Sunday, August 30, 2009

Now the Brits Get in the Act

The U.K.'s reliably anti-porn Guardian wants to blame Western porn for rape and, of course, unsafe sex and therefore the prevalence of AIDS in Africa on the basis of a few L.A.- made vids that find their way into the bush.

And speaking of bush, before blaming porn for the high incidence of HIV in Africa, perhaps the Bush gang's insistence on abstinence-only programs and withholding of condoms and information about them in Third World countries might be just a tad bit more of a problem than the "harms" of porn where that's concerned, but you won't read anything on this subject in the laughable-but-for-the-subject article I'm about to post.

The insanely retrogressive AIDS policies of the South African government and the influence of The Vatican in that part of the world might have come in for some scrutiny as well.

Rape, for that matter, truly is epidemic all over Africa as an instrument of war, most brutally in places like The Sudan, where porn is heavily suppressed under Sharia law. However, what are a few annoying, contrary facts when you have righteous opinion on your side?

No, it's all about porn, as always.

Here you go. Read it and let those folks at the ever-vigilant Guardian know what you think about this latest dose of stupidity:

Porn Turning African Villagers Into Rapists?

by Tim Samuels

I used to think porn was tremendously good fun. The adolescent thrill of sneaking a copy of Fiesta home inside the Manchester Evening News. Crowding around a PC at university as a smutty picture revealed itself pixel by pixel. Even the equine VHS shown during my first job at GQ gave everyone a good, if not queasy, lads-mag laugh. Any anti-porn voices felt like killjoy whines echoing from the outskirts of Greenham Common.

By the time I'd left the lads-mag cocoon, porn was almost part of the mainstream furniture. But the proliferation of free and utterly hardcore websites visited by kids in their global droves did spark an interest in investigating the industry. The moment porn truly stopped being fun came in a remote Ghanaian village – mud huts, barefoot kids, no electricity. The BBC series I was making about the impact of porn had led me via LA to Ghana.

One of the unforeseen consequences of globalisation is the shocking effect that western porn is having in parts of the developing world. The village has no electricity, but that doesn't stop a generator from being wheeled in, turning a mud hut into an impromptu porn cinema – and turning some young men into rapists, with villagers relating chilling stories of assaults taking place straight after the film's end. In the nearest city, other young men are buying bootlegs copies of the almost always condom-free LA-made porn – copying directly what they see and contracting HIV.

The head of the country's Aids commission says porn risks destroying all the achievements they've made. It's a timebomb, he says. The concerns aren't theoretical – I met young fathers with HIV whose only sex education came from LA, women living in the villages subject to post-screening abuse, and even a shy teenage virgin who has written to a porn outfit in California asking to star in their films (his return address was care of the local church in Accra).

The porn producers aren't deliberately pushing their products into Africa. But the tide of black market DVDs on sale at street markets and hardcore clips viewable at internet cafes is almost unstoppable. Surely this multibillion-dollar industry needs to take some responsibility for the human costs?

Since the only sex education some people in places such as Ghana are getting is via porn films, there is a decent argument for the porn industry to produce more films where performers use condoms. In LA, where the majority of the world's porn is still shot, only one company routinely makes such films.

The condom-only policy adopted following an industry HIV outbreak five years ago lasted just months. If the ambition is to put more condom-using porn into circulation, which will then more likely end up in those street markets or cafes, some serious multinationals could throw their corporate weight behind this. Hotel chains – among the biggest broadcasters of adult material – have not used their immense clout to insist on greater condom use – much to the dismay of the porn-star STD-testing clinic in LA. Mobile phone firms are also surreptitiously making jaw-dropping amounts of money from showing adult content on their handsets. Could their ideas of corporate responsibility take on a latex dimension? Might it actually be that ridiculous for the porn industry itself to adopt a spot of corporate responsibility? These are, after all, major businesses replete with HR departments and plush offices nestling next to mainstream film companies. Bankroll sex safe campaigns, harness the allure of their top stars, maybe even make bespoke films for the developing world which educate as well as titillate. Doing nothing, and leaving western porn to march untrammelled into Africa and other places, is a deeply unattractive prospect.

