (Married....With Children, anyone???). And as for BillO....well, we'll just leave him to Andrea Mackris' tell all book (which probably won't appear on FOX News anytime soon).
Second and more importantly: Although it is certainly right and proper to spell out the hypocrisy of Fixed Noise playing both sides of the sex media street (remember, Murdoch paid Judith Regan big bucks to sell Jenna Jameson's tell-all biography two years ago, even as he also paid BillO and other assorted columnists to diss her as an ignorant slut), I'm wondering whether Greenwald's real beef is with FOX News or with the sexy images they appropriate...for he doesn't make too clear that he's really not more offended by the behavior of the images than he is by FNC. There are loads of loaded commentary about "indecency" and "gratituous sex" in his documentaries, and there is a not-so-subtle plea for the viewers to "do something" about the images...as if Fixed Noise's more normal political crimes aren't worthy of censure enough.
And thirdly: most of the "pornographic" images that so grieves Greenwald aren't really that porographic or even softcore: they range from refined Girls Gone Wild video excerpts of young girls carvoting, to women lounging in bikinis, to brief titty flashes and thong-clad booty shaking, to women kissing (the Madonna and Britney Spears liplock at the 2002 American Music Awards is featured as one example of FOX "indecency"); to the occasional interview with porn starlets. One wonders from watching this whether Greenwald is really condemning FOX for being right-wing hypocrites...or for showing such evil "misogynistic" and "objectifying" images in the first place. I tend to think more of the later..which would make him only one step removed from antipornfeminist "leftist" fanatic Nikki Craft, who attacks more hardcore porn with pretty much the same theme (though with Larry Flynt as her primary Great Satan rather than Fixed Noise).
The way I see it, why is it that some liberals and "progressives" are so willing to play the Puritan protectionist card as a means of promting themselves and their pet causes?? The notion of attempting to split your enemy amongst genuine Puritan populist and "libertarian" lines may be one attraction (read that to mean getting the real religious Right folk foaming about the "conservative establishment"); perhaps Greenwald really wants to attract authentic social conservatives to progressive causes as well; and sees attacks on establishment outlets like FOX News and their "indecency" as a bridge to such a right-wing populist constituency.
But this is a dangerous game of tit for tat that not only legitimizes and reenforces the most reactionary sexual beliefs as "progressive"; it also mistakes scapegoating of legitimate consensual and harmless sexual imagery and expression with more effective political analysis and organization.
All this campaign proves to me is that conservatives have no monopoly on using sexual fear and loathing as a wedge to import their particular ideology; and that some progressives and liberals need just as much to check themselves and their antisexual myopia. FOX News is bad enough as a politically obtuse, racist, right-wing media organization as it is; there is no need to pile on at the expense of innocent sexual expression.
[Cross-posted over at The SmackDog Chronicles (BTW, memo to Ren and Belle: Update the SmackChron link in this blogroll..please??? OKThanxbye. :-)]
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I linked to Dacia’s latest post about “feminist porn” in my del.cio.us links yesterday, but I had such a “yes yes YES that’s IT!” reaction to it that I feel compelled to quote liberally here…
To me, making feminist porn is not about what is actually shown on screen and much more about what is happening on the production end of things. This is very clearly an expression of my years working in the sex industry and working for sex workers’ rights, but like Petra says in the beginning of this paragraph, “our tastes on what we find sexy in the bedroom or on film differ.” We can have a whole argument about the nurture and nature of “taste” - but I don’t think liking or not liking specific acts can make or break a feminist.
I don’t care if porn shows a woman masturbating by herself (like in many of the Abby Winters photo sets and videos), a woman fucking a guy with a strap-on (like in The Bi Apple, a woman enthusiastically sucking cock (like in Erika’s films), or a pregnant woman getting fucked up the ass with a baseball bat (like in Belladonna’s Fucking Girls Again). What I do care about is: does that performer want to be there? Is the director/producer respecting her needs and paying her appropriately? Did she get blindsided by requests for acts she doesn’t want to do?
