Saturday, February 9, 2008

Robert Jensen sucks. There is no question.

Bob goes to Vegas and harasses porn chicks, but wants you to remember...

"The many different women who engage in sex in front of a camera make that choice to be used in pornography under a wide range of psychological, social and economic conditions. The choices women make to reduce themselves to sexual objects for men’s masturbation are complex, and we should be cautious about generalizations and judgments."

Emphasis MINE.

Well gee Bob, what's that if not some big old generalization and judgment right there????

You fucking fuck. Nary you mind, you can now get college credit off the backs of those women via attending Wheelock Anti Porn Conferences, you can be asked to leave them alone at an Adult Industry event and try to engage them anyway. you can fund you cause by selling, oh , I mean asking for donations, for your slide show which features their images (used without their consent), no , nevermind any of this...You should not generalize or judge them for allowing themsevles to be used, objectified, and reduced.

Unless you use them like Bob does, of course.

Hey Bob, how much have you and the crew spent on porn, you fucking asshole????

(h/t to Anthony)


  1. Good points as usual, Ren.

    There are all kinds of pimps out there, including those who make their livings denouncing porn and everyone connected with it. Universities, publishers, TV networks, private foundations and even the federal government line up to give money to almost any crank willing to take it in return for porn-bashing. Since porn isn't going away any time soon, beating up on it is virtually a guaranteed-for-life sinecure, as Charles Keating discovered before deciding that bank fraud was more lucrative.

    Now, after a stretch in prison, Keating's back to crusading against smut. It may not be the most profitable scam, but it's safe and durable. To be fair, Jensen may be a bit more sincere, but his good intentions don't change the hard, cold fact that he turns a buck off our industry's labor and gives back nothing but blame and shame.

    If he really cared about the poor, unfortunate prostituted women out there, he'd leave them the fuck alone to make their livings instead of dragging them into his tawdry crusade without their consent.

    At least Nina knew who she was dealing with when Jensen and Gail Dines showed up at the Adam&Eve booth. I doubt that any of the Abby Winters performers had ever heard of either one of them and had no reason to suspect that their own words would be used against them and other sex workers.

    I imagine they wouldn't have been nearly so friendly during Jensen's and Dines' first visit if they had known the true agenda beforehand. Evidently, they figured it out in time to prevent a second round. Fancy that, sex workers with the brains and grit to tell them to naf off. Unlike the pitiful, subordinated creatures Jensen paints them to be, they dispatched him quickly enough.

    Personally, I'm waiting for some good citizen to demand legal action regarding the flagrant disregard for 2257 regulations Jensen, Dines, Farley et al demonstrate repeatedly at their presentations and on their Web sites. Do they have I.D. and releases for the women they parade as victims? I seriously doubt it.

    It takes a lot of gall to denounce the exploitation of a group of women while exploiting them yourself at the time.

  2. I've mentioned the 2257 thing with them a few times...but when people like Farley are funded partially by republicans, i don't expect much.

    I detest Jensen for reasons uncounted...his treatment of sex workers, his claim to be a feminist when he utterly ignores women and feminists who do not fall in line with his agenda, the fact that he insists porn makes it's viewers callous yet he watches tons of the absolute "worst" he can find and well, he hasn't raped anyone yet, he tries to come across as a champion for the female performers who he and his ilk utterly disregard...

    I can see why Nina avoids him and his cronies like the black death, but I would LOOVE to see a meeting between he and someone who is ready to call him out, have it videoed, the posted- unedited- for the masses.

  3. I cross-posted this at Ren's blog and will do so at as well.

    I have to say Jensen does not come across as a meany. Far from it. Nina and I both agreed that he seemed like a nice guy in a very uncomfortable situation.

    However, it's not like he was drafted. As he does time and time again, he put himself in the way of all that evil porn that upsets him so. Maybe he thinks he's being courageous by taking these journeys to see what he describes as looking "like the end of the world." I don't doubt that the thinks he's "helping" the poor, oppressed women trapped in this hideous milieu.

    None of this excuses his behavior. He engages directly in what would be identified anywhere else as workplace harassment by interrogating convention participants with highly personal and inappropriate questions after securing only minimal consent without revealing his own history or true purposes.

    And his enabling of Gail Dines' undisguised baiting of unsuspecting subjects is truly reprehensible. He goes on and on in his writing about the emotional trauma porn inflicts on sex workers. What about the trauma of being publicly shamed and humiliated by the hostile, confrontational tactics in which this duo engage in situations where performers are attempting to present themselves in the best possible light to those who appreciate what they do and have come to meet them personally?

    I can tell you that even Nina, who isn't easily pulled off her markers, was left quite distressed and upset by her so-called interview and still had to carry on, as entertainers must, and finish out her day on the floor, trying her best to put the ugliness out of her mind while she gave her warmth and attention to fans who had often journeyed far to meet a woman they loved and admired.

    As usual, nothing Dines and Jensen did at AEE caused anything but distress and difficulty for the real, live sex workers they met and for whom they claim to have such concern.

    This, of course, fits the pattern of APF behavior toward active sex workers. I'm reminded of the old Peanuts strip in which Lucy proclaims: "I love humanity. It's people I can't stand."

  4. God, Jensen just keeps sinking to new depths.

  5. Yes, I do think this hit-and-run raid on a group of working women trying to project their most favorable public images in their workplaces was a new low. It's hard enough keeping a good face on even for the friendly public for hours at a time without having to stave off verbal assaults from hostile interlopers.

    But again, while Jensen may be the more obvious target for his blatant self-promotion of late, it was Dines who was the most consistently rude and abrasive in our presence. Jensen looked like he'd rather be almost anywhere else on the planet, but Dines seemed to be loving every minute of getting in Nina's face. I was particularly irked by her constant use of Nina's first name at the beginning of each sentence - a kind of unfriendly familiarity any African-American who grew up in the south would recognize for what it was instantly.

    While I doubt Jensen could ever be swayed from his erroneous beliefs about sex work or those who do it, he doesn't seem nearly as mean-spirited in person as Dines, for whom this whole thing is clearly personal.

    I recognize that this is a subjective assessment, but it wasn't hard to make. The first question out of Dines' mouth was about the shorter autograph line Nina seemed to be drawing at that moment than Belladonna, who was signing at a booth nearby. Wasn't this proof that "the more extreme and degrading sexual acts" in which Bella engages in her movies had made her more popular than Nina, thereby proving some nonsense about the inevitable descent of all porn into violent misogyny blahblahblah?

    It was a perfectly transparent attempt to belittle Nina from the start by comparing her popularity adversely to that of a younger performer, and as such, it fell completely flat. Nina and Bella are friends who generally make different kinds of pictures, but have worked together on more than one occasion and in no way regard themselves as running in competition like the livestock Dines clearly believes the industry to consider them.

    And as to the point this nasty gibe was supposed to make, it would have looked as asinine as it was had Jenna Jameson suddenly popped up on the floor. Jenna would instantly have drawn a larger crowd than Nina and Bella combined, despite the fact that Jenna's whole porn career was built on about fifty scenes, all in couples-oriented features and none of them even anal, much less "extreme," whatever that means in this context.

    All three have large audiences of somewhat different but occasionally overlapping compositions. Nina has been in porn the longest and has the largest fan base. At times her lines are the longest on the AEE floor. Bella is a terrifically energetic and inventive performer who has a string of recent hits that generate a lot of attention for her. Jenna enjoys the highest visibility as a mainstream celebrity and therefore commands the most notice wherever she appears.

    The very fact that all three performers, despite their differing sources of appeal, remain enormously popular belies Dines' and Jensen's internally inconsistent contentions that all porn is either a) fundamentally alike in its core content despite whatever superficial differences it may exhibit or b) growing inevitably more violent and brutal and therefore not all alike, but rather going from bad to worse.

    Not only do I find nothing worthy of respect in the character of either of these two mountebanks, I find their logical analyses, in which they appear to take such great pride, theoretically meritless and substantively false.

  6. ernest:

    It seems to be a common tactic of these sorts, from Dines to the Internet Set, to pretend to be attacking ageism in the sex industry (along with degrading language, dehumanization, so on, so forth) while employing the same tactic against those who stand against them. In their minds, anyone over 24 or so is seemingly DONE in the business...any and all aspects of it, and it seems to gall them endlessly when that is not the with so many other things. Nina, Belladonna and Jenna are all different people perhaps with different appeal, but all most certainly still have their loyal fans- and friends.

  7. Quoting Ernest:

    I recognize that this is a subjective assessment, but it wasn't hard to make. The first question out of Dines' mouth was about the shorter autograph line Nina seemed to be drawing at that moment than Belladonna, who was signing at a booth nearby. Wasn't this proof that "the more extreme and degrading sexual acts" in which Bella engages in her movies had made her more popular than Nina, thereby proving some nonsense about the inevitable descent of all porn into violent misogyny blahblahblah?

    Oh, no. Helllll, no. Please tell me that didn't come out of Gail's piehole??

    That is the most asinine, illogical, and absolutely STUPID line of illogic I've heard in a long while...even for APRF fanatics.

    That's like saying that because the New England Patriots had larger crowds to their NFL football games than the New York Giants, then the Patriots MUST be the better team...regardless of whether they actually play the Super Bowl.

    Not to mention the fact that Belladonna is but one of MANY porn starlets to have booths at AEE....a pretty big number of them also get lots of fan support and long autograph lines. Gee...would Gail have said the same crap if she had compared Bella's line to...say, Kylie Ireland's line (which, considering her success and popularity, could equal Bella's)??

    Oh...and exactly how more "degrading" and "extreme" is Bella as compared to anyone, anyway?? I mean, other than the occasional circus act sex (baseball bats up the ass or a DP or two), what exactly is more "extreme" in what Bella does?? And what about the basic fact that Bella tends to do her most "extreme" and "degrading" acts WITH OTHER WOMEN?!?!?!

    Oh....and one last thing, Gail: it's not as if Nina hasn't done stuff that you would consider "degrading" and "extreme" either, right?? I mean, she does do BDSM with Ernest; and she has done some anal and interracial know, the type of sex you yourself find to be so "racist" and "degrading". right???

    Oh, boy, Ernest...I got to hand it to you and Nina for being as patient as you were through that bullcrap. If I was subjected to even half of what you endured; they would have had to arrest me and escort me off the convention floor premises.

    Either way, she's past due to get hers...and I hope that Nina nails her sorry right-wing repressive ass to the wall when she finally has her turn at the soapbox.


