Friday, April 18, 2008

Radical feminism or radically bad faith? APRF's attempt to silence RenEv

Its likely that most of the readers of this blog are also readers of Renegade Evolution's blog and already know about this latest dustup. Nonetheless, I do want to post about it here, both as an expression of solidarity with Ren, and to point to how this fits in with the larger context of the "porn wars".

Basically, a student group at William and Mary College, in the wake of the controversy there over the Sex Worker's Art Show, set up a debate on porn and sex work between, on the anti-side, Samantha Berg (probably somebody who needs no introduction by now) and John Foubert, a "pro-feminist" professor of psychology at W&M, who basically comes across as an even more clueless version of Robert Jensen. (He wanted the Sex Worker Art Show banned from campus holding that the slight nudity in the show would directly cause men to go out and rape – I shit you not that this fool actually claimed this.) On the other is Jill Brenneman (who spoke at W&M earlier this month) and Renegade Evolution.

When Sam heard that she would be facing Ren in the debate, she had a hissy fit and demanded that the student group drop Ren as a speaker. The reason – Ren's infamous offhand comment from about a year ago that radical feminists who were hassling other sex-positive and WOC bloggers should "Fall under a truck and die choking on your own blood." Sam, in true drama queen fashion, claims this proves that big bad Ren is a clear threat to her physical safety. At present, the student who organized the debate is trying to talk some sense into Sam Berg, but there is some danger that Ren will be uninvited, as Sam was apparently invited earlier than Ren, hence Sam's threats to pull out apparently have some leverage.

To say that this is utter bullshit is to state the obvious. First, the "fall under a truck" comment is clearly just an angry statement rather than a direct threat, and one that Ren actually apologized for. (Unnecessarily, IMO, but that's Ren's prerogative.) Second, for anybody who's followed the radfem side of the blogosphere porn wars, Sam Berg's reputation as a loose cannon precedes her. She's well-known for her off-the-wall, creepy, and, surprisingly for someone who's supposed to be all about being 110% pro-woman, often rather misogynistic statements about those she's opposed to. Notably, describing sex workers like Ren as “I’m hot, bi-sexee, and willing to fuck and suck anything for money”. Or strippers as "women smiling while hanging upside down from a pole like a painted negro in a minstrel show dancing for peanuts". (OK, slowly backing away....)

The thing is, this is not a new pattern with the anti-porn feminist crowd. In the 1980s, Dworkin and MacKinnon would debate men like Alan Dershowitz, but would routinely refuse to debate sex workers and sex-positive feminists. The reasons for this were entirely propagandistic, a way of conveying the impression that they represented women, and only men opposed their politics. Later, when the issue of opposition by sex workers and other feminists became unavoidable, MacKinnon and other radical feminists would come to use the kind of tactics we being used by Sam Berg, claiming that the presence of such activists presented a physical danger to themselves and other women.

In 1993, students affiliated with Catherine MacKinnon forcibly removed Carol Jacobsen's video and photo exhibit "Porn'Im'Age'Ry: Picturing Prostitutes" (along with works by Veronica Vera and several other artists) from a conference on prostitution at University of Michigan Law School (MacKinnon's haunt) with the rather dubious claim that the exhibit was pornographic and presented a direct danger to the women at the conference. (That many of the same issues are still being played out 15 years later with the Sex Worker's Art Show is rather telling.) The films were shown at UM only after a lawsuit against the University by the ACLU.

In 2001, Janice Raymond of CATW successfully pressured NYU to have Jo Weldon, at that time an active sex worker, removed from a panel discussion on trafficking. The reason? Because Weldon was a sex worker and not on the same page as CATW, and that since CATW didn't have a sex worker or ex-sex worker from their camp on the panel, Weldon's presence "experiential advantage" biased the discussion against CATW. Note that CATW's tactics involving a last-minute demand for a change in speakers is very similar to what is happening to Ren here.

I also want to point to Witchy-Woo's recent rather off-the-wall broadside against Anthony Kennerson, over nothing in particular except that she wanted to bring up how much she hated him. (I've also been a similar target of abuse by this UK clique of radfems, with a long history of trying to bait Anthony and myself by calling us "cowards". I can't speak for Anthony, but my refusal to engage with them has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with the fact that there's really nothing to be gained by arguing with a pack of rabid, hostile ideologues.) Not that I think this has any direct connection with the W&M events, but it fits this larger pattern. Once again, in the context of a rare display of sort-of-unity between radfems and sex-positive feminists, a radfem takes it upon herself to call out a man who is rather peripheral to the whole discussion, who on this issue was more or less on the same side, just for the sake of, once again, creating a "radfems vs men" two-minute hate. I think its rather interesting to contrast a group of radfems going out of their way to pick a fight with a man versus another radfem avoiding debate with a woman who has proven she can effectively call their position into question. I think this has everything to do with the way radfems have been trying to frame this debate for the last 25 years. However, I think the time has long since passed since they can get away with trying to hide the fact that they have managed to piss off not just men and not just "johns", but an awful lot of feminists, women, and sex workers – in other words, many of the very people who they claim to be helping.


  1. Oh, pfffffft on Witchy-Woo...she's about as deadly and as effective as broken wind. I've already disposed of her latest inanity and attempted drive-by smackdown of moi here.

    Actually, it's more a comic relief than a burden on me to respond to the likes of W-W when they turn their rusty popguns at me and attempt to fire off their blanks. The people who know me know truth from fiction, and the people who read my words know that I say what I mean and mean what I say. If certain people can't stand that....well, that's their problem.

    Sam Berg, on the other hand, is a bit more serious ideologue and lunatic; and her history of going after pro-sex/sex positive feminists with nuclear weapons is well known and fully documented; before Ren, there was Nina Hartley who got the full Genderberg treatment as a "privileged paid agent of the porn industry" (Ernest can tell you more about that, too) when she dared to call Sam's ally Chyng Sun on her antiporn BS.

    All this latest whinefest by Sam is is the latest attempt to control the debate and cook the books so that the truth will be withheld and their side's agitprop will be delivered unvetted and unencumbered by actual facts and rebuttal. In short, the same old sexual McCarthyism wrapped in "femininist" cloak.

    Having called this earlier, I'll make another prediction: If Sam Berg does fail to stop Ren from attending the debate, then she will go to the inevitable Plan B: either invite her APRF Stromtroppers to the debate to harass and disrupt Jill and Ren so that they are unable to make their points; or to attempt to publically out Ren by smearing her private sex life for public gain. It's the old "If we can't control this debate; we will destroy it" tactic that worked so well at the Feminist IX Cinference at Barnard College (read the anthology Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality for more details on that fracus); I'd totally expect these modern-day sex Nazis to emulate their predecessors and try something similar.


