Saturday, March 27, 2010

Forget The Swedish Model...Iceland Goes APRF Crazy, Bans Strip Clubs

[Important update below -- scroll to bottom]

And to think that liberals and Leftists love to mock the Teabaggers for their outright looniness..we may not be able to laugh so long if this group of radfems get as much a hold of the Obama Presidency as they have apparently overtaken the ruling government of Iceland.

The story from the UK Guardian:


Iceland: the world's most feminist country


Iceland is fast becoming a world-leader in feminism. A country with a tiny population of 320,000, it is on the brink of achieving what many considered to be impossible: closing down its sex industry.

While activists in Britain battle on in an attempt to regulate lapdance clubs – the number of which has been growing at an alarming rate during the last decade – Iceland has passed a law that will result in every strip club in the country being shut down. And forget hiring a topless waitress in an attempt to get around the bar: the law, which was passed with no votes against and only two abstentions, will make it illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees.

Even more impressive: the Nordic state is the first country in the world to ban stripping and lapdancing for feminist, rather than religious, reasons. Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, the politician who first proposed the ban, firmly told the national press on Wednesday: "It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold." When I asked her if she thinks Iceland has become the greatest feminist country in the world, she replied: "It is certainly up there. Mainly as a result of the feminist groups putting pressure on parliamentarians. These women work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with their campaigns and it eventually filters down to all of society."

The news is a real boost to feminists around the world, showing us that when an entire country unites behind an idea anything can happen. And it is bound to give a shot in the arm to the feminist campaign in the UK against an industry that is both a cause and a consequence of gaping inequality between men and women.


[excerpted from full article here]
It should be noted that the author of the Guardian article that practically gushes with praise for this most wonderful "feminist" action is Julie Bindel, a long time antiporn/antiprostitution activist and a favorite within APRF circles.

Of course, my guess is that Ms. Bindel probably would get a slightly different opinion of her favored government from the women who are now unemployed or threatened with not only the loss of income, but perhaps even jail time, thanks to the enlightened leadership of such "feminism".

Or, the women who now will face the prospect of even greater risk of sexual assault or harrassment in the streets due to the closing down of safe and formerly legal venues of adult entertainment.

Or....even those who will now hang their heads in shame that the term "feminism" has been now officially hijacked and smeared through the actions of women whose only incentive is to indict, convict, and even execute men for the evil thought crime of thinking about women as free and equal sexual beings....or simply having erections. (Would Ms. Bindel be so exercised about the supposedly boorish behavior of gay men towards each other??  Or, do they need to have gay bars and other potential places of hooking up closed down, too, just to satisfy her (and the Icelander government's) newly created fear of male erect penii???)

Also...I'd wonder how many of the votes for this strip club ban came from right-wing fundamentalist conservatives who share Ms. Bindel's concerns, yet from a more "religious" perspective of "immorality":rather than the cover of "protecting women" from the evil male gaze?? Of course, no feminist worth her title would EVER ally themselves with such right-wing people to pass legislation....no, ma'am, only those evil pro-porn rapist MEN would portray them as conservatives out to use the State to regulate sexual choices!!!

Unfortunately, in the bizarro world of "left" antipornradicalfeminism, which seems to be taking over whatever's left of "the Left" in Europe, everything old is new again. Rumors of MacDworkinism's death appear to be badly mistaken and unfounded.

And if we're not too careful and don't start fighting hard, we'll have to face this shit here within our own borders. Remember, Cass Sustein could very well be our next Supreme Court Justice....Glenn Beck's ravings notwithstanding.

Update by Anthony (4-1-10):  As noted in my latest comment, I have gone ahead and closed comments for this entry, for the purpose of not extending the drama any further.  I have gone ahead and crossposted this entry over to my SmackDog Chronicles blog. All who had participated in the debate here are more than welcome to move over there and continue the discussion; I will be in a better position to respond to critics there.

Here's the link:

Forget The Swedish Model...Iceland Goes APRF Crazy And Bans Strip Clubs (The Remixed Version) -- The SmackDog Chronicles

Feel free to go there and fire away.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MacDworkin Redux

A piece of legislation that has largely flown under the radar of the free speech and pro-sex advocates passed through the Minnesota Senate this week. The legislation proposes a ban on MN government business travelers from staying in hotels that offer premium porn channels, at least those offering what the legislators are defining as "violent" pornography. Note that this has nothing to do with MN State workers purchasing porn viewing on the state's dime, which is presumably already prohibited, but represents a state-mandated boycott of lodging that does not meet the "clean hotels" designation. (There is an exception in the legislation for state business travelers who cannot find a "clean hotel" in the area they are traveling in, however, they are also required to provide written proof to that effect.)

Clearly out to win some kind of Orwell award, the bill's sponsor, Democratic State Senator Tarryl Clark stated, "This bill is not about policing personal choices. The bill is about taking another step in reducing sexual violence in our society."

Also, proof that the usual suspects from the Stop Porn Culture crowd have had an influence here, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault executive director Donna Dunn notes that the legislation is meant to target material that "show[s] degrading and body-punishing sex".

Further details here, here, here, and here. Text of the legislation here.

What stands out about this legislation is that it has not come from the usual suspects on the religious right (though the "clean hotel" list in the US is maintained by these groups) nor is it justified on "decency" grounds. Rather, the bill was sponsored by a Democrat, lobbied for by a coalition of feminist anti-sexual violence groups (specifically, the Mens' Action Network (who maintain a page on the subject here), the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and, notably, the Minnesota Department of Health Injury and Violence Prevention Unit), and specifically touted as prevention of sexual violence. More chillingly, a document by the MDH Injury and Violence Prevention Unit, "The Promise of Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence: A Five-Year Plan To Prevent Sexual Violence and Exploitation in Minnesota" specifically highlights porn and "sexual objectification" as a causal agent in sexual violence and recommends legislative and other state-sponsored strategies against it.

If this kind of thing coming out of the great state of Minnesota sounds familiar, one needs to go back some 25 years to the heyday of the Dworkin/MacKinnon Ordinance, which was first passed by the Minneapolis City Council in 1983 (though vetoed by the mayor, who recognized the legislation would clearly lose on constitutional grounds). The language of the present legislation comes right out of the earlier Dworkin/MacKinnon legislation. While the authors claim that legislation does not target all sexually explicit material shown at hotels, it broadly defines the targeted material as follows:
"pornographic image or performance" means a sexually explicit image or performance that objectifies or exploits its subjects by eroticizing domination, degradation, or violence.

