Monday, February 25, 2008

Invitation to a Rumble (The Remixed Version)

[Reposting Ernest's last entry for those too lazy to hit the comment key]

Readers here already know that Nina Hartley was originally scheduled to appear on Nighline as a participant in a staged debate at OSU between herself and Ron Jeremy on one side and the dudes from the XXX Church on the other. If you check out the nice clip further down, you’ll see Nina in action at said debate (h/t Ren), with other participants in the BG. Who you will not see, as I explained in my previous rant on this topic, is Martin Bashir, Nightline talking-head-in-chief, who was supposed to moderate this confab but was mysteriously called away at the last minute to cover some more important story. Nighline kicked down for Nina’s ticket, then no-showed the event.

If you want to know what happened next, you can just visit the thread further down for details, but the bottom line is that Bashir and Co. showed up at Yale’s much discussed Sex Week, where the debate was re-staged with Vivid Girl Monique Alexander taking Nina’s place. I’ve already acknowledged that the Sex Week gestalt was probably viewed by ABC programmers as having more eye-ball drawing power, and I’m sure Monique, though young and inexperienced, did a creditable job. And Ronnie, though no forensic ace, has been at this for some time and picked up a few chops. He’s also developed some fun chemistry with the holy Joes from what I understand. But still a major opportunity lost to let serious people discuss a serious topic in a serious way, and a serious diss on Nina. No way they could slip Nina or anyone else from our community with significant credentials into the discussion, but somehow they found a slot for this joker:

Pauling is a former part-time “pornographer,” if you think that label really applies to a guy who shot a bunch of single-girl masturbation loops as Internet content in his living room, has since given his life to Jesus and, in between helping used car salesman push iron in cyberspace, now devotes himself to helping the god squad warn us all of the evils of porn.

Clearly a ringer, he was shipped in to shore up the anti side of the debate while the pro side was handicapped by the removal of a skilled advocate. Again, no knock intended on Monique, but she’s all of 25 and has no previous history as an activist. For that matter, other than in advancing his own career, neither does Ron.

Did Nightline stack the deck? Nah. They’d never do a thing like that. Come 11:30 p.m. this Thursday, we’ll all get to see what I’m sure will be a masterful exercise in broadcast journalism that I’m sure would make Edward R. Murrow proud for his whole profession.

So, enough already. After much discussion, Nina and I have decided to let those nice folks at ABC News know their game has been busted.

In the morning, this email will await to the ever-so-personable (and aren’t they always?) booker at nightline, Ethan Nelson, who initially contacted Nina to arrange for the Ohio State Gig:

Dear Mr. Nelson,

First of all, I’d like to thank you and your network for providing transportation to Ohio State University to participate in the November 4, 2007 debate regarding pornography held at the Mershon Auditorium. Though I was disappointed to hear that Nighline host Martin Bashir, originally scheduled to moderate the panel, would be unable to attend due to “a breaking news story,” and thus the OSU discussion wouldn’t air on ABC as planned, I was assured at the time that the opportunity to participate in a similar forum would be rescheduled for broadcast at a later date.

Though I haven’t heard from you since, I’m sure you won’t be too surprised to find out that I’m aware of your program’s subsequent decision to cover a reprise of that debate held February 15, 2008 in New Haven, Connecticut as part of Yale University’s annual Sex Week events. Apparently, there was no breaking news at that time, as Mr. Bashir did, in fact, act as moderator for the discussion in question, which featured Ron Jeremy, who would have been my partner speaking in defense of pornography, Vivid Video contract performer Monique Alexander, presumably acting as my replacement, and two representatives of the XXX Church denouncing pornography’s evils. I understand that parts of that debate, set against the general backdrop of Sex Week activities, will be broadcast on Nightline this coming Thursday, February 28.

Obviously, I’ll watch the final results of Nightline’s reportage with interest, though to be fully frank, I don’t expect to be surprised by what I see. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I expect to see a brief “actualities reel” long on tease and titillation, a few highlights from the debate (most likely featuring emotional and highly porn-negative audience responses), and some commentary on the broader issue of pornography’s societal impact, either by Mr. Bashir alone or with the aid of a carefully-screened “expert” or two, and a wrap-up leaving the viewer to ponder whether pornography more correctly constitutes a threat or a menace. Certainly, no one will take away the impression that ABC News in any way condones or advocates the production or consumption of pornography in any form. That such dog-and-pony shows are reliable ratings boosters in no way implicates ABC News or its parent company, the Walt Disney Corporation, in pandering to the public’s prurient interest in such matters, or seeks to profit there from, I’m quite certain.