Oh yeah, let's not forget to retread all those lies and half-truths about the vast amounts of money being made by huge multi-national conglomerates operating out of luxurious offices in Porn Valley (as opposed to the warehouses and quonset huts where most porn companies really do operate). And BTW, the "dismay" of "of the porn-star STD-testing clinic in LA" over the failure of these vast porn cartels to use their videos as safe-sex PSAs? If, as I assume, the author refers to AIM, AIM has no stated position on any of these subjects, and the author must be telepathic to sense AIM's dismay in this matter, as AIM has never made any public statement supporting any of the nonsense above.

Porn performer health is AIM's concern. Porn content is not. That distinction is what enables AIM to get cooperation from the entire spectrum of performers and companies and preserves its non-profit status as a healthcare foundation, rather than a 527 PAC.

Nice reporting there. Guess they no longer teach journalism at the UK university where Samuels enjoyed his time in "the lad-mag cocoon."

Samuels' piece appears, by some odd coincidence, just before his new TV series "Hardcore Profits" airs on BBC 2.

While the entire article is stupid and offensive, its worst sin is the recycling of the myth that Africans belong to a lesser class of human, subject to instantaneous outbreaks of spontaneous sexual violence at the sight of a naked white woman. That's the underlying assumption of this piece, and oddly in line with the beliefs of David Duke on this issue.

Racist sex panic led to thousands of lynchings in this country. The insensitivity of suggesting that porn turns Africans into sex-crazed fiends is truly breathtaking, not to mention profoundly repellent.


  1. The stupid, it burns!

    Isn't the leftist antis who are claiming our side doesn't understand social context at all?

    Interestingly, Stop Porn Culture sent out a similar missive about 6 months ago, claiming porn was driving rape in Congo: link I guess years of war, general social breakdown, and ongoing neglect of that part of the world by the international community have nothing to do with the horrors that have been going on there – lets blame porn!

    It appears that Tim Samuels repeats this claim in his BBC docs, while part two goes into the hot button "extreme porn is on the rise" canard. link

  2. Tim Samuels started a newspaper or newsletter called The Saint which is a religious newspaper. The Guardian is now pretty much ran by feminist fundies so anything to do with anti-porn or anti-sex they will publish no problem. It seems like the relgiious fundies and the feminist fundies have hijacked the guardian and have teamed up on their anti-porn crusade.

  3. Tim Samuels started a newspaper or newsletter called The Saint which is a religious newspaper. The Guardian is now pretty much ran by feminist fundies so anything to do with anti-porn or anti-sex they will publish no problem. It seems like the relgiious fundies and the feminist fundies have hijacked the guardian and have teamed up on their anti-porn crusade.

  4. Tim Samuels started a newspaper or newsletter called The Saint which is a religious newspaper. The Guardian is now pretty much ran by feminist fundies so anything to do with anti-porn or anti-sex they will publish no problem. It seems like the relgiious fundies and the feminist fundies have hijacked the guardian and have teamed up on their anti-porn crusade.

  5. I am so sorry about the triple post, my laptop is acting funny so can someone please remove two of them? Thanks and again I am sorry about the triple post mishap.

  6. I see. Gail Dines has once again come across an opportunity to solicit for funds. What a surprise.

    I wonder if she has an relatives in the Nigerian banking industry.

    Just a thought.

  7. I just caught the end of part one on BBC 2.

    It made is sound like porn was the key cause of rape and HIV transmission in Africa. The HIV epidemic is called a "devastating consequence" of porn - training children to have promiscuous unsafe sex, and subverting the abstinence education they're given. There wasn't even an attempt to balance the argument.

    I expected better from the BBC.

  8. It would appear that the UK is on its way to become the first rad-fem police state. If you look at the laws passed and the propaganda surrounding them there over the past couple of years, it's pretty clear who has the political momentum.

  9. If Tim thought at one time that porn was "tremendously good fun", then why is he so quick to turn against it now on the basis of such flimsy evidence?