  8. From the Wheelock conference videos I watched, I'd believe Dines was the more aggressive of the two. She definitely has that particularly self-righteous "UK radfem" vibe that reminds me of UK APRF bloggers like Witch-Woo, Delphyne, and Charliegrrl. There's still a weird strain of Victorianism that's a bit more alive in British culture than it is stateside, and in some British women, manifests itself in a particularly hard and hateful kind of puritanism and slut-hating. (All this is not to say that US culture is much better.)

    After reading "Getting Off", I definitely get the impression that he has a lot of resentment toward other men, and even outright hostility toward them. (He has a weird story in his book – reprinted here – about how he nearly got into a fight with a couple guys in New York City after confronting them over a "sexist" conversation among themselves he happened to overhear.) However, I think when dealing with women, he's torn between his male feminist ethic of not telling women what to do versus being fundamentally attached to a branch of feminism that's very much about telling women what to do (and with whom). His discomfort comes out in the very real contradiction between those two things.

    As I said over at Ren's blog, when dealing with people like that, its really best to have a tape recorder or video camera of your own recording the encounter, and also demand the right to ask questions of your interviewers and get answers before going into it. Its the only way such a conversation can take place on equal footing.

  9. Good points all. And the irony is that we had these things available on the spot. Though I didn't bring mine with me, there were tape recorders and video cameras all over the place, including in the very booth where this whole thing happened.

    It's clear that hostilities are escalating and that we can't afford not to be prepared for run-ins of this type, and not to take advantage of our resources at creating our own media interpretations when they occur.

    Next time will be different.

  10. I saw Gail Dines and Robert Jensen's presentation last year at the National Women's Studies Association convention. This was before I had heard of them, and their panel was misleadingly titled "Beyond the Porn Wars". During the Q and A, Dines said, "Some of these pro-pornography feminists are kind of bad people", and her example was Tristan Taormino! She said she had seen some documentary about feminsts making porn movies, and it showed where Tristan went to "Buttman" for help in making her first movie. "Buttman" said he would help her if she could talk a porn actress who wouldn't do anal sex into doing it. Gail was appaled that Tristan then talked her into it. But, at least Gail admitted that she is aware that the performers in porno movies "have a list of things they won't do". I don't remember the name of the documentary she mentioned, but I wish I did because it sounds like this was totally taken out of context.

    Another thing that Gail Dines said during her presentation was that "Jenna Jameison is the only porn star who has gone mainstream and she has gone down to 95 lbs. and some her her friends have been murdered." I have no idea where she got that last bit, but I have read where Ernest Greene said that the weight loss thing about Jenna was exaggerated by the media. And, of course, there have been other porn stars who went mainstream (Traci Lords, Andrea True, etc.)

  11. Quoting Catseye:

    I saw Gail Dines and Robert Jensen's presentation last year at the National Women's Studies Association convention. This was before I had heard of them, and their panel was misleadingly titled "Beyond the Porn Wars". During the Q and A, Dines said, "Some of these pro-pornography feminists are kind of bad people", and her example was Tristan Taormino! She said she had seen some documentary about feminsts making porn movies, and it showed where Tristan went to "Buttman" for help in making her first movie. "Buttman" said he would help her if she could talk a porn actress who wouldn't do anal sex into doing it. Gail was appaled that Tristan then talked her into it. But, at least Gail admitted that she is aware that the performers in porno movies "have a list of things they won't do". I don't remember the name of the documentary she mentioned, but I wish I did because it sounds like this was totally taken out of context.

    I believe that the documentary in question is Hot and Bothered, Becky Goldberg's attempt at promoting her brand of "feminist pornography". The site for promoting it is here.

    And for the record, Tristan's meeting with John Stagliano (the aformentioned "Buttman") is well documented at Tristan's website and forum. What exactly is Gail saying about that...that because Tristan had to rely on a "male-oriented" adult studio to fund her videos extolling the joys of consensual and safe anal sex, she's a tool of male anal rape?!?!?! Oh, damn...the perfect mix of ignorance and prudery.

    Another thing that Gail Dines said during her presentation was that "Jenna Jameison is the only porn star who has gone mainstream and she has gone down to 95 lbs. and some her her friends have been murdered." I have no idea where she got that last bit, but I have read where Ernest Greene said that the weight loss thing about Jenna was exaggerated by the media. And, of course, there have been other porn stars who went mainstream (Traci Lords, Andrea True, etc.)

    Oh, WOW. Never mind that having your friends killed might have nothing to do with Jenna's career as a porn starlet; or that her weight loss might have more to do with her own personal issues rather than porn...or that you could hardly call appearances on Howard Stern and attempts at pro runway modeling as "going mainstream". (Any more than you can count Traci Lords' attempts at softcore and horror movies as anywhere near "mainstream", either.)

    Besides, hasn't Dines found out that some of the most hostile critics of Jenna's latest meltdown have been -- GASP -- male porn fans?? Just check out any random porn fan site or forum and you will find lots of ranting about how Jenna has become a plastic replication since her many surgeries and implants...and especially since she announced at the AVN Awards this year that she was retiring permanently from performing hardcore. (Though she would still through her line of ( stable of performers, remain quite active in the background.)

    Maybe the title of this thread should be changed to "Gail Dines sucks. There is no question." She's beginning to make Bob look like a compassionate man by comparison.


  12. I don't know what BS Dines is spouting about Jenna Jameson's friends being murdered. Where did she get that from? And I guess in Dines rather livid imagination, its the porn industry mafia retaliating for the Jenna cash cow leaving porn. (Though actually Jenna is still involved in the porn industry in all kinds of ways, even if no longer in front of the camera.)

    This is the problem with the whole debate about porn within feminism, with even the mainstream feminists claiming the pro-porn side is "silent" about problems in the porn industry. First, that's simply not true to begin with, and second, a lot of these "problems" – from the much-ballyhooed "90%" line to outright urban legends like the above-mentioned one from Dines – are just something some APRF has simply invented out of whole cloth. Why should anybody "admit" to an outright lie?

    Re: porn actors that have gone "mainstream" – there have been quite a few who have had roles in mainstream movies, but very few who have been successful with it long term. This is particularly true in the US, since the film industry here is so exclusionary. Nina Hartley was quite good in her small role in Boogie Nights, but was kept kind of at arms length when it came to actually publicizing the movie, and that was an "indie" movie, about the porn industry no less. (Also now seemingly forgotten is Marilyn Chambers starring role in one of David Cronenberg's early films.)

    European films have been more accepting with French porn actress Ally Mac Tyanna very successfully crossing over into mainstream French film under the name Dany Verissimo, and Rocco Siffredi's roles in a couple of Catherine Brilliart's films.

  13. ""Some of these pro-pornography feminists are kind of bad people", and her example was Tristan Taormino!"

    Well, I *did* find her kind of obnoxious when I attended a presentation of hers, and I gather I'm not the only kinkster to think she's arrogant, but "bad people?" Not so much.

  14. Well, busy as I am, I just can't let thee latest Dines smears go unanswered, as they involve friends of mind and situations in which I was not only present, but actually documented on video for anyone who gives a rat's ass about what really happened,

    Let's start here:

    "Some of these pro-pornography feminists are kind of bad people", and her example was Tristan Taormino! She said she had seen some documentary about feminsts making porn movies, and it showed where Tristan went to "Buttman" for help in making her first movie. "Buttman" said he would help her if she could talk a porn actress who wouldn't do anal sex into doing it. Gail was appaled that Tristan then talked her into it."

    The video Dines is talking about is the award-winning adaptation of Tristan's book, "Tristan Taormino's Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for women", which she co-directed with John Stagliano and myself. At her request, I introduced Tristan to John and they hit it off right away, agreeing after much discussion to do the picture and to let Tristan do it her way. There were, as in any collaboration among high-strung creative types, some differences as we went along, but they were pretty much always resolved according the acknowledged fact that this was "Tristan's movie."

    As to the episode Dines describes, as usual, she cherry-picks the information that buttresses her case and conveniently ignores all other evidence. What actually happened, and the footage I shot myself is in the picture, was a staged "interview" in which Tristan made her case in John's office for doing the project. John, having read Tristan's book, was intrigued if somewhat skeptical regarding Tristan's claim that, with proper preparation and technique, anal sex can be completely painless and enjoyable for nearly anybody.

    John challenged her to prove this with another performer, Ruby, who had been wanting to get into one of John's films for a long time but had not previously found anal sex to her liking. The set up situation, which had, of course, been fully negotiated by all parties in advance, was that Ruby would come to the office and Tristan would demonstrate her thesis regarding the ease with which anal sexual pleasure could be achieved.

    In no way and at no time did Tristan "talk" Ruby into doing this scene. Ruby new exactly what she was there for, was being compensated at a very good rate for it, had shown up ready to work and was in make-up for the scene while the establishing dialog was shot. Ruby then entered, discussed her previous attempts at anal sex and OFFERED to let Tristan guide her through the experience. Ruby was, in fact, very excited about the prospect, as she told us all both on and off camera before the action began.

    Tristan than patiently and expertly warmed Ruby up with tongues, fingers, vibrators, etc. before finally penetrating Ruby's ass with a vibrating dildo Ruby selected herself. Ruby had a massive orgasm, quite real and, again, documented in the actual picture, thus proving Tristan's point.

    This was, of course, a fairly obvious plot conceit with some humorous undertones (Ruby and Tristan both have off-beat senses of humor), but it was entirely consensual and involved no persuasion of the unwilling as Dines would have us believe. All participants in the scene parted ways as friends and while I don't know if Ruby has added anal sex to her personal list of favorite activities, she certainly enjoyed it that day.

    So much for the "indirect coercion" argument that Dines attempts to make from all this. Of course, since she doesn't acknowledge that any woman can really give consent to do porn (and as she chillingly told me, is "ready to take on the question" of the legitimacy of women's consent to abortion as well), it really wouldn't have mattered what truly went on in this specific case. Dines just uses it to justify her ad hominem attack on pro-pornography feminists as "kind of bad people."

    While Trinity and others might find Tristan somewhat abrasive, nothing in the events narrated above supports the claim that Tristan is a bad person.

    And speaking of ad hominem smack, Dines remarks about Jenna aren't even political, but rather the catty sniping of a gossp blogger. Jenna's weight is hardly relevant to any debate about the effects of working in porn. First of all, Jenna isn't just thin, she's tiny by genetic standards. Any woman who wears a size five shoe is going to be proportionately small in other dimensions. Yes, during the stress of a contested divorce she lost s few pounds and that certainly shows on such a small frame.