  2. This doesn't make sense. When Sam agreed to speak at William and Mary, was she informed that she was expected to debate with RenEv? Or did she find that out later, after she already said she would do it? If it is the latter, this seems pretty unethical of the organizers.

  3. xochitl:

    I believe the original agreement was Berg + Foubert, and JB + somebody else, with Ren being the final speaker chosen, but I'm not sure of the details.

    In any event, that Sam Berg should be claim to be afraid of somebody else's rhetorically violent language is hypocrisy of the highest order.

  4. Yeah, I don't mean to make too much of Witchy-Woo (and actually I did link your response, hotlinked under "Anthony Kennerson", though probably not as visible as it should be). I just thought it was a rather fresh illustration of the point that radfems will often go out of their way to try to make things look like a "feminists vs men" battle. Witchy's seemingly random calling out of you was an example.

    Otherwise, Witchy is essentially an internet crank, good for spewing out hate rhetoric and not much else.

  5. At least it appears as of now the debate will take place, whether Sam shows or not. If she doesn't, it won't be out of fear of physical harm. More like fear of an intellectual rout. She's much better at drive-bys than shoot-outs, as she demonstrated with her smack against Nina when she dared to show up on Counterpunch. Would Sam or any of the rest of her clan actually debate Nina in a public forum? Nina has made the offer countless times in countless places but somehow the other side never shows for the bout.

    As you say, IACB, this is really about controlling the terms of the debate. A small group of women in the grip of a fanatical obsession demand to speak for all women on a particular subject, and when other women dare to object, they respond with invective and vituperation before retreating to sanctuaries where no one is permitted to disagree.

    This is not, as this particular faction would have it, a dispute between men and women. It is a fundamental conflict between those who believe in individual freedom and those bent on eliminating from the world everyone and everything that displeases them.

    This is not the goal of any legitimate political movement. It is the rabid desire of an authoritarian fanaticism, one for which women in particular, as Betty Friedan pointed out years ago, have paid a very high price.

    As a man, I don't presume to say who is a feminist and who is not (a nicety that doesn't much concern Stan Goff or Bob Jensen), but as a longtime supporter of feminist goals, it disheartens me to see women's legitimate concerns obscured behind the cloud of dust raised by a tiny and unrepresentative minority of privileged white academics over dirty pictures.

    They may call themselves radical feminists and progressives, but they are radical and progressive in much the same way the Victorians thought themselves to be, which is to say hypocritical and perverse in their mad fixation on the intimate behavior of others. What other kind of mind thinks to put skirts on piano legs? What other kind of mind is willing to endanger reproductive choice for all women in an effort to undermine the legitimacy of a particular group of women's consent to engage in sex for money?

    I really think calling them APRFs is an insult to real radicals, and I'm not even a radical myself or much of a sympathizer for radical causes. In the interest of accuracy, I think they could more truthfully be described as FACs - feminist anti-porn cultists.

  6. Perhaps this is too radical a thought but to me harping on the rights of women from the rabid, foaming at the mouth anti-porn and anti-prostitution "feminists" point of view have nothing to do with the real rights of women. To me, the real rights of women have to do with the right to healthcare, housing, food,education and jobs. Period. If women or men for that matter don't have the rights to these than frankly, I don't care if they are wearing a head scarf by choice or not or fucking on camera for money. In other words, go fight the real fight, radical anti-porn and anti-prostitution "feminists." That real fight would be for all of humanity to have the real rights of housing, healthcare, education, food and jobs and I would like to add also the right not to have bombs fall on your house, schools and water treatment facilities and to not have the resources of your country be stolen through war and occupation.

    Aside from that, if changes need to be made in the sex industry than I reckon that it is the actual workers inside the sex industry who are best equiped to do it and not the State and not the radical anti-porn/prostitution feminists.
    This never seems to cease to piss me off and go get 'em Ren and Jill!

    "A blow job is better than no job."

    -Margo St. James

  7. This just in – Sam Berg and John Foubert chicken out:

    The above post by Sam Berg also explicitly confirms a major point I made in this post:

    "What to do when a woman who says she’s happy in prostitution says, “Take me, for example” when you know if you actually do take her as her own example by quoting her own words and deeds she will complain, “How dare you make an example of me?” Say you’ll speak with her about prostitution as a global system and of all women’s oppression as the core problem but you don’t want to talk about her personally and she’ll reply, “You refuse to hear my truth.” If you talk about her personally like she insists then you’re the baddie radfem who makes it personal. It’s a lose-lose ruse.

    I’d love to debate a porn-user, and there are tens of millions of them. I’d love to debate a pornographer and there’s no lack of those either. I’d love to debate a john. They don’t want to debate anti-pornography and anti-prostitution feminists. They want women in the prostitute supply pool to subjectively defend them against the objective mounds of testimony and undeniable data that anti-pornstitution feminists can produce proving pornography and prostitution violate women and girls human rights immensely. Most of you have seen how deftly I wield the wealth of information I’ve collected in my noodle to make the case against men’s right to economically coerce sex from others. Some of you have seen me do it before with Ren."

    Yeah, whatever Sam. If you can't make it all about the men, then you're going to take your marbles and go home.

    And the title that Sam chose for the post couldn't be more telling:

    "The Prime of Miss Sammi Berg"

    This, of course, being taken from the novel, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie". The Jean Brodie character being the inspiring, energizing girls' school teacher, who instills in her charges a love for Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco.

    Yeah, Sam, fitting analogy, that.

  8. Well, this went as predicted. How clairvoyant of Sam and Foubert to know everything Ren is going to say and, for which they already have canned responses, and then to make some lame excuse for refusing to allow the actual debate to go forward.

    Of course they're willing to debate "johns" and "pornographers" because then, as we know, it will be all about the evils of men oppressing women instead of women expressing differing opinions, which simply cannot be allowed to exist.

    Miserable cowards and liars to boot.

  9. "Well, this went as predicted."

    As a matter of fact, you wrote on Ren's blog:

    "In fact, I'm so confident of that ability, I wouldn't be surprised if Sam and her crew bailed, leaving behind some kind of boilerplate screed that she won't have to defend in person.

    Damned if it didn't play exactly as you predicted. But then this lot are nothing if not predictable, playing the same game for over 25 years now.

  10. Umm, many porn users are women and many porn makers are women as well.
    I have the day off today and read the sam berg site as well as the debate on the punkass site. First thing that struck me is "what the fuck are they talking about?" I spent quite a few years working street and indoors and so I know, they are full of crap. Second and most important, they can intellectualize till they go blue in the face, I know what criminalization does to women in the sex industry. Really I do.
    When the cops come in and arrest women workers or the courts take the kids away, I know who's intellectual bullshit is responsible.
    "Feminists" my ass.