    And, unless I missed something, he does not mention any titles of adult DVDs or videotapes that are being consumed by the African males in question.

  10. Neither does Dines. Could it possibly be that the entire story is a fabrication?

    Not saying it is, but if it were fraudulent, it wouldn't be the first such example of sensational invention to appear in major MSM on this subject.

    Speaking as a journalist, I'd say it would be rather difficult for a fact-checker at the BBC to run down Samuels' sources.

    What really gets to me about this bullshit, more than the standard blame-porn-for-all-evils boilerplate, is the underying racism. There's a "corruption of the noble savage with white man's vices" spin to it that's literally nauseating.

    But then, racism and homophobia (manifested in denunciations of the vileness of all forms of anal sex common on blog after blog) are far from unfamiliar to anyone who follows rad-fem discourse.

    It continues to amaze me that leftists of whatever gender do not see how alien much of this ideology is to their core beliefs. It's nonsense like Samuels' that discredits genuine leftist critiques of the post-colonialist contributions to Africa's misery - contributions such as the Bush administration's abstinence-only restrictions on HIV funding.

    But then I forgot. Both Samuels and Dines seem to think the Bush approach was working just fine in Africa until the despicable pornographers undid all its successes.

    Mere hypocrisy is much too kind an explanation for all these "coincidental" overlaps.

  11. Here's the website for the Groupe d'Action pour le Droit that contacted SPC:

    They are a small humanitarian NGO in Goma, Congo. (If you're not up on your geography, that's in in the Rwanda/Burundi/Congo border area that's been suffering from war and terrible ethnic strife for at least 15 years.)

    Their list of objectives include:

    We are trying to achieve these objectives by:


    5. Promoting the fight against pornographic culture;

    What "porn culture" looks like in somewhere like Goma, I have no idea, but from what I do know about that region, it seems pretty far from their biggest problem.

    What I also did notice from Googling was that close to half the hits when googling the name were from feminist blogs that were copying the story that first appeared on Womensphere. None of these blogs have any other posts about this group in any other context. Another large portion of hits were from wildlife protection groups that were reporting on the groups campaign to come up with an alternative to cutting in mountain gorilla habitat as a source of fuel.

    I'm sure they're doing laudable humanitarian work, and struggle for funding. To that end, they seem to know how to appeal to certain hot-button issues that play with Western donors.

  12. Either that, or they've drunk the Kool-Aide with respect to radical feminism being some kind of leftist, progressive political philosophy consistent with other elements of a progressive agenda.

    In that, they are mistaken, perhaps to the same ultimate dismay as what laughably passes as an anti-war movement in this country.

    I like Mountain Gorillas as much as the next guy, more maybe, as Nina is a great wildlife conservation supporter, but not a dime of mine will ever find its way into the bank account of any organization that lies down with Dines and her ilk.

    This is why radical feminism is so toxic to the left and why somebody needs to grow a spine and tell them all that they're unwelcome among real leftists and progressives anywhere.

    Either that, or leftist and/or progressive organizations should prepare themselves to go the way of NION.

    For starters, rank and file contributors need to start let the leaders of these groups know that they won't donate to any organization that links to rad-fem blogs or allows rad-fem-sponsored items onto their agendas.

    One thing the left used to know how to do was conduct a proper purge. It needs to regain that ability, and this is a good place to start. Email every organization with links to SPC and let them know why you're not sending them any money. We'll see soon enough what they're made of.

    Ruthlessness toward the goal. That's a game two can play.

    Hm. I feel a new thread coming on - one with a list in it.

  13. BTW, has a big, fat link to SPC down at the bottom of their home page. It would appear that SPC gave them some assistance creating their site in return for that link.

    This, of course, works entirely to SPC's advantage and against their own. It gives SPC some dubious humanitarian legitimacy at the cost of support from otherwise-generously inclined liberals who support constitutional government in this country.

    I'd be apt to send these folks a contribution of my own, but seeing that banner-size link for SPC there, I'll be sending them an email instead, politely alerting them to the political facts of life in these parts.

