Intermission Special: The “Alas, a Porn Portal” Controversy

I promise….I will get to Part Deux of the Great Burqagate/Feminist Whiteout shortly; bu I would be totally remiss if I didn’t bring my quarter’s worth on another Blogophoric disturbance amongst the Feminist Force.

In case you have missed the fireworks, the more activist wing of the Radfem Anti-Porn Blogospheric Caucus is all in a big collective snit because of the circumstances involving the Alas, a Blog site, which has been a major playa for A-list feminist bloggers ever since Barry (aka Ampersand or Amp) founded and financed it about four years ago, or so.  Mostly thanks to his leadership and evenhandedness, his blog has maintained a solid and diverse readership, as well as a safety zone for feminists who might not feel comfortable blogging in the more testosterone-fueled zones….and his reputation as a feminist symphatizer who is open to all viewpoints while defending his own has earned him basic respect be even those who may not agree with him.

All, of course, except for the small cabal of the more….shall we say, passionate wing of the RadicalFeminist caucus; who believe that only their kind of radicalfeminism (the kind that distrusts men fundamentally as a tool of patriarchy unless he truely adopts to the letter their theories of male rapicity and female submission under Teh Patriarchy) should be promoted by those who call themselves “feminists”.

Just last year a few of them –mostly led by the likes of Pony, Sam Berg (of Genderberg) Heart (of Women’s Spaces), the irrepressible Witchy-Woo, and Ginmar (of the “gender trumps race”/”Black women simply use the excuse of race to beat up on White women” school)  – got so bent because Amp apparantly allowed one too many MRA’s (Men’s Rights Advocates, the He-Men of the Right who serve only to bash feminism as destroying men) to post without censure, that they even proposed that he dedicate an entire section of his site to radical feminists only to fire off their missives free of criticism…a proposal he rightfully dismissed. They mostly distrust Amp because: (1) he’s a man, and men are basically pollutants who only serve to divide and conquer women for Teh Patriarchy, in the activist radfem view; and (2) he shows waaaay too much tolerance towards the “enemies of feminism”…..including those feminists who don’t quite want to march in perfect rhythm to an antiporn/antiprostitiution rally.  Of course, the fact that Amp is mostly sympathetic to the antiporn/radfem cause, and gives them more than ample room to vent their spleens means little or nothing to the purists; the fact that he is a man is more than enough for them.

Well, that…and the fact that he sold his domain to a porn portal didn’t help.

“Say wuh???” I hear you thinking.

It goes roughly like this: Last September, Amp posted a cryptic message to the blog saying that he was under some real financial strain, and due to that he had decided to put his domain name “amptoons.com” up for sale for some quick cash. What he did not mention then, though, was that he had sold to domain to what is called an “optimizer” portal, which basically uses the traffic count in highly surfed sites to up the rankings of their own sites….and due to the consistently high readership of Alas, a Blog, it stood to really raise the rankings for whomever owned the domain.

The problem was…the new owners promptly decided to use Amp’s domain to link to….you guessed it….a site mostly consisting of reviews of porn sites.

Now, it was done quite discreetly: the only clue as to the new content was a tiny link at the bottom of Alas’s page linking to “reviews software” ; none of the general content of Alas was affected in any way.  Part of the agreement for the sale was that none of the actual bandwidth for Alas would be used expressively for actual porn; nor would there be any direct links to explicit adult material.  (Indeed, not even the “review” site has any direct images to explicit porn; you had to actually click on the individual site review page to even find a link to the actual porn.)

The “review site” itself was also a bit more discreet; it was mostly your typical porn portal offering the usual galleria of sex freakery; with sites ranging from the interracial faire of Lexington Steele to the usual “big tit” and anal vids to the “MILF Hunter”/”Bang Bros” school of “find ‘em, fuck’em, and leave ‘em variety.  Nothing particularly trailblazing, but nothing particularly extreme.

But for a blog which offered themselves as an explicitly feminist site open to the radfem antiporn viewpoint led by a man who mostly opposes porn as “degrading” and “objectifying” to women, it was explosive enough….one of the Alas regulars (actually, Hugo) ultimately discovered the “review” site and privately (and publically) outed and busted Amp for his “hypocrisy” and not being upfront with his readers on the sale. 

Amp responded by publically revealing the details of his financial condition and why he did the sale, and all the inner conflicts he had about not just the sale but his antiporn beliefs.  For the most part, most of the readership of Alas, while a bit saddened and feeling more than a bit betrayed that Amp would resort to that alternative without publically hashing it out in the first place, nevertheless was willing to forgive the situation as a case of financial survival.