The answers to those questions determine whether or not the porn is feminist, sex-positive, and ethical for me, not what is happening on screen.
Do you get it now, people? Do you? I still do not know why this is a difficult concept, but clearly it is. And so these things must continue to be said, emphatically.
I might write more about this later. I need to crawl into bed now, though, because I got up at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
It got me to thinking, though....how would the antipornradicalfeminists on the "other" side attempt to spin the issue to their advantage??
Well, I need not wonder any longer.....get a load of this pamphlet which equates consuming porn to killing Muslimwomen...courtesy of
I suppose that the many Muslim (and other non-religious folks in Iraq and other Middle East countries) who were victims of "Amerikan" imperalism don't really count for these MIM whackjobs....nor the fact that most of those who finance and support the killing of "Muslims" are as violently and militantly antiporn as they apparantly are.
Oh....and "wimmin" jill off to porn too...will they be held accountable for their role in genocide?? Oh, I forgot...most of those women OPPOSE the war. Too bad....it's the jerking off that is the real issue, I guess.
Just one more standing monument to APRF extremist collusion and ultra-Maoist lunacy, me thinks.
[Tip of the hat to Doug Henwood over at the Left Business Observer mailing list (lbo-talk) from where I got the link to
UPDATE (11/8/o7) I owe a sincere apology to Phyllis Chesler for originally attributing the pamphlet to her; following the links provided at the bottom of the pamphlet let me to the Maoist International Movement site, which featured an attack on Chesler for being not "radical" enough and too "Western" for their particular sectarian tastes. I have made the proper revisions in this post to correct the record.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Chemistry 3 won Best Gonzo at the 2007 AVN Awards. I found this interesting because a lot of people equate gonzo with degradation and, basically, all the 'bad' in porn. But Chemistry is closer to the real meaning of gonzo than all that other stuff people equate with the term:
Gonzo pornography is a filming style of adult video. It is characterized by a filming style that attempts to place the viewer directly into the scene. The name is a reference to gonzo journalism, in which the reporter is part of the event taking place. By analogy, gonzo pornography puts the camera right into the action -- often with one or more of the participants both filming and performing sexual acts -- without the usual separation characteristic of conventional porn and cinema.
What I liked about Chemistry 3 was that it included lots of laughter and a generally laid-back, not-forced feel. That's the whole point, of course; the three guys and three girls could fuck whom they wanted, when they wanted, and had cameras on hand to film as much of it themselves as they wanted.
There were also several "confessionals" with the different performers, where they talked about their personal preferences, their experiences in the adult industry, and a variety of other topics. When I saw Ren's comments about porn companies putting "behind the scenes" stuff on DVDs, I immediately thought of Chemistry 3. The entire film has the feel of those behind the scenes extras. And I think that's important - a lot of folks could stand to be reminded that people who work in the adult industry are, well, people. Shocking, I know; but porn performers have likes and dislikes, interests and opinions, and parts of their lives that don't involve fucking - just like the rest of us.
To anyone who goes around spouting off at the mouth about how horrible and exploitative porn is, I'd recommend watching Chemistry 3. The women aren't getting slapped around and referred to as bitches and sluts, and at no point does anyone have a bored, going-through-the-motions look on his or her face. If you watch Chemistry 3 and call it degrading, to me that says that you think sex on the participants' own terms, where everyone is enjoying themselves, is degrading.
Oh, and for that matter - because why end with snark? - I recommend Chemistry 3 to anyone who wants to see some good porn. Always Aroused Girl is even having a contest at her blog where you can win a copy. If I were some kind of pseudo-professional porn reviewer with a rating system based on stars or thumbs, I'd give Chemistry 3 the maximum number of those.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
CINCINATTI — The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled today that the federal record-keeping statute 18 U.S.C. 2257 is unconstitutional, holding that the law is overbroad and facially invalid.
Attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that the court’s opinion, while a very significant victory, is not the final word on the question of 2257’s constitutionality and cautioned that adult webmasters should not view it as the end of their 2257 concerns.
“Generally, you have to be very careful with reacting too rashly to any opinion,” Walters said. “This is a panel ruling, and it is not final. The government could ask for an en banc rehearing by the full circuit, and they can appeal the decision.”
Walters also noted that the decision only applies to the portion of the U.S. that is covered by the 6th Circuit – namely, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
The good news, Walters said, is that the government’s options in getting the opinion overturned are all “long shots,” and he said the court’s reasoning in the opinion was very sound.
“The judges on this panel are renowned for being tremendously bright and it shows through in this ruling,” Walters said. “There’s no doubt that the 1st Amendment arguments here were strong, and the court recognized that the law clearly sweeps in too much protected speech, and there are just too many problems with the law, generally.”
The court’s decision came in the case Connection Distributing vs. Gonzales, a case that reaches all the way back to 1995, when Connection, a publisher of swingers-themed magazines and websites, first challenged the constitutionality of 2257. Following a long history of rejections and appeals, the path eventually led back to the 6th Circuit court of appeals, and today’s ruling.
Writing for the majority, Judge Cornelia G. Kennedy stated in the opinion that the court’s hands were tied in terms of trying to impose any limiting construction on the statute that would comport with the intent of Congress, leaving Congressional amendment of the statute the only option for rendering 2257 constitutional.
“The plain text, the purpose and the legislative history of the statute make clear that Congress was concerned with all child pornography and considered record-keeping important in battling all of it, without respect to the creator’s motivation,” Kennedy wrote in the opinion. “There is, therefore, no narrowing construction.”
The government argued in the case that 2257 was aimed only at conduct and not speech. Had the court accepted this argument a lower standard of review would have been applied, and the court may have ruled that 2257 was a valid regulatory statute. The court rejected the government’s assertion that 2257 merely regulates conduct, however, in very direct fashion.
“This argument is unpersuasive,” Kennedy wrote. “While the government is indeed aiming at conduct, child abuse, it is regulating protected speech, sexually explicit images of adults, to get at that conduct. To the extent the government is claiming that a law is considered a conduct regulation as long as the government claims an interest in conduct and not speech, the Supreme Court has rejected that argument.”
Kennedy also noted that the child abuse, “the actual conduct in which the government is interested, is already illegal.”
“Child pornography, while speech, can be considered more like conduct because the conduct depicted is illegal, and if that illegality did not occur, no images of child pornography would be created,” Kennedy wrote. “Adult sexual conduct is not illegal and it is in fact constitutionally protected … The regulation of visual depictions of adult sexual activity is not based on its intrinsic relation to illegal conduct. It is, therefore, a regulation of speech, because both the photograph and the taking of a photograph ‘bear … [a] necessary relationship to the freedom to speak, write, print or distribute information or opinion.’”
Kennedy said the court was not unaware of the serious scourge of child
pornography — it just believes that there has to be a less burdensome option for
attacking the problem.
“We do not belittle the despicability of child pornography, and we appreciate the difficulties faced by the government,” Kennedy wrote. “There are a myriad of limitations available, however, that would reduce the breadth of the recordkeeping requirements and would more narrowly focus on the government’s interest and therefore remove some of the protected speech from the statute’s coverage. Such limitations have been suggested by witnesses who testified before Congress and by the plaintiffs here.”
Ultimately, Walters said adult webmasters and business owners should take a “wait and see” approach to the ruling, but there’s no question that the ruling should be counted as a victory in one 2257-related battle, even if it is not the decisive shot of the overall war.
“People should treat this as a step in the ladder towards total invalidation of 2257,” Walters said. “It certainly provides a roadmap for future arguments, as well.”
J. Michael Murray, the attorney for Connections Distributing, was not available for comment at press time.
Considering that the ruling applies only to the Sixth District's immediate jurisdiction and that it has no bearing on another suit currently ongoing involving The Free Speech Coalition's efforts to neuter 2257 nationwide, it nevertheless is a huge victory...and probably the beginning of the end for these regs.