  11. After one week at my straight job of sitting at a desk and typing for 40 hours, I have carpol tunnel syndrome. Alert the anti's that they should now mobilize to criminalize office work because I am in real pain over here. Maybe if their mobilization is effective enough, my fellow co-workers can be charged with conspiracy to commit office work.
    Is it really "consent" that I sit at the computer all week and type, when really it is not the typing I enjoy but the paycheck I need?



    you know, when it comes to something that blatantly ridiculous, it then becomes a question of: what kind of bullshit are the organizers of whatever event going to enable. I mean, seriously, WHAT.


  13. "What to do when a woman who says she’s happy in prostitution says, “Take me, for example” when you know if you actually do take her as her own example by quoting her own words and deeds she will complain, “How dare you make an example of me?”

    oh what a pile of disingenuous bullshit. No, Sam, actually, "please talk to me directly like a human being" is NOT the same thing as "please gank one of my quotes out of context and use it as your sigline," nor indeed "please raid my personal blog for bits that you find damning and indicative of my general ill character and/or unfitness to make my own decisions, statistical improbability, lack of trustworthiness, what you will, and drag it all over several of the most high profile feminist blogs, STILL without deigning to engage me like a person."


  14. Most of you have seen how deftly I wield the wealth of information I’ve collected in my noodle to make the case against men’s right to economically coerce sex from others. Some of you have seen me do it before with Ren."


    maybe the problem is they wouldn't allow her "noodle" on the premises.

    and, really: we LIKE ourselves, don't we, Sam?

    but, so, that's what:

    "ha ha, I already defeated teh Ren, I don't NEED to do it in a public, formal setting! In your FACE."


    the real question is: why does -anyone- take this...person seriously? or do they? at this point I'm just sitting here with the popcorn and shaking my head.

    "It's fascinating to watch an ego just before it dies"

    --The Pointy Haired Boss, Whose Coiffure Is Totally Pornographic, You Really Should Look Into That

  15. the Renegade Speaks, and points to some shit she previously kept quiet...

    very enlightening!

  16. Ren's had plenty to say about this over on her blog, much of it rebutting Sam's fictionalized version of the events in question with a more accurate, first-person account of what actually took place at W&M and of the specific personalities involved.

    Not surprisingly, Ren fires off a salvo in response to Berg's recycled smack against her, demonstrating once again that for the crowd that loves to proclaim the personal is political, the political is clearly personal.

    All in all, I think the students at W&M benefitted from the presentation, which is all good, but that Sam managed to score a cheap victory, at least from the POV of her supporters, and revealed a bit about how FACs operate in the public arena and why they seem to be increasingly effective at seizing the high ground in the ongoing debate over sex work.

    It would be comforting to simply dismiss this nasty contretemps as a minor match resulting in a draw of sorts, but looking at the bigger picture, I see it as something of a tactical defeat for our side not unlike many we've sustained recently, and an illumination of the strategic picture from which we might find both cause for real alarm and possible counter-measures that may be of critical use to us in subsequent engagements.

    First of all, Sam's imaginative scenario for what might have occurred had she honored her commitment to participate is an utterly unconvincing distraction from her transparent motives. She had nothing to fear from Ren's presence and she knew it. As Ren rightly points out, the probability of any material threat to Berg's well-being in a university auditorium full of students and ringed with security personnel was nonexistent. Agreed with Ren that Berg's more credible fear was of being routed by intellectually more capable opponents in an open debate not controlled by Berg's small but vocal band of unquestioning supporters. Now Berg can retreat behind her cordon of group-thinkers where no opposing idea may penetrate to disturb the sanctity of her moral certitude.

    There's nothing new, or particularly distressing, by comparison to her usual half-truths, slanders, unfounded claims and self-righteous posturing, in Berg's "explanation" for her refusal to debate a feminist who disagrees with her, but there is a tactical maneuver that shouldn't go unnoticed. It points to a larger strategy of attempting to silence pro sex work viewpoints in important public spaces, most particularly on college campuses where FACs have established a beach-head they're prepared to secure by any means necessary.

    In her diatribe, Berg takes a couple of predictable shots at Ren, but saves most of her ammo for the event's organizer, who she outs by name and accuses of being a "yay pornie (such a vile insult indeed)," a claim Ren debunks nicely. Berg attempts to build a specious case against the organizer, whose intentions were clearly benign even if her efforts weren't as well-managed as they might have been, for attempting to deliberately sandbag Berg and Foubert by stacking the panel against them at the last minute and without notice. Berg even finds something sinister in the student organizer's invitation to dinner, as if hemlock might have been on the menu.

    Is this intended to expose the organizer to organized pressure from Berg's followers? You bet. Is it meant to produce a chilling effect on such events in the future? Of course. Is it in keeping with the attacks Gail Dines leveled against the organizers of Yale's Sex Week debate between Ron Jeremy and the XXX Church gang? Absolutely of a piece. In fact, it shouldn't be forgotten here that the whole discussion forum at W&M grew out of FAC objections to the previous presentation of the SWAS there, which they also tried to suppress.

    Bottom line, if you or your organization dares to bring active-duty sex workers to your campus to discuss or present their experiences or views in any manner, you can expect to come under plunging fire from FACs not only in your midst, but from all over the country. Will the awareness of this organized pressure result in the exclusion of sex workers from academic discussion of issues involving them, particularly at institutions where institutionalized prejudice against sex workers, from either the left or the right, is most entrenched and therefore countervailing viewpoints are even more badly needed? Without a doubt. That is the plan, and it will work in more places than not.

    So, by her bullying others while, per usual, painting herself as the victim, Berg once again gains the upper hand in this particular dispute. True, the debate went on without her or Foubert, but its representative character will inevitably come under attack from Sam et al for having "excluded" FAC representation, even though the organizer clearly risked giving herself a spinal fracture bending over backwards to get Berg and Foubert to attend.

    The problem with these tactics is that they work. By refusing to debate women who disagree with them FACs not only avoid direct challenges to the veracity of their outrageous claims by women with the credibility to make those challenges, they inflate their own importance as spokespersons for all the "victims" of sex commerce by making sure none of said "victims" are present to dispute such labeling.

    It's easy to see why Berg and her ilk, going back to MacKinnon, insist on debating "johns" and "pimps" rather than women who disagree with them. Not only does this turn the argument into a "men v. women" gender brawl, it provides them with targets whose veracity is readily attacked ad hominem. Any points made by men are easily dismissed as self-interested attempts to deny the "harms" of sex work on women by men who benefit from those "harms." Cheap, but it works.

