In case you haven't seen it, the debate between Ren and the folks at NPNH has errupted again; witness this exchange which Ren just posted as an update to this post at her blog:
Ren Says- "Adam: You miss the point. You are more the welcome to free speech, just like everyone else. HOWEVER, the IRONY of you and yours using the words (and images) of women in the sex business, knowing or not caring if they support YOUR agend or not, is amazing. Like I said...you worry about consent and about how women in porn feel? Nice way of showing it. I'm not amused, and love how you and yours twist things for your own agenda."
NPNH Says-"There’s no irony. I fail to recognize your “exploitation” exemption from standard, time-honored debate strategies, such as analysis and rebuttal. Your public expressions are not privileged from criticism. The stakes are high. The sex industry hurts people. How many marriages have strippers busted, wittingly or unwittingly? How many husbands have given their wives STDs they themselves contracted from going to prostitutes?"
Ren Says-Adam: If you were honestly interested in debate, you'd not close the comments on your site. You are interested in telling one side, your side. I see no real debate effort out of you. I never said I wasn't subject to criticism, hell, I get a lot of criticism...what I never get is an answer as to WHY, when the anti porn movement is so consumed with the consent and
feelings of women in sex work and porn, they do not care about that consent or those feelings when those women do not agree with you, yet you use them anyway? No answer whatsoever. You cannot argue about caring about the consent and feelings of these women when you have so blatantly exhibited that you yourself don't. I am not trying to take away YOUR right to free speech, I am telling you that claiming to care about the feelings or the consent of women in sexwork is utterly hipocritical when you have just exhibited that unless
they agree with you, you personally could care less. It's not debate you're after...not in the least. If you were, you'd suffer the so called slings and arrows and open up your comments in order to foster that. Yes, strippers have broken up marriages (yes, lets blame THEM rather than the MEN who, you know, are at least half responsible for that), and yes, wives have picked up STD's from their men after seeing prostitutes (and yes, lets blame the prostitutes
for that too). Let's not mention that often it is the lying about seeing prostitutes or watching porn or stripping that leaves people feeling the most hurt...hell, let's forget that women ALSO frequent strip clubs and watch porn, even occasionally pay for sex. I also know there are a lot of people who say things like strip clubs, and yes, even porn, have made their sex lives better, or who have no problem with either of those things. You think making porn or stripping illegal is going to stop people from cheating? Not going to happen. What else needs to go, then? Booze? Booze causes all kinds of problems and abuse. Is that next?"
NPNH says-"It was not my choice to deactivate the standard comment mechanism. Our hand was forced by our opposition:
We have no fear of debate. We’re debating now, are we not?"
Ren Says-Okay, so that wasn't very nice of them to say or do, but I'm not all that impressed nor would I be that intimidated...trust me, I've heard/seen MUCH worse. And YOU are also subject to criticism, you know. And are we debating? Not really. I am in no way trying to mess with your free speech. I did not demand, or even ask, that you remove your link to me
because, as I said, it was public, free speech, you can use it...what I did ask, and you have YET to answer, is how the anti-porn movement can claim to care about the consent and
feelings of women in sex work when the anti porn movement uses the words and
images of women in porn without their consent and without knowing their feelings on the matter? That is the topic on the table here.
First off: "Standard, time honored debate strategies"??? Really?? Like, you know, pulling quotes out of other people's sites and using them as if they were your very own....or refusing to give proper attribution to the sites from whom you plagarize to support your ideological agenda?? Yeah, that's real honorable of 'ya, Adam.
And...last time I checked, I don't think that Ren or any other critic of your organization ever considered themselves or porn to be immune to criticism. Far from it....if you happen to actually read through Ren's blog rather than just latch through her links, you'd find that she is very, very critical of some of the more seamier elements of porn and sex work, even as she defends the basic and fundamental right of consenting adults to consume and produce it. That's a hell of a lot of more leeway than you ever give to your critics....pronouncements about strippers carrying STDs and busting marriages and porn causing rape and wife battering aside.
And about you closing comments due to the Moporninnorthampton "stress relief" game: Yeah, that was more than a bit classless on MoPo's part, and I personally would not approve of such a "pun" anyway...mostly because it distracts from the fundamental issues. But, guess what, Adam; the Internet is a dangerous place where almost anything can and does go. If you decide to put yourself on the 'Net, you are subject to have to face criticism, and sometimes such can get quite ugly. There is a saying about standing the heat or avoiding hot kitchens....but I won't go there. If Ren can be attacked as a nut, a slut, and a "filthy whore" and get threatened with having her personal life outed, then maybe a bad pun such as slamming an image of your head against a wall isn't quite so intolerable. Besides, there were alternatives to just shutting down your comments altogether; simply ban the individual offender(s) or simply call them out publically. If you, Adam, are more concerned with genuine debate and not merely about dishing out the usual antiporn agitprop, I'd think that you'd have more respect than that.
Of course, the whole point behind Ren's question wasn't to remove the link to her blog; it was to ask why NPNH's application of its own principles of "free speech" seems so selective. I guess that the Maxwell Taylor approach to "self-determination" still holds a lot of sway when it comes to groups like NoPornNorthampton: "We are all for self-determination......as long as they determine OUR way."