As someone who makes no secret of earning her living as a performer, director and producer in the field of X-rated entertainment, I wouldn’t begrudge any mainstream media outlet its share of the attention and revenues generated by society’s seemingly inexhaustible fascination with my line of work. Pornography opponents of the right and left have repeatedly pointed out that many major corporate media interests derive income from indirect association with pornography, including satellite and cable providers as well as broadcast journalism organizations such as your own. Why should your stockholders miss out on their cut?
And as an entertainer, I can easily understand how Yale Sex Week, with all its attendant controversy and copious visual content, would possess an almost irresistible allure for any network programmer when compared to an isolated evening of rhetorical sparring a Midwestern campus venue. Thus I can find no real fault with the decision to refocus your coverage to a more telegenic locale.

Nor do I take any particular offense, personal or professional, at your choice to replace me on the debate squad with a younger performer directly associated with the production company that wisely seized on the publicity surrounding Sex Week to promote its personnel and products. I’m sure the Vivid staff eagerly provided ABC News full access to all the resources at their command, doubtless a great benefit to your organization as Ms. Alexander’s appearance, however brief and carefully edited, before your millions of viewers greatly benefited Vivid’s promotional objectives. After a quarter century of making videos, writing books, contributing to periodicals, conducting workshops, addressing groups of all kinds and acting as an advocate in for sex workers and an activist in the cause of sexual liberation, I enjoy a substantial following of my own and am in no way dependent on the attention of large-scale, mainstream media operations such as yours. My series of educational videos has sold nearly three-quarters of a million units. And while my Web site, on which this letter will be reproduced, averages only about five percent as much traffic as yours, as I am, after all, just another interchangeable porn chick while you’re a major TV news operation. On the other hand, Googling my name turns up about 4,610, 000 responses while Nightline draws a mere 2,670,000. Somehow, I’m sure I’ll muddle through without any additional publicity from you. My overhead is quite a bit lower than yours.

The only real losers I see in this exercise in infotainment are the viewers themselves, some of whom might conceivably have sought to educate themselves about the hotly-contested issues concerning pornography by hearing a thoughtful airing of those issues by those best informed from study and experience to explain them. Instead, they’ll be getting the predictable TV news helicopter over-flight of the topic, with emphasis placed on its most sensational aspects and as little time as possible allotted to any probative discussion of it, pro or con.

I intend no disrespect to Ron Jeremy, who is a longtime personal friend of mine, to Ms. Alexander, whom I do not know but am sure is an intelligent, capable and appealing spokesperson, nor for that matter to the representatives of the XXX Church, with whom I disagree emphatically on many matters but who have demonstrated an impressive ability to make their case whenever and wherever the chance arises.

However, none of these individuals has a lengthy history of pornography-related activism of any sort, or the depth of knowledge and understanding that would go with it. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that many others could have shed much more light on the central issues in dispute than those whose primary experience of them has been has been limited mainly to those directly impacting their individual careers.

I won’t pretend to speak for those who oppose the existence of pornography and the industry that produces it, but from our side of the fence, you could have chosen from a long, impressive, highly qualified roster of debate participants who would have brought genuine substance to the conversation. I was certainly not the only choice that would have fit that description. Let me just list off a few names that could have stood in for me with, perhaps, just a bit more background to support their arguments than your designated hitters:

Jenna Jameson – Best-selling author of How to Make Love Like a Pornstar, A Cautionary Tale, and perhaps the most successful, iconic performer in the history of this industry, head of her own corporation with annual receipts above thirty million dollars, subject of countless profiles and interviews in print and on the airwaves, frequent guest of Howard Stern and previously host of her own show on E! network, undoubtedly the most significant crossover personality from pornography to mainstream media;

Nadine Strossen – President of the American Civil Liberties Union and author of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights (Scribner, 1995);

Diane Duke – executive director of The Free Speech Coalition, our industry’s principle advocacy organization, who deals with the legal challenges confronting X-rated producers on a daily basis, as well as organizing our legislative lobbying efforts:

Candida Royale – Performer, director and producer of X-rated video and film for nearly three decades, owner of her own highly-successful, woman-oriented production company, Femme Productions and author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do, which chronicles her critical role in breaking through adult-entertainment production’s glass ceiling;

Tristan Taormino – Village Voice columnist, author of several best-selling sex advice books, guest lecturer at Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Vassar, Swarthmore, and New York University and producer of an the award-winning adult video line, Chemistry for, of all people, Vivid Video;

Dr. Sharon Mitchell – One of the best-known performers in the history of adult film and video and founding director of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), which provides STD testing, medical care and counseling to adult-video performers.