Maybe we can finally have some sanity in this country concerning sexual expression after all??
Saturday, October 6, 2007
To 'back up' these proposals, the Home Office set up a Ministry of Justice report on 'the evidence of harm to adults relating to extreme pornography'.
Not the most thrilling of documents...
Authors: Catherine Itzin, Ann Taken, Ruth Kelly (all anti-porn feminists)
My problems with this, and why it says nothing more about why this legislation is necessary or justified:
1. They're using old research, most of it not relating directly to the 'extreme' images that are soon to be banned.
2. Their reading of Donnerstein (the only research I've read directly myself) is based upon non-extreme pornography. Donnerstein found that a far greater number of men watching 'violent' pornography were likely to identify themselves with the victim than the aggressor.
3. This paragraph:
"Contrary to expectations, it was found that in 30 of the 48 primary studies included, the content of the extreme pornographic material used was described in graphic detail. Direct quotes of these explicit descriptions have not been repeated in this report because the nature of the material was 'too extreme'. Instead it has been described in more neutral terms. This has been done to avoid the risk that these descriptions would function as extreme pornographic material for the reader, producing sexual arousal and orgasm to material that depicts or enacts serious sexual violence, explicit serious violence in a sexual context or explicit intercourse or oral sex with an animal (bestiality)."
So now it's apparently dangerous to read this potentially lurid report in case we find it so erotic we have to have a wank???
WTF, Brit government?
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Bond set for woman accused of killing boyfriend
On Sunday morning, Strowder allegedly found at least one CD with nude photos of women and confronted Martin in their home about 10 a.m. She then allegedly got a gun and shot him multiple times, including twice in the head, according to prosecutors. The 54-year-old man was later pronounced dead on the scene, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
According to the site:
It doesn't matter if the movie is new or old, famous or unknown, terrible or eloquent.
Watch the darn thing, from beginning to end, and write us what you think.
There's a handy form to submit your porn review. It doesn't get a whole lot simpler than that.
Friday, September 21, 2007
And what it referenced...you know, blonde whores forced to suck cock then fucked?
Yep. Pornspeak ain't always pretty or nice. Plenty of those sentiments up above out there. Yet, if one is looking for monsters, that's what they find. Kinda like the asshole in my post under this one.
How about some anti-porn airtime on these pornspeak taglines:
"Miss Adams is all over Euro like a twisted spider, and has him screaming in pain and thanking her for it at the same time. Euro is suspended, mummified, fucked with a dildo, whipped, gagged and generally broken down to his component parts by the crafty dominatrix, Claire Adams. "
"Sandra and breaks in newcomer tahiti boy, but things do not progress the way Mistress likes them. After a couple of grueling sets of whipping, slapping and merciless ass fucking, slave boy gets the chance to fuck the Mistress but She is not impressed. See what happens when Mistress Romain is fed up with a worthless slave.... "
"Mistress Aiden has a pain toy to play with. tao subjects himself to the sadistic Mistresses' whims at his own peril, and screams out over and over but his cries fall on deaf ears. Aiden's strap on fucking is as brutal and punishing as it is humiliating. She dishes out the pain at the most extreme levels before finally getting off on his face and leaving him to stew in his own burning humiliation. "
"'Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes', she sneers as her fingers tighten around his throat. Mistress Claire makes dorian's nightmares come true in this erotic psychological thriller. Take a ride with Claire through an evening of interrogation, bondage, heel sucking, inverted suspension, strap-on fucking, and finally Claire literally puts her foot up dorian's ass. "
"Amazing beauty Tera Patrick gives an amazing performance in this sensual thriller"
"Beautiful blonde Tawny Roberts performs a seunsual strip tease on a piano"
"Tanned, toned, beautiful brunette takes charge of her lover, riding his cock and slapping his face"
Well, lookie. Many of them have names. Not all are blonde. Not all of them are even fucking. They are slapping around the menz. Humiliating them. And gods, look, "sensual" rather than "forced".