(Also, as is typical of the hypocrisy of such legislation, while it broadly defines a wide range of pornographic content as "violent" by definition, violent non-porn movies shown on hotel movie channels, such as Saw or Captivity, get a free pass.)

Unfortunately, there seems to be little sustained opposition to this legislation (other than from the hotel lobby), and the Minnesota ACLU website doesn't see fit to mention it. The legislation has a good chance of passing, though how it will stand up if challenged in court is less clear – the bill uses the same ideologically-loaded language struck down in Booksellers v. Hudnut. I urge readers in Minnesota to write their legislators and raise awareness of this issue.

Meanwhile, in Texas, a bill passed last year charging a $5 per head "pole tax" on strip-club patrons is scheduled to go before the Texas State Supreme Court this week. What is notable about this legislation is that it too was passed on grounds of "preventing sexual violence", mandating that the tax be used to fund anti-sexual violence groups. While this may seem non-problematic on the surface, it once again, mandates a direct link between the sex industry and violence against women, and proposes a sin tax as a partial solution.

Like the Minnesota legislation, the Texas bill was sponsored by a Democratic legislator, State Representative Ellen Cohen, and backed by a coalition of anti-sexual violence groups. It should also come as no surprise that Robert Jensen was one of the consultants on this piece of legislation and that a women's center at Jensen's institution, University of Texas, is one of the proposed recipients of the largess of this tax.

More here, here, and here.

While these pieces of anti-porn legislation are a great deal less far-reaching than many earlier anti-porn legislative efforts in the US, or current ones in some European and Commonwealth countries, such legislation is clearly meant to set a precedent. Laws specifically linking pornography to violence against women that might stand up to constitutional challenges may be used as justification for more far-reaching legislation in the future.

How To Smack Down A Troll (Antiporn Pseudofeminist Division)

Here's yet another example of how antiporn feminist lunacy gets around the Interwebz.

Avedon Carol is well known for both her unabashed progressive/liberal/Left viewpoints and her opposition to censorship, especially censorship of sexual media. As the head of the London based group Feminists Against Censorship, Avedon has been on the forefront of battles against both religious- and feminist-based attempts to censor sexual media for quite a long time...even during the days of Dworkin-MacKinnon and the Meese Commission. Therefore, like other infidel feminists, she gets the occasional cold brush treatment from the usual crowd of antiporn "feminists".

A recent example is taking place at her blog, The Sideshow, where in passing Avedon did a brief endorsement of a recent anthology titled The History of Pornography (edited by Patricia Davis, Simon Noble, and Rebecca J. White), which she described as an "non-idelogical" and "dry" piece. Nevertheless, she gave the anthology a begrudging approval:


But I couldn't find anything particularly wrong with it from a quick scan. Possibly a good primer for someone not familiar with the basics.
Such a view was not shared by a reader named "Mathilda", who decided to use the comment page to attempt to correct Avedon on her "error" in judgment.

Regarding: "The History of Pornography, I would not consider this to be a good primer for someone not familiar with the basics as the authors paint a rather rosy, inaccurate, and one-sided picture.

In the discussion of the movie: "Deep Throat", no mention is made of the fact that the actress Linda Lovelace performed this act under duress.  

She testified before the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in New York City, stating “When you see the movie Deep Throat, you are watching me being raped. It is a crime that movie is still showing; there was a gun to my head the entire time.”

Also, there is no reference to "Pornography for Women" and the many excellent female pornographers such as: Petra Joy, Erika lust, etc,  who cater exclusively to the authentic sexual fantasies of women (For example, many scenes that include cunnilingus, threesomes - one woman, two men etc.)

The important distinction between Features and Gonzo is not discussed.

Finally, child pornography, or the more apt term, sexual abuse of children, is completely ignored.

According to the Internet Watch Foundation, the recent trend has been for more brutal images and severe torture of children whose ages are getting lower and lower.

A more appropriate title for this paper would have been: "The History of Pornography for Heterosexual Men".  [posted by "matilda" on 3/13/10 @ 10:34 PM London time]
You get the picture...do you??

Avedon attempted a quick response:

The place of Deep Throat in the history of pornography has nothing to do with how Traynor treated Linda - although her story would fit neatly into a detailed history of marital abuse in the 20th century.  Don't confuse the conditions under which a worker is employed with the product itself - it's like pretending that because many people who work in the food industry are treated badly, food itself is evil.

Internet Watch Foundation is an organization formed by ISPs to try to finesse the government's power to shut them down (I was there - in fact, I was the person who made the mistake of explaining to them that they had no legal recourse other than to fight to change the law or cave in).  It depends on keeping fears about internet content stoked for its authority (and the income of its paid employees).  It does not have a record of being a reliable source for information about pornography, on or off the internet.

Commercial child pornography has played very little role in pornography itself, since it has never been a significant draw in the industry.  Also not mentioned in the article is the outrageous (and fully-documented) list of outright lies used to promote the idea of the vast influence of child pornography and to bring in horrific laws that have destroyed many lives over a threat that does not exist - and in fact, the laws themselves have endangered and harmed more children than they could conceivably protect.

As noted by the authors, there simply wasn't room for exploring the kind of detail you think was important, anymore than there was time for exploring the kind of detail I think is important - such as the role attempts to suppress porn play in creating sexual violence. [posted by Avedon on 3/14/10 @ 4:49 AM]
 Good enough....but upon reading this, I decided that the record should be cleared regarding the charges involving Linda Lovelace, especially considering Sheldon Ranz's excellent work regarding her history.  Thusly, I entered the debate head first:

And, consideing the charge implied that Linda Lovelace was forced to perform those acts she performed for Deep Throat: In her latter years just prior to her death, Lovelace essentially repudiated many of the charges she made concerning coercion involving making porn. She has also insisted that any abuse she suffered at the hands of Scott Traynor was entirely his alone, and that no other porn performer ever abused or coerced her. She even went on to accuse her antiporn suitors who were encouraging her to make those claims at that time of double-crossing her. [posted by me on 3/14/10 @ 10:16 AM]
Rather than attempt to rebut the facts, Mathilda decided to resort to the last gasp of trolls: denial and divergence of attention:

It was her husband Scott Traynor who held a gun to her head during the filming of Deep Throat. [posted by Matilda on 3/14/10 @ 10:31 AM]
Which proves....what??? He held a gun to her head everywhere, and undoubtably abused her..but what does that have anything to disprove Lovelace's own words??