    But ironically, the real change in Jenna's appearance is a result of having her implants reduced. Perhaps Dines thinks Jenna looked healthier with bigger artificial breasts, a view held by many of those vile porn fans who post in chat forums on the same subject.

    As for the business of Jenna's friends being murdered, even if it were true, it wouldn't have anything to do with Jenna or the porn business per se. All kinds of ordinary folks have friends who have been murdered, and the implication that murder is somehow commonplace in the porn industry is simply preposterous. You'd have to go back to the Wonderland Avenue killings to find a direct link between porn performers and homicide, and that was three decades ago.

    What I think Dines refers to here are some sad stories from Jenna's autobiography about her tough upbringing in Las Vegas and some of the things that happened to people she knew back then, which is to say well before she got into porn.

    Now, is it true that many porn performers had hard lives or are still troubled by the demons of their pasts? Well duh. Anybody here ever get to know any mainstream performers - musicians, actors, comics, etc.? Their personal problems and dark histories are what keep the gossip industry, from the semi-respectable People magazine to the ugliness of The New York Post's page 4, in business. Entertainment professions tend to attract people who feel a need for validation and attention, and many of them had a tough time getting where they are and continue to struggle even after achieving commercial and popular success. Contrast Jenna's handling of her notoriety to the train wreck of Brittany Spears' life, just to use an extreme example. Jenna consistently comes off in person as the bright, capable, self-actuating individual she is, rather than the pitiful victim Dines wishes to make of her. I've known Jenna since she got into this business and see her fairly frequently. Compared to almost any of my friends in mainstream media, she's a paragon of sanity.

    All the personal tragedies in porn Dines so relishes are truly sad, but far more rare among porn players than among those folks from Hollywood you see being dragged off to rehab every other minute. In my 25 years of porn work, I know of fewer than half a dozen suicides. Go back over the newspapers for that period and you'll find many, many more examples from mainstream, ranging from Andy Kaufman to Richard Jenny. Drugs? Eating disorders? Paging Carrie Fisher and Karen Carpenter. Fatal O.D.s? Heath Ledger had one this month.

    Yet strangely enough, no one suggests that what these people do or did for a living caused their problems or should be held responsible for their miseries. That onus is reserved strictly for porn, at least in the warped, paranoid, Manichean vision of Gail Dines and her admirers.

    When Dines goes to the podium to talk about porn, intellectual integrity exits the room.

  15. And while I'm on the subject of Dines' skewed relationship with the truth as the rest of us know it, one of the things she declared in her jeremiad at the Adam&Eve booth was that she had been "completely silenced" in mainstream media. She repeated the word "completely" for emphasis. This, of course, doesn't count her appearances on Fox News, etc.

    But this fine example of how poor Gail has been silenced just popped up on my computer screen:,0,2833240.story

    You don't get much more mainstream than the Hartford Courant. I can't imagine them giving that kind of play to anything Nina might say, but no problem when Dines needs a new megaphone from which to spout her distortions. Op-ed editors line up to oblige.

    Silenced indeed. We could only wish to be silenced in such a manner so that we could rebut the lies hurled at us through media outlets far more influential than those to which our side ever gains access.

  16. "Go back over the newspapers for that period and you'll find many, many more examples from mainstream, ranging from Andy Kaufman to Richard Jenny."

    Actually, Andy Kaufman died of cancer (though many people thought even that was yet another one of his put-ons), but point well-taken otherwise about how entertainment industry tragedies are far from unique to porn; in fact, porn is far from the worst offender. One only need compare the history of rock and roll drug overdoses to porn star overdoses. There's no comparing.

  17. Thanks for the reality behind Dines' ugly distortions, Ernest - it was taken even way further out of context than I had even thought! After I saw Jensen and Dines' presentation at NWSA, I realized that they remind me of the religious right because of their obvious lies and manipulation of the audience. They are probably not actually part of the religious right, but they are "our" fanatical extremists from the left.

    Dines'anti-abortion stance (or negativity towards it at least) and her belief that women have no agency to choose anything is also disturbing. I wasn't there in the 60s when radical feminism started since I'm 42 years old, but I do know that it started with consciousness raising groups and speak outs where women listened to each other's stories about the truth about their own lives. After that, they would form theories and actions. From the late 70s to today, it's been the exact opposite, with people who insist that they are the only "real" radical feminists refusing to listen to sex workers tell the truth about their lives, trying to tell them what to think, and not being allies when sex workers want to run their own movement. And now, the same might possibly happen with the issue of abortion (which, of course, the radical feminists of the 60s won for us as the result of listening to women who had had abortions). It seems that a lot of people who consider themselves the "real" radical feminists (or radical anything) tend to think that it's all about coming up with the purest sounding extremist ideology. So, this is why I think that the sex-worker and pro-pornography feminist movement is part of what I consider to be the real radical feminist movement.

  18. Sorry for that slip-up on Andy Kaufman, IACB. Sloppy work on my part, but thanks for helping me out by adding the rock&roll contingent to the list of troubled mainstream stars. That really does provide us with a useful perspective, especially given the relatively similar demographics of porn stars and rock stars. You take young, inexperienced people with whatever individual issues arising out of theirhistories, shower them with money and attention and subject them to the relentless pressures of celebrity and you have a formula for major problems.

    At least in porn, the fame, adulation and money tend to be of a more manageable scale. For all the hand-wringing about how porn strips performers of their human identities and reduces them to masturbatory objects, in truth, unlike major celebs, porn performers can and often do lead relatively normal lives off camera. They don't need bodyguards to go to the grocery store. They're not hounded by paparazzi. When fans do approach them in public, they're usually a bit shy and quite respectful, as opposed to obstreperous and demanding, and when porn stars want to take time off and get away from it all for a bit, they just leave town and nobody tracks them down to get unflattering pictures over the fence of wherever they may be enjoying their private time.

    None of this is meant to suggest that the life of a porn performer is, overall, easier than that of any other entertainment worker. After all, big mainstream stars do get paid a whole lot more money in return for putting up with the aggravation of public life. I merely state the obvious here, which is that every occupation comes with some drawbacks, and the drawbacks to doing porn, I believe, have been wildly and maliciously exaggerated by those whose real agenda has nothing to do with the "troubled" lives of porn performers and everything to do with the content of porn itself.

    Porn-bashers don't hesitate to play the performer-as-victim card to present their own activities in a more humanitarian light, but I've never known an anti-porn crusader to reach out a hand in friendship to a single active performer unless, of course, that performer can be "turned" like Linda Lovelace to help make the anti-porn crowd's larger case against the industry as a whole.

    Instead, they just use whatever personal information about porn performers they can to underscore their view that porn itself is evil, both for those who make it and those who consume it.

    What's bothering me in all this, and if I were a vetted contributor here I would start a topic on the subject, is how much better of a ground game the other side is playing.

    Dines and Jensen are turning up everywhere - at AEE, on national TV, at university campuses where any non-hostile presentation regarding porn is scheduled, at public forums like the one here in L.A. where Nina and I were heckled by a squad of APFs in the audience, at city council meetings where zoning regulations are debated, on widely read left-leaning blogs and at the institutionally sponsored conferences and forums where they train other porn opponents in the techniques of harassing and obstructing our ability to make our livings or to express our opinions.

    In short, they're somehow rounding up the resources and working the connections to get their views out in the community more effectively than we are. If we want to preserve our freedom to do our work in a safe and legal environment and make it available for others to see and enjoy, we're going to have to do a much better job of getting ourselves and our ideas out there than we have thus far.

    I've known Ron Jeremy for years and regard him as a bright guy with useful insights, but he's basically an entertainer and for him and the girls who go on Howard Stern to be the public's main sources of information about our industry clearly isn't getting the job done. The extent to which we are losing the battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of liberals like Bob Herbert and Don Hazen is evidence of how much more effectively Dines, Jensen, Melissa Farley et al are making their case in the very places where we cannot afford to lose support for our First Amendment rights.

    We can't depend on porn fans to protect those rights. We need the continued backing of free speech advocates who have no personal interest in this industry and, indeed, may find its products personally distasteful. It is precisely among this latter group that the antis are making their greatest inroads, and I very much suspect that is no accident.

    If I wanted to make porn go away, I wouldn't bother with either those who make it or those who have already declared their opposition to it, such as groups affiliated with the evangelical right. I would go after the "First Amendment absolutists" (in itself a weird and twisted construct typical of APF thinking) and try to shame them into abandoning their commitment to freedom of expression for sexually explicit speech. I think that's exactly the game Dines, Jensen and Farley are playing, and I think they're starting to move the ball up-field with it. We better get our cleats on if we want to push them back.

  19. Well, I have to start with a quibble: it's not sex-positive to use the word "sucks" pejoratively.

    To more substantive matters, what's described here just reinforces more clearly than ever before how right Nina was when she said antiporn is some people's religion. That exactly describes the ready seizing of any flotsam of fact out of context to support their contentions.

    The fact that Dines willfully ignored the staged nature of the interview reminds me of one of the logical flaws in Dworkin's book, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, which I read about twenty years ago. She spends a couple pages "analyzing" a spread in the West German edition of Playboy, a futuristic pictorial involving lasers. Dworkin quotes extensively from a US Navy manual about lasers to show her readers how hazardous they are and how, therefore, the model's safety was jeopardized for the sake of making the pictorial. Problem is - as a physics major notices immediately - there's no way said pictorial could have involved the use of actual lasers. A laser beam is collimated light and so is naturally invisible from the side view. Clearly the magazine used double exposures to create a "laser" appearance as one might find it in science fiction. Not to mention that an actual laser would have been quite expensive.

    On the other hand, if you want to allow that Dworkin was only criticizing the magazine for portraying a woman's exposure to the hazards of a laser, then what's the point of documenting how dangerous they are? Doing so presupposes that readers don't already know, whereas criticizing the portrayal presupposes that they do already know. She can't have it both ways.

    While I wouldn't expect a non-physicist such as Dworkin to know such things beforehand, I would expect her to consult with someone who does before drawing conclusions about what she's looking at. But then it wouldn't be religion, would it?

    I'm surprised somewhat at the description of Jensen here. I had assumed his demon was issues he has with women, but it looks as if it may be more about issues with other men. There's nothing too mysterious about that. Those of us who didn't feel so "macho" growing up may often have felt harrassed by other males trying to force us into a hetero-normative mold. It may be that this is how Jensen is reacting against such experiences. Goff may be doing something similar in reaction to having experienced such pressures from his military buddies.