Susie Bright – one of the first writers/activists referred to as a sex-positive feminist, co-founding publisher of the revolutionary lesbian erotica magazine On Our Backs, author of fifteen books related to pornography and radical sexuality, currently teaching at the University of California at Santa Cruz;

Linda Williams – author of Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the Frenzy of the Visible and professor of Film Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, perhaps the most authoritative academic source on the origins, content and implications of sexually explicit visual depictions:

Dr. Carol Queen – co-founder of The Center for Sex and Culture, essayist, activist and educator whose pioneering book, Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, is considered one of the founding texts of third-wave feminism, a movement that strives to reconcile feminist thought and teaching with the sub-culture of adult entertainment:

Violet Blue – sex and culture columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, author of over two dozen books related to pornography, erotica and sexual health, free-lance contributor to magazines including Forbes and O, whose podcast, Open Source Sex, has made her one of the leading sex educators for the Internet generation.

These are just a few who spring to mind. I could easily name a dozen others, and so could you if you had done your homework instead of going for the easy and obvious choices.

Pornography is a serious subject deserving of serious consideration. That is an opinion I share with many, many people who either agree or disagree with my own views on the subject. I find it exasperating beyond description to see it played for cheap shock value in mainstream again and again, with whatever time may be given to its significant cultural impact repeatedly handed over to those who despise it while its defense is invariably left to those most easily dismissed for the nature of their participation in creating it.

I would dearly love to be proven wrong, but I’m quite certain viewers of this Thursday’s Nighline will come away from the experience neither informed nor enlightened concerning pornography, but rather with all their existing prejudices even more firmly entrenched. The real story here is one of opportunities missed, stereotypes perpetuated and sensationalism triumphant over responsible journalism.

Imagine, some people have the nerve to consider the way I make my living shameful.

Nina Hartley

And we’re not stopping here. We’re cross-posting this letter at and forwarding it on to every other site where we think it might be welcomed, as well as to all those mentioned in the letter itself to use as they see fit.

It’s too late, I’m sure, to change the outcome as far as the Nightline fiasco is concerned, and doing so is not our intent. We just want to let them know that we’re tired of this kind of being simultaneously exploited, denounced and, to borrow a word from our foes, silenced, in this manner.

It’s easy enough to shrug of this kind of episode with yet another “what do you expect from mainstream media?” dismissal, but it is the portrayal of our industry in mainstream media that influences public opinion and shapes public policy. We can’t afford to ignore their relentless distortions of who we are, what we do and how we live, any more than persons of color, gay people, Jews, Muslims or any other group suffering the effects of routine defamation can. Allowing ourselves to be routinely depicted in a false and injurious light without responding paints an enormous bulls-eye on all our backs. Anyone who wants to feels free to kick pornographers around the airwaves and news pages with impunity, indeed, with the approval of a noisy mob of hate-mongers who always can always get their soapboxes to deplore us, as Gail Dines does on Fox News, while we are reduced to being paraded across the screen at the direction of media ringmasters like trained seals.

Enough! Time to let the media-meisters know we’re done playing nice. As we’ve said before, we do not blame Ron Jeremy, the people at Vivid or anybody else in our business from trying to work the mass media while the mass media works them, we continue to believe that freedom of expression extends to commercial as well as political speech. However, that does not mean that we must continue to accept a status quo in which our side is used only for its entertainment value while our opponents are afforded the somber respect due important intellectuals and major political figures. This is wrong and we’re over it.

Therefore, we suggest that everyone here get everyone they know who cares not just for the First Amendment rights of pornographers, but for their own right to hear both sides of the story and think for themselves, to speak up with an email or a phone call to Nightline (easily accessible via the ABC News Web site) letting them know just how reprehensible they think this kind of biased, irresponsible coverage really is and how much harm it does to the state of public discourse. We’re mad as hell and we don’t have to take it.

Let them know we’re paying attention to them loud enough and long enough and they’ll have to start paying attention to us. Now, before you take your best shot, take a deep breath and think through what you’re going to say. Keep it short, polite, grammatical, clean and to the point. The last thing we want to do is give them more excuses to dismiss us as a rabble of foul-mouthed illiterates. If we want to be taken seriously, we must comport ourselves accordingly.