    In fact, it works so well that this small, unrepresentative group of fanatics with their cooked statistics, right-wing funded "research" and overheated rhetoric have made substantial gains in making their positions heard through MSM like the NYT and nominally leftist blogs like AlterNet. In a changing political climate less unfriendly to government regulation and more susceptible to spurious claims made by neo-Victorians cross-dressed as progressives, the possibility of Berg, Dines, Jensen, Foubert and others like them having some significant influence on public policy regarding sex work grows every day.

    Meanwhile, traditional if reluctant liberal defenders of sexually explicit speech on First Amendment grounds find themselves increasingly isolated and openly shamed for using freedom of speech as an excuse to justify their own exploitation of "prostituted women." Slick hacks like Ariel Levy and Pamela Paul even manage to give this retrogressive approach a patina of hipness by couching their hatred of sex work and its creative by-products in the trendy language of "media analysis."

    This whole "demand-side" strategy is an attempt to apply the "Swedish Model" in abstract terms. By attempting to marginalize and humiliate men and women who don't toe the FAC line, the hope is to cause defenders of sexual freedom to shut up, which is the cherished goal of the sex-work "abolitionists." Knowing just how flimsy their ideas are, their best hope is to prevent those ideas from facing any serious examination.

    While the kind of stunt Berg pulled at W&M may carry the day for her with her own followers, it exposes a potentially useful strategic weakness in the FAC approach on a greater scale. Their refusal to face up to women who disagree with them may be seen as smart or courageous in some weird way by their adherents, but it arouses a certain natural skepticism in those who have not already chosen sides in this rumble.

    People who won't come out of hiding to fight for their ideas generate suspicion among ordinary folks that maybe the ideas themselves are difficult or impossible to defend. If not, what is that their proponents find so frightening about having to present them in forums they don't control? Refusal to debate is not seen as a sign of strength in the sphere of public affairs, but rather as a sign of weakness.

    And that's why our first priority must be to confront FACs over their refusal to confront us. Every time they pop up in print, on the Web, on campus or anyplace else where they stage their usual drive-bys, they need to be "invited" in the strongest terms to come out and say that bullshit to our faces. We must make ourselves available to debate them anytime and anywhere they make their presence known and when they refuse, we need to raise the loudest possible racket over their motives for doing so.

    Who are these people really and what is their true agenda? I think if most Americans knew the answers to those questions, they would be extremely dubious of claims made by fanatical enemies of individual liberty. Neither Nicholas Kristof nor Bob Herbert would care to be seen in the company of Melissa Farley if they had any real idea who she is or what her ultimate goals are.

    Our job is to unmask that which FACs don't want the rest of the citizenry to know, and so far very few of us are doing that job with any real effectiveness.

    Gail Dines told me that, in her opinion, her side had lost the "porn wars" of twenty years ago, but made clear her intention to try and reinvigorate those divisive conflicts in the hope of a different outcome. So far, it looks to me like the other side is on the advance and we're not doing too well at turning them back.

  17. It seems you're a "a fairly scary hardcore sm pornographer", Ernest.

    Fairly scary? Perhaps you're not trying hard enough!

  18. I guess the poster is reluctant to describe me as genuinely scary because she thinks I might take it as a compliment. Since I don't seek to be scary as a general rule, there's not much danger of that.

    The interesting question in my mind is, scary why? Scary because I make pictures unabashedly celebrating the mutual pleasures of consensual BDSM play for both men and women? If so, guilty as charged.

    Scary because something in my comments could remotely be interpreted as physically threatening? Quite a reach, as I'm unalterably opposed to violence, or even violent language, in a political context.

    No, I don't think it's any of that. I think what makes me "fairly scary" in this instance is that I take the threat represented by FACs to individual liberty very, very seriously, as I do that posed by neo-Nazis, the KKK or the Bush administration. I actually read what these people say and find it sufficiently ominous to warrant committed opposition. I do not dismiss, ridicule or insult these individuals personally. I treat them as a collective danger that must be addressed with urgent countermeasures - politically, lawfully and non-violently.

    Pretty scary stuff when when those you've been bashing and trashing with impunity for years start taking you at your word and working actively to combat your hateful agenda with truth and solidarity. If I were a professional hate-monger, I'd find that prospect particularly worrisome, as truth is a powerful force against organized efforts to deceive and manipulate and could prove the undoing of such efforts, as it did during the last round of the porn wars twenty years ago.

    When a more robust progressive movement than we have today, including the founders of modern feminism, stood up to Catherine MacKinnon and her storm troopers in a powerful amicus brief concerning the Minneapolis ordinance and essentially disavowed the politics behind it, sending Andrea Dworkin et al into exile from mainstream feminist politics, the forerunners of today's FACs found themselves pretty much without a constituency. Their ideological offspring are now reviving the old lies, slanders and dirty tactics they employed back then in the hope of doing what their forerunners could not - making themselves appear the legitimate representatives of the interests of all women everywhere, instead of the isolated band of fanatics they were then and are today.

    Perhaps it's my determination to thwart their attempts that makes me fairly scary. Or maybe it's my haircut.

    Meanwhile, thanks for sending me over there to have a look at the "discussion" in progress. It was mostly the predictable claptrap, but a couple of things stood out to me as worthy of note. One was this howler:

    “At RE’s the male pornhounds — including a fairly scary hardcore sm pornographer — are there full force; some of the threads about this over there are about 90 percent men.”

    I assume I'm the fairly scary SM pornographer in question, so let's count me as one of the "male pornhounds" posting on Ren's blog. Now let's take on the statistic that follows: 90%. That seems to be the favorite number for FACs, as in "90% of female sex workers want out now," as so often quoted from the unerringly truthful Melissa Farley. Let's stroll over to Ren's place and check it out.

    Hmm, let's see now ....Okay, I went back and did a quick census of the contributors to all the threads on Ren's site regarding the W&M debate. I excluded repeated comments by the same people and counted only unique usernames. Here are the results:

    Posters identifying as female:


    Posters identifying as male:


    Posters not identifying by gender:


    Even assuming all the unidentified posters are male, which clearly from their remarks several are not, that would still leave 50 women v. 22 men who commented on this issue in Ren's forum.

    So I guess in FAC math, that adds up to a 90% male cohort. Now there's some real Melissa Farley arithmetic for you.

