A very illuminating debate on the LA condom mandate law took place last week.
Representing the pro-mandate side was Wendy Murphy, crusading prosecuting attorney and long-time TV trial analyst, well known for high-profile prosecutions...and apparently, waist-deep in Gail Dines' antiporn ideology. (Yeah, like Gloria Allred and Marcia Clark and Nancy Grace and other high-profile female prosecutors aren't???)
Repping the anti-side?? Porn performer and Digital Playground contract starlet Kayden Kross, who also knows how to spin a phrase or a thousand, having wrote plenty of pieces for Mike South's blog, and whom was a major contributor to Michael Whiteacre's still-in-the-works expose/documentary on Shelley Lubben.
The venue?? The FOX Business Channel's "The John Stossel Show".
Now, if you weren't aware of Kayden's gift of the tongue, you'd think that she would be mincemeat for the much more seasoned Murphy. Heck, Murphy basically looks like she could be Kayden's mother...and as we shall see, Murphy probably acts like she wants to be Kross' mother, too. After all, the prevailing conventional wisdom is that unless her name happens to be Nina Hartley, porn girls are so obsessed with their boob implants and what/how many dicks they can jam into their vaginas and mouths and buttholes that they aren't really that bright enough to defend their profession.
That day, though, Kayden busted that stereotype and crashed it into a million pieces. To put it simply, she kicked ass.
This was an especially gratifying boat race because apparently Wendy Murphy had gotten the memo from her antiporn colleagues that it was perfectly OK to slut-bait and personally embarrass Kayden for being such an advocate for intelligent porn women...up to and including bringing Kross' parents into the debate and dissing K2's arguments as "the dumbest thing I've ever heard". That K2 handled such an ambush with her usual public grace and class is not too surprising..though, I'm sure that her inner voice had some much...ummmm....earthier phrasing.
But aside from the personalities involved, the most important discussion point of the debate was the conflict between using the law for the purpose of "public safety and protection" -- the main justification used by proponents of the condom mandate law -- and the protection of individual liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention...which happens to be Stossel's main theme as a right-wing libertarian.
I should preface this with my own disclaimer: I am not a fan of John Stossel or of any network associated with Roger Ailes's "Political Crackhouse"....errrrrrrrrr, FOX political propaganda outlet, and I fundamentally reject his base view of libertarian capitalism totally freed of useful regulation and affirmative government as a referee insuring a level playing field. I may be pro-porn and sex positive, but I'm still also very much a Lefty. Refer all objections to my new Twitter page, @AJK_DontGiveAFuck. (Please don't..it doesn't exist..but you get my drift.)
However, there are times when I do think that libertarians do have a point or two...and this is one of them.
Allow me to quote from Marv Montag, an adult reviewer who posted at his blog his own review of the FBC's debate.
Mr. Montag's point about prosecutors taking liberties with their power to convict people by appealing to the meme of "Those criminals are really guilty, they're just using their 'Constitutional rights' to trial by jury to game the system and get over from justice!!" is very much a germane and excellent point...especially given my point that most female high-profile prosecutors tend also to be more than a bit biased towards the antiporn crusader position of "rescuing girls from their abusers". That mentality does tend to support more coercive and blunderbuss regulation of public behavior, under the notion that going after the "source" and the "roots" of violent and dangerous behavior will curb the negative impacts of such behavior. That describes the condom mandate proponents down to the crossed T and dotted I.To start, it should be noted that I have no problem with condoms in my adult films, and I fairly regularly review the one (?) company that I know of that consistently uses them--Wicked Pictures. I also review the releases of a number of companies that don't. I'm neutral on the whole issue from the "aesthetics" perspective.That said, I do have a problem with the unnecessary intrusion of laws on personal freedoms--particularly those dealing with freedom of expression. In her rebuttals, Ms. Murphy noted that it was the job of the government to protect people. On the surface, this is a laudable goal and has a good deal of truth to it. What is lost in her espoused application of this idea, however, is the fact--and it's one fundamental to our nation's very core--that it's as much, or more so, the government's job to protect our liberties. In watching various shows on television and reading various news articles, I have found that certain prosecutors seem to have a tendency