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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Porn dead

Earlier this month, the Christian right -- a very different thing, in this case, from the libertarian right -- sounded the theme that Attorney General Eric Holder promotes porn.
"Holder's actions keep the porn industry thriving. He not only refuses to enforce obscenity laws currently on the books that prohibit the distribution of hardcore pornography, but he even disbanded the office charged with enforcement," said Patrick A. Trueman, president of Morality in Media, in a statement on the organization's Porn Harms website.
Thriving? Thriving?

Yesterday, I had a talk with someone who actually knows the behind-the-scenes gory details of that world. (How, you ask, did I come to have a chat with such a fellow? Long story. And I won't tell it here.) This informant made a claim that astounded me: In all of Chatsworth (the L.A. suburb that is home to the adult industry), "only five or six companies are still shooting regularly." Even Vivid, which used to be the premiere outfit, has drastically cut back the number of new titles.

The other companies are scrambling after the few remaining dollars by finding new ways to market existing material. Producers who drove Jaguars are now checking the bus routes. The whole industry resembles a production of Glengarry Glenn Ross with the desperation factor amped up to 11.

Things are bad, that much is certain. But are there really only five or six operating porn merchants left? If that number is accurate (and I'm not sure it is), it represents a stunning reversal. As recently as 2005, 37 adult films were released every single day, for a total of 13,500 new titles throughout the year. According to this article in the L.A. Times, 6000 adult films were released in 2010 and the number of producers had fallen to 30.

Whether you applaud or mourn the decline of this industry doesn't much matter to me, since I'm bored by any moral debates in which no-one can possibly come up with anything new to say. On the other hand, if you have info which contradicts what my informant has told me, I'd very much like to hear it.

What really, really boggles my brain is the allegation that Holder has somehow helped this industry to "thrive." How can anyone use such terminology at a time when smut has never had it so bad? The Attorney General's refusal to mount a crusade against "Big Porn" (as the moralists call it) has nothing to do with any secret pay-offs, because there's no money left to pay anyone. Even if Holder had grounds or motive to go after what's left of the industry (and he has neither), he would surely understand that one gains nothing by prosecuting the dying.

I wonder: What will the situation be like 50, 70, 100 years from now? Perhaps the adult films produced between 1970 and 2010 will still be running somewhere, because no-one will have any reason to create new examples. Perhaps those forty years of sleaze exhausted the topic of cinematic sex. Perhaps porn will one day be considered a quaint product of its time, like Civil War cannons, washboards, spittoons and detachable celluloid shirt collars.

And yet, and yet...the adult video industry would return to full, gloriously sweaty health if the AG could somehow get rid of free online porn. Oddly enough, that move would also please the folks at Morality in Media. Perhaps the folks at Vivid should donate to that group -- if they have any money left.
Comments:
Apparently porn once made more than normal movies, and even attracted the attentions of the Bonanno crime family. Things like Emmanuelle and Deep Thjroat were mainstream famous. Even feminists used to like it.

Now it's all free on the internet. There was a line in a UK sitcom of a few years ago, called "Peep Show" but not about porn, a bloke's surfing for porn and saying "if I don't pay, it's okay". Watching porn is normal. Paying for it seems a bit extreme.

I don't think it'll die soon. It'll just continue in a different form: more amateurs, more cam-whores, more pervy niche stuff. In other words, it'll downsize to a cottage industry. After all, porn isn't a comestible. It doesn't expire. There's so much out there I could watch it all day everyday, if I didn't have a distinctly pervy and niche prediliction, and never finish it. It's like diamonds without de Beers, more coming into circulation all the time, none going out of circulation, and no cartel to stamp out supply and artificially boost prices. The end is inievitable.

 
Haven't been commenting in a while but reading everyday. Joseph, that 1st comment seems outrageous to me because frankly, if a person has any decency at all they would absolutely PAY for it and from the major companies because they are regulated.

Downloading or viewing free porn on the internet is just about the worst thing a person could do because you simply don't know where the girls are from including how and why they are involved in the porn. I am not a viewer of porn only as I only watched a few pictures more than 20 years ago and after a few minutes those films got pretty darned boring.

Now I don't really give a darned about the porn industry but they seem to have an interesting dynamic with the "moral" majority. Much like Howard Stern got great ratings because "decent" people would listen right along with the so called depraved. I have a suspicion that many regular porn users are the very people that vocally opposed to it.

Also, a couple of years ago I do remember reading an article concerning the porn industry and about how the economic crunch, the prohibitive travel conditions and the advancement of telecommunications mean a lot fewer business travelers and those were major consumers of porn.
 
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