    One other item of note from my brief but still tediously overlong sojourn at Heart's popsicle stand. This little gem really stood out, even on a thread riddled with hate speech against a wide variety of targets:

    "We had millions of gay men die in the early 80s to the early 90s precisely because gay men created a really sexually sick subculture. They didn’t care about sexually transmitted diseases, they didn’t care about the safety of other men, and they thought flooding gay male social spaces with drugs was fine and dandy. These guys died by the millions."

    I believe that is what is known as homophobia. It could have come straight from Lou Sheldon with his "AIDS is god's punishment for sodomites" riff.

    In fact, the AIDS epidemic among gay men spread as it did, not because they "created a really sexually sick subculture" or because "they didn’t care about the safety of other men." The epidemic took root during the Seventies, when HIV had not yet been identified and most of those infected as of that point were still asymptomatic. The virus wasn't isolated until 1980 and the manner in which it was transmitted didn't become completely clear for a couple of years after that.

    While it's true that some gay men and some gay social institutions remained in denial for a time thereafter, as documented in Randy Shilts' superb book "And the Band Played On," safer sex became almost universal among gay men by the middle of the decade and new infections dropped exponentially. Though bare-backing has staged an ominous reappearance in some younger factions of the gay community, the fact remains that, when given the accurate information, the vast majority of gay men chose to behave responsibly while remaining sexually active. Gay men now constitute a far lower percentage of new HIV infections in this country than do WOC. Does this mean that the former have abandoned their "sexually sick subculture" and that minority women have adopted it? I very much doubt that. Rather, I suspect that safer sex messages have been slower to reach members of poorer communities with less access to healthcare and reliable information and among whom public-school sex education has been virtually eliminated by the Bush administration.

    I expect to see a lot of things i don't like in place's like Heart's, but cyber gay-bashing is pretty low, even by the standards over there. But then again, so is saying you wish you'd aborted your own child after discovering that, despite your haranguing, he chooses to view pornography and will therefore inevitably become a rapist sooner or later.

    So evolved, so enlightened, so morally superior to us pornhounds ... oh, sorry, they corrected that usage over there because the implied comparison was an insult to dogs.

    When these people say I'm fairly scary, and I read the rest of what they post, I have to wonder just exactly what the standard of comparison for scariness must be.

  19. In the full interest of accuracy, Ernest, that smack about gay men causing HIV?AIDS through their "sick sub-culture" actually came from Satsuma, not Heart.

    BTW, Satsuma's a special case on her own not only for her homophobia, but also for her explicit racism and bigotry concerning transsexuals as "invaders" of female bodies and even (in the words of another member of the GenderBorg collective, luckynkl) innate rapists seeking to attack women in restrooms.

    Indeed, allow me to further quote Satsuma on that very same paragraph:

    I’ve seen it rot the minds of friends of mine, and this is male on male sleaze. This is what men do to each other.

    We often think it is a war of men against women, but the gay male porn culture proves who is really behind all of this — sleazy profiteers, who don’t care about anyone. They have no ethics. They sell the heroine of the soul, and they will fight with every sleaze weapon they can, because if women woke up to the danger and refused to get into it, if gay men gained self-esteem and self-respect — if the world realized the power of human rights for women, this world would really change.

    In other's not just about shaming "sluts"/"patriarchy enabler" women like Ren Ev and het "pornhound" men like Ernest or IACB or me; it's about remaking EVERYONE in their regressive, sexually fascistic image.

    Even men who don't even touch women...but simply have sex with each other the wrong way.

    Of course, since Heart and the rest of the Collective seem to think in unison with one brain, it probably matters not that much.


  20. Anthony,

    Yes, I was aware that was Satsuma's post and not Heart's, but the fact that it went up and stayed up unchallenged was my point. No one there cared to disagree, and as you say, "since Heart and the rest of the Collective seem to think in unison with one brain, it probably matters not that much."

    The bottom line is that Heart's blog is a hotbed of hate speech against all things male, regardless of the behavior involved.

    Just try substituting the name of your favorite minority group for the word "men" in the paragraph and you'll know just what kind of bigotry you're looking at.

    I don't bother much with making distinctions among the haters over there. The brown shirts make them all look pretty much the same to me.

  21. BTW, Stan Goff and De Clarke had an article on Counterpunch today. At the bottom, Goff identifies himself as a Methodist, even though the article had nothing to do with religion.

    And they say that anti-porn radical feminism has nothing to do with religion...

    BTW, anti-gay male bashing among the Dworkinites goes all the way back to...Andrea Dworkin. She attacked the gay male "bondage" culture back in 1989, and I quoted those passages on several occasions at the Socialist Scholars Conference.

  22. Been wondering what Goff was up to lately, as he hasn't been very visible in the latest round of porn warfare, much to my relief.

    Have to say the Counterpunch piece is pretty good, though nothing new. At least it's constructive in some way and not just another ideological diatribe.

    And I do think it's interesting that he now identifies himself with a religious affiliation. Something going on there, but it's none of my business.

    As to Dwokinite hostility toward gay culture, it's nothing new. Dworkin wasn't the only self-anointed radical to deplore gay hedonism, or BDSM or anything else other than PC sexuality. Jensen, when not belaboring us all with his maudlin tripe relative to het porn, has plenty of negative stuff to say about gay social life. The same crowd is extremely hostile toward transgendered people and for the same reasons.

    Any conception of sexuality that doesn't follow the party line is obviously some diabolic work of the patriarchy, as opposed to an authentic expression of individual sexual desire, a thing they don't believe exists, or wish did not in any case.

  23. Good morning brothers and sisters,

    Great thread and once again, I have learned more about the enemy.

    It is off the direction but I made a glaring ommision in my post earlier and just for my own "peace" of mind, I have to fix it. I left out the right of women to their own bodies. I was trying to make a point and sometimes I have trouble writing exactly what I mean.
    Have a great day!

  24. I have had this on my mind for sometime and although not totaly formed, I did want to get it out there. However it comes out or comes across, I mean well. So, I apoligize if I am out of line or offend anyone.
    Aside from the debate that took place Monday night and all the controversy surrounding the participants, most of the opposition to the anti's seems to me to be in the web world and the form of the opposition sometimes takes a personal attack tactic. I realize that for folks here, the personal attacks on them have caused this sort of seeming need to defend but I think it is not a good stradegy to engage. I think this back and forth has turned into something that has taken focus and energy away from what would benifit the movement. Besides, I don't think that at least here in the web world anyone is paying attention outside of us and them.
    The issues need to be brought to the people because that is where the power to make change will occur and the people need some real education about the industry. I also think that it is crucial to get organized and confront the anti's where ever they show up to peddle their hate and lies. In other words. organized direct action is what is needed.
    Don't get me wrong that the internet is not important- I have learned a great deal here on this website for example, I am just thinking maybe it is time to take it to the next level.
    The "minutemen" are an armed, racist hate group. I don't see any value in engaging with them on a blog. I do however know it is crucial to fight and confront them on the streets.