Then, Matilda decided to aim her guns of scorn at Avedon directly, invoking all the usual GenderBorg saws and insults that are lobbed regularly at infidel women who don't march in perfect goosestep with their ideology:

Don't confuse the conditions under which a worker is employed with the product itself - How cruel! Using your logic, we should not concern ourselves with the millions of innocent children, young girls, and women that are forced into the sex trade by means of violence as it's all about delivering a product to men. You're definitely not a humanitarian, are you Avedon.

As for the Internet Watch Foundation, although it does have a history of overstepping its boundaries, checks and balances are in place. The IWF is currently the only watchdog in the UK for suspect online content. While its website cites several areas of interest, almost the whole of the IWF site is concerned with suspected child pornography. This organization has rescued many children from abuse. Surely you're not against that. BTW, can you provide a link for the outrageous and fully-documented list of outright lies used to promote the idea of the vast influence of child pornography. Also, please specify which laws have destroyed many lives and have endangered and harmed more children that they could conceivably protect.

That said, what's your view on child pornography? How extensive is it? Should we just ignore it or must something be done about it?

As for your last paragraph, it appears that pornography for women is such an unimportant detail. It's all about men with you, isn't it? If I may borrow Lambert's quote, you're a feminist like Zola's Nana was an actress.  [posted by Matilda on 3/14/10 @ 12:22 PM]

Note the attempt by Matilda to qualify her basic fundamentalist antiporn agenda with fawning support for "pornography for women", basically a house of straw that is used to mask her agenda of pillorying actual women in porn, and anyone who would defend them.

The debate essentially degenerates from there; I will simply repost here the exchange that resulted.

[From NomadUK]
Using your logic, we should not concern ourselves with the millions of innocent children, young girls, and women that are forced into the sex trade by means of violence as it's all about delivering a product to men.

If you read Avedon's response in that manner, then you're simply being deliberately obtuse and have little of value to say. But that's been fairly clear from your past posts, so, no surprise, really.

2 days ago, 10:46:09 AM
 
[From Matilda]
To suggest that one should not confuse the conditions under which a worker is employed with the product itself is like anathema to me if one wishes to call oneself a progressive. It immediately brings forth images of all kinds of abuse such as sex slavery, child labor, and sweatshops to name but a few. Avedon could have worded it differently to get her point across more effectively and humanely.  For example, if she had said: "Although I understand and share your concern about the abuse suffered by Linda Lovelace while making the movie Deep Throat, her story is separate from "The History of Modern Pornography", then at least, she would have given the impression that she cared about women. As it stands now, Avedon Carol comes across to me as someone who is hostile to authentic female sexuality and who does not give a flying fig about achieving sexual equality and freedom for women. That's not my idea of a feminist. Show me you care about women, Avedon.
2 days ago, 12:18:35 PM
 
[From Avedon]
No.  You come across as someone who wants to make up shit to accuse me of because I don't happen to share your penchant for blaming the wrong things for problems in society.  Your little mini-screeds are littered with false assumptions - not just about me, but about the subjects you claim to care about. 

When you care enough to do as much research on these subjects as I have, you will stop being such a loose cannon and, one hopes, have something to contribute to the debate.  Until then, you are just wasting our time.
2 days ago, 12:34:50 PM
 
[From Matilda]
Again, you provide no links for any of your claims.

In case you don't know, your blog is like an open book, no false assumptions on my part. Obviously you are lacking in knowledge about pornography for women. But not to worry. I'm an expert on that topic. Let me link you to some sites that will enlighten you. Porn movies for women - this will give you an idea what authentic female sexuality is about. My favorite female erotic cinematographer is Petra Joy. She calls her movies "Artcore", rather than "Hardcore". And rightly so. The hot sex scenes in her movies are artistically presented. From reading your blog, I can tell that you appreciate art. Petra Joy's movies will therefore definitely appeal to you if you enjoy watching authentic female desires and fantasies. 

If you wish to know more about what women don't like about mainstream porn, there is a good discussion in the comments to this article.
2 days ago, 2:32:20 PM
[from Matilda]
If you really wish to understand what I mean by sexual freedom for women, and women's right to enjoy their sexuality without shame, read the following.

The Night of the Senses" is an annual event where "Erotic Oscars" are handed out to creative talent. It celebrates diversity. The venue offers many different play rooms where people can live out their sexual fantasies. When Petra Joy attended one year she decided to be a voyeur. She narrates one of her most memorable experiences.
"Another room, another world. I hear a woman's loud moans. They draw me in. Her moans are not high but she groans with pleasure almost like an animal. When I step into the room I see men, lots of men surrounding a kind of metal bed. All I see of the woman is her raised hips and pussy. She is being fingered slowly and deeply by just one guy and watched by all the others. The guy's eyes meet mine. He appreciates and enjoys being watched. This is so different from the group wank scenario of a "Bukkake" party. The guys are not here to degrade the woman. The guys watch a woman being pleasured. And they know they are lucky to witness this intimate moment - a glimpse into the world of infinite female sexual power. A woman receiving total pleasure without shame. She is not serving but being served. Pleasured by one man and adored by the others. To me it felt like a temple of worship to female lust. Deep wet and roaring. And a shiver goes down my spine". Source
2 days ago, 2:40:04 PM
 

So, if we are to believe Matilda, she isn't really censoring porn, just attacking "mainstream" porn as merely a tool of men possessing and raping women, while offering an alternative "porn for women" that will essentially liberate women and break the cycle of male violence while affirming "authentic" female pleasure. Riiiiiiight...and the ex-gay fundamentalist preachers just love gays, too.

Here's how I responded to Matilda's latest nonsense:

Ahhhh.....first of all, Matilda, I have read about countless women who have performed bukkake.  It may not be for everyone, but it's not the universal "shamefest" that you take it to be...try actually asking more than a few women who have done it. It's only sperm, not battery acid.