Pst. Vivid outsells Max Hardcore for a reason. Kink.com, ect. also specialize in roughing up men!
Thanks, fuck head porn dude. Thanks a lot. Thanks for making what some of us are trying to do here so much easier, you stupid, stupid bastard. If you are guilty, I hope they throw the goddamn book at you and split your face with it. What the hell are you thinking? Contracts. Use them. Sober filming. Do it. You fucking asshole!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Over at her blog, Ren linked to this screed by Heart, on porn and what it "really" depicts, means and says:
I responded over at Ren's and thought it might be interesting to Xpost here:
Blonde whore forced to suck c*** then f***ed!!....The 11 words at the top of the page tell us what pornography is about. It is about men forcing their bodies inside of and onto the bodies of women. It is about men forcing women to do things they do not want to do. Especially, the words communicate the interest men have in watching women being raped. We all know a woman is depicted in the film those 11 words advertise, but she is a dehumanized woman. She has no name; she is a generic “blonde,” a generic “whore.” The understanding and agreement between the maker and advertiser and the consumer of pornography is that nobody cares about the names, identities or lives of “blondes” or “whores” or any other woman being raped by men in pornography and nobody wants to know any of that. The agreement is that the porn consumer should be free to order up a constellation of body parts and the pornographer should stand ready to provide them. The agreement is the pornographer will provide images of rape and violence which humiliate and degrade already-dehumanized women whose names we do not know. The agreement, especially, is that this will be sexually titillating and exciting to the consumer. This is what real men want to see: “blondes” and “whores” being raped. Available for cash, at the click of a link.
I just... if these people had a shred of objectivity I'd just say to them
"okay, so I read that line ("Blonde whore forced to suck cock, then fucked," given that the context is *ACTING* not real force) and have absolutely no negative reaction to it and possibly a positive one. If the reaction is supposed to tell me all I need to know about how truly vile porn is, then what happens when my reaction is not the expected one? What happens when I'm thinking it would be hot to watch her, or to be the one doing the fucking, or to be her?"
The only answer they can give really is "you're fucked in the head," which is really not convincing to me given that pornography is such a successful industry. It seems really, well, freaking ODD that an entire industry would spring up out of misreading women's pain.
Yeah, there are sadists in the world or various stripes. And yeah, we've all got a cruel side. But wow are you saying something weird about humanity (okay maybe just about men omg wtf I said it I'm defending men take away my sister card now) when you're assuming that entire industries centered around sexuality function on stirring up dormant sexual sadism.
ETA: Actually, yes, I can see industries designed to stir up aggression, and I do think that rough porn is in part designed to do that (I still suspect it's also partially about shock/spectacle, "oh my look at THAT!", and not always consumed or produced with only aggression in mind.) But to me, stirring up aggression and stirring up hate are not the same thing. Wanting to forcefully fuck is not the same as wanting to rape.
Of course for some people those concepts are linked, and of course that's worth thinking about. And it's understandable to hold the position that if they're linked at all in anyone whatsoever, then it's irresponsible to create any media appealing to this. I don't hold that view -- I don't think media producers of any kind are obligated to never create anything that might have a bad influence on the worst of humanity -- but it's not an internally incoherent one.
What is incoherent to me is the notion that we all ought to react the same way to media, such that anyone senses upon seeing it what the truth about it really is.
I tend to think that when something stirs up a lot of debate, that's because there's a complicated phenomenon at hand, not because most of the world has blunted its instincts.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Melissa Farley, Nevada Brothels, and the effect on the legal sex work debate
Recently, radical feminist anti-prostitution activist Melissa Farley published a report called "Prostitution and trafficking in Nevada: making the connections". Many readers are probably familiar with Farley's "research", since it is often used as a stick to beat proponents of any kind of legal sex work over the head with, whether that's legal prostitution, stripping, or porn modeling. The story goes that sex work is inherently a horrible form of abuse and that "90%" of all sex workers show symptoms of post-traumatic stress, want to leave prostitution, but are prevented from doing so by drug addiction, economic desperation, or some pimp basically keeping them as a coerced sex slave. These data were gathered mainly from urban street prostitutes and from very marginalized prostitutes in developing countries, but the findings are generalized to be applicable to women in any and all situations of sex work.