  25. I understand that we both have a different take on where the rights are coming from. Generally, you folks are free speech and I lean towards the right of women ( and clients and support staff) not to get arrested. I respect your point of view and acknoledge that all points are view are needed.

  26. Sorry to not have added sexual liberation to free speech.

  27. Lisa,

    Thanks so much for making this point. I couldn't agree with you more. One of the many things I dislike about identity politics and the death-grip it's gotten around the throat of the left in this country is the way in which it causes debate over important issues to devolve into personal mud-wrestling matches.

    Back at the beginning of this discussion, for instance, there was a clear focus on the issue at hand, which was an attempt by a small group of extremists to prevent a qualified speaker from presenting important ideas related to sex work to an audience of young people who stood to benefit from her input and influence. While I'm glad that Ren did get to have her say and that some productive debate did transpire, the bitter infighting over who said what to or about whom, where and when that followed largely drowned out what was clearly a cogent and effective exchange of views.

    I've come to see this typical cycle of personal recrimination as a tactic our opponents use to siphon off our energies from direct action that might prove much more effective. Clearly, they take the latter path themselves. They organize events, stage demonstrations, get plenty of MSM exposure (despite their cynical opinions regarding the truthfulness of such media), exert pressure on other leftist and progressive organizations to accept their positions without question, as was the case with NION, and in general exhibit a willingness and ability to play a ground game wherever they can.

    And it's clearly working in some quarters. I've made much here of what I see as the gains Dines, Jensen and Co. have made on places like the NYT op-ed pages and on college campuses around the country because these will be the battlegrounds upon which our futures will be determined.

    If you want to get an idea of just how busy these anti-porn evangelists are, go to Bob Jensen's Web site and check out his speaking schedule over the next few months. The guy has more bookings than Madonna, not only at universities but also in front of various civic organizations, where he will preach his bizarre gospel against masculinity in general and porn in particular to a wider audience of people who will be voting in elections and making decisions that directly impact matters about which we care deeply.

    I frankly find it disheartening that this thread now has 26 comments linked to it while that concerning the upcoming Evil Angel prosecution, the implications of which are truly dire for all of us, still has exactly two. Not to diminish the seriousness of the effrontery to which Ren has been subjected for daring to speak on our behalf, or the importance of her doing so, in truth we have much more to lose in the EA fight, which takes place on a stage far larger than that of any college auditorium.

    Consciousness raising is one key aspect of the task that lies before us, but as you say, direct action is the only thing that will preserve what rights we still have to engage in explicit sexual expression, or for that matter sexual activities of our own choosing with fellow consenting adults.

    Your Minutemen analogy is most apt. Firing off blasts in cyberspace against foes prepared to use far more lethal means will not win the struggle for us.

    We need to hit the bricks before the bricks hit us.

  28. Yeah, I can't believe I overlooked the news about the John Stagliano prosecution, probably mixing up the Evil Angel case with the ongoing Extreme Associates one. This is definitely a case that should be stayed on, though, and much more important that radfem pettiness.

    There was also a case of comics censorship targeting Alison Bechdel earlier this month that I meant to blog about, but have admittedly become distracted by this latest drama.

    Ultimately, its what the law is doing that's the real issue at hand, and the main relevance of the radfems is their ability to get at least some portion of "liberal" public opinion to join the religious right-led crusade against porn.

    Radfems, however, are so good at being in people's faces with their over-the-top negativity, that they're effective at drawing attention of sex-positive and pro-sex workers' rights folks to their antics and away from the bigger picture.

  29. "I frankly find it disheartening that this thread now has 26 comments linked to it while that concerning the upcoming Evil Angel prosecution, the implications of which are truly dire for all of us, still has exactly two."


    It is possible that folks are watching the thread and this site for an update on the case.

  30. Hi Lisa,

    Possible, yes. However, there is much to chew on in the post I already made and it may be months of legal maneuvering before there are any substantive developments.

    However, I did give the URL for the site EA has created to track the case and solicit donations and the case itself, IMV, merits discussion regarding what those of us on this board might do or say to weigh in on EA's side.

    Even if readers are waiting to know more, they could at least start raising the questions here before taking them to EA's blog. This is classically the kind of situation that warrants our attention now, not after the courts have ruled and certainly not after all the smoke blown over radfem provocations has cleared. The provocations will never stop and if we expend all our energies trading brickbats with these fanatics, they will have effectively drowned us out on the bigger issues and we will have changed not a single mind.

    There are important matters concerning the future of what we do being debated and decided on by others right now and we're not even in the fight yet from what I can see.

    Better to leave Witchy and Sam and the rest to stir the pot on their own time while we get busy plotting some kind of strategy and making it work.

  31. Here's yet another example of how we're getting our butts kicked:

    The hotel market is one of the key supports that keeps feature companies in business and the antis know it. It's also one of the key links between X-rated producers and big corporations that make money off us and therefore might have a selfish interest in using their vast resources and connections to help block repressive legislation.

    Whatever you think of corporate porn or corporations in general, this is exactly the kind of chipping away from both that right and the left that endangers every kind of porn.

    And what has been said about it here? Until now, nothing.

    These developments are unfolding every day, and they are rarely noted or commented upon in this space.

    Giving it back to crazed radfems is certainly important and worth our time and attention, but the real events that will decide the fate of our freedom to make and watch porn deserve more attention than I see them getting here.

  32. Ernest,

    If it was you or Nina arrested, I would drive down to Southern California like a bat out of hell with my bullhorn, placards and banner. That being said, there is not one girfriend that I know, currently working, who does not have at least one case pending. I actually sat here trying to come up with a name and couldn't. Not to dismiss the seriousness of what the implications are for the porn industry but when women get arrested for prostitution, they do not have the resources that John has.

    Your right to work and to produce porn will always be in jeapardy as long as prostitution is a crime.

    On the war and on the war on porn..

    It is theater of the absurd that the porn makers get arrested by the war makers.

  33. By the way, we are all thinking it, so I am going to come right out and say it, that is the most stunning photogragh of Nina.
    Ernest, you just may have the most beautiful wife on the planet.

  34. Lisa,

    Thanks so much for the lovely compliment to Nina. I passed it on and she sends her thanks as well. I totally agree with your assessment!

    And I appreciate the promise of support, which I know to be absolutely reliable, should we ever get in trouble.