Secondly...you talk all this smack about "female sexual power", but would you ever support the many females who are in mainstream porn who have openly testified that they have been empowered positively by their participation in it?? Would you grant the same mantle of authority to the likes of Nina Hartley, Candida Royalle, Madison Young, Sasha Grey, Dana DeArmond, Jane Hamilton, Lisa Ann...and I can name so many others?? Or, is only "female sexual power" simply restricted to those who follow your personal ideology? With all due respect to Petra Joy, she isn't the only person who can speak for herself.

And thirdly, comparing "mainstream porn" which is still basically a legal product consumed by consenting adults, with child porn, which is, last time I checked, still illegal, says far more about your biases and cracked opinions, Matilda, than it ever does about Avedon.  Besides, Avedon doesn't defend porn uncritically; she just defends the right of free adult consensual sexual expression.

Oh...and just quoting from Lovelace's Meese Commission testimony that "Chuck Traynor had a gun at her face while making Deep Throat" is simply misleading. In both of her biographies, Deep Throat and Out Of Bondage, Lovelace makes it definitely clear that NONE of the actors and performers in that movie coerced or harmed her during the taping of that movie, and she insisted that not only was it her decision to make the movie, but that the sex scenes were welcomed by her as a distraction from the abuse that she was getting from Traynor at the time. And, as I commented in my OC, in her later years, she even repudiated that testimony, saying that she was just saying that to please her fair-weather benefactors in the antiporn movement.

I'll go along with Avedon on this one. Bring facts, not anecdotes.  [posted by me on 3/15/10 @ 1:15 AM]

What Matilda did bring in response is simply breathtaking. I'll just let you be the judge.

You [moi] said: Would you ever support the many females who are in mainstream porn who have openly testified that they have been empowered positively by their participation in it?? Hahahahaha
Oh, you guys just love to delude yourself, don't you. Show me an article that talks about men claiming that cunnilingus empowers them and we'll carry on with this discussion. I'll tell you what empowers women - sexual equality, socialize women from the day they are born that they should cherish their sexuality and enjoy it because it is good, healthy and natural. Let's do away with the madonna/whore syndrome, shall we and then talk about empowerment.

BTW, here's a good article that mentions Sasha Grey - the author who states that, she is the porno industry's public relations wet dream come true, interviewed her while he was watching one of her porn movies. He's asking her questions while she's moaning in the movie saying:
I want to be your sex slave, I want you to hurt me, I want you to make me cry. I’ll do anything, anything at all, whatever you want, I’m such a fucking whore, I need to train, I need to be broken, I want you to fucking hurt me.” .." Patriarchy has trained women well to say what men want to hear, acting like the good little captives they are.

Mainstream porn is all about women pleasing men. I've been researching this topic for about a year and a half and I honestly don't know which is worse - the images or the text. By far the worst effect of porn is that it has turned the men who watch it into sellfish uncaring lovers. As a result, many men and women have lost the ability to live with each other in peace. In the next post I've provided some links that discusses this issue in greater detail.

As for Linda Lovelace, it was in her last two biographies that she claimed she was abused during the filming of Deep Throat.  However, believe whatever you wish. All I can say is that the acts she performed in that movie were not normal.

Finally, I've been reading Avedon's blog for quite some time now. She must be a nice person and is obviously very knowledgeable about many topics. However, as far as human sexuality is concerned, Avedon Carol only says what men want to hear. I don't fault her for it because many very intelligent women and other feminists do the same. The need to please men is bred into women's bones. It requires herculean strength to break free from this mould and to tell it like it is.

Anyway, peace be with you. 

[Yesterday, 6:17:32 PM]
Forget about the fact that my point wasn't about men and cunninglingus, but women liking bukkake. Let's go straight to the attempted smackdown of Sasha Grey, who can certainly and has often defended herself against similar slurs and insults.

The actual article Matilda referenced (the original link is broken) goes to an interview that Ms. Grey did for Adbusters.com reporter Douglas Haddow that was included in a rambling essay on how porn affected Maddow's generation. The words used by Matilda was actually a partial script of an anal scene Sasha did in a movie titled Sasha Grey Anal 1  That's right, Clones: a script of a scene. No reflection on Grey's normal sexual habits, or even her usual alt.porn roles; just one particular scene acted out. Just like the actors like Petra Joy whom act out similar scenes in their supposedly "woman-positive" porn movies.

Only antiporn ideology would suggest that Sasha Grey's performances reflect anything upon the users or even the performers, any more than people who watch "feminist porn" automatically become progressive feminists, or even antiporn feminists.

And then there is the whiff of arrogance: someone with a year of "research" experience empowers herself to speak for, and deny self-will and autonomy to, women performers who have been in the business for years and years. Not to mention, an anticensorship activist who has been on the front lines for well over 20 - 30 years. All because.....they want to please men.

Finally.....the acts that Linda Lovelace performed were "not normal"?!?!?!?  Really??  So, fellatio isn't "normally" acted out by women on men?? I guess that muff-diving, penile/vaginal sex, facials, external pop shots, and sex with anyone other than your significant other is also considered not "normal", then, Matilda?? Never mind that all those acts are performed not just in porn, but in REAL LIVE by REAL LIVE people every single day???

But....we are supposed to believe that all of the acts performed in her favored "porn for women" ARE real and reflect the desires of REAL women??  As if existing female performers in porn right now aren't capable of experiencing "real" sex in their own private lives??

Yeah....Matilda's different from a right-wing fundie imposing their narrow attitudes on others. She may claim the title of "feminism"...the way Sarah Palin does.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Latest from the "Liberal" Media

The latest round of porn-bashing from the ostensibly liberal media comes in the form of a Washington Post editorial by Pornified author Pamela Paul. Apparently triggered by the news University of Montreal study that turned up no link between porn consumption and pathological behavior, Paul comes back to the porn wars after several year ready for a fight.

Paul wants us to know that porn is dangerous addictive stuff that is damaging society. Her evidence – the anecdotal reports of the self-described porn addicts she interviewed for Pornified (selection bias, anyone?) and, that favorite cudgel of the anti-porn movement, the studies of Dolf Zillmann and Jennings Bryant. She then drops one of her favorite shocking assertions: when Zillmann and Bryant took their findings to an ethics committee, it was found that they had clearly demonstrated that exposure to porn was so harmful, that all further direct laboratory studies using exposure to porn were forbidden from that point forward.