UPDATE (7/11/07, 9:42 PM CDT):
And the debate continues:
This directly from the NPNh site:
Our debate with pro-porn blogger Renegade Evolution continues. In one of her emails to us today she wrote [typos in original],
[Ren's rebuttal posted at NPHh site; typos corrected by me]
That's great, see, I actually advocate listening to all sexworkers, even those who hate it. Now, doing the whole "your feelings are important" thing with me is not, oh, going to impress me much because to me you have demonstrated that is not the case, nor are the feelings of other women willingly in this business. If people want to advocate harsher safety measures in the sex industry, better working conditions, for better treatement by law enforcement, making access to net porn harder for kids to get, things of that nature? That shows me they not only care about the people working in the business, but they care for the people who should not be looking at porn and whatnot...those are the folk who I actually think care about peoples "feelings"... Now, people who are trying to get clubs and stores closed, banned? People who are trying to ban porn? There I am skeptical. Why? Because when you do that, you are putting people out of jobs. The strip club gets shut down, sure, more men might be at home (or maybe just out at some other bar), but the dancers, the waitresses, the DJ's, the security guys, they are unemployeed. Same for the staff at the porn store, and the performers in porn, along with the tech people, the make-up artists, the web designers, so on, so forth. And in some cases, those people are not going to be able to get jobs that pay a wage they can live on....and some of them most certainly are in it by choice and do not want your help.So, yes, I am skeptical.Now, if you want people to hear other peoples voices, that's fine, but if you are interested in being objective at all, well then, you need to consider that you are stomping all over the feelings of people who disagree with you when you do what you are doing. And you won't even give really straight answer about it. You know, I could almost respect an attitude such as "Well, yes, we are exploiting some porn performers words/images & stories to our own ends because we think the ends justify the means", or you know "Hey, we did not actually think about that, sorry", or even just "shut up you pro-porn asshole!" But, no...No real answer to my question on WHY that tactic, which I am not going to repeat again, is okay, and then "we care about your feelings and encourage debate"....Frankly, I don't see it. If you cared about my feelings, you wouldn't have put some snarky ass post on your page distorting what I was actually saying to you (which I will repeat here, the fact that the anti porn tactic of using the words of sex workers, especially those whom are pro-porn, without their consent or even noting their feelings on the anti-porn issue is a bit off when the anti porn movement is supposedly so concerned about consent and these peoples feelings is highly hypocritical), implying that I was trying to prohibit your free speech (which I did at No Time), and oh, you might answer my question....
[Response from NPNh]
We are not in favor of “banning” porn (except child porn, which is already banned). We are trying to get people to not want it. But let’s talk about jobs. Studies show that many adult enterprises are ‘vampire’ businesses that suck the economic life out of their surroundings. For example:State of Minnesota, Report of the Attorney General’s Working Group on the Regulation of Sexually Oriented Businesses, Office of the Attorney General (June 6, 1989)This is a seminal work which investigates the secondary effects of adult businesses from a number of different research perspectives. Not only is the effect on crime included, so is the effect on neighborhood disorganization and disorder, as are the effects on property values addressed. The New York study also concluded that business locations with adult-oriented businesses had a significant loss of sales tax collections (42%) as compared to control areas. Studies of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Los Angeles are cited. RICO and organized criminal elements of the industry are also discussed. It was found that dramatic increases in crime rates were directly associated with the introduction of adult-oriented businesses into any community studied. Evidence is articulated indicating that property crimes were forty to fifty percent higher, and sex-related crimes were found to be seventy to as much as 500 percent higher--depending upon the municipality. Other non-crime community issues are also discussed. Economic blight is exactly what is happening in Springfield, Massachusetts right now: Capital Video's Springfield Porn Shop Repels Sought-After Businesses
We are trying to get people to take a larger perspective than their personal pleasures and profits.
Of course, the notion that all that blight might be more the result of defunding of inner cities and the flight of upper-middle class families to the suburbs and leaving the remaining residents -- mostly working-class and poor and mostly people of color -- to fend for themselves without any real infrastructure of support seems to escape Cohen's grasp. To him, it's all about that little porn shop -- and all those gays and sluts and whores -- invading "his" community.
And then there's that quoting of a nearly 20 year study (probably biased in favor of conservative Republicans or antiporn feminists)....as if other studies that show the exact opposite of Cohen's conclusions don't even exist. Actually, in his mind, they don't, because only those facts that can be grafted to his seamless ideology are given any credence and legitimacy. Not to mention the basic fact that organized crime can very much coexist with extreme antipornography ideology quite nicely....remember Charles Keating and the savings and loan scandals of the late 80s?? Ed Meese and Ollie North and Iran-Contra?? Haliburton?? Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff?? Much of the Bush-Cheney administration?? Tom DeLay and the Republican Congress from 1994 on forward??
But keep on shoveling the bullshit, Adam...sooner or later, you'll find a trinket of gold, or at least, make the grass grow higher.
As tempted as I am to join the debate there, I'd rather not give him any more rope to hang himself, since Ren's doing quite a job on him already.
[updated at 9:42 PM CDT]