    From there, we part ways a bit on this. First of all, while I agree in the broader sense that all laws against sex work make matters sketchier for pornographers, there is a key difference between the status of prostitution and that of pornography, and therefore of their respective defenders.

    With the exception of a few places in Nevada, prostitution is illegal all over the U.S., and therefore the battle that must be waged is for decriminalization.

    Pornography is already legal and our struggle is to keep it that way. By too closely associating the two different causes, we run the risk of endangering both. Those who argue that pornography is prostitution and part of the evil, combined "pornstitution" industry do so with the express intent of using that association to reverse the gains that made pornography in the first place. Sex workers in pornography can and should lend their individual support to sex workers in trouble regardless of what branch of the trade they work in, but as a community, pornography needs to maintain the wall of separation between its legal activities and the still-illegal activities of other sex commerce in order to avoid giving ammunition to its opponents.

    And the fact that criminal prosecution is just a fact of life for individuals engaged in a trade that is already illegal rather underscores this point. That's exactly the position in which pornographers don't want to find themselves.

    Also, it in no way minimizes the ordeal of prostitutes at the hands of the law to suggest that the stakes in a prosecution like the one leveled at EA are considerably higher, both for the defendants and for society at large, than any individual soliciting case that might befall an individual sex worker. First of all, the penalties are far more severe if EA loses. This is a multi-count federal indictment, with conviction carrying penalties that could include many years behind behind bars and fines in the high six digits. A simple soliciting bust, dreadful and stigmatizing as it is, can usually be bargained down to a misdemeanor with no jail time and fairly minor economic consequences.

    Moreover, as we've discussed here, it isn't just about EA, and it isn't just EA's future that's at stake. The DOJ is attempting to expand the definition of obscenity and its power to prosecute it into vast, new territories that threaten the very core of freedom of expression regarding sex, not only in commercial pornography, but potentially on blogs such as this one. There is a compelling societal interest in this case that transcends what may or may not happen to those directly involved.

    As to the suggestion that, because John has resources of his own there is no pressing need to come to his assistance in this affair doesn't take into account the circumstances beyond mere economic costs. It's not just John's fight. It's very much the fight of those who founded this site in the first place, and it isn't just a court battle but also a struggle to raise consciousness and sway public opinion.

    I would be extremely supportive toward any blog that favors decriminalization of all sex work, as I have been in the past, but this particular blog is for the purpose of activism on behalf of freedom of expression for sexually explicit materials. It deals with some related issues in passing, but that is its reason for being. To take on existing laws against prostitution, which most of its individual members surely oppose personally, is a worthy intention but also a distraction from a primary mission that I'm already uncertain we're addressing adequately.

    We may be anti-sex-work prohibition in general, opposed to the Iraq War, think the war on drugs is a vicious scam that should stop yesterday and a hold dissident views on many other subjects, but this space is set aside to deal with a particular issue, and I think we have to be very careful about shifting our focus away from that issue, as we clearly haven't gotten far yet in stepping up to that one, which was the whole point of my previous post.

    No, we don't expect those working underground at a still-prohibited kind of sex work to get on buses and come down to protest outside the federal courthouse over the EA case, and it's equally unrealistic to expect those who have a do-or-die interest in maintaining the legal status of what they do to be leaders in the fight to overturn the illegal status to related trades.

    But it's in the interest of neither to conflate the two, which is the tactic of the enemies of both. We can all agree to lend each other support as individuals, but the whole game of comparative oppression and which forms of it deserve the higher priority is a dangerous one. It risks losing freedoms already won without gaining any new ones to replace them.

    Public support for more enlightened attitudes toward all kinds of sex work is a worthy and important goal, but it must be fought for in many different venues simultaneously.

    Otherwise, Lisa, you are absolutely correct that our freedom to do what we do is never secure for as long as it could be reclassified as criminalized sex work at any moment and I couldn't agree more that making dirty pictures, whatever anyone might think of them, is in no way comparable to the vast obscenity that is war. TIn these things we are, as usual, very much on the same page.

  35. I believe that I understand Ernest's point clearly, too, that perhaps this particular space should be limited for now to the subject of sexual speech and expression....whatever our individual political beliefs may be.

    I do share Lisa's belief, though, that incorporating sexual liberationist issues (including the right to make and consume consensual sexual expression using explicit sexual media, should be an essential part of liberal and even Leftist over political activism...and even though we all may have different political backgrounds where we base our pro-sex avtivism, my main focus as a part of my own belief system is to use free sexual expression as a means to move the more liberal and progressive forces forward.

    However, I would agree that having this blog maintain its focus on the single issue of porn would probably not hurt its effectiveness.

    Perhaps a venue specifically geared towards the overall activism toeards a more amalgamated and comprehensive sex positive agenda of the progressive forces would be better suited to consider the common ground between defending explicit adult sexual expression and defending sex work.

    This is why I've decided this evening to create a new blog based loosely on my Red Garter Club website where everyone of progressive political mind and sex-positive belief can join in and debate and discuss the common issues that can unite everyone, as well as the issues that seperate us.

    It will generally supersede my SmackDog Chronicles blog, which will be evolving away from
    all-sex-all-the-time posts and moving more into general topics; and it will be a bit different from my upcoming and more private Lady Chatterley Boudoir blog.

    It's still in the process of construction, but here;s the link if you are so interested in joining in:

    My New "Red Garter Club" Blog


  36. Okay Ernest, again I surrender and Anthony, excellent idea.
    Just one correction, though Ernest, and it is an imporanat one. Pimping and pandering (provideing a clean and safe place for women to work togehter) are considered a felony. Also, there is conspiracy to commit prostitution, which is also a felony. Some of my girlfriends are facing felony charges simply because they prefer to work for and with other women.
    Now I will respect the purpose of this website and leave this issue be.

  37. Sorry about all the typos. I should have waited till I was more awake to post.

  38. Lisa,

    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't mean to minimize the seriousness of the offenses with which women engaged in prosecution can be charged. Similar attempts to charge porn producers with pimping and pandering were overturned in the Freeman decision, but they're still used to "paper" women who, much as porn producers were back in the day, are not pimps but rather providers of various sex-work related employment, services and facilities.

    It's obvious that all such misapplication of these statutes is always an injustice and should be summarily kicked down the courthouse steps.

  39. Oh, and one other thing I should add in all fairness is that there is an element of free-speech repression that links prostitution and porn prosecutions.

    Margo St. James observed years ago that prostitution cases are also First Amendment cases "because the charges almost always come down to what The Man says you said."