For the Antiporn Radfem Caucus; though, the revelations of Amp’s action were just the ultimate proof of his innate evil…showing once and for all that he was nothing more than a typical male, exploiting feminism to impose his misogynic, injurous agenda…if not an actual double agent for the “pornographers” and “pimps”. From pillar to post, they vowed never to support him again (as if they were that supportive to begin with in the first place); and that by doing this sale without their approval and without seeking alternatives (such as allowing THEM to buy the domain and convert Alas to a full blown man-baiting, antiporn radical site, I guess). Amp was simply showing himself as the sellout and patriarch and pimp that all “feminist men” (those who don’t totally pimp antiporn radfem ideology, that is) ultiimately are.

Naturally, Heart was the leader of the anti-Amp lynch mob; she got off a series of blasts at her blog in righteous condemnation of his “sellout”; but other well known antiporn luminaries such as W-W, Delphyne, Violet Socks (of Reclusive Leftist), Pony (who got off a particulary nasty crackback connecting Amp’s porn linkage with his posting of his daughter, all but calling him a pedophile), Ginmar, and Sam (of Genderberg) vented their spleens on Amp as well.

[Note: I'm not providing links to any of the detractors or the particularly nastier comments, since it's my stated policy to avoid giving these....ladies any more of my bandwidth; however, you can reference either the Alas discussion at the thread here, or this blog, which contains links to the various blog rants pro, con, or indifferent.]

However, Amp did have his defenders and less hostile critics: such as Soopermouse, Kevin Andre Elliot,  Richard Jeffery Newman, Jenn (from Reappropriate) and a few others did express their understanding of Amp’s financial condition which prompted the sale; and did credit him for ultimately coming correct and reappraising the situation.  For his part, Amp has posted recently that he regrets doing the sale, and that he would do his best to be more forthcoming henceforth (and there is the slight chance that the sale might be voided due to breach of contract, since there may have been no warning from the buyer that he would do such linkage to porn).

As for my own take on this:  Well, far be it for moi, who is generally openly pro-porn (at least to the extent of its right to exist and being pro-free sexual speech), to jump into a battle between mostly principled anti-porn feminists; but I just don’t think that Amp deserved the ton of crap he received. 

First off, the principle of “My blog, my ules” comes into play; Amp paid good money for that domain, and as such it is HIS and HIS alone to regulate what happens there. It was on his graciousness that he offered the Radfem Caucus his bandwidth for them to preach and moan; and they have rewarded him with nothing more than potshots at his being male and not being pure enough in his hatred of porn….so I figure that they have no business dumping on him for “betrayal”, since he wasn’t on their side to begin with.  But then again, that’s par for the course with them…as amply experienced before.

Now, those more regular contributors of Alas do rightfully have a far better case of feeling aggrieved by Amp’s actions, mostly because he could have been a bit more forthcoming and open about his financial troubles back then, and sought their help in resolving the issues before making this sale.  There is nothing wrong with asking your friends for assistance in a time of need, Amp; and I’m sure that they would have been more than kind to help you out.

The bottom line for me is this: I am soooo glad that I will never have the noteriety to have to sell my domain name (although with a domain name like redgarterclub.com and my below the bottom site ratings, I can rest assured that no porn portal will be knocking at my door looking for deals). Then again, considering how pro-porn I am (tempered, of course, by my radical Left/feminist/libertarian socialist principles), that probably wouldn’t matter much to some people….ehhhh??

Give me some time to rest up a bit…then it’s back to the Boob/Burqagate smackdown.

[UPDATE: The folks at Creative Destruction have been kind enough to send me their link list for all the players and commentators on the Alas controversy; I am sincerely grateful and thankful to them.  See the second comment below.]

[Update #2: Since some of the links are broken; and the links are so many; I will repost them as a seperate entry....stay tuned.] 

6 thoughts on “Intermission Special: The “Alas, a Porn Portal” Controversy

  1. yeah, nice how folks quickly forgot all the good things Amp has done for them…

  2. You know, I really agree with you and just can’t worked up over Amp’s decision.

    My feeling: I despise the war in Iraq/Afghanistan, as to most of the radfem caucus. But we blather on at Amp’s decision whilst we still pay taxes (most of us do anyway. who wants to wear that orange jumpsuit?!)

    No time for righteousness.

  3. Pingback: Alas, an Eruption « Creative Destruction

  4. Pingback: The SmackDog Chronicles » Blog Archive » The “Alas, a Porn Portal” Controversy: A Bibliography

  5. CD: Thanks a bunch for offering the list….and I have consolidated them (and fixed a few broken links) as a seperate post (see the comment above).

    Anthony

  6. Pingback: Amanda Flashes Her “Porn-Liberal” (Racist????) Self….Again | The SmackDog Chronicles (Ver. 2.5)

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