This latter point is taken up as the basis for a column by the rather clueless Tracy Clark-Flory, a writer for Salon's feminist column Broadsheet. Clark-Flory admits that Paul "seem(s) to have an agenda of (her) own" and talks about her "ambiguity" about porn, but nonetheless, seems to be perfectly fine with passing along the claims by Paul, and Zillmann and Bryant without comment.

Now where to begin with all this? First, a quick note on the University of Montreal study that triggered the article. I've been aware of this study for several months, and yes, I agree with the criticisms of it – only 20 subjects, same age group from one college campus, no control group; that's not a good study, which is why I don't quote it. (I do want to note, however, that blogs like Jezebel that made much to-do about the flaws of that study were very quick to laud Melissa Farley's latest study on the evils that johns do, with seemingly no concern about its methodology or research ethics – funny thing that.) The most I can say about it is that it squares with the established body of research that has so far failed to find any overarching negative effect of porn exposure on psychologically normal men.

Now, as for Pamela Paul, she makes a big to-do about her interviews with self-described porn addicts, but a purely anecdotal study of a group that is selected for having a problematic relationship with porn doesn't tell you anything about the role of porn in the lives of all men, or even most men. But if we're going to bring out anecdotal books, why not give equal weight to David Loftus' Watching Sex? Which found men reporting that porn plays a much less problematic (and sometimes even positive) role in their lives, in stark contrast to the claims made by anti-porn activists (who often don't even talk to, much less study, male porn consumers). (Audio of interview with Loftus here.) However, until the claims made in both Pornified and Watching Sex are the subject of a controlled, methodological study, any such claims must be only seen as provisional.

The meat of this critique, and something I've been meaning to write about for some time, concerns the pornography research of Dolf Zillmann and Jennings Bryant, who's studies on the behavioral effects of pornography are a mainstay of anti-porn literature. What seems to have disappeared down the memory hole, however, is that Zillmann and Bryant were deeply biased toward what can only be described as a deeply conservative view of gender relationships (the "virtue" of women, etc) and engineered this bias into the questionnaire they used to evaluate the "sexual callousness" their subjects supposedly picked up from exposure to pornography. Their assumptions about what constitutes “sexual callousness” include: the belief that having multiple partners is more natural than life-long monogamy, placing a low value on the institution of marriage, seeing nothing wrong with non-marital sexuality, belief that repressing sexual desire is unhealthy, and having less desire to have children. In other words, being sex-positive makes you “sexually callous”!

Zillmann and Bryant had been called out by a number of writers during the 1980s and early 1990s for the political biases and its negative influence on their research. Notably, see the debate between Ferrel Christensen and Jennings & Bryant in the pages of Journal of Communication (link and link). The responses by Zillmann and Bryant really give their game away as to where they are coming from in terms of sexual politics, and their contempt for Christensen's sex-positivity is palpable. Note also the response by Daniel Linz and Edward Donnerstein (link), who do not seem to have a dog in the porn wars of the time, but nonetheless clearly point out Zillmann & Bryant's political engagement with the anti-pornography side and, most damningly, the fact that they simply ignore research that contradicted their own when discussing their findings. Additionally, Alison King's 1993 essay "Mystery and Imagination: the Case of Pornography Effects Studies" (partial link here), is an excellent critique of 1980s porn effects research, with a particular focus on the work of Zillmann and Bryant.

Getting back to Pamela Paul, its not surprising that she's such a partisan for Zillmann and Bryant, considering she seems to be working from a similar set of sexual politics. While I don’t know her exact political leanings, based on what I’ve read of “Pornified” and interviews I’ve listened to, she seems to show a strong neo-conservative streak, an impression that's only strengthened by the fact that the overwhelming concern of her writing centers on the strength of marriage and family, and potential threats to that institution. Though she’s not overtly part of the religious right or making religious arguments (albeit, she does have good things to say about religious right anti-porn activism), she does work from a host of traditionalist assumptions about men and women. That women ultimately want to be in a faithful, emotionally supportive, monogamous relationship with a man, and that men basically need to be hammered into the role of faithful partner, something undermined by porn. Call it "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" feminism, if you will.

This brings me to one Pamela Paul's tallest assertions, apparently based on an interview with Jennings Bryant, in which he claims that the results of his study showed such clear and overwhelmingly negative effects that they were blocked by an ethics board from conducing further research where subjects were directly exposed to pornography. Paul implies that this has been the case ever since Zillmann & Bryant's original study. A simple search of the academic literature would dismiss this whopper of a claim (one I've seen a number of antis repeat over the last several years, BTW), and one really has to wonder about Paul's qualifications as a journalist for not even checking this story.

In fact, quite a bit of porn research was done throughout the 1980s, notably by the Linz and Donnerstein, the above-mentioned colleagues of Zillmann and Bryant, as well as Neil Malamuth. The results of all of this research was highly equivocal; Neil Malamuth (a wildly misunderstood researcher who is a strong believer in the idea that pornography has *some* behavioral effect) has conducted several meta-analyses of this research, and has led him to note negative behavioral effects only in the most violent subset of men and mainly from violent pornography (link), and this in combination with a certain set of pre-disposing psychological cofactors (what he terms "moderators") that he is currently engaged in studying. Most notably, Malamuth was not able to find any evidence that pornography promoted sexually aggressive behavior in psychologically normal men, something anti-porn crusaders like Robert Jensen and Gail Dines have been forced to admit time and again.

And this is not to mention the fact that pornography is routinely used in other areas of psychological research, notably studies of sexual attraction; for example, the controversial research on gender and sexual attraction by Meredith Chivers and Michael Bailey (link).

The story by Bryant, repeated by Pamela Paul, that research using pornography ceased following Zillmann & Bryant's early study is spun out of whole cloth, and is simply a dodgy cover for the fact that their alarming results were not, in fact, generally replicated. That a crusader like Jennings Bryant or Pamela Paul would float such a tale is par for the course. However, that somebody like a Salon columnist – Salon presumably being a journalistic source – would pass something like this along without some remedial fact-checking is truly shameful.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Internal Blog Business: Return of the Original SmackChron (Sort Of)

The follwing is not neccesarily porn related, just some followup on some blog issues of mine that got resolved recently.

For those of you who were unaware, two months ago the domain that I had used to host my original SmackDog Chronicles blog had been hacked into, thus causing the original webhost to pull my domain without warning.