From here on, it’s up to you.

[Time to either sing it, bring it, or get off the stage, folks. -- Anthony]


  1. For those of you ready to rumble from the San Francisco Bay Area, a hearing is set today noon, at the San Francisco City Hall Government Accountablity Office. The hearing will be on the 11.4 million dollars the City spends enforcing the prostitution laws, including arresting the men(First Offender Prostitution Program, FOPP) Typical that all sex worker organizers just found out about this hearing last minute. Hope some of our workers and supporters can drop everything to attend. I will post the hearing highlights later.

    Lisa Roellig

  2. The letter, by the way is most excellent. I thought it might be more powerful to have other sex worker organizations and activists sign on to and endorse such a letter both for this particular struggle and most importantly the struggle for our presence in the MSM coverage/presentation of the sex industry in the future.
    I think this tactic is correct not just to "control" the content but also to present a united front.

  3. This just in:

    The announced title for Nighline's scheduled hatchet-job – "Is America Addicted to Porn?"

    As if we didn't already know what to expect, this really gives away the whole game.

    Wonder if Judith Reisman is scheduled to appear.

    Watching this will be like getting a double root-canal for us, I have no doubt.

    If you want a little preview of where this is all headed, check this out, particularly the closing comments from "Sara" the college student who claims porn made her "give up on men."

  4. Sex workers and former sex workers should be teaching classes on human sexuality at every college campus. Sara needs a proper sex education course taught by men and women who know and understand human sexuality not by men and women who wish to control human sexuality.
    This has been a very depressing/distressing subject. There is so much work to do.
    You know, I could control my partner Vic's sexuality if I wanted to because he loves me but I love my partner Vic and why would I want to do that to him.
    Let's all get free.

  5. A better title would be "IS dateline addicted to halfassed reports with sex and dwama for ratings?"

  6. Of course, this is the same ABC who will, right after they slander another porn performer as the incarnation of abuse and abandonment and the victim of evil men in need of government to rescue her from her condition, in the very next segment break out the likes of John Stossel to tell us how regulation of things that merely harm us physically is tantamont to "socialism" and the "nanny state".

    Anything for Sweeps Week ratings, I guess.

    And that Sara is a real if she couldn't find so many other guys who weren't "addicted" to porn, or didn't do porn to begin with?? I mean, if porn drove her away from guys ("Oh, noooooos, she'll never get pregnant!!!" the moralists will yell),does that mean that she's gone completely celibate, or is she going exclusively toward girls??? Or what??

    Porn is addictive?? Yeah, addictive that tens of millions of men and women consume it with no problems with relationships whatsoever. But let's just talk about the "addicts", shall we??

    How many fake and cooked-up, "sexed up" reports will the Nightline staff pull out of their collective asses for this show?? I guess we'll all find out for ourselves this coming Thursday, will we??

    I'll say it again: Liberal media. My. ASS.


  7. Oh...and it's Nightline for ABC; Dateline for NBC.

    Strange that CBS' 60 Minutes/48 Hours hasn't joined the porn-baiting army as of late...but then again, they're being censored in Alabama for airing out Karl Rove's dirty laundry (his crusade against a former 'Bama governor). I'm expecting to join in any day now.


  8. Report from the underground....the hearing went well today in front of the San Francsico Supervisors budget and finance commitee and government accountabilty in regards to the 11.4 million the city and county spends enforcing the prostitution laws. We were also there to address the SAGE Project, Inc. the non profit that collaborates with local and federal law enforcement to run it's shame based sex negative program of "rehabilitation" for both workers and clients. The San Francisco D.A.'s office showed up to testify about how prostitutes, clients and society benifit from arresting all of us and not only did the D.A. have studies as to the effectiveness of criminalizing us but also had a 130 page report from the Department of Justice documenting the SAGE Project, Inc. being such an effective tool of rehabilitation that it has been now duplicated in 29 other cities.
    Five whores went to the podium and took on the D.A. and the DOJ and a San Francisco City Councilman , who could not hide his disdain and disgust through our entire testimony that actual sex workers would challenge their little city fundraiser (fraud), the First Offender Prostitution Program (FOPP) and the money the City recieves from the DOJ to combat sex slavery in San Francisco. Inspite of the one asshole Supervisor, the D.A. and report from the DOJ, the remaining councilmen and woman voted for a full hearing in front of the entire Board of Sups on the issue of not only how much is being spent on enforcement but where it is going and should should any city resourses be spent in arresting adult consensual sex. One SF Supervisor went as far as calling for our complete decriminalization and further that sex work was important work that society benifits from. Ring the bell! Being realistic, the Board of Sups will most likely vote for business as usual, inspite of it's handful of sex positive/pro-sex board members. Still, we sex workers had a victory today in the City and County of San Francisco.