Farley's study of Nevada brothel prostitutes claims similar findings as for her earlier findings about street prostitutes, this time claiming a figure of "81%" (of a total sample of 45 brothel prostitutes) who want to leave prostitution, most of whom are supposedly prevented from doing so. This has been quite a coup for Farley, because she now has been able to claim that even in a controlled, legal setting, she still has been able to find damning evidence against the effects of prostitution. The report has gotten an enormous amount of attention in the press, most notably in a series of op-eds by New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, who seems to have bought completely into Farley's views on sex work. (Herbert's columns get a much-needed fisking in this post at Sexinthepublicsquare.) These columns, as well as a similar op-ed by Guardian columnist and dyed-in-the-wool radfem Julie Bindel, have gotten a lot of circulation around the liberal and feminist blogosphere, and a lot of people who were more or less on the fence on the issue have now come out against legalization of prostitution, for greater enforcement and penalties against customers, in other words, for the so-called "Swedish Model" of prostitution law. In an ironic turn, Bitch PhD even came out for the Swedish Model in a column on none other than Suicide Girls, a site that, while not exactly entailing prostitution, does entail a mild form of sex work that radfems like Farley would ultimately like to see penalized as employing prostitution. (Not to mention the exploitative reputation of SuicideGirls even among many of us on the pro-porn side.)
As the above example illustrates, I have yet to see many liberals or moderate feminists fully advocate the criminalization of strip-club customers or porn producers, or even make the connections about how their newly hardline stance on prostitution might ultimately implicate areas of sex work they consume or are otherwise involved in. Such implications are quite clearly on the long term agenda of anti-porn abolitionists, however, as the Captive Daughters report I blogged about last month makes clear. The fact that many of the leading sex work abolitionist individuals and organizations have their roots in the 1980s feminist anti-porn movement is no coincidence. The prostitution anti-legalization argument is getting some support now even among relative "liberals", and its only a matter of time before such arguments will be employed against porn and stripping.
Just how reliable Farley's findings actually are is an open question. Admittedly, I have not seen a copy of Farley's Nevada prostitution report. (Basically, its a self-published thing by Farley – there is no electronic copy to download and an OCLC search does not show it to be deposited in any libraries. One has to buy a hard copy from her in order to even see the thing.) Farley states (in a September 7th TV interview on the LV news program "Face to Face") that she uses the same methodology as she did for her earlier studies, so presumably, many of the same criticisms of her methodology in those studies applies here. To quote from the Ronald Weitzer (2005) critique of Farley's methodology:
What about Farley’s own research procedures? Much is left opaque. In one study, Farley and Barkan (1998) interviewed street prostitutes in San Francisco. No indication is given of the breadth or diversity of their sample, or the method of approaching people on the street....No information is provided as to how these locations were selected, or whether alternative locations were rejected for some reason....Finally, though Farley lists the topics covered in the interviews, none of the actual questions is presented. It is especially important to know the exact wording of questions, especially on this topic, because question wording may skew the answers.
Farley reports (in the "Methods" sections of her various papers, for example, here) that she uses a combination of "structured interviews" and questionnaires to elicit information from her subjects. However, the raw findings are not reported, but rather, Farley distillation of those findings. Thus, when we are confronted with statements like "92 percent stated that they wanted to leave prostitution" (an answer that's open to some interpretation, in any event), we have no idea exactly what question or questions were asked and whether there this was subject to interpretation by Farley. Nor do we have any idea as to how Farley chooses her interview subjects. The findings may or may not be valid, but there's a lack of transparency in her methods that casts doubt upon them. And in the case of Farley's Nevada report, the fact that the thing is self-published would seem to indicate that there's been no independent peer-review of this study, a fact that does not speak well for it.