I was able to find a different domain and start fresh, but in the transfer all of my posts from my original blog location were nuked...and that included some material that I had been saving, such as the reprint of Sheldon Ranz's classic 1989 interview with Nina Hartley, and some exchanges on the madness of Shelley Lubben's antiporn ministry from the perspective of some porn performers that she and her followers were maligning.

At least, I thought that it was lost.  Until, about a month ago, when much to my utter surprise, I discovered that I had saved the database which contained all of the posts that I thought I had previously lost.

Problem was, not being an expert on manipulationg databases within WordPress blogs, I wasn't able as of then to successfully transfer them to my new blog location. That's is, until last Friday...when I discovered that all I had to do was to change the URL in a certain field of my database from my former domain to my current one.

That, and a bit of minor jigging with some code, finally did the trick...and I am finally happy to anounce that my "old" SmackChron blog is now back in operation.  I was even able to move all of the latest posts from the newer blog that I set up back over to the "old" location, so now everything is now consolidated

Essentially, the "old" blog is now located at my new domain, otherwise everything else remains accessible, including all the extraneous pages and other stuff.

I have updated the linkroll here reflecting the new URL; but here it is here for posterity sake:

The SmackDog Chronicles (Version 2.6)
http:/www.redgarterclub.com/SDChronBlog2dot5/index.html

The only difference is in the domain name (redgarterclub.com); otherwise, everything old is new again...and vice versa.

The Porn File-Sharing Debate Goes Viral: Vicky Vette Declares Total War On RapidShare (And Other "Theives")

If there is anything only slightly less controversial than the state of porn or the issues of condoms, it is the issue of downloading and filesharing of porn videos.

While most adult media file sharers are perfectly legal and law-abiding folks who have obtained their wares legitimately through paid memberships to adult websites, there are more than a few who do in fact attempt to steal content in order to profit for their own, or simply to take credit for material that is not their own.

In a depressed economy, though, even legal file sharing through such venues as bit torrents or "tube sites" (sites similar to the popular You Tube that allows uploading and public viewing of video clips, but explicitly catering to XXX tastes) or through file storage/file sharing sites as Hotfile or RapidShare or Megaupload (and its adult kin Megaporn), can be very much harmful to the original producers of such material who expect a fair compensation for their work. This can be especially true of independent sites that aren't dependent on large establishment production houses such as Naughty America or Brazzers, and the so-called "at home" sites hosted by performers and models out of their own home that rely on exclusive home-grown content.

Not suprisingly, it is mostly the latter group that has attempted to fight back against what they see as intellectual property theft, and some of them have gone so far as to seek legal action against companies they see as enablers of "property theft". The softcore megasite Perfect 10's unsuccessful attempt to seek damages against Google for their use of thumbnails in their Google Photos app is one example; the recent lawsuit of Pink Visual against Brazzers for the latter's tube sites violating the former's copyright by showing PW's clips without permission is another.

The primary defenses used by the filesharing and tube sites has been that they can't really control what their users upload and store on their servers, and that most of the supposed "copyrighted" material is uploaded by members who legally sought and own them through legitimate paying memberships to those sites. They say that the most they can do is to detect the obviously illegal theives and shut them down as soon as possible...but to target a whole service is throwing out the baby with the bathwater and punishing the innocent as much as the guilty.

Nevertheless, that has not cooled the anger of those who constantly see their hard earned work reproduced and copied illegally and passed on through file sharing sites and tubes.

One such performer/webmistress is Vicky Vette: reigning MILF superstar and owner of the very popular Vicky at Home website and rapidly rising multi-model Vette Nation Army network. (Disclosure alert: I am a moderator of Vicky's members' forum, and own and co-moderate several Yahoo! groups dedicated to her network.) She has had an ongoing battle with defending her intellectual property against copyright thieves since her original site took off in 2002; but when she discovered recently that some of her material was being illegally stolen and passed around through services like RapidShare, it jolted her to action. Quoting from an entry at her home site blog:



Pretty simple business plan, film sex and sell it, a plan that is being threatened by file sharing – the practice of uploading movies for downloading by others free. Now perhaps I should be flattered that stuff I sell is being ’shared’ but I have recently started a full frontal campaign against one of these file sharing mongers – Rapidshare. For those of you not familiar with Rapidshare you can download whatever you want for free – supposedly from users just like you who have uploaded their movies to share. Why am I upset with Rapidshare and others like them? Rapidshare are thieves. They make money by selling memberships, advertising and other scams. Yes… when something is up on their server you can in theory download it for free, but they do cute things like ‘for $9.95 you can get this file quicker and easier’. There are also all kinds of links to Adultfriendfinder where you can supposedly date ME if you have a membership. Do I get a piece of the action if they sell memberships, advertising or otherwise when a user is so inclined to spend a few bucks? Not a penny. Do they seem to care if someone puts up my movies for sharing by millions of people free? Apparently not. Rapidshare is doing to movies what Napster did to music… destroying the industries it is cheating.

You would think that it would be easy to get Rapidshare NOT to put up my adult videos and share them with the world if I asked them right? NOT so. One of my more popular website flicks is Lavatory Occupied – a series of videos shot in zany lavatories all over the world (including on a 747). Not exactly high art but I own them and Rapidshare cannot legally host or give it away. I wrote to them after I found Lavatory Occupied and other links and they immediately took down/disabled the links. Problem solved right? Errr no. A couple days later more links reappeared. So I wrote again and threatened them. Problem solved right? Errr, no. The links were taken down but a couple of days later more videos were put up in their place. I just got done writing them yet again today. A revolving door of stolen movies.
[...]
I am writing this blog to do my small part in the way of a public service announcement. If you are using the services of Rapidshare or others like it, remember that the performers are getting ZERO. If you became a member at Rapidshare so that you could get a quick download, remember that no one is making a dime but the scumbags running these services. If you sign up to a dating site because you are surfing rapidshare, were turned on by the porn you see, and feel like hooking up on one of the dating sites advertised remember most of the profiles you are salivating over were simply made up by a bunch of guys thinking of ways to get you to spend your money. No, the big breasted blonde named ‘Inga’ does not live down the street from you.
You would think a massive country like the good old United States of America would do something legally to protect ALL copyright owners. After all Rapishare and companies like them steal not only porn but also from major hollywood movies etc. Now I would love to think that Eric Holder from the Department of Justice was thinking about porn when he made an announcement on February 10, 2010 that a ‘task force’ was being set up to confront intellectual property crimes but I kind of doubt it. GET THAT LINK HERE. I also think it is an empty promise. I am however happy to see that the police on February 12 in Poland of all places arrested 3 people running a File Sharing Forum for Rapidshare Uploads. GET THAT LINK HERE . The masterminds behind this Forum with 30,000… yes 30,000 users? Aged 21, 16 and 15 with 6 computers between them. The people who responded to this ‘news’ (which did not exactly make CNN) made comments showing the mindset of our society…
Incidentally, RapidShare is based in Switzerland, so it is probably questionable whether US copyright laws would actually be applicable, and the Justice Department isn't exactly too kind to defending porn these days. 

