Just read your thoughts on the impact of the Extreme bust on the rest of the porn industry, including the line that it will make all production companies look bad.
You’re right. It will. I’m 47. I’ve watched porn off and on since I was a teen — I’m a fan. And I cannot watch the material from Extreme, even when it starred actresses I was really fond of, like Ashlyn Gere’s brief return (they ruined her); Kristi Myst (and what ever happened to her?); and Jewel D’Nyle. I popped the first Cocktails into my VCR, having no idea what it was about and thinking it was going to be something like the Dr. Fellatio tapes. I nearly threw up during the first scene. Couldn’t watch it.
Porn isn’t in a no-win situation. To the contrary, the industry should let the Max Hardcores and Rob Blacks hang out to dry and separate what they do from what those guys do. It’s acts of extreme physicality — I don’t want to call them sex — that will bring a crack down on the industry.
And when folks tear their hair and say: but you’re stifling the first amendment, or, you’re trying to stop the creative process, I say, bullshit. What you’re stifling is the abuse of women, even if some of them are willing women, by hiding under the first amendment and the notion that these are professionals who are doing these acts for money.
Just because someone is willing to accept money to do some of these things doesn’t mean they should be done, just like we don’t allow people to sell their organs for money, even though there are people who would gladly do so. And just because someone can imagine a thing doesn’t mean it ought to be a vision realized.
They are giving the feds an excuse to crack down. The industry might notice that Vivid isn’t getting raided.
Bob makes a good point, I’d love to hear from some others on this.
Marc Wallace Back In the Directors Chair:
Further proof that no matter how big a fuck up you are you can’t flunk out of porn. Marc Wallace forged HIV test results and infected 4 or 5 girls, putting an end to thier careers and possibly even murdering them. So what now…Marc is directing….I don’t know yet for whom but I do know that Jim South is sending him talent. If ever there was a sub human scumbag who should be shunned from this business it is Marc Wallace.
Bob Again on Extreme (He sent the first one yesterday but I wasn’t here to post it, I was having sex with Trixie Kelly….)
I enjoyed your post today on Extreme. I always find your remarks thoughtful and provacative.
Companies like Extreme and product like that from Max Hardcore create a real dilemma for folks who believe in free speech, and who understand the importance of free speech.
Unlike a lot of the writers to your site or RAME, I’m actually a professional writer. It’s how I’ve made my living for 20 years, and it’s my only source of income. I’ve written television movies for the networks. I’ve written and continue to write for the kinds of national magazines you find on the newsstand in your local grocery store. I’ve won awards.
There’s something else to add: I’ve actually been sued on a five occasions over things that I’ve written, and went through a five-week-long federal trial on one occasion. Not obscenity — that’s not what I do — but for libel. I know what it’s like to have someone attempt to silence you. And I’ve won on every single occasion, not so much because of the First Amendment but because in all cases, I was actually right on the facts.
However, I learned from those experiences that words and images have an impact beyond what we imagine when we’re creating them. I’ve also learned that as creators, as writers, photographers, and artists, we have a duty to use our words responsibly.
Yes, the First Amendment protects irresponsibility to some degree. It gives jerks the right to be jerks and stupid people the right to say really stupid things as loud as they can say them.
But there are limits. The First Amendment is not absolute. To use the classic example, you can’t stand up and yell fire in a crowded movie theater, even if you don’t want anyone to put limits on what you say or do. Advertisers are not allowed to go on television and claim that a product does something it doesn’t do — there are limits on commercial speech.
In my view, a lot of what Rob Black has been putting out is not just offensive smut, it’s the pornographic equivalent of standing in a crowded theater and shouting fire.
And maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and that as a parent I become more conservative, but I think that what he does is more of a danger to the adult entertainment industry than silencing him.
You can argue that if they silence Black, who’s next. Certainly his lawyers will make that argument, and they’ll make a powerful argument, I’m sure.
The counter to that argument is this: Black gives the authorities the opportunity to go after everyone because, as you pointed out the other day, you will all be tarred with the same brush.
The argument that the men and women who participate in his films are consenting professionals who have agreed to be assaulted and abused just doesn’t wash for me, which is the argument I think he and Lizzy tried to make on the Frontline special. Well, you can extend that theory out forever and say, for instance, that selling your organs should be allowed if it’s a consensual commercial transaction. You could argue that it would be fine to film an actress getting her finger amputated while having sex (I’m sure that’s someone’s fetish) if she agrees to it, is compensated, and there’s a medical staff on hand to treat her after.
You’re absolutely right that filming the acts isn’t illegal — but only if you stumble upon them. That is, if I happen to be walking through my neighborhood with my camcorder and see a guy murdering another guy and film it, I’m not committing a crime.
But, if I’m hired by a producer who has conspired with a bunch of folks to murder someone, and I know in advance that my job is to film the murder, then I’m an accomplice, just like the guy who drives the getaway car in a bank job.
I guess what I’m saying is: if I were the feds, and I was serious about going after the Rob Blacks of the world, I’d also go after their cameramen, their sound people, their PA’s, and anyone else who worked on the productions. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where the feds go next.
At the end of the day, I have qualms about 18 year old girls being mature enough to make a decision to get paid for having sex on film. You learn as you get older that actions have consequences, and there are some acts that you can never take back. I don’t think the young girls getting into porn realize the deal with the devil they’re making. Once they do it, it’s on film and out there forever. For that reason, I have personal qualms about viewing some mainstream porn that features really young but legal girls.
But that battle has been decided by someone else, so I won’t argue with that. But, those girls aren’t mature enough to agree to be beaten, double-analled, peed on, choked, made to throw up, and all the other crap that goes on in some of Black’s, Max’s, and a few others productions.
Maybe I’m getting too old for this stuff.
I’ve rambled for too long.
Thanks for your very well written email, it is absolutely right and in the end I agree that some of the girls in this biz are not making responsible decisions but on the other hand I have found that age has almost nothing to do with it. I carefully interview the girls that I am going to shoot whether they are 18 or 28, I have to be comfy that they are not going to regret this somewhere down the road. I have refused to shoot some beautiful 25 year old and older girls becuase I felt a boyfriend was pushing them into it, or they were doing it as a quick fix to a financial problem that would only be back in 30 days. On the other hand Trixie Kelly who just turned 19 doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs, she is sane and she has acted responsibly in my dealings with her, so I had no qualms about shooting her at all. I do realize that most people in this biz do not do what I do, they take whoever Jim South sends them. I have to answer to myself and because I am dealing with girls who are doing this for the first and usually the only time I have to make sure that I am comfy that they are doing it for what I consider to be the right reasons. Because it’s fun, it’s an adventure or maybe they just want to see themselves on Television without doing something totally degrading like going on Jerry Springer. I have plenty of very pretty girls who want to do this who are doing and wont hate themselves for it. And I sleep very well at night.