(I also recommend having a look at this recent comment (scroll down) by Jill Brenneman regarding her experiences with Farley back when she was still in the radical feminist camp. The comments on how Farley would elicit information and coach ex-prostitutes on their statements are very illuminating.)
One method of evaluating Farley's findings is simply to compare them to the findings of other researchers who have done similar work. As it happens, other researchers have had entry into Nevada's legal brothels and paint a picture a much more nuanced (if not entirely rosy) picture of Nevada brothel work. Notably, Kate Hausbeck and Barbara Brents have published a number of journal on the topic and are in the process of coming out with a book of their own on the topic, "The State of Sex: The Nevada Brothel Industry". (Brents also states in the above-mentioned "Face to Face" program that she strongly disagrees with Farley's conclusions, based on her own 10 years of research in Nevada borthels. The full interview with Brents from September 5th is no longer up on the Face to Face site, unfortuntately.) Also, Alexa Albert, who recently published an ethnography titled "Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women".
That Farley seems to have a knack for coming up with a litany of horrors not reported by other researchers, combined with the lack of transparency in her methodology raises questions as to how much Farley's findings represent the ugly truth about prostitution and how much, as has been shttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifaid about Margaret Mead, is a talent for finding what she wants to find.
(Update, 9/17: Barabara Brents, one of the above-mentioned authors, has reviewed Farley's book here. Sure enough, it suffers from the same lack of methodological transparency as her earlier papers, and "presents none of the elements contained in social scientific peer reviewed research.")
The "Nevada Model" of legal, controlled brothels has never been a popular one among sex worker's rights activists, as it places far to much power in the hands of brothel owners and corrupt local law enforcement, provides only limited protections for sex workers while limiting their freedom of movement and disempowering them in other ways. According to Alexa Albert, the brothel system has not succeeded in getting pimps out of the equation, and in the past, the brothels even required the women to have pimps as a condition of employment. (Farley's accusations go beyond anything claimed to date by other authors, however, claiming that brothel prostitutes are literally prevented from quitting and leaving if they so choose.) And, in any event, the legal brothel system is largely irrelevant in the larger context of Nevada prostitution, since it in no way legalizes prostitution where it actually takes place, namely, in Nevada's cities, particularly Las Vegas.
Nonetheless, Farley's study is being used as propaganda not for reforming the Nevada system and other poorly regulated forms of legal prostitution, but for paternalistic Swedish-style laws, that, while in theory decriminalizing sex work, nonetheless make it much more difficult for sex workers who are there by choice to actually make a living and at the same time, increasingly criminalizes sex industry customers, even those involved in entirely non-violent, consensual transactions.
So where are the voices of sex workers, especially Nevada ones, in this debate? Largely shut out of it, except as reported by academics and social workers who claim to speak for them. However, the sex worker blog Bound Not Gagged is planning a response this coming Monday evening, 9/17, starting at 6PM EST, which will be a response to Farley and the abolitionists in general. I encourage everybody to check it out, and contribute information if you have it.
Also, Ronald Weitzer came out with an absolutely excellent paper this month in the journal "Politics & Society". The paper is called "The Social Construction of Sex Trafficking: Ideology and Institutionalization of a Moral Crusade". It describes the sex trafficking issue as one that, while having a basis in reality, clearly has all the hallmarks of a moral panic. The extent of sex trafficking is exaggerated and sex work as a whole is conflated with it. Sex workers are being cast universally as unmitigated victims, while customers are entirely demonized, and all of this being done to advance the political agenda of a particular set of moral entrepreneurs, in this case an alliance of religious conservatives and radical feminists. The paper also exposes many of the myths and exaggerated claims of the prostitution abolitionist movement. Highly recommended, needless to say.