June 04, 2013 03:37pm
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland
The recent play, "The Deep Throat Sex Scandal," finished a successful L.A. run and is moving forward with the next step in its evolution. This writer wishes the show well and pauses to remember the performanceís message.
The play concerns Deep Throatís 1976 Memphis obscenity trial. The feds prosecuted the filmís male lead, Harry Reems, along with its mob financiers in an attempt to kill porn.
Later in 1980, the FBIís Miami Porn sting exerted a well-planned effort to crush organized crimeís involvement in hardcore. Racketeers like Mickey Zafferano, Robert DiBernardo, and eventually Reuben Sturman disappeared from the porn map. Mob connections drifted away but the adult business flourished.
In the mid-1980s the Justice Department, fueled by Reagan sycophants and religious right moralists, initiated an all-out assault on porn and its technological conduit, the videotape. Using RICO laws to bleed pornographers and video outlets of their assets, the government enjoyed some successes where earlier obscenity efforts had failed.
Commercialized porn survived once more and heroes in the fight, Hal Freeman, Phil Harvey, and most recently, John Stagliano, became the stuff of legends.
Itís tempting to conclude that the War on Porn is withering away, but a new enemy has flared up. This time, the industry is accommodating its own demise.
With a relentless attack via the safer sex issue, the AIDS Health Foundation just may succeed where previous efforts failed. The AHF is not pursuing mobsters, purveyors of obscenity, or decrying the moral decay of our culture. It is not openly calling for an end to adult film. Rather, the AHF is insidiously escorting porn to self-execution by presenting the industry as a health risk.
The public cares little about the obscenity angle, unwilling to go along with free speech/censorship restrictions. But a health crisis is a different animal and the AHF has tapped into that, convincing the man on the street that porn is a den of disease controllable only with latex barriers. Industry people know otherwise, of course. The testing protocol works because porn is a closed community of screened workers. But that message is not resonating with an uniformed public.
The industryís initial response to this crisis is stonewalling, but Measure B and the temporarily shelved AB 332 in Sacramento present stubborn fronts.
The key to braking this runaway train is an anathema to the industry: organization. Uniting porn people is like herding cats, they stomp like outraged children while lacking the will to unify. However, if California Dreaminí is to remain a shooting reality, itís time for everyone to support the Free Speech Coalition. This battle can only be won in court and that takes money.
Meanwhile, the government will pester pornographers with infractions not unlike the old RICO laws that drove many smut makers into bankruptcy. And, if shooters go beneath the radar, gleeful gendarmes will be ready to bash heads. On all counts, turning porn into an underground economy is foolishness. With its conventions, shows, and other media events, not to mention the ubiquitous internet, adult is increasing its presence in Americaís entertainment culture.
So, it may be time to give a little, show a few condoms on film and weather financial hits from disgruntled fans. This writer understands that film shoots can be tedious, girls donít like latexís abrasiveness, and guys are uncomfortable being sheathed. But thatís better than no work or risking legal ramifications for those who do. A move toward compliance, if ever so small, may buy time, satisfy a pubic that has little interest to begin with, and mollify government elves faced with ferreting out of violators.
Itís worth a try.
In the meantime, a unified industry front will give First Amendment lawyers time to pull some rabbits out of legal hats.
Thatís better than death by creeping suicide.