Saturday, October 4, 2008

So Now That I've Seen It ...

Nina and I watched The Price of Pleasure in its uncensored entirety last night.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to know I've got lots to say about it, but I'll save the details until tomorrow when I have time.

One thing I can say thus far is that at least twenty percent of its running time includes stolen, undocumented material that is 100% non-2257-compliant. And they are giving public screenings of it around the country, which blows away the fig-leaf of the "noncommercial or educational distribution of such matter, including transfers conducted by bona fide lending libraries, museums, schools, or educational organizations" exemption. It may be a lot of things, but lawful isn't one of them.


  1. Ditto for me, too....this should be quite interesting.


  2. Wait for it ...

    I'm just getting my ducks in a row. It won't be long now.

  3. They are having a travelling roadshow of the film this weekend in Chicago, screening it at all the major colleges in town. We went tonight to a screening at DePaul University tonight, are attending one at my alma mater Columbia College tomorrow. Robert Jensen is present for all the screenings, as are both of the filmmakers.

    We had a long, in-dept conversation with the woman filmmaker (I forget her name) after the screening. She was receptive to what I had to say, but seems not to believe that woman such as Joanna Angel and Tristan Taormino can call themselves feminists. The male half of the filmmaking team claims they had wanted to make an objective film, unlike what Michael Moore does, but this film is clearly not objective.
    I plan to do a review on my blog as soon as I get time.

    Jensen avoided letting me ask my question for quite some time, letting others all around me ask theirs until they almost ran out of time. Finally, another person in the auditorium deferred to me as it was obvious we had been waiting some time. Jensen probably remembered me from an event he spoke at earlier this year where I identified myself as a sex worker and criticized his praise of Andrea Dworkin. Both the filmmakers were polite to myself and my SWOP posse, but Jensen, as usual, was rude.

  4. Also, Ren I really wished you could been there! I kept thinking "I wish Ren was here!" Especially after we saw that Robert Jensen was there. I'm trying to organize a pro-porn resistance at these screenings, but there's, like, 6 of them all over town!

  5. Jensen was very rude, could just see his rage at our presence boiling underneath the calm exterior. He probably went home and watched some violent porn for "research" and got a major woody. He wasn't at Columbia College today, though. Too bad, I wanted to say hi.

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  7. I just saw your review, Aspasia (linked to below (under trackbacks) as "The Price of Pleasure: Alrighty then"), and its very informative. Thanks for the contribution!

    Its in keeping with the majority of other reviews I've seen that state the documentary wears its bias on its sleeve, in spite of the "honest and nonjudgemetal" tag. I guess the mere fact that they included interviews with pro-porn feminists and pornographers makes the work balanced in their book.

    Actually, the have every as much right as anybody to make a documentary that's slanted to the case they want to make. But if they want to be taken as "honest", then they really need to own up to the fact that this is an advocacy piece, rather than making one of the most dishonest "fair and balanced" claims this side of Fox News.

  8. Okay, tomorrow it is. I've got the fucker cued up and I'm going through it point by point.

    Meantime, I'm not surprised to find that others who encounter Jensen in any context other than one of fawning approval find him surly and rude. I've experienced that close up. Anger issues, anyone?

    I've also noticed he doesn't care to look an opponent in the eye. Bullies tend to be cowards in my experience, and I think that's what people are dealing with when they confront him - someone who is used to getting his way with others and can't deal when that doesn't happen.

    And I do apologize for taking so long on my promised critique. It's been a hellish week and no less so for having to look at this monstrosity over and over while I pin down the lies one by one.

    But when I get done, at least those things will be exposed on the record, and that makes it worth the trouble.

    On a related note, I ran into Joanna Angel at a fundraiser tonight and when I told her how she had been treated in this picture, she was badly, badly shaken. In fact, I would say she was profoundly upset.

    So, does that make the creators of this thing happy? Is that their idea of protecting women from the harms of pornography? Is Joanna just a sacrifice to the cause?

    She told me they chased her around the convention floor, told her a pack of lies about how they intended to make a porn-friendly documentary, wasted hours of her time and ended up using about three minutes of her actual interview, juxtaposed with the most triggering clips from her videos they could find.