    I do not send money to those who ally themselves with fanatics out to destroy me, whatever other considerations may be involved.

  14. WOW....just plain fucking WOW.

    When the Beeb starts repackaging racist myths about African Blacks turned into uncontrollable rapists and spreading HIV/AIDS under the cover of antiporn mythology, then we are truly near the Apocolypse.

    I mean...surely Mr. Samuels can actually bring himself to research that rape and the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STI's far precede the modern porn industry, or that perhaps the lack of comprehensive STI education might have more to do with right-wing policies of denying humanitarian aid to these communities (or linking such aid to right-wing conditions).

    But no....facts don't matter when you're in the middle of a easy moral panic....and when you can use old fashioned liberal paternalism and "White man's burden" mixed with antiporn feminist philosophy to sell your message.

    And considering both the pull of Gail Dines's ideology with the UK radfems and what sliver of the British "Left" there is, and the ideological bent of the Guardian and the BBC towards "radical feminism", it probably shouldn't surprise me at all.

    I believe that I've just discovered my first contribution to Caroline's new sex worker blog project.

    And...I just might get back to one of my original projects of developing a space for sex-positive Leftists, too, just to opppose this bullshit. Not just the SmackChron, either, but a real space just like the one Caroline just launched this morning.


  15. It's a bit unfair to say that The Guardian is reliably anti-porn - they publish a lot of comments and articles in favour of porn and against censorship.

    This piece, though, was pathetic - presumably he's trying to make amends for the horse porn he saw in his younger says (not on his own, though; he would never admit to having watched porn on his own, so he can always blame someone else).

    The rest of the piece - these black folk can't keep it in their pants - haven't we got past that one yet?

    In any case, it does seem a bit hard for porn companies to be blamed for what happens to pirated copies of their films.

  16. "It's a bit unfair to say that The Guardian is reliably anti-porn - they publish a lot of comments and articles in favour of porn and against censorship.

    Its true that The Guardian has a pretty much open comment policy, and those comments are often pro-porn/anti-censorship. And certainly much of the commentary about this article has been quite negative, so clearly we're not the only ones who see huge problems with the paternalistic mentality behind the article.

    Still, I take issue with the contention that The Guardian has published lots of articles against the censorship of porn (or against criminalization of sex purchase, for that matter). When the "extreme porn" law was generating much controversy, I recall a number of articles supporting it (including this particularly obnoxious editorial saying in effect if the law brings on artistic censorship, that would be a good thing), but I don't recall any Guardian editorials opposed to it.

    The fact that their most prominent feminist columnist is Julie Bindel, an ultra-hard line separatist, transphobe, and sex hater of the Sheila Jeffreys school speaks volumes about the variety of feminism that The Guardian promotes.

    Now if there's another side to The Guardian that I'm missing, feel free to set me straight about it.

  17. Someone needs to let The Guardianl, which considers itself leftists, know that the likes of Julie Bindel and Sheila Jeffreys are not leftists, but rather false-flagged neo-cons who adhere to a number of ideological beliefs absolutely contrary to those The Guardian professes to hold on a wide range of other issues.

    This is the very understanding that that leftists and progressives must come to accept before radical feminism consumes their credibility as progressives entirely.

    I'll say it again. Radical feminism is to feminism what National Socialism is to socialism.

    The Guardian needs to be made to realize what kind of movement they're really fronting for. That is a task for UK leftists, and they need to get on it ... yesterday.

  18. I will agree that The Guardian has a general anti-censorship (but it's a pity that that must include porn) stance; but individual writers have written in favour of porn - Dea Birkitt, on watching hardcore in a (German, I think) hotel with her husband, Pamela Stephenson still saying that there's nothing wrong with porn in her "Sexual Healing" column, and a few pieces against the extreme porn law on CiF (which I have just been looking for, but can't find). Plus there's also odd things - usually in The Guide - that just take porn for granted.