    Prostitutes are on the frontline in the struggle for sex industry and sex industry worker rights. Again, I bring up solidarity in organization and unity in action in regards to combatting our common enemies.

  9. Lisa,

    Congratulations to you and your courageous colleagues for standing up to the powers that be and exposing them, like the Wizard of Oz, as a bunch of humbugs. All their cooked statistics and biased "research" cannot obscure the fact that programs like SAGE are as mendacious as No Child Left Behind. They're no more about helping "prostituted women" than NCLB is about helping struggling students. Both are about extending government power to further regulate individuals and institutions that show any sign of independence from centralized authority.

    As we all have common enemies, we must make common friends. This has always been the challenge of the left. It's internal divisions have prevented it from becoming politically influential. Certainly, it has been victimized by the worst and most brutal attacks of the ruling class and its minions, but its current sorry state is as much its own fault as that of its foes. It has failed to reach out to those the system abuses, regardless of the lines of political correctness and identity politics that must be crossed to do so.

    I only wish that my part of the sex industry had more of the grit you showed at that meeting. Performers are insulated by those they work for from the harder aspects of sex work in other branches, now more than when Nina and I got in the business. Back then, sets were routinely busted, performers arrested and charged right along with everybody else, and there was no thought given to the possibility of "mainstream recognition."

    As some here know, Nina herself was busted in Vegas many years ago for a stage performance deemed illegal and it's taken her until very recently to put that entirely in the rear-view mirror. She's been downtown and understands that making porn is sex work as well as acting and that every sex worker is her sister.

    For most sex performers today, such things are dim fables from a distant past. What they do is legal and when producers get in trouble, the lawyers sort it out, leaving the sex workers themselves out of the loop as much as possible.

    There is much consciousness-raising to be done on our side of the fence in that regard.

    But in the meantime, today is a good day for all of us and I share in your savoring of this hard-won achievement. Small battles like this one determine the outcome of much greater conflicts in the long run, and that's what we're in this for ... the long run.

  10. Nina did twelve days for having sex with a group of women on stage back in the early 90s in Las Vegas. Is that accurate or close enough? Hookers love,admire and look up and to Nina for all the work she has done on the behalf of all sex industry workers. Nina Hartley more than any other sex worker, taught us all "whore pride." I have to tell you, she had a deep profound effect on how I viewed myself as a worker and as a women and still does.

    Can I get an amen.

  11. Important enough to acknowledge, that I was able to take to the podium and testify yesterday because of all the work Nina did, long before I got to the city council chamber.

  12. Lisa.....way to go!!!

    Actually, Nina wasn't jailed in Vegas back then for actually having sex on stage; she was jailed for solicitation, as was the rest of the "Erotic Eleven". She only described the acts that the other women did perform on stage...which is why they were charged under the then felony charge of "public lesbianism" (or I so I thought it was called). The event took place during a fundraiser for the group Fans of X-Rated Entertainment at a adult night club...hence, the solicitation charge.


  13. In fact, Nina did more like twelve hours than twelve days. She was bonded out and allowed to leave Los Vegas, which she did happily.

    But it did not end there by any means. It took many months and thousands of dollars in legal fees for her attorney to plea bargain the initial charges, which were serious, prostitution-related felonies, down to a misdemeanor "disturbing the peace" kind of thing.

    Though no actual jail time was involved, the financial and legal repercussions went on and on, and lest anyone think that such things ever go away, by consenting to a guilty plea, Nina got into the vast criminal justice system computer net as a convicted offender on a sexual misconduct beef. That sticks like glue and would undoubtedly come up from the records if she ever had an unfriendly encounter with any law enforcement agency in the country.

    It all could have come out much worse, but it was still pretty much of a disaster. I know because I was there when it happened and I can tell you it turned the lives of those women inside out.

  14. And, I'm sure, Ernest, that you also know about how Nina was effectively banned from Canada for five years after the incident because her "conviction" showed up on their Customs Department's "undesirable list".

    This is what happens when you are effectively persecuted for being "sex positive".