    If there's a clear substantive basis for complaints about workplace harrassment, privacy violation etc. here, whom should we write about it? I would want to post such information on my blogs as well as some activist lists I'm on.

    Eric Hamell

  20. Unfortunately, I don't think any of what went on in Vegas really rises to the level of workplace harassment or the legal definition of invasion of privacy. As I said in an earlier post, Dine's and Jensen's victims ... sorry ... "subjects" consented to the interviews and were in a venue where they could clearly have put a stop to them at any time. One thing never in short supply in Vegas is security personnel.

    I still maintain the most fertile prospect for actually calling the worst APF abuses to account is the 2257 scenario. Go to APF sites, download images of stolen pornography, which abound in these places, along with their corresponding URLs, and report them to the FBI.

    As the material is pirated, there is no way the record-keeping can be compliant. With no proof of age on file, those who post these images can find out for themselves how friendly the authorities are to pornographers, which is what the operators of such sites become the minute they post those images.

    Not exactly the nicest way of dealing with an opponent, but this is going to be a long and dirty fight and their side doesn't seem to have a problem with the dirty part.

  21. Just to make it completely clear here: when I say I didn't much care for Tristan, I in NO way mean I think she does anything nonconsensual, pressures people, etc.

  22. ernest: I am with you on the 2257 aspect.

    Part of the problem is, these people don't respond to be called out. They won't take on head on debates, they ban opponants from their web sites.....lord knows I would looove to see Gail and Crew on stage in a forum with their "enemies", hell, love to be one of them....but they won't do it.


  23. It's been my experience that bullies are also cowards and they'll hide from a fair fight as long as they can. However inconvenient this may be, freedom of speech also protects the freedom not to speak. If they won't come out of their safe havens and meet us on neutral battlegrounds, or if they prefer to ambush us on our own terrain when we're otherwise occupied and it's not convenient to engage them, there's not much we can do to get them to change their tactics.

    What we can do is call attention to them. Their strength here is also their weakness. Most people are very suspicious of those who take strong positions but refuse to defend them. By calling out our opponents, making ourselves available to meet them face to face and letting the public see how such invitations are consistently refused, we raise questions about the credibility and sincerity of our enemies. Why won't they come out and fight? Because they're chicken-shit of losing, and that does not win the respect of a nation, except maybe among passive-aggressive pseudo-liberals like Bob Herbert.

    And, of course, we can also do some jujitsu of our own by using their direct action methods, such as they are, against them. Anytime an issue involves sex, you can bet the press will show up. If we can get even small numbers of protesters to physically appear outside the campus buildings where these fanatics plot our demise, it will make the evening news, as will the rabid ranting of the gangs inside those buildings.

    And then there's the not pleasant but often dramatic approach of infiltrating such gatherings and demanding time on the floor. They don't hesitate to show up at The Hammer Auditorium for a forum on the porn business open to the public and shout at the panelists, demanding to be heard. If we have any numbers at all we can turn out, we can certainly get a few of our own to the podiums at anti-porn conclaves and shout out at least until we're thrown on the bricks. I did this stuff during the Vietnam War and I can tell you for sure it's a rush, but not fun at all. You'll see the hatred in the faces around you as you're ass is dragged out of these places and it will stick with you a long, long time. You'll get very tired of being called vile names by total strangers. But since they're calling you those names behind your back anyway, why not at least have the satisfaction of making them do it to your face?

    There's also engaging them at long range by insisting on consideration by the same mainstream media that give them airtime. We may not get on the air, but we will get it in the record that we tried and the other side got preferential treatment. That kind of thing makes both the media and their pet radicals look like the hypocrites they are. That's one reason the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom made a number of polite but insistent attempts to get a representative in front of Sam Brownback's porn addiction hearings. We knew that Pamela Paul would get to testify and none of us would, but the press releases NCSF put out during the hearings regarding Brownback's repeated rebuffs couldn't have helped his credibility with ordinary, skeptical citizens much.

    If we're going to shift the momentum, and I think that's a getting to be a real priority on this front, we're going to have to get creative and put ourselves on the radar the way the other side has. We're going to need articulate spokespeople and lawyers willing to work a few hours pro bono and alternative journalists with the guts to buck the tide as you do on feminist blogs, and above all, bodies willing to show up in person the way the other side does and march around with signs even if there are only small numbers of us and we never get past the university gate at someplace like Wheelock.

    The purpose of this is to show that there are people outside who think that what the people inside are doing is evil and wrong in the same way that they feel what we're doing is evil and wrong. They've very successfully maneuvered the fulcrum of the argument away from free speech principles and toward the content of porn.

    While amongst our own, we may have good or bad things to say about porn, in defending it against prohibitionists, our best bet is to oppose the prohibition rather than advocate what's being prohibited. We'll be accused of making libertarian arguments, but libertarian arguments have a lot of traction with Americans of many persuasions, whereas porn itself may not. We must take back the high ground in dealing with people like Herbert and Hazen and remind them that the idea of "taking that chance" (as Hazen put it about the threat to free speech posed by suppressing porn) is contrary to every liberal ideal they've ever espoused in their lives and a disgrace to every principle they claim to uphold. They need to get letters and emails demanding to know why dirty pictures are worth sacrificing constitutional government over.

    Another point where we can apply pressure is within leftist and progressive organizations that have either lined up with APFs or tried to avoid taking a stand on this whole question. When NION sent back Larry Flynt's contribution under a hail of APF criticism, huge numbers of potential Iraq War protesters were instantly depoliticized because they wanted no part of a movement that would turn down resources needed to stop the killing of men, women and children because the resources came from a guy who made the money printing dirty pictures. The leadership of NION should have been called to account for that. They folded up under a couple of outraged emails from the crowd at KPFK and nobody demanded that NION's leadership resign.

    Issues concerning freedom of speech and individual liberty need to be put on the floor at every meeting of The Green Party, in response to every solicitation from and at every other opportunity to insist that what likes to call itself leftist or progressive in this country must not automatically be allied with sex work prohibitionism. That terrain only belongs to the antis if we cede it to them.

    What I'm talking about here is not easy, not fun, not as satisfying as what we're doing here right now. We can't do it sitting at home in our underwear, at least not completely. Some of us are going to have to take time off from the computer and from our jobs and from our favorite activities during what we laughingly call our days off and make ourselves heard above the din being raised by Dines and Jensen and Farley and Goff and the rest.

    If we don't, come the end of the Bush era, they'll be strongly positioned to influence a neo-liberal Democratic administration that getting rid of us would be worth "taking that chance" with The First Amendment.

    I can only say that Nina and I do this because we find it necessary, not because we like it or, as the other side would have it, because we're paid to, either directly or through attempts to protect our revenue streams. Fighting this battle is thankless when it comes to our employers. They rely on their attorneys for that gig. They think it's nice that we're willing, but none of them would reward us for it in any way. And as for protecting our own incomes, please, this shit just takes time away from our paying jobs. Nonetheless, the whole task of defending our right to exist in the public sphere cannot be left entirely to Ron Jeremy.

    So those are my starting places. Creative thinking is needed from everybody who agrees. So is action. It's a new era and not every trick I learned thirty years ago is still relevant. We need people who know how to use the Internet to raise money and exert leverage. We need organizations in both the actual and virtual worlds to create both actual and virtual acts of protest.

    We need to get up off the canvas and start throwing a few or this whole thing is going to end in a TKO with government regulation supplanting criminal prosecution as the most effective threat ever to sexual freedom of expression.

    I'm not sure any of that helps, but I'll continue to work on the question and see what specific items I can add.

  24. "And then there's the not pleasant but often dramatic approach of infiltrating such gatherings and demanding time on the floor. They don't hesitate to show up at The Hammer Auditorium for a forum on the porn business open to the public and shout at the panelists, demanding to be heard."

    Are you talking about this event?

    If so, I don't think Anita Cannibal is with either the APRFs or Shelly Lubin, and in fact was raising some legitimate issues, even if she was being pretty abrasive about it.

    I don't know who's idea it was to have her kicked out of the building, but I think the whole thing was handled pretty badly, and gave the the other side a lot of ammo (the "AntiPornography Activist" blog links to it, for example).

  25. Right incident, wrong person and completely incorrect interpretation.

    Yes, Anita Cannibal did jump up and shout a bunch of incomprehensible, profanity-laced gibberish at us, calling us all a bunch of fucking liars, etc. because the moderator wouldn't yield the floor in the middle of the presentation to let her spout off her nonsense about the evils of AIM and the need to have Cal-OSHA rush in and impose mandatory condom use on the entire industry. I don't know how you think that should have been handled, but as I said earlier, when you behave disruptively at a public function, you can expect to be tossed out.

    As to the merits of what she had to say, there were none. Speaking as a seven-term director emeritus of AIM, I know that the line she takes would result in an end to HIV testing for all performers if adopted, which I think is absolutely irresponsible. I'll be happy to explain why on another thread, as I don't want that topic jacking this one.

    However, had she followed the established Q&A format instead of deliberately springing up while the panel was still talking, she would have had her questions heard out. Clearly, that was not her intention. She wanted to create an incident and she did. That it made good propaganda rather proves my point about how rudeness can be deployed as a weapon.

    But it wasn't her I was talking about. It was a small group of women sitting around Dr. Peter Kerndt in the back of the auditorium who seized on the occasion to start barking at the stage, demanding Ms. Cannibal be given the floor. They were the ones who stayed for the reception afterward and fanned out through the room, starting rumbles with every member of the panel they could get next to. I had nearly an hour of my time wasted by one of them.

    And no, Anita Cannibal is not an APF or a holy joe. She's just a wrong-headed individual with a personal score to settle with some people in this business she dislikes for her own reasons, even at the expense of the safety of other performers.

    In any case, though I deplore her position, I have no essential problem with her tactics. She engaged in an act of civil disobedience and got the predictable response. That comes with the territory and if you're not prepared for that to happen, you should not engage in those tactics, as Ghandi and MLK warned their followers.

    My whole point about this is that the other side is up for this level of conflict and we better be too if we want to enjoy the kind of attention that this incident commanded, as you point out that it did.

    As they have in the past, APFs with an agenda of their own used a misguided performer to their own ends. I wouldn't be so quick to assume the second-hand account you read on the "AntiPornography Activist" blog was particularly accurate. That it made it over there so quickly and with such an obvious bias points to the original intentions of the noisy claque in the back aisles to seize on a disruption they knew was coming for their own use.

    In short, they attempted the very kind of thing I was talking about earlier, and evidently it worked on you.