    I will not deny that there are anti porn pieces as well; but I think that is part of what a newspaper should do; they also print pieces by Conservatives, which I also don't agree with, though I'm glad to be able to read them. (There was once a bizarre piece by Jeanette Winterson saying that while straight porn is bad, gay porn is good - mainly because she thinks it annoys straights.)

    I don't like Julie Bindle either; but her last two big pieces on sex were corrected a few days later, as she had used already discredited figures (on rapes near lap dancing places, and on police estimates of trafficked women); since then the only real piece I've seen by her was on how horrible children are. I think someone might have had a word. In any case, I'd rather have her where I can see her.

    Isn't it good how people like Tim Samuels are made really irate by the fact that money is made in porn, and that most of it is made by the people at the top? Why does that not matter in any other business?

  19. Actually, I've been looking some more (search "extreme pornography" on the Guardian site) and I'm amazed at how many anti porn pieces there are - maybe I just skate over them. But there are a few pro porn pieces as well.

  20. And Bob Jensen has been on Fox News as a token leftist. So what.

    The Guardian is a mouthpiece for UK rad-fem anti-porn bullshit. The occasional appearance of a differing opinion is nothing more than a cover to make the publication appear "fair and balanced."

    It's neither. And it has played an extremely destructive role in recent UK public debates over public policy regarding pornography and sex work.

    When I say The Guardian tagged to any piece on thes subjects circulating anywhere online, I can predict the content as easily as I can predict the latest nonsense from Bill O'Reilly.

    Samuels' piece is abdolutely typical of the unsourced, sensationalized drivel The Guardian funnels out to the public uncritically when the origin is some rad-fem or anti-sex-work tub-thumper.

    It just may be the worst example in all of MSM when it comes to this particular area of coverage. I'd rather read a newsletter from Focus on the Family.

  21. Just watching the second part. Very predictable stuff about how women are exploited and abused in the porn industry. The claim is that porn has become much more extreme over the last couple of years, yet old Max Hardcore stuff is used as the example...

    I've got to roll my eyes at some of the disingenuous tricks used by the film maker. For example, asking a Vivid contract performer to list the sex acts she's performed, only to cut away, mute her, and instead add a voice-over stating that the acts mentioned were "unbroadcastable". As if you can't say "double penetration" or "anal" at 10pm... I guess he's hoping that our imagination is more shocking than reality.

  22. In fact, the whole trend in porn right now is away from circus acts and back toward more conventional performances.

    It's beginning to dawn on the thick-skulled bean counters who now run this porn business that part of the fallen-off-a-cliff sales numbers they've been looking at for the last couple of years may have something to do with producing a lot of extreme material that a few, vocal viewers may crave but that turns off a much larger share of the potential market. On we've been hearing complaints about this from consumers for the past three years.

    But of course, the idea that market forces may actually be leading porn away from all those "umentionable" sex acts (which Vivid contract players don't do anyway) runs counter to rad-fem dogma that porn consumption is a progressive addiction manufactured by evil agents of the patriarchy to lead sheep-like men toward ever more degrading sexual deviations. One of the straw-filled talking heads in TPoP makes exactly this claim.

    The mere fact that statistical evidence readily derived from sales and production figures tells exactly the opposite story is irrelevant, since it runs counter to the ideological imperatives of the movement's narrative about porn and those who watch it.

  23. "And...I just might get back to one of my original projects of developing a space for sex-positive Leftists, too, just to opppose this bullshit. Not just the SmackChron, either, but a real space just like the one Caroline just launched this morning."

    Here's a link to the group blog you had mentioned:

    Also, I wanted to remind people of the Sex in the Public Square Forums, which are highly under-utilized.

  24. To anybody who is still following this thread – the nonsense from Tim Samuels has now been picked up by the PRI news program The World (link).

    Once again we have a case of making an accusation with no evidence into established truth just through sheer repetition.

  25. I searched around and it looks like "Hardcore Profits" has already gone up on one of the pirate sites. Links here:

    (Note that Depositfiles allows more than one download at one time, so downloading both at once is the most efficient method if you're using the slow non-member download.)

    I just downloaded both parts and will have a look and maybe review it in the next few days.