to forget this fact...or at least put it aside when they so choose or when it's most convenient. Indeed, sometimes the best way for a government to do its job--and to protect its peoples' liberties--is to do nothing at all. (Thoreau, anyone?)Now, one argument that invariably arises in this debate is the notion that workplace safety is regularly regulated by law and governmental agencies, etc. and that this should be no different. It is certainly true that workplace safety is regulated. As someone who deals with this firsthand in "real life", one might even say that it's regulated too much. That said, the overall effect--in general--is a positive one. But, what this argument fails to account for is that those instances most thought of in terms of workplace safety regulation do not deal heavily with inherently-speech-related items. In the state of California--where this is all going down--the production of adult films falls fully under constitutionally-protected freedom of expression (ref.: the Freeman decision). By forcing adult performers to wear condoms in their scenes--because the government presumes to know "what's best for them"--the art itself is being changed...the expression itself is being substantively and meaningfully altered. This--to me and as one who holds dear all of our personal liberties--is enough to call this new law a "bad" one.Further, it does--as Kayden noted--have serious ramifications in the area of personal choice...sexual choice, which is also a form of personal liberty. One could envision any myriad of things that could be "regulated" out of existence in the interest of "protecting people against themselves". Indeed, if given enough leeway, a good many of our rights could be squelched by these same types of arguments.
My main focus, though, is on the notion that because the government has a role in workplace safety because private business simply can't be trusted to self-regulate themselves, that automatically justifies laws like the condom mandate. Even though I support the use of government in ensuring government safety, I always have qualified that support with the condition that such regulation be limited to the harm that is being mitigated, that such regulation not be excessive as to harm those who are not directly responsible for that harm, and that those who will suffer the full weight of that regulation have some flexibility and some input into how such a regulation should be enforced. In other words, an effective regulation should be focused on the immediate harm, not be used as a wedge to impose even more restrictions on those not directly affected.
I also agree with Marv's position on how the condom mandate would essentially destroy free sexual expression in porn by reducing such expression to a narrow political/"health protection" spectrum. It's one thing for government officials to give rewards to groups who do endorse proper health care goals such as reducing STI's or promoting condom usage broadly as one of many means of prevention. It's quite another to insist that ALL porn performers should be forced to wear condoms and dental dams, and that any portrayal of sexual expression lacking such should be sanctioned, punished, or even censored. The former is proper progressive activism; the latter is what is more common with fascists and Nazis. Art and expression should only be regulated to the point that free and consenting adults are given full rights to engage in such with maximum protection from abuse or coercion. When government or monopolistic business abuses their power to micromanage adult people's sex lives or viewing habits, then we have lost any legitimacy as a representative democracy or a humanist state.
However...my main objections to the condom mandate remain the same as they always were: the law simply addresses a phantom pandemic that simply doesn't exist and never existed; it destroys and scapegoats a community (porn performers) who actually had a system of prescreening and testing that actually DID work well in containing STD's; and it is essentially a Ponzi scheme for the gross profits of shakedown artists like AHF's Michael Weinstein, BS propagandists like "Christian" activists Shelley Lubben and Monica Foster, and ultimately, a drive to regulate porn out of existence in California, and do an end-around over the Freeman decision that legalized porn production.
That "liberals" like Wendy Murphy and Gail Dines and Mike Weinstein can ally with "conservatives" like Pat Trueman and Shelley Lubben in boosting this law says a lot.
A few more eloquent voices like Kayden Kross would do a lot of good. And, I don't even mind the red hair. In fact..it kinda rocks.
Keep kicking 'em, K2.
Update: Sean over at TheRealPornWikileaks.com has just posted a followup interview with Kayden Kross, where she elaborates on her adventure with Stossel and Murphy and restates her views on the condom mandate's impact. Just go there and read up on it...Kayden's looking better by the second. As if she didn't look damn HOT already.