    It didn't work quite so well on the rest of the audience present, who got to hear a complete explanation of the contested issues, including a long statement from Dr. Kerndt, delivered to loud applause from his gaggle of groupies. Most of the crowd that remained, excluding the organized pressure group surrounding Kerndt, were quite complimentary toward the invited speakers and seemed to grasp the complexities of the topics under discussion rather better than did the antis who had come to rave about "coerced performances" and "trafficked women."

    I have you at a bit of a disadvantage here, as I was present for these events and you weren't. If you check out the version by reporter Mariel Garza, who moderated the panel, you'll get a very different perspective from the one you evidently read. You can find it at,+RAISE+TEMPERATURES.-a0172079794

    Garza did an excellent job as a moderator during the discussion and an equally fine one afterward reporting on it.

  26. Sorry, IACB, I should have noted that your link came from and not the activist blog. It was, however, equally inaccurate and slanted, and it's characterization of Ms. Cannibal is most charitably described as comedic.

  27. Well, I HAD pondered crashing Wheelock...

    I just might have to do that now. With friends.

  28. I'd heard a bit about Peter Kerndt before, and came across PLoS Medicine article before. I didn't know Peter Kerndt was quite so in people's face about it, or that he'd hooked up with the anti-trafficking "abolitionist" crowd.

    I see from the article that he seems to advocate a lot of very poorly thought-out legislation, such as performer licensing and raising the minimum age of porn performers to 21, trying to regulate who can provide internet content (much of which isn't even produced in the US), etc. None of this seems to have much to do with reducing STIs.

    On the other hand, I can't say I'm a big fan of the present "condom-optional" system, which basically translates to, "you have the option of not working if you want to use a condom". Its not a system that gives porn performers adequate power to protect themselves, and performers do get STIs as a result. The worst case scenario is what happened to Lara Roxx and a few others a few years back, where they picked up HIV from someone who had just recently been infected in Brazil, and I believe the infection was too recent to show up on a test. (Also, I don't think Lara Roxx received a dime in compensation for what happened to her, which is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin.)

    And as for alternate models of regulation, I will point out that the gay industry takes the opposite approach to the straight industry – they actually don't test, based on privacy concerns, and just assume HIV+ status is highly likely. They do, however, use condoms universally for high-risk acts like anal sex (though oral sex is pretty much still done bareback).

    I don't follow the gay industry as closely, but I don't think they've had a major STI scare in quite some time, whereas the straight industry had the above-mentioned HIV transmissions as recently as 2004.

    I think unless porn workers are adequately empowered to actually make choices about STD protection (as well as other things, like not having sexual acts that weren't agreed to in advance suddenly demanded of them by unscrupulous producers), including newcomers to the industry who have notoriously little clout, then I think the highly paternalistic, out-of-touch, and probably bad-faith kind of regulation that people like Peter Kerndt are advocating is going to be inevitable.

  29. Unfortunately, this was exactly the discussion I didn't want to have on this thread, but it's here and can't be ignored now. And my desire to address it on a thread of its own arises not out of a wish for it to go away or a belief that it isn't important. I think it's an absolutely critical concern, and highly complex in many ways, that deserves our full attention, as does the original topic we've been on so far.

    And I do recognize that there is some connection between the two, as anti-porn campaigners of all stripes have seized on performer health concerns as yet another bludgeon with which to pound on the industry. I agree that the criticisms they make in this area need to be answered.

    I only wish there was a set of answers that would at least lessen the misgivings of those who, like yourself, are generally supportive toward porn but would like to see some sensible reforms instituted to make it safer for those creating it.

    Alas, the questions you raise have only equivocal answers that please no one entirely, myself included. I was a sort of "premature anti-fascist" in this business for sounding the alarm about HIV risks in straight porn all the way back in 1993, at which time a small group of us called for the voluntary adoption of a universal condoms-for-intercourse standard by all production companies.

    At that time, none volunteered. On the contrary, they did their best to kill the messengers and I lost a lot of directing work by refusing employment from any company that wouldn't at least allow performers to use condoms on request. For about five years, I didn't shoot a single BG hardcore scene as a result of taking this position.

    Then, two developments happened almost simultaneously that completely rearranged the landscape. One is fairly well-known and understood. The other less so but equally important.

    Prior to 1997, the best available test for HIV was the ELISA, which is excellent in at least one respect. It almost never results in a false negative because it detects the presence of HIV antibodies in the bloodstream. If those are present, there is no doubt the person is infected. That's why the CDC considers ELISA the "gold standard" of HIV tests.

    It does, however, have one terrific drawback. The window period between infection and the ELISA's ability to identify the antibodies is variable, but is rarely less than six weeks and can be as long as six months. Obviously, performers weren't getting very current information from the informal ELISA testing many had already adopted before the events of 1997, which proved beyond a doubt that the very loose safety net existing at the time didn't work.

    A male performer I won't name (because I still have some legal concerns as the former chairman of AIM's board of directors) got infected with HIV and used forged ELISA test result forms from an obscure clinic to continue working for six months, infecting a total of six other performers during that time.

    When this was discovered, those of us who had made some noise and been more or less shouted down for it suddenly became the go-to names for dealing with what quickly emerged as a crisis that threatened the lives of all performers and the ability of the whole enterprise to continue to operate.

    Having followed the medical side of the issue all through the intervening years, I was aware, as was Sharon Mitchell and a couple of doctors who routinely treated patients from our business, that a new, much more responsive test had just become available. This is the PCR-DNA test AIM uses now. It's great in many ways. It detects HIV proteins in the bloodstream, which appear much sooner than antibodies, and can detect a new infection within as short a period as ten days, although after much discussion with the researchers who created it, we agreed that claiming a thirty-day window period was more realistic, allowing some margin for anomalous cases.

    After much delicate negotiation, the nucleus of the organization that would become AIM, essentially Sharon, myself and our two doctors, got the production companies to agree to standardizing a requirement for all performers to take the PCR-DNA test every 28 days at the clinic AIM set up, and nowhere else so we couldn't have a repetition of the result-forging that had enabled the initial outbreak, and to have a current and valid negative result on a form from AIM before they could work. AIM later added tests for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia on a monthly basis and Syphilis every other month.

    We also negotiated with processing laboratories to make the PCR-DNA test cheaper and shorten the turnaround time for results. As an example, when I took my first PCR-DNA at UCLA, it cost $280 and took two weeks to return a result. Given the numbers of clients involved, we were able to get labs to reduce the price to under a hundred bucks and get the results back within 24 hours. This made it possible for performers to afford the tests and to continue working steadily without long breaks waiting for test reporting.

    Knowing that most companies - and this part is little understood and very important - along with most performers, both male and female would resist condom use, AIM adopted a harm-reduction model based on the notion of providing the best, most current information possible to performers and producers on the health status of everyone in the talent community so they could decide for themselves what level of risk they found acceptable.

    Now, is this a perfect system? Clearly not. It was never intended to be, as we make very clear to new performers in the Porn 101 tape Nina and Sharon made to be shown to them before they get their first tests. Though the window period is short for our main test, it's not non-existent, as the sad events of 2004 would appear to confirm. An infectious player slipped through that window and infected three other performers before his next test came up positive.

    In addition to treating lesser STDs when found, AIM also does contact tracing and alerts the community if and when a performer tests positive for HIV. Within two days of receiving the first positive result back iin 2004, AIM had isolated all the primary and secondary contacts who worked with performer with the initial positive result, or with those who had worked his primary partners, and quarantined them, thus assuring that no new transmissions would occur from any of these sources. AIM also strongly advised all producers to shut down for 60 days so all performers throughout the industry could go through two full testing cycles before resuming work. Different performers and different companies adhered to the 60 day moratorium in different degrees, but as AIM predicted, no new transmissions occurred.

    But what did occur, predictably, were three infections transmitted, we believed but cannot conclusively demonstrate, from the original source. I do not minimize the seriousness of that outcome, but I do think it has to be viewed in the proper context.

    Since its inception, AIM has done over 80,000 PCR-DNA tests on several thousand performers who have come through the industry. During that time, this one incident was the only occasion on which the harm-reduction model proved inadequate. The test did exactly what we say it will. It gave us an accurate picture of the health of the tested party from ten days previous to the test. In this instance, ten days was heartbreakingly just that much too long of an interval, allowing one case to slip through.

    Many people in and out of the industry, including Dr. Kerndt, seized on this episode as proof that the AIM model doesn't work. This fails to take into account the fact that the AIM test is not preventative in itself and that we never claimed it was, or that it could reduce HIV transmission risk to zero, which it can't.

    And it also overlooks some other relevant facts that created, in effect, a perfect storm that spring. In addition to testing, one of the factors that has undoubtedly contributed to the low incidence of HIV in the performing community, (a tiny fraction of the HIV infection rate among sexually active young adults nationwide) is the convention of the external pop shot. A lot of people find that convention objectionable for political or esthetic reasons, but it's undoubtedly safer than proceeding to internal ejaculations, which were clearly added risk factors in the events of 2004. Two of the transmissions occurred during the shooting of specialized "cream pie" videos in which the ejaculations were not only internal, but anal as well. Another factor at work was double-anal penetration, which is also a high-risk act due to the greater chance of tissue damage that can heighten the probability of infection.

    To make matters worse, fresh HIV infections are particularly virulent. In the first weeks after infection before the body begins to fight back, viral loads spike to their highest levels, making the carrier maximally hotter.

    In short, virtually everything that could go wrong did in this situation.

    All these things combined to create the maximum danger, and bad as the outcome was, I suspect it could have been greatly worse if the practices described above weren't relatively rare.

    There is ongoing litigation concerning this whole matter and that's as much as I can say about it at this point. It was a very, very bad thing, but it was a rare set of circumstances that attracted a lot of media attention because everything bad that happens in porn always does. Despite Dr. Kerndt's claims, the risk of HIV transmission in porn is still quite low and as dangerous jobs go, porn really isn't one of them.

    Check out the federal agencies that monitor workplace injuries and deaths and you'll find that porn hardly makes the list. Stunt work in mainstream films is much riskier, and construction, mining, agricultural labor and a host of other trades we rarely think of in terms of risk are much, much more hazardous than making porn. To say that there is no serious risk in doing porn is obviously false, but to suggest that it's unacceptably dangerous in its current form and needs draconian regulation as Kerndt and his adherents proclaim is patently untrue.

    Even going back before testing began, despite thirty years of literally hundreds of thousands off non-condom sex acts, fewer than 20 cases of HIV have ever turned up in the community of straight porn performers.

