After a mysterious disappearance for a week or two on either side of The Price of Pleasure's ill-fated presentation in Pasadena, TPoP's promotional Web site is back in operation, with a new schedule of screenings, some new review blurbs (all favorable, of course) and, more interestingly, some subtle but important changes in the synopsis.
Words like "unbiased" and "non-judgmental" have been dropped in favor of "nuanced" and "complex." Of course, it still claims to feature the "voices" of pornography performers, though we know that such voices are heard in under five minutes of the picture's one hour running time, unless you count moans, groans, screams and dirty words in stolen footage from their work as adding a couple of minutes to that total. The re-worded synopsis pretty much abandons all pretense of objectivity in favor of the assertions, never effectively demonstrated in the actual movie, that "the content of pornography has become more aggressive, more overtly sexist and racist." And Sarah Katherine Lewis is now more carefully identified as " former stripper/porn performer-turned-author," perhaps in light of repeated questioning of her status as a personally experienced expert on pornography, with which she now admits to having had extremely little direct involvement.
The discussion page, virtually inactive in the previous version of this promo site has now been deactivated altogether, which may be a preemptive measure of some sort or may simply be a recognition of the fact that TPoP was drawing far more comments elsewhere than it was at its own URL. This does, however, rid the site of the producers' evasive response to an inquiry regarding the staggering $450 price tag for Internet sales of the program, which is now being sold openly to all comers at screenings for a much more reasonable cost.
A quick check of links to other sites may have something to do with the decision to drop the original claims for the film's "unbiased and non-judgmental" approach to the subject matter. The blog-roll is a convenient Who's Who of anti-porn mouthpieces:
The Price of Pleasure Trailer on YouTube
The Price of Pleasure - Chomsky on Pornography
The Price of Pleasure - Donkey Punch
Media Education Foundation
Open Lens Media
Third Coast Activists
NYU Center for Media and Culture
Robert Jensen's Articles on Pornography
Gail Dines' Articles
Stop Porn Culture!
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
Feminist Law Professors Blog
The F-Files Radio Program
Ariel Levy's "Female Chauvinist Pigs"
Off Our Backs
Sarah-Katherine Lewis' "Indecent: How I Make It and Fake It as a Girl for Hire"
Now that's a fair and balanced roster of sources that would do credit to Fox News.
Perhaps most significantly, in light of the all the intrigue and skullduggery surrounding October's scheduled screening at the U.S.C. campus in Los Angeles, which was canceled and rescheduled at The Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena at the last minute for reasons presenter Robert Jensen never got around to explaining, TPoP is once again slated to show at U.S.C., this time on February 26, 2009.
I'd be curious to know what obstacles led to the previous rescheduling from U.S.C. to Fuller and how those obstacles were magically made to disappear for the 2/26 date.
If the intention is to propagandize more students with none of those pesky porn people in the auditorium because, like, you know, we've all got such short attention spans from all those drugs and all that PTSD that characterize all our lives without exception, I wouldn't count on that if I were the producers.
They may not be able to count on any other audience in the Los Angeles area, but they can be absolutely assured that we'll be there to make ourselves known, seen and heard as we really are, rather than as the cardboard cut-outs offered up by this so-called "documentary."
Perhaps this time the producers themselves will have the guts to show up and face all the people they lied to and whose interviews they distorted in the making of this monstrosity instead of leaving it up to Jensen to clean up their mess for them.
I have my doubts, but you can bet I'll be there to see for myself, and I'll have plenty of company from within our ranks.
TPoP's creators may be able to show their masterpiece unchallenged to uninformed viewers elsewhere, to admit minors to screenings and sell copies at the door in clear violation of even their dubious claim to exemption from 18 U.S.C. 2257 regulations under the educational and research use clause and to otherwise flout federal law with a collective sneer on their mugs, but whenever they come here, they will find us waiting for them.
I truly look forward to our next encounter. I'm sure they'll have a few new tricks up their sleeves.
So will we.