  15. That's a really well-written letter. I'm looking forward to hearing what they come up with in response, if anything.

  16. Hello, all!

    Lisa-thank you so very much for your complimentary words on my history of speaking out for sex workers. My sisters in that fight, Carol Queen, Scarlet Harlot, Annie Sprinkle and Susie Bright, et al, still work today for the rights of sexual freedom and privacy for all, especially including sex workers.

    As a matter of fact, I'm still not permitted into Canada. I have yet to file a bunch of forms, send in a set of fingerprints and FBI file, pay a bunch of money to the Canadian government before I can get a clearance from immigration stating that I'm no longer a threat to the good citizens north of our border.

    As for the incident in Vegas, it did, indeed, turn the lives of the women inside out. It broke up one marriage, sounded the death knell of mine and cost each woman about ten grand in lawyer's fees. The powers that were in the business were very judgemental, "tisk-tisking" us for being so low class as to get arrested for doing on stage what those same companies would be paying us to do on a set that next week. It took a lot of doing to raise the twenty-two grand, cash, needed to bail us out (at 2,200 bucks per head). The last of us walked out at about noon the next day.

    They had wanted the outcome to be that each of us would have to register as a sex offender, as if we were child molesters, but we had a good lawyer. It took a year, but we ended up plea bargining down to a misdemeanor of "having appeared in an obscene, indecent or illegal performance." After having been arrested on felony charges of "solicitation of prostitution, conspiracy to commit prostitution and violating Nevada's 'Infamous Crimes Against Nature (ICAN )statute," it was as good an outcome as we were going to get. The last bit is the part of the charges that we jokingly referred to as "felony lesbianism." The outcome wasn't as bad for us as they wanted it to be.

    Our treatment by the police at the station was, I suspect, what any sex worker would receive. As it happened, I got to ride downtown solo with my arresting officer, who was obviously embarrassed that city resources were being used to harrass us (a year later, I ran into that same cop at a swinger's convention in Vegas, thereby understanding his reluctance to arrest us). Since we were arrested on prostitution charges, the female cops TRIPLE gloved before searching us. Yeah, like they were so clean. Their contempt and disrespect for us as women, or even humans, was obvious.

    As well, since we were in on prostitution charges, we had to give a blood sample so we could be tested for HIV(!) Sharon Mitchell, who was finally sober after many years of doing hard drugs, told her intake person that the veins in her left arm were blown out, and to please take blood from her right arm. You guessed it. Blood was taken from her left arm and she was left with a big, ugly, painful, swollen elbow for a couple of days thereafter.

    Then we were put into the holding pen, our personal, identifying information on cards outside of the room available for all to see, including the press. The blinds were on the outside of the glass, so any one could peek through as if we were animals at the zoo. Of course, people were looking through them all night long at "the porn girls." There was one woman "asleep" on a bench the whole time, and we did wonder if she was actually a plant, put there to see if we "admitted" to any wrong doing as we waited to get bailed out.

    On a positive note, this case did end up with Nevada recinding the ICAN statute, as the gay rights lobby took up the cause. I'm thankful for small favors.

  17. Nina:

    Welcome in (finally!!!), and much thanks for the clarification on all the "Erotic Eleven" details and its aftermath.

    It still floors me that, even today, you still have to file papers to enter Canada?!?! I thought that the statute of limitations ended after, like, five years??? And this is before there was even a "sex offender" list??? Horrible....absolutely horrible.

    Especially since the likes of Larry Craig and other convicted sex offenders can roll around free without any restrictions.

    And this is the perfect case to highlight why porn performers, sexual dissident groups such as GLBT's, and sex workers need to join forces in a radical sex-positive movement against the common enemy of state-inforced sexual repression.

    It is no surprise or accident that the "Erotic Eleven" were not only treated as HIV-AIDS threats (I'll bet that cavity searches, "triple gloved" strip searches and compulsory blood tests probably were NOT imposed on folks incarcerated on other charges, not even first-degree murder), but also treated as one notch above zoo animals to be mocked and derided for the "sluts" and "perverts" they supposedly were. And I'll bet that even those like Melissa Fairley who rant on and on about how "prostitiuted women" shouldn't bear the brunt of responsibility for their "enslavement" and alleged brutal treatment, would simply look the other way and tsk-tsk with wagging fingers about "just desserts" when the State does something like this to consenting adults in private.