    Now, on the gay side, things are quite different and the adoption of the gay model on the straight side would carry risks of its own that would actually make it more dangerous for straight performers than is now the case. You are correct that gay porn producers operate on the assumption that all their players are sero-positive. In practice, a voluntary reporting system within the much smaller gay performer community allows producers to pair partners who are known to be either negative or positive with others of the same status. Though there is no official testing, there is voluntary disclosure and acceptance of fact that HIV+ players will be part of the talent pool. Since statistics aren't collected for the gay industry, we don't know how many sero-positive players are working, but I think the assumptions made there are probably correct and certainly prudent. But to work in gay porn is to accept, to some extent, the continued presence of HIV within the community and to count not only on condoms for protection, but to also presume responsible behavior on the part of both producers and performers in not pairing positive players with negative players.

    Condoms do indeed work to prevent the spread of HIV in most situations, but they can and do fail, and that's one reason why I would never accept a mandatory condom protocol in an overwhelmingly uninfected talent pool at the expense of testing to keep that pool as close to HIV free as possible.

    I put this question to you, as I put it to performers including my wife (and myself as her primary life partner):: if you are HIV-, would you knowingly have sex with someone who is HIV+, even with a condom? Nina wouldn't. I wouldn't. I'll bet you wouldn't either.

    This is particularly true for porn sex. In a "civilian" encounter, the dick gets hard, the condom goes on, there's a relatively short period of intercourse (Masters and Johnson placed the average at a rather sorry eleven minutes from start to finish) and the condom comes off for disposal while the penis is still semi-erect.

    Shooting a sex scene for porn requires multiple positions with many stops and starts, and having shot more condom footage than most directors in this business, I can tell you that in that process we go through perhaps half a dozen condoms, as penises go up and down and configurations change. I've seen condoms break, slip off, roll down to the point where pro-seminal leakage made them basically useless and otherwise fail to provide a level of protection that anyone would consider safe.

    Moreover, particularly for popular female performers who work a lot, condoms create an atypical risk factor of vaginal abrasion. No matter how well-lubricated, they have more drag than the human tissue meant to rub against vaginal membranes. All condom female players have ongoing health problems unique to them, such as yeast infections and UTIs that, while minor in themselves, could be precursors to a different kind of disaster if the industry abandoned testing and went to condoms only. A more vulnerable vagina accidentally exposed to contaminated fluid because of a condom failure could result in a very high-risk contact, and with no testing or tracing system in place, it could lead to a major outbreak, given how frequently active performers often work, that would go undetected for weeks or even months. Talk about something that would crash the whole industry, you'd have it right there.

    Additionally, condoms do not protect against a variety of other diseases that can up the HIV risk if untreated. They do nothing to prevent the spread of Herpes, Hep C, Chlamydia, MRSA and in some instances fail to block Syphilis. Still, they are useful and, contrary to slanderous statements mischaracterizing my stance on this, I favor their usage as broadly as possible in all segments of the porn industry, full stop. Their advantages outweigh their drawbacks and I'd like to see more of them.

    I reject the argument that they kill the heat in pictures and demolish sales. I've shot some great condom scenes and sold plenty of videos. If shot correctly, condoms are hardly visible in the finished product.

    But why, you may ask, must we choose? Can't we have both condoms and testing? In my opinion, and that's just what it is, we should have both, and we could, if the system remained voluntary. The minute any governmental entity steps in and makes this a matter of law, testing goes out the window. Sorry folks, but that's the way the deal is written. I've been booed and heckled for reporting this unfortunate truth, but I'm used to that. I've been booed and heckled here for saying things folks don't want said for as long as I can remember.

    The way California law operates (and most states are the same way), HIV testing cannot be required as a condition of employment under anti-discrimination statutes meant to prevent HIV+ workers from being denied jobs. This law applies to all workers formally classified as employees and no industry gets a pass on it. As the lawyers from the ACLU ominously warned the state legislature's investigative panel back in 2004, other industries had sought exemptions from these anti-discrimination provisions, including health care providers whose employees work in open body cavities with sharp instruments and professional sports teams in whose competitions blood-to-blood contact is common. In every case, the ACLU had fought the industries and the courts had upheld the no required HIV testing standard. The attorneys present promised they would fight any attempt to exempt the porn industry from this standard and that they were certain they would prevail.

    The only way producers could require condom use would be to reclassify all performers as employees instead of independent contractors, the thing Anita wants to see happen, BTW, which would give Cal-OSHA direct jurisdiction over performer safety standards, but would also deprive them of the right to insist that their co-workers be tested or reveal their HIV status.

    If this were the law, as a producer, not only could I not demand a clean test from a performer (or any other test for that matter), I could not deny employment even to a performer I knew to be positive, and if that performer's partner didn't want to work with him or her, I would have to fire the partner and retain the HIV+ player.

    Now do you see why I opposed these mandatory condom schemes? They all come down to abolishing the highly effective voluntary testing standard we have now and replacing it with a hit-and-miss, largely unenforceable barrier protection standard. I have too many friends, not to mention a spouse, in the performing community to support what I see as a gruesome instance of human experimentation with a high probability of catastrophic unintended consequences.

    There is no perfect solution to this problem, but what we have now is one of the most effective STD mitigation programs in the world. In fact, doctors and public health officials come from all over the world to study the AIM protocols as models for possible use in their own countries.

    Part of the reason AIM has become such a lightning-rod for criticism, I believe, is because of a deep-seated suspicion on the part of some officials and many, many people who can't get past the stereotype of porn-performer-as-victim, that no performer-initiated, community based disease-control program can possibly work. They seek to infantilize performers by insisting that only the intervention of grown-up outsiders can protect them. That the science behind such beliefs is so weak does no credit to those who support them or seek to force them on the professionals who know much better from long and intense experience what they need to feel comfortable on the job.

    Kerndt and others like him insist that this whole issue isn't a First Amendment question but rather a matter of workplace safety. I defy anyone to read the PLoS presentation in its entirety and come away with that conclusion. Particularly of interest in that paper is the discussion of porn as a bad influence on the public for showing unprotected sex. What kind of agenda does this really suggest?

    Now, as to the question of whether or not porn needs to clean up its act in regard to high-risk practices like cream pies and double anals, I absolutely agree that it should, though I don't buy for a minute the contention that anything we do as a matter of public relations will prevent heavy-handed government interference, which we've had to deal with in various forms right from the start and probably always will. For as long as large numbers of people believe porn is inherently evil and the government should do all in its power to obstruct porn's creation, politicians will always seek votes by coming after us.

    But that doesn't mean we shouldn't act to improve our working conditions, not to stave off the opposition, but rather because it is the right thing to do. My opinion on that hasn't changed since 1993 and it never will.

  30. Ernest: Thank you for saying all that.

  31. Ren, you are so welcome. Thank you for helping provide the space. I hate to burn up bandwidth like that, but these issues are so important and so profoundly misunderstood, I just feel irresponsible passing up any opportunity to try and sort them out.

  32. 'Most of the crowd that remained, excluding the organized pressure group surrounding Kerndt, were quite complimentary toward the invited speakers and seemed to grasp the complexities of the topics under discussion rather better than did the antis who had come to rave about "coerced performances" and "trafficked women."'

    Ernest, if you don't mind me digging for details, do you know exactly who was saying this? Was it somebody from Peter Kerndt's contingent? Because if so, that's a new one from Kerndt, who's main critique so far has been about what he sees as negligence of health and safety in the adult industry, especially as regards STIs. I haven't read charges of coercion and human trafficking on the part of the adult industry coming from him before. Has he now hooked up with the "prostitution abolitionists"?

  33. Indeed, those comments came directly at me from a self-described "public health researcher" who arrived and departed with Kerndt. She was one of at least half a dozen women who sat around Kerndt out in the audience and later buttonholed as many panel members as they could at the reception to berate us for trying to obstruct Kerndt's noble efforts.

    And the one I drew did not limit her denunciations to health-related practices. While gripping my arm in a way that, had I done it to her, would have had her howling for security in a hot minute, she hammered away at me about human trafficking, which she insisted is common in commercial porn in L.A., where it is, as I told her, nonexistent, the manipulation and coercion of young performers, the need for massive governmental intervention to put a stop to "harms and abuses," the in short, the whole current APF line. In response to my questions, she admitted she had never been on a porn set, never met a porn performer, never spoken with a producer and had no personal experience with the porn community and its health or other issues whatsoever. Pretty clear that her purposes that night were entirely political. Her conflation of health concerns with sensationalistic nonsense like the fraudulent claim of human trafficking in the legal porn industry, where we have willing players beating down the doors, was classic APF agitprop.

    Sharon Mitchell, after being hassled by another member of Kerndt's claque, was sufficiently disgusted to leave the reception early.

    I don't think Kerndt has joined up with them so much as they have coalesced around him because they rightly understand that what he advocates is a formula for destroying the industry entirely by using regulatory means to enable prohibitionist ends. He accepts their support either because he embraces those ends while hypocritically insisting otherwise or because its the only support his schemes are likely to receive outside of the agency for which he works, an agency which is funded by taxes I pay along with every citizen of this county and which has taken up public advocacy as a major priority while our local health care system unravels.

    In a county whose biggest public hospital has been shut down after years of sub-standard care resulting in injuries, deaths and millions of dollars in litigation, along with federal decertification and court orders to clean up its act, you'd think Kerndt's bosses would find some more pressing needs to which he might apply his energies than a headline-seeking anti-porn campaign.

  34. Ernest, you are on fire! I am all for direct action and you know the right wingers and "liberals" hate it when you show up and crash and confront their hatefest.
    The anti-war movement and progressive forces made it impossible for the right wing, pro-war Move America Forward to hold it's pro war rally in Berkeley Tuesday without constant confrontation and battle. They weren't happy about it because they wanted spend their day waving their pro war flags and singing their pro war songs and we just weren't going to allow them to do that wihtout a fight. So I support your direct action tactic, Ernest. If not for any other reason other than evil should always be confronted.
    I have to comment on so-called leftists/progressives attacking sex industry workers. Those men and women parading around as leftists and attacking sex industry workers, well I want them to come and stay in my re-education camp for a day.
    Good work Ernest! Oh, tell Nina that the students of BHS took on the right wingers and the Berkeley Police Tuesday with gusto!

  35. Thanks for the props, Lisa, and good for the stalwarts of Berkeley for standing up to the "stateside soldiers" who are so eager to send young Americans off to kill and be killed by young Iraqis.

    I have no doubt Nina will be very proud of her old alma mater for carrying forward the banner of dissent as they have so often in the past.