  40. I know that you did not mean to minimize the seriosness of a woman being arrested and you certainly know the law and how it is applied under all our areas of the industry better than most of us. We are all friends and allies here and I understand your concerns for conflating these two areas of the industry. I also know that does not take away from your support and solidarity. I can say with certainty that any oppression of any us makes you every bit as angry.
    My busy day and busy week has come to a halt with a dental emergency. While I am lying here awaiting oral surgery for tomorrow morning I am going to go read the EA website. It am clear that John has been charged but I am not clear on whether anyone else has or potentially could be. More specifically, Belladonna, who I believe was one of the actresses in the trailer.
    At this point I am trying to follow but it is very confusing. I guess most things that don't make sense are.

  41. Hi Lisa,

    So sorry to hear about your dental problems. Ouch! Good luck and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    And thanks for acknowledging the bond of solidarity I feel with all sex workers who face different forms of repression, but face them nonetheless. Better we should make common cause where we can.

    Concerning the EA case, I haven't read the full indictment, but don't believe Bella is listed, although she is a producer-director as well as a performer and is certainly in the chain of custody of the materials cited. Therefore, she might have some degree of criminal exposure.

    As a rule, however, though people from the creative side are sometimes charged, more frequently they're summoned as "material witnesses" to testify against their distributors, distribution and sale being the more serious legal specifications than actual content.

    The way the process works requires first a finding by a judge or jury that the content in question is indeed obscene, thus making those who sell liable for the more serious charges related to distribution and sale. In that sense, obscenity law echoes echoes drug law, which holds dealers more gravely culpable than consumers.

    Obviously, this model enables prosecutors to pursue one of their less noted but very important priorities: seizure of assets. Even if they don't succeed in actually sending anyone to jail, prosecutors can often reap economic benefits through attachment of bank accounts, imposition of fines, etc., that can be used to finance further prosecutions in an endless cycle.

    In short, they want their share of all that dirty money just like any of the other predators who make life a misery for sex workers of all descriptions.

  42. Well I am up tonight having spent the morning in the dental chair and now missing a tooth. I did my reading of the EA site, minus the Reason link, which led me to a rather disturbing question. Why him and why now? I know Ernest has written some analysis on this very question but I came up with a relation to another case some few years back. The case I am thinking about to help me answer the why him and why now question was the case brought up against a well known, long time civil rights, social justice, progressive National Lawyers Guild attorney, Lynn Stewart. The charges brought against Lynn, by then Attorney General John Ashcroft(bastard), would have had the most serious consequences not just for all progressive leftist lawyers but for also for such fundental legal rights as attorney/client priveledge. There was much more I am leaving out due to my memory, it has been a few years. One of the questions brought to a panel of National Lawyer Guild Lawyers during the struggle of Lynn's case, was why her and why now. The answer came so easily to one of the lawyers-if they can get her and bring her down, then they can get and bring any one of us down. The implication here was that Lynn highly respected, sort of the vanguard of the progressive lawyers, who had been in the movement for decades and through her years of contribution to the struggle had a very large support system. Also important to note that this case came about and could have only come about following 9/11 hysteria, same as the patriot act.

    I am not even going to compare the worthiness of a Lynn Stewart to John, it really only matters that the similarity here, regardless of how you feel about his product, is that if he goes down on this and if they get him then all of you are a house of cards. I guess that is the answer to the question, why him.

    I think your political action committee (Free Speech Coalition?) does very good and important work but I am not sure that is going to hold your fort down. If I was you, I would be forming an organizing committee and I would be meeting yesterday and starting to implement an organizational plan.
    There seems to be a fire in your house and maybe there is enough smoke in the room, that actors, producers, directors camera, etc will want to participate in saving their building.

  43. Well, I can't stop thinking about this and now I am going to open the other can of worms-union organizing and I am willing to focus only on the porn industry here and by pass industrial organizing of the entire sex industry. You posted in an earlier debate on this topic that Nina had made some head way with SAG but in the end SAG refused to let adult film actors join. Well, I am wondering if it is a new day with SAG and whether it is time to approach them again. If not SAG, there are plenty of other unions the porn industry workers can affiliate with and I could say with certainty some of those unions could use the shot in the arm. Here is where I am going with this. When the shit hits the fan, you need allies, fellow workers and porn industry workers are workers. Can you imagine what would happen if say for instance, Marriott Hotel bowed down to the Christian Right and stopped adult films in their hotels. Because this would in fact affect the wages, hours and working conditions of another union, there would be strong support from fellow union workers. Picket lines, boycotts and my very favorite, Teamsters would refuse to deliver and cross the line and Marriott and Hyatt would get no deliveries or pick ups. I could go on with this but you get the picture. This is just one over simplified example.
    Union also means legitimacy. It is time to start getting outside the box.
    Free Speech Coalition has done allot of good for a PAC but a PAC is not enough. The industry, with all the good the Free Speech Coalition has done in Sacramento, is still isolating itself from the public and the public is where it needs to be. College campuses, progressive organizations, labor organizations, etc. etc.
    The enemy is organized and now I am waiting to hear, when is your first organizing meeting?

    The other thought I had this morning on this issue is how is this going to effect the most vulnerable workers in the industry. By vulnerable workers, I mean the men and women who aren't porn stars or big producers and live from pay check to pay check, scrambling for work as it is, actors and folks who work production or behind the scenes. Workers are going to lose work if this case wins or even gets off the ground. At the other end of this mess, if one woman can't make her rent or feed her kids because of this bullshit, well frankly that is not acceptable.
    Which brings me to something I have been dancing around and I am going to just say it. Sexual expression, sexual liberation and the free speech approach are what you folks focus on. Not to take away from the importance of sexual freedom and free speech but for myself, that is not entirely my focus. Through all the years that I worked my clients thought I was sexually liberated (I was a professional) really, every choice I made on what I did sexually was an economic choice and had little to do with what I thought about sex or my sexuality or sexual freedom in general. All the laws criminalizing me, my clients and my support staff made my work more dangerous and further, effected my ability, sometimes more than others, of making a living, supporting myself and my family. This to me is the crime. I think that including the right to work without fear of arrest or in your case arrest or censorship, is also an important part to this struggle.
    It is most interesting to me that in every other industry, unsafe working conditions,abuse,exploitation, low wages or discrimination/oppression/criminalization due to immigration status etc. are used as organizing tools to improve workers power. So far in our industry, unsafe working conditions, abuse, exploitation etc, are used against us to further the oppression. This to me is also unacceptable.
    I hope I have been respectful, that is certainly always my intention.

  44. Nina and all the other women in the industry, who clearly were sexually liberated and started the sexual liberation movement, have a very warm place in my heart. I have always had the deepest reverence for them and highest regard.