On the other hand, though, there was a recent case in Germany where a group of  book publishing companies and producers were successful in getting legal sanctions against RapidShare for copyright violations in postiing their work withoug permission....and that might give some impetus to Ms. Vette's argument.

Of course, RapidShare is only one of many companies who offer file sharing, and the ease of downloading and the popularity of filesharing would make it a rather tough case to sell for going after the companies or even the users (the latter being the favored strategy of mainstream anti-piracy groups like the MPAA or RIAA through their lawsuits against individual filesharers or sabatoge via DCMA malware). Also, many fileshare groups insist that given the millions of profit that already exist through price gouging for regular consumers of material, it is inevitable and simply unstoppable. and counterproductive to go after user, who may respond by not buying the product itself and really destroying the profits of the industry. (Not to mention the broader attitudes against the adult sexual media in general.)

To that, Vicky responded with this:


I kind of expect some harsh responses to this blog. Vicky… you are a pornstar, don’t sweat the small stuff, you have to be rich! Vicky.. think of it as free advertising for your site! Vicky… I put stuff up myself (I own it and I want to share it!). Vicky who cares… it is only porn?! Vicky.. move to Poland if you are so concerned! In case you have not noticed, adult companies and performers are hurting. Your DVD’s? Less common. Like any movie, producing ‘art’… in this case people having sex on camera.. costs money. Costs include the ‘actors’, a camera dude or two, a photographer etc. When a company puts out ‘Vicky Vette Has Sex With a Me and All my Myspace Friends 83′ and rather than BUY it, you run to Rapidshare and get it because someone uploaded it and Rapidshare allows it…. who wins? Rapidshare. The folks making the adult stuff you want to ‘enjoy’ are not making enough for their own mansions anymore and going out of business. If you steal Part 83 there is no reason to make Part 84 of ‘Vicky Vette Has Sex with Me and all my Myspace Friends’.

Should we care about the porn producers who make adult movies? Just a bunch of scumbags right? That is sure the perception, but think about the performers too – whose numbers are dwindling. Have you guys wondered where the next Jenna Jameson is? It has been a while since someone like that has appeared in adult for a reason. It is becoming increasingly difficult for adult stars to make money to do such a profession. Why bare all for the camera if the results are stolen? The Jenna Jameson’s of the world are staying in school, staying as strippers and doing anything BUT getting into adult. A good thing? Maybe, but if you are a fan of hot girls in adult… not. Companies don’t have the money to promote ’stars’ anymore and there is no point becoming an adult star if you still are living in a one bedroom apartment in Reseda wondering when you are going to become famous like Jenna. To be blunt, if you can make more money dancing at the ‘Foxy Lady’ than appearing in a skin flick… why bare all for a dwindling chance at fame?
Why bother with this blog? I am doing my small part. Educating my small slice of the world that you should think twice about using Rapidshare and companies like it. If something is FREE…. someone is getting ripped off. If you are uploading your movies to Rapidshare and places like it…… you are helping Rapidshare make money and the owners who run it.

I am going to keep sending my letters to Rapidshare and keep fighting the fight. Will it help? Probably not… I fear that the biggest culprit in all of this are likely adult movie companies themselves who are likely behind lots of these places. It seems our own community is giving away free stolen content to make money from advertisers/dating sites etc. It would not surprise me that some adult movie producers are deliberately putting up free stuff so that other adult movie producers go out of business – dog eat dog.
 Whatever you may think about fire sharing, we all can agree on one thing: stealing someone's content without their permission is definitely WRONG. Stealing their content and claiming it as your own is even worse.

Vicky Vette has said that she is currently seeking advice for possible legal action against RapidShare and other venues that illegally post her material; we will follow with updates as they happen.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

AHF Pickets AIM Clinic - A New Low

Just when you think there is no depth of sleaze to which AHF will not sink in their campaign to seize control of the adult video industry's healthcare and STD testing and monitoring "franchise" they show up at the clinic to shout lies and scare off people wanting to be tested or needing medical treatment.

Real humanitarians who feel deeply about the health and safety of performers these folks. If there's a potential shot at two seconds on the local news, there appears to be nothing they won't do. These tactics are straight out of The Operation Rescue Handbook.

People who picket clinics and intimidate clients seeking testing and/or treatment are beneath contempt, even if they believe what they're saying is true, which in the case of these cynical hacks is hardly so. They don't give a rat's ass what's true. They care about landing some kind of contract from the State of California to provide services inferior to those we already offer. If a few performers get sick as a result, no big thing, as long as Weinstein can add a few hundred thousand bucks more to AHF's bank account.

This stunt is truly sickening in every sense.

Read all about it:

http://business.avn.com/articles/37494.html

Will there be some push-back on this one? Count on it.

A Lesson In Anti-Porn Liberal Hypocrisy From AlterNet

It is pretty funny to see how liberals who are the most exercised about the innate evils of "mainstream porn" (or, as they also put it, "male-oriented porn") attempt to square their personal squicks with their political rhetoric.

Lately in some portions of the liberal-left press, much has been written or posted online about finding the perfect "alternative" to "mainstream porn", as a means of avoiding or sidestepping the heated issue of censorship, while attempting to replace such allegedly harmful, disgusting, and misogynistic material with content regarded as more "progressive", more "humane", and more "sexy".

As usual, the repository AlterNet is among the primary boosters of this strategy, allowing for the likes of Robert Jensen and Gail Dines to go off on the evils of porn, while simultaneously allowing others to promote "alternative" forms of erotica.