    The next time that some antiporn "feminist" talks about the "elitism" of those who defend their right to produce porn or consent to sex for pay, let them see this example and know that even the most "elitist", "wealthy", "college educated" woman can be defiled, violated, and persecuted by the State. Only a united front which defends not only the right of choice but explicitly defends the right to safe and consensual SEXUAL exploration explicitly and unconditionally will be able to provide the foundation of resistance to the forces of sexual reaction...whether fundamentalist or "feminist".

    I am so proud to be a member of that united front; and this thread is a sign of the beginning of a beginning of the long road back.

    Plus...viewing the beauty and strength of my allies doesn't hurt my eyes much, either. :-)


  18. Important enough to acknowledge, that I was able to take to the podium and testify yesterday because of all the work Nina,Carol Queen, Scarlet Harlot, Annie Sprinkle and Susie Bright did, long before I got to the city council chamber.

    Did not mean to leave any of the good sisters out. Especially, Carol Leigh (aka Scarlet Harlot) who I love and adore.

    I am supposed to be studying for class tonight but you all are so much more fun to be around.

    Thank you all for the important history lesson and yeah, stop the war on the whores.

  19. The tescher for my Tuesday night "Organizing In The Workplace" class is a woman who was eighteen years old when she joined the struggle of the United Farm Workers. The group of workers against all odds, organized themselves. This history so complex and rich and full of struggle I can not even begin...only to say I see the correlation with the sex industry workers struggle.
    Through out organized labor's history, unorganized groups of workers such as women workers, black workers, undocumented workers and sex industry workers have come to organized labor, hat in hand. Porn actors/actresses being locked out of SAG..I am telling you, we are only part of history, only part of the struggle. I want to talk about union organizing of the sex industry.
    I sit in my Labor Studies classes of all orgainzed workers. One assigment...bring in your contract.. You know what i brought in... my last contract as a sex industry worker..the California Penal Codes crimalizing my labor.
    I don't care criminalized/legal...we are all occupied and we have no rights as workers. None. And Ren, Anthony, Ernest and Nina you have proved your commitment to the industry and all workers in the industry. I am standing with you, my fist in the air telling you the time is now to oranginize and I believe at this time in history, organized labor is waiting for us to get out shit together.

  20. Lisa,

    I'm going to start a new thread for you so you can discuss labor organizing issues in the sex industry. It's an important topic that deserves its own heading.

    Fair warning, though, you and I aren't in complete agreement here. I think what you want is right on, but I see some obstacles.

  21. So now we find that the Nighline "debate" has been rescheduled for tonight. And we were so looking forward to it being over.

    They showed a snippet in the "debate" during last night's teaser. Lincoln-Douglas it ain't.

    I'm sure I'll have more to say tomorrow.

    And people here still have a chance to let ABC know what they think of the whole circus. Their input won't change the outcome, but it will signal some resistance to this kind of programming, and that is entirely to the good.

  22. You know, I'm feeling a bit guilty because I raised a big fuss over this latest example of MSM pandering and then failed to follow up on it. I can make some excuses about being overworked in preparation for a major video shoot at the end of the month, but I've found time for other posts, so that doesn't really wash.

    So, belatedly, an update on this deal. Nina and i did watch the Nightline coverage of "the great debate" over whether or not America is addicted to porn.

    And it wasn't as bad as I expected. In fact, I'm sure the antis came away a good deal more pissed off, and undoubtedly muttering darkly about the big bucks corporate media make off of cable porn and how this is just another example of The Patriarchy glamorizing porn as part of the vast conspiracy to keep women down, etc.

    In truth, it wasn't a bash-job on porn or a special pleading for it either. It just wasn't terribly informative.

    We did get the predicted tease reel, shot mostly at AEE two years back, complete with the predicted scanning of digitally censored box covers, etc. But we were spared the usual parade of "experts" on the "harms" of porn, with most of the running time actually devoted to what was, admittedly, a greatly edited version of the debate itself. Much of the online version was more heated, but what the TV audience saw was pretty tame and fairly even-handed.

    I must even admit to some grudging relief over Martin Bashir's surprisingly impartial moderation of the panel. He tossed in a couple of reasonably tough questions to both sides, but it was pretty obvious he didn't care to align himself with either.

    Another pleasant surprise was Ron Jeremy, who has been at this long enough to pick up some good debate moves. He comes out swinging and does not back off. He has a pile of research materials in front of him and he can pull out quotes and stats as needed to puncture the holy Joes' hot-air balloons.