    You really put a smile on my face just when it was most needed.

  36. While I'm over here, let me say something likely to annoy a few friends as well as foes. Sorry, but I can't help that habit.

    As Anthony, with whom I have arm-wrestled at more than once, will attest, I'm not a radical leftist. In fact, I'm a liberal Social Democrat who has no knee-jerk anti-capitalist reflex. I even think there are some things (gasp!) that the private sector does better than the public sector, though I won't get into that broad argument here.

    But I do see on this thread some of the familiar Big Business-Always-Bad-Big-Government-Always-Good thinking that has not withstood the test of my own experience.

    While giant corporations are rarely benevolent, some are clearly worse, or better, than others, and that holds true in the porn industry more than in most.

    Here, it's the small companies, operating on shoestrings and ready to take flight at the first sign of trouble, that are the community's least responsible citizens. They're the ones who make the low-wage, high-risk productions where performers (not to mention crews, who no one seems to care about) are exposed to the greatest risks for the least money.

    We have no giants equivalent to GM in porn, not even including Vivid, but it is the bigger players here, who have liability-minded lawyers and concerns with public image or even, in one or two cases, active social consciences at work in management, that generally behave the most constructively.

    Cases in point are the two companies from which I derive most of my income. LFP, owned by Larry Flynt, is always the object of controversy, but it has a strikingly diverse workforce and sound policies relating to how that workforce is treated. Moreover, while Larry enjoys using his soapbox to lampoon all kinds of people, he did a tremendous service to the republic by acting as he did during the Clinton impeachment to prevent a right-wing palace coup almost single-handedly. He had the money and the platform needed to mount an effective counterattack against a bunch of anti-democratic hypocrites and he used those things to great impact. Whatever you think of Bill Clinton, if the impeachment battle had gone the other way, the Bush era would have started that much sooner.

    My other principle contract funder is Adam&Eve, founded by Phil Harvey, whose life and charitable activities are largely devoted to the support of Planned Parenthood. A&E is surely the only company in the industry that submits every video it makes not only to its legal department, but also to a board of therapists for review, prior to certifying it for release. You'd have to look hard to find nicer, more conscientious people in any profession than the folks down there in North Carolina.

    Again, no corporation that has to turn a profit is going to be without flaws. But to assume that all the larger entities in porn are run by heartless, unthinking greedheads is simply wrong.

    And in the public sector, you've got Peter Kerndt and his lynching-by-regulation posse and Bush's no-money-for-countries-with-legal-sex-work policies, which even extend to NGOs that use the term "sex work" as opposed to the Bush crowd's preferred description of "prostituted women and children," handily appropriated from the impeccably leftist forces of APF.

    One thing you learn quickly about porn and sex work when you become involved in either is that nothing is obvious, easy or as generally constructed by outsiders.

  37. Last month the anti's tried to hold a "sex trafficking victim" candle light vigil at the San Francisco City Hall. Carol Leigh organized a counter vigil which was very succesful at shutting them down. M. Farley and N. Hotaling were there holding their little candles with pieces of paper taped to their backs that read "slave" while Carol and other activists were calling them out as to what they are really advocating, raids, arrests and deportations of sex industry workers. Their discomfort at our presence was inspiring.
    It is time for sex industry organizers to take it to the next level of resistance. I wish I could be there when the sex industry takes the next needed steps but I have left the politics of sex work for the time being to focus back on my other political work. I will be watching out. Best of luck and good organzing to you all. Give em hell.

  38. Ernest, I am a radical leftist and totally forgive you for being a social democrat.
    I want to add to an old story regarding Larry Flynt and the donation to now defunct NION. I am from another organization and although I head about the contraversy, I have no inside information about their decision to return the money. I will say this. The anti-war organizations were under tremndous attack and I won't get into the details because I am sure you know what I am referring to. At the same time we were trying to organize and mobilize millions of people to stop the war. The response by the radical feminists to Larry's money is totally predictable because the radical feminists are so evil. I know NION could not withstand fighting US Imperialism and N. Craft at the same time. I never thought I would be defending NION but the blame should go fairly to the war makers and the whore haters.

  39. Thanks again, Lisa, and your willingness to overlook my peculiar personal politics is appreciated. And I'm very glad you still keep an eye on sex-work concerns while you continue your activism elsewhere.

    I do understand that there are complexities to the NION situation, and I do squarely place the blame for the nasty crack in which NION was trapped on its opponents.

    However, I can't let NION's leadership entirely off the hook for their capitulation to the haranguing of Nikki, Aura and the others. We had these kinds of dust-ups in the anti-war movement of my era, but movement leaders understood that this came with the territory and were prepared to stand up to their so-called allies as well as their avowed enemies. When issues were raised about who was "pure" enough to oppose the war, those issues were swiftly laid to rest with the reminder that, while people are dying, ideological purity is an unaffordable luxury.

    If you hope to roll out a movement of hundreds of thousands of people as we did, you need all the help you can get, including all the money you can raise, regardless of what you may think of the donors or their motives. That's a gritty fact of life in political organizing.

    The thirty K Larry tried to give NION was probably one of the largest single donations it had been offered to that point. It makes me grind my teeth to think of how many lives that money might have saved if applied to the costly business of assembling a mass movement. NION needed that money more than it needed the seal of a approval of a few one-note fanatics, yet it caved to them rather than remain true to its mission. That's no way to stop a war.

    If anti-war movement leaders are more sensitive to the intricacies of identity politics than they are to stopping the killing, it's time for new leadership. Therefore, not only the leaders of NION, but the rank and file members as well, bear some responsibility for the organization's failure of will at a crucial moment of moral decision.

    I understand the problem, but I've seen it solved more successfully in the past.

    No offense intended here. Just one old, retired rad's view of what must be done if you want to stop a war.

  40. Ernest, okay. You are right, I surrender. If Larry would like to contribute to the anti-war movement in the future, I would be happy to facilitate that comtribition. I was trying to show some anti-war solidarity but Larry sent the money to the wrong anti-war organization. I know that NION had that fancy pledge, which was in words very powerful and many progressive celebs signed on but as an organization they were not effective and now are defunct.
    I spent over twenty years as a sex worker. I see no contradictions between what I did for a living and my politics. I know that there are problems with the progressive and left movement because as we all know the sex worker discourse has been hijacked. I came out to my organization after I retired and have had complete support on our industries issues. In some cases the conversation has been easy and I can tell it like it is. Other Comrads to be honest, i take my time and talk as much about the industry as I feel I can.
    Ernest, you have said so much and I am too tired to type any thoughts and all of this is too important.
    I love you and Nina and all the work you do. I am happy for all the hours of pleasure Nina gives my partner Vic, whos best day in his whole life was the night that Nina not only talked to him sweet as can be but actually bent over so that Vic could kiss her ass. we have the photo. Now that in my opinion is real anti-war activism.

  41. Thank you for the supportive comments, Lisa, and for the lovely personal anecdote, which I will definitely show to Nina. She'll be totally delighted, as you're just the kinds of fans she loves the best.

    I'm glad you've been able to retire and that you've found a solid relationship. Vic is a lucky guy and I'm sure he knows it. I'm especially pleased that you've joined a community of political activists who welcome you just as you are and don't judge you for your past. They're greatly richer for your participation.

    I'll pass on a message to Mr. Flynt that there's an anti-war activist out there who would appreciate his contribution. I'm not sure how we'll hook it up, or how much he'll actually kick down, but he's very serious about opposing the war and I wouldn't be surprised if we figured out a way to get a check moving in your direction.

  42. Ernest, thank you for anything you can do. Carol Leigh has my contact information.
    We closed the Marine Corps Recruit Center in Berkeley again today.
    All power to the people.

  43. Lisa,

    And as I would have said when I was 18 and will say again today, Right On!

  44. I see here a heightening of the movement for sexual and privacy rights, and the sex workers' rights movement and the porn rights movement have much in common. It would be great if we could all somehow find a way to work together. Blogging has certainly seemed to bring the groups together online, but let's get together in person too.

    I loved RenegadeEvolution's ideas of going to Wheelock to protest their little anti-porn fete, and would gladly show up to support the cause. Dines is also complaining in that Courant article that her voice and those of the other APRFs are being excluded at the Sex Week at Yale. Ironic.

    Ernest, you touch on something that I have been struggling with since I graduated from Cal in '02: the fact that many of my anti-war buddies have jumped on the anti-sex bandwagon. It is like a slap in the face to me. As is the exclusion I experience from orgs like NOW (who have succeeded in getting all the top NY periodicals to disallow escorts ads). Some women/peace activists are more equal than others, eh?

    I don't know a heck of a lot about Bob Herbert, but being based in Las Vegas, I sure heard all about his Vegas-bashing articles. From how he told it one would imagne that we women can't walk down the street here without being propositioned or assaulted at every second. How insulting to us.

    Needless to say I was flabbergasted when I heard his name spoken of with respect and reverence within the peace movement. There came my struggle again- flaring up like a dragon. Sometimes that feels like someone kicked me in the stomach.

    The good thing is that my closer friends from Cal have been very receptive to my sex worker rights activism (as thankfully also appears to be the case for Lisa Roellig!), and one by one, I am changing hearts and minds around me. Sadly, I don't have the liberty in my life of being as open as I would were my own profession not on an insecure legal edge.

    Changing the subject slightly (back to the original topic), can porn actresses and actors sue the APRFs' sites for copyright violations? It would seem that they could: couldn't it be argued that these people receive money as a result of using your images and likenesses?

  45. Holly, I feel you Sister. The work the anti's have done at the colleges is criminal and good intentioned, well meaning students get swept away in the lies and hysteria they whip up. Aside from our usual cast of anti's, we now have David Batstone, USF ethics professor leading a harassment campaign by having his ethics students stalk and film Asian massage parlor workers at their place of work.
    Many students have been duped into thinking that they are the 21st century abolitionists.

    "In response to my questions, she admitted she had never been on a porn set, never met a porn performer, never spoken with a producer and had no personal experience with the porn community and its health or other issues whatsoever. Pretty clear that her purposes that night were entirely political."

    Ernest, this really gets me in the gut. They want to tell us how it is in our industry! In what other industry does that ever happen?
    UC Berkeley campus, facing the fresh faced stop sex slavery student club members and they are telling me about sex slavery? I was in the industry over twenty years and they are telling me!