    Oddly enough, that's the same way they treated me.

    Real moral heroes these people.

    Tomorrow then ...

  9. I absolutely agree with the notion that Jensen is a coward. he looked at the floor the entire time I was making my comment and then seemed to dispute that Joanna Angel, Tristan Taormino, and Candida Royalle could call themselves "feminists" because of what they do. How dare he, who calls himself a radical feminist, stand in front of a room of mostly women and try to tell them what they should think about pornography?

    I told the female half of the filmaking team that I interviewed Joanna Angel awhile back and she asked me what I thought of her. She claimed that Joanna had shared with them stories of childhood abuse and rape that they chose to leave out of the film. I asked her why she chose to include the most disturbing images from Joanna's films in the movie as they aren't representative of what she usually does.

    They admitted yesterday that they are marketing the film towards college students, which upsets me ever more as it really portrays women as victims, right down to the very last shot of a woman with cum smeared on her face. I'd hate to see this doc played in front of college students all over the country so they can laugh at the porn scenes, gasp as the scenes where women are mistreated, and walk away with an even lower opinion of women who work in the sex industry than they have before viewing it. I think that's what upsets me the most about the film.

    I urged them to include some women in the porn industry that are doing positive work such as Tristan or Veronica Hart, but they brushed them off saying "that's not what sells the most in the industry." So they seemed to be obsessed with the best-selling titles in the industry, but included nothing about "Pirates", but instead showed random clips from fringe titles from JM Productions ("Swirlies") and S/M scenes from

    I could go on forever, but I should start writing my review now...

  10. One last thing before I get started with my scalpel. Here's a short account of my meeting with Joanna Angel at an FSC benefit last night, during which I told her about what actually made it into the final cut.

    According to her, the TPoP crowd chased her around the convention floor for three days, trying to convince her they were making a "friendly" doc on porn and just wanted to get her side of the story. As a former fish-wrap journalist myself, I can tell you that's the oldest trick in the reporter's handbook. Tell the mark you just want to "get their side of the story out because all their enemies are already talking."

    So she finally consented to a three hour interview during which "they all seemed so nice," of which about three minutes made it into the release, followed by the hardest clips of Joanna's on-camera work they could find. She was all of twenty at the time this transpired and brand new in the biz with no idea that these nice "documentarians" might use her and then kick her to the curb far more callously than any pornographer. She was practically in tears when she heard about it. "Do I come across as, like, totally stupid?" she wanted to know.

    I could honestly reassure her that she seemed perfectly intelligent in the interview stuff, but that they definitely slagged her with the clips.

    Don't those fuckers realize that actual human beings will be injured by what they're doing? Actual women for that matter. Joanna? Now 22, weighs about ninety pounds. Stands 5'2" in heels. Former Suicide Girl. This is someone who deserves to be held up to ridicule and shame? Man, I thought my skull was going to explode like something out of a David Cronenberg movie.

    These people aren't just cowards. They're bullies. And I hate bullies. So ...

  11. Ernest,

    I think that bit about Joanna Angel should go in the big post about TPOP, if you didn't plan to put it there already. I'm sure some of TPOP's supporters have their eyes on this blog, and I'd hate for them to miss that comment because it's buried in a thread they may not be looking at any longer.

  12. Trinity,

    Good idea. I'll move it up there as an intro to the main text. It does deserve more than just a passing mention, as it sums up so many of our personal experiences with the auteurs.

    I'm saving my story for the end.

  13. I'm definitely foaming at the mouth for your review Ernest because I know you'll be kicking ass and taking names. And you're 100% right about Jensen: coward, bully.

    @ Anthony: "I guess the mere fact that they included interviews with pro-porn feminists and pornographers makes the work balanced in their book."

    Yes. They admitted as much in private conversations with us or in the official post-viewing discussion. Quite honestly, the inclusion of the interviews with Joanna and Ernest came off as...I dunno, cosmetic? Like, "Okay, see, we have your side too!" which was a small fraction of time compared to the other side.