Unfortunately, to that end they sometimes will tend to cut corners and undermine the original founders to their political agenda.

Such a case I discovered today, when going through my Twitter account and discovering a reccommendation to an article that was posted last week to AlterNet titled "Is Hardcore Porn Played Out? A Site Showing Real People's Orgasms Give A Sexy Alternative".

The article, credited to a writer named Cherry Trifle from SeXis Magazine, consists of an interview with the owners and founders of a site called Beautiful Agony, which features basically porn shot from the neck up, promoting "real people having real orgasms", and specifically emphasizing shots of the performers/participants's faces when they come. The site basically invites participants to submit for pay their own videos, which are then published at their paysite.

In the interview, BA's founder, Richard Lawrence, explains why he developed his site and how he feels it to be different from "mainstream porn":


Cherry Trifle: You say that these videos are documentary, rather than performance…

Richard Lawrence: I think one of the biggest problems with the porn industry is that it doesn’t do a good job with its responsibility as a sex educator; which it is, regrettably—and not just for adolescents. Plenty of grownups have more sexual experience, in fact way more, through porn than with partners. As hardcore porn becomes more mainstream, people are developing these ridiculous notions of what women like, or what men like, and what people look like, or what is acceptable sexual behaviour.

I recently met a woman in her late 20s who told me she didn’t like anal sex, but had been doing it for years because she thought it was expected of all women, just as she’d seen in all the porn DVDs. And isn’t it incredible that not all women like to have five guys come in their face at once? In gonzo porn, it’s shown that all sex acts have their price, and so does every woman, as the host picks up a “random girl” from the street and peels off $100 bills in the back of a van. In fact, through running Agony, I have come to despise [traditional] porn rather than just be bored with it; porn could do so much to enhance sexual relationships, yet overwhelmingly, [porn] works against them through the depiction of sexual practices without context or informed consent.

There is a whole other side to Beautiful Agony that many people overlook, the section called “Confessions.” In these interviews or self-filmed revelations, the “Agonees” tell us—usually very frankly—all about their sex lives, and their stories are often remarkable.
One of my favorites is the well-spoken 20-something who decided to try out her new sex toy on the commuter train home, only to find that the lock on the bathroom door didn't quite work, much to the astonishment of an older lady passenger… After listening to a few of those stories you start to take a bit more notice of, well, things.
Notice how Lawrence simply restates most of the antipornfeminists' major critiques of "mainstream porn": that it disregards emotion and "love" for the quick facial; that it depicts sex outside of "context" (presumably, of love or emotion, as if lust or sexual pleasure isn't a legitimate emotion in and of itself);  that it degrades the performers by not requesting their "informed consent" to perform those acts; and that it reduces sex to a commodity to be exchanged for quick cash.

The only difference between Lawrence and Gail Dines, though, is that rather than censor porn outright as Dines and other antipornradfems would support, Lawrence would rather people discover and find his site as a supposedly healthy, "progressive" alternative that would improve human sexual relationships...though with the implied hope that if enough people do cross over, "mainstream porn" would wither away and die on its own.

Now, there's nothing wrong with encouraging alternative visions of erotica or supporting alternative means of sexual media, and I begrudge Mr. Lawrence nothing on his vision of erotica. What bothers me, though, is that like the antiporn radfems, he takes a very distorted view of what "mainstream porn" actually is and consists of, taking the widely maligned "gonzo" style as representative of the ONLY popular form of the genre of explicit sexual media.

Apparently, Mr. Lawrence wasn't around when Candida Royalle came out with her "feminist porn" label of hetero hardcore (via her Femme Productions series) which featured very real performers having very real orgasms and the same deemphasis on facials in favor of PIV shots (although, she had plenty of below the waist shots). And what about the recent rise of "alt.porn", which also bucks the trend of "gonzo" by offering girls that defy the supposed "male-oriented" stereotypes of big fake boobs and fake orgasms?

My real issue, though, is in the distortion that was used by AlterNet in posting the article at their site to begin with.  The actual SeXis site is far, far, more inclusive regarding sexual ideology....in fact, none other than Nina Hartley has a regular Tuesday podcast there.....and last time I checked, she was still taking facials and doing at least some anal. Indeed, the original title for the interview was slightly different from the spin that AlterNet took: Capturing The Face Of Orgasm: In & Out With Robert Lawrence, Founder of Beautiful Agony.

Whether it was the AlterNet publisher's decision to use the more...shall we say, direct byline for reproducing that interview, or whether Ms. Trifle gave them the approval to alter the title; it certainly sounds as if AlterNet distorted the article to support their agenda of going after "mainstream porn" while sidestepping the calls for "censorship:.

And the AlterNet agenda is not so veiled by other articles referenced in the piece, with titles such as:

"There's More To Sex Than Just A Cum Shot: What Men Need To Unlearn From Hardcore Porn"

"Why Men Fake Orgasms"

"You Like That, Baby, You Like That? Has Porn Made Men Bad At Sex?"

"Why I Quit Working In Porn"

Not exactly the "men are beasts and rapists" rhetoric of Maggie Hays and Kathleen Barry, but not that respectful of their free choices and ability to respect women, either.

Perhaps the folks at AlterNet would prefer to actually talk to and listen to a few men who are into "mainstream porn" before they decide to pass their judgments.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Legislation Puts Porn Stars' Medical Privacy At Risk

Do we see the heavy hand of Michael Weinstein and his attempt to grab AIM's clients and the state's money behind this?

You betcha.

Does it show anything but utter contempt for the poor, hapless performers he and his pals are so sure only they should be allowed to "protect?"

Draw your own conclusions:

http://business.avn.com/articles/37477.html

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Justine Off Broadway

Via AVN, Fleshbot, and The Villager comes news of porn's latest crossover success, this time one of my long-time favorite performers, Justine Joli, who has been cast in a starring role in the play Caligula Maximus, playing the Caesonia, the consort of the God Emperor.

Joli's crossover into Off-Broadway Theater rekindles an old link with the porn world, as much of the early talent in porn came out of that milieu. (Among them, Paul Thomas, who first cut his acting chops in Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar.) Not to mention with the story of Caligula: the producers of the play are emphasizing that this will not be a theatrical version of the 1979 movie, there's probably no way of recounting that history without making it at least a bit smutty.