    Holly you have to keep reminding the students what "rescue" really means, raids, arrests and deportation and for students who most likely have been duped by the anti's because they care about human rights, they will have a better chance of grasping this as anti-immigrant. If you remind them that Homeland Security henchmen ICE lead the "rescue" they will get fumed. If they counter with all the nonsense that have been told that they are trying to get the "Trafficking" laws changed so that women don't get deported tell them when does this rascist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker State ever pass legislation that serves the People.
    I got to go calm myself.

  46. Holly, it is important for the anti-war youth misled on sex work to understand that US Imperialism has other weapons aside from overt military war and occupation. The TVPRA (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) is a perfect example of economic sanctions/ punishment for any organization or government that does not comply with their agenda.
    I also think it is always good to call out the radical fem's unholy alliance with the christian right and of course not leaving out who's funding them, which I think Ernest already brought up.
    There is allot of re-education work that needs to be done and good that you are there to speak up when you can.

  47. Thanks, Lisa. I am glad you are there to speak to them too. I am unfortunately not able to get to the Bay Area as often as I would like, so most of the faces have changed and I feel I have lost some influence there. However, I am still on very good terms with my professors there, so perhaps one day we can put together a panel or teach-in. They love that stuff there. Let me know if you ever want to organize something!

  48. Hey, Lisa....

    May I say that you are my kind of gal???

    And I'm sincerely glad that you are able to forgive Ernest for being a converted radical turned social democrat....being pretty much a rad Leftist (though more of the Libertarian Socialist kind) as well as a long time Nina fanatic, I've had to forgive him for his apostasy countless times. Heh... ;-)

    At the very least, it's heartwarming to know that Leftists and Liberals (and even the occasional Libertarian) can come together (pun not intended) to fight for sexual liberation. Maybe this notion of coalition building and Popular Front may not be such a bad idea after all.

    Oh...and Chuck Keating's out of the clink and back at his old tricks attacking porn again??? Goodness...I wonder which sex parties will he be using to pay his court costs?? (His old S&L sure used sex parties to seduce his financiers out of their money back in the bad old days.)


  49. Greetings Anthony, Sunday morning, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the right wing rabid christians are all in church praying....let us not give up on Brother Ernest returning home to the radical fold.

  50. Sound lovely where you are, Lisa.
    Here in LA, the us is just beginning to burn off the marine layer. I'm looking forward to shooting what I know will be a beautiful scene with a couple of great performers doing things I know they enjoy. Days like this make me appreciate what it is I like about what I do and why it's worth fighting to defend.

    Well, as to returning to the radical fold, That seems less than likely at this point, for reasons that would take up more time and space than they really warrant here.

    But as Anthony and Sheldon will attest, I have never forgotten the importance of taking a stand against evil, and while I have learned to compromise with the less-than-good, I will never accede to those things that I know violate the rights to which every human being on earth is born entitled. That shouldn't even be considered a radical position. That should be considered common decency, and that is not common must never be thought acceptable. I do not regret a single day of my life I've invested in the service of this principle.

    As John Reed, the prototypical American radical, said so long ago, "Great things are an end in themselves, worth living and dying for."

    That is as true today as it was in 1917. My family fought in the Russian Revolution and I was brought up to believe this fundamental truth. I may have found my own way to live by it, but I have never abandoned my belief in it.

  51. Reading that Jensen/Dines article you can feel the sexual repression. Jensen/Dines make so obvious the transformation from sexual repression to sexual opression. Nothing really to do with feminism or women's liberation but everything to do with the need for people's sexual liberation.
    Last night Vic and I caught a few minutes of the Kinsington Report which prompted a discussion admitting to eachother our own sexual repression. Yeah, I am sexually repressed and Vic admitted it too and then after a few moments of quiet I said out loud, " Nina Hartley is not sexually repressed." Of course, he agreed, she is not and it is such an inspiration.
    I was being light hearted in my comments to you Ernest when I said we are waiting for you to return to the radical fold because Ernest in all seriousness, you never left. Sexual liberation is part of the struggle too and in that struggle you and Nina are the vanguard.

  52. Last week at the demo in Berkeley, one of our Nam Vets with Veteran's For Peace said in observing the pro-war Nam Vets, "you know, they all look like they haven't had a hug in 35 years." I felt so overwhelmed by the truth of that statement that I held my hand to my heart and kept it there for a few moments because it was just so heavy.
    In all the years I worked as a prostitute there must have been a thousand men who came to me so completely demoralized from the years of denial of their sexuality and/or lack of a sexual relationship with their wives. I remember the man who had gone twenty years without making love to his wife or any other woman. He cried after he came. I did too. I wish that I could report that this was an unusual occurance but sadly it was typical. How does this lack of loving manifest itself in the world? I strongly believe that much of the hatred we witness on a daily basis has it's roots some where in there.
    I am so happy to hear about your weekend because your work is so important.
    Make love, not war.

  53. Lisa, lovely post. I have just been reading the Hindu scriptures, about the many different ways lack of love can manifest. Your post just fit perfectly into that.

    Great post, Ren, and thanks for the link: "A few hours after we were banned from interviewing the girls..."

    Girls? I think they're women, aren't they?

    Why is he considered this big male feminist, when he so easily tosses off that kinda thing?

  54. Sorry to drag this up again, but I really wanted an answer to my question (which was buried in my first post):

    "Changing the subject slightly (back to the original topic), can porn actresses and actors sue the APRFs' sites for copyright violations? It would seem that they could: couldn't it be argued that these people receive money as a result of using your images and likenesses?"

    If nobody here knows the answer, can someone at leats direct me to a resource where I can find it? Thanks!

  55. Holly,

    Actually, I'm glad you brought this back up, as I meant to respond to it the first time and got distracted by all the other excellent questions raised here.

    The answer to yours is not as helpful as I'd like. If the performers hold the copyright to the material in question (if it were stolen from one of their personal Web sites, for example), they would absolutely have infringement claims that would stand up in court. They paid or bartered for the content, are responsible for it as keepers of records and own it fair and square. So that would be a straight theft of intellectual property beef.

    However, most porn is made as work for hire, and when the performer signs off on the release, she surrenders to the producer all rights and claims to the copyrighted material. The producer than enjoys full ownership of the content and it would be up to the producer to sue. As most porn producers are much more concerned about commercial piracy than they are about the deliberate misappropriation of their intellectual property for political use (dumb on their part, IMO, given the opportunity it would provide them toe expose the mendacity of their opponents), it's unlikely any of them would go after Melissa Farley or James Dobson on a copyright beef.

    This ties into one of my personal gripes with the industry itself - you know, the industry for which I'm a shill, lobbyist and uncritical defender - which is its failure to pay royalties to performers. When SAG refused to accept X-rated performers into their union back in the early Seventies (Nina can tell you more about this, as she was involved in those brief and unsuccessful negotiations), they denied porn performers the residuals guaranteed to mainstream actors, and thereby enriched producers at performers' expense.

    There are a handful of companies that do pay royalties, Adam&Eve being one of them, to contract players or big-ticket directors, but for most workers in porn, their day or scene rates will be all the money they'll ever see from a particular project, even if that project goes on generating revenues for years. Nina and I could both be happily retired by now if we got residuals on our earlier work calculated by the formulas used for both SAG and DGA members.

    Beyond the economic unfairness of this situation, there is also the ugly fact that producers can re-use and re-sell work for hire in any form to anyone they please for any use. Performers have no legal recourse when, say, some phone-sex outfit buys their images, photoshops dicks onto them and uses them to push cheesy trannie lines. We've both been shocked, and occasionally appalled, to find bits and pieces of ourselves used to sell low-end goods and services to which we would never have lent our names or images by choice.

    Now, if you want to talk about an issue over which the industry has some explaining to do, I'd say this one would definitely qualify.

  56. "When SAG refused to accept X-rated performers into their union back in the early Seventies (Nina can tell you more about this, as she was involved in those brief and unsuccessful negotiations), they denied porn performers the residuals guaranteed to mainstream actors, and thereby enriched producers at performers' expense."

    I am jumping up and down in my computer chair and would be screaming my bloody head off if Vic wasn't still sleeping. I had no idea of this history and unfortunately, this is one of the symptoms of my total ignorance of the porn industry issues.
    Sorry Holly to take this away from your very important question posted above.
    Ernest, I am in school to get a labor Studies degree to participate in the organization of sex industry workers. Yes that is right, former sex worker infiltrating the labor movement. I have had so much support from teachers and fellow students, representing union activists from other industries. At first, I admit that for some of my Brothers and Sisters in labor, the idea of sex work was too provocative but they have recovered and have come to see that sex work is work and that sex workers have the right to organize and form or join unions just like any other worker from any other industry. The typical questions of exploitation in the sex industry(we are living in a capitalist system, where all workers are exploited) and the "sex trafficking" (raids, arrests and deportation of immigrant sex industry workers) are understood in about five seconds by labor organizers.
    Perhaps it is a new day in regards to porn industry actors and SAG or perhaps there is renewing your struggle for inclusion.
    I applaud your production company's righteous treatment of workers and frankly, I am not at all surprised. In our home given the choice of all the adult entertainment available, we will continue to support your work.

  57. One last thing and again I apoligize for taking up so much space on this site. I believe so strongly that fighting the anti-pornography and anti-prostitution attack forces on the sex industry lies within organized labor. I won't take up anymore space here. If a new thread needs to be open on this issue and you all feel this is important enough to discuss further, I would be more than grateful to be able to contribute.

  58. Thanks, Ernest. I appreciate your answer, and, no, it isn't as helpful as I had hoped for. I had no idea about the royalties thing- that explains a lot.

    I agree that it is silly of the producers to not sue those who use their images against the porn industry. Remember the Meese Commission? It could happen again and that's what they're fighting for. Sue 'em now, or fight the government later (sadly, the Dems have been so eager to appeal to the right that I don't believe too much policy would change regarding sex even if the Dems win).

    That is kind of like the brothels here in Nevada not getting too into defending themselves against the implications of the changes to the TVPRA (which would make all acts of prostitution acts of "trafficking," and therefore federal felonies. Yep- the FBI would then be required to go after prostitutes. Sigh).

    I am also saddened to learn that porn actors weren't allowed in SAG. Has somone ever tried to start a SAG for porn actors?

    Lisa, You GO!!! That's great that you're getting a degree in labor rights!

    I had the same experience in both my undergrad and my graduate experiences with fellow students. At first, shock and titillation, then they warmed up and embraced me and my work. My professors loved me!

    The awesome thing is that I went to school with some very well-connected people, and I keep reminding them to keep my sex work activism in mind when they have an opportunity to affect policy decisions.