    Of course, it helps when you have such lame opposition on the other side. Really, unlike ferocious rhetorical brawlers from the APF left, these bible-beaters just can't seem to land a punch. After declaring that there is a proven link between porn and sex crimes, Craig Gross was hotly challenged by Jeremy to come up with a single non-partisan study or survey that demonstrated this, while being prepared to put on the table study after study suggesting no such link. And as to the claim that porn harms relationships, again, Jeremy demanded academic validation and there wasn't any.

    When the topic turned to harm done by porn to the women in it, Gross first claimed that there were hundreds of women desperate to get out and that they were contacting the XXX Church daily for help in doing so, then sheepishly admitted that since his ministry was set up, a total of six performers had actually sought his assistance. Jeremy blew that one right out of the air.

    In the end, the god squad was reduced to simply asserting that porn is wrong and immoral because the bible says so and it's obvious why. Doubt he made a lot of converts with that.

    Sadly, and I don't say this out of any personal motives regarding Nina getting bumped off the panel or any unfriendly leanings regarding Monique Alexander or the big shots who got her there, but she did make the one egregious blunder of the evening for our side. When Gross and his sidekick Donny Pauling began playing the violin for all the poor girls being victimized by the porn industry, she gave up one important point and took us all down a notch with her in her double-barreled, off-target response.

    Ms. Alexander conceded that there were girls being victimized in the industry (at least she chose "in" rather than "by" as a preposition), which is a critical claim made by the opposition that should not be conceded without some insistence on defining just what kind of victimization is taking place, the degree of its severity and who is perpetrating it, and then went on to say that she had "no sympathy for girls who allow themselves to be victimized."

    Nina and I both gasped in horror at that callous claim. It hands a cheap and easy sound bite to the antis who claim that only self-seeking "libertarians" willing to throw other women under the bus will speak up in porn's defense from inside the industry. I can't imagine the speaker knew just how harsh that remark sounded, or how bad it made her, and by extension, other performers who do well at their trade, look, but it must certainly have caused some cringing in the Vivid PR contingent.

    Behind that throwaway line is the more nuanced truth that some women in the porn industry are victimized, not by anything that happens at work or by anyone associated with porn production directly, but rather in personal relationships with the bottom-feeders who hang around the business in search of vulnerable players willing to be used as meal-tickets. And the notion that we should not view those thus exploited as victims worthy of our sympathy, support and assistance runs counter to everything that Nina, Sharon Mitchell, myself and all the others who have labored over the years to lend assistance to those who manage to lose their way in the confusing and complex whirl of adult entertainment find some self-respect and take control over their lives and careers. Monique may not give a shit about them, but many of the rest of us do, and there she was, speaking for our whole crowd.

    But in truth, that was the low-water-mark of the debate, of which the best moment went to Bashir, who saved his knock-out punch for the bible belters to the very end, when he essentially lined up with Jeremy to demand evidence to back up all the overblown claims of danger to society and individuals arising out of porn that have been made against us for three decades. He more or less dismissed such claims by pointing out that legal porn had now been around for a long time now and the oft-predicted collapse of society had thus far failed to materialize.

    A disaster it was not, nor a triumph either. What still bugs me is that speakers of experience and insight who have worked in and around the porn industry for years still have no voice in national media. We are still represented to the public by a stand-up comic and the bunny-of-the-week.

    Frankly, I thought this approach did a disservice to both sides in this instance. I would have preferred to see Nina and Sharon take on Gail Dines and Bob Jensen for the heavyweight title and let these lesser contenders duke it out in smaller venues.

    If any minds were changed from viewing this staged spectacle, it was certainly not as a result of the fresh, insightful, informative perspectives presented. There weren't any.

  23. The San Francisco D.A.'s office showed up to testify about how prostitutes, clients and society benifit from arresting all of us and not only did the D.A. have studies as to the effectiveness of criminalizing us but also had a 130 page report from the Department of Justice documenting the SAGE Project, Inc. being such an effective tool of rehabilitation that it has been now duplicated in 29 other cities.
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  24. Nina, I was wondering how you were able to visit Vancouver to sell your video, if you are still banned in Canada? I have a photo of you sitting on my lap in a video store. You were very kind to me, and we had a delightful chat about Stanley Park.

    My friend Jennifer at Libido Events still wants to book you for a lecture. Please fill out the paperwork, all is forgiven.

    President George W. Bush had to do it for his DWI conviction, surely you can too. :-)