Porn, BPPA, and The Left Redux: An Exchange With Ernest Greene

I recently invited Ernest Greene (who happens to be Nina Hartley’s [warning: NSFW link] husband and an sexual rights/BDSM/progressive activist on his own right) to contribute to the Pro-Porn Activism Blog….and ended up with a pretty damn enlightening exchange that points out some of issues on establishing a pro-sex and sex-positive foothold on the political Left.

The full exchange is here; I will simply issue the highlights, which include what turned out to be some crossed signals about the BPPA and its mission that were ultimately cleared up to everyone’s credit.

First, here’s Ernest’s original comment:

Anthony and Sheldon,I’ve now had a chance to visit the pro-porn activism site under discussion, and while its intentions are admirable and its content often valuable and always interesting, I’m concerned that it may be subject to the law of unintended consequences.

First of all, I think I should share with you and other forum participants here a disturbing phenomenon I can clearly observe from the panels available to me as an administrator. Over the past few months, we’ve experienced a high volume of anonymous traffic, much of it originating from geographically centralized IPs in a certain part of the Upper Mid-West, clearly seeking out printable versions of threads dealing with anti-porn feminism. By following the links from your new site, I’m sorry to say I think I know where some of that traffic is ending up. Various items from nina.com have been exhibited and/or quoted (obviously without notice to or permission from us) by presenters at anti-porn feminist events held on college campuses during that time period. The images and information used are extremely specific and, predictably, used to demonize Nina and by implication, other women who share her views.

What worries me is that your new site, just like this one, has the inadvertent effect of channeling traffic to the othewise obscure corners of the Internet inhabited by what is basically a small and isolated group of fanatics of whom the larger public to which we appeal takes little or no notice.

The question we must ask ourselves is this: in attempting to rebut their essentially preposterous arguments at great length and in excruciating detail, are we not giving them the very attention they crave and otherwise could not hope to attract? I already know how I feel about this, which is one reason why I’ve stopped posting on these subjects on this site. I don’t see any reason to encourage them to come here to or arm them with out-of-context snippets of commentaries they can recontextualize for their own despicable purposes.

This is not to say that those arguments don’t need answering or to discourage the establishment of forums for that use, but rather to raise the practical question of how best to neutralize whatever political threat to freedom of expression, their bette noir, they may represent.

For my own part, I’ve elected to engage in a the Japanese practice of “mokusatsu” – literally to kill by silence. I don’t want them using our words against us and I don’t want people from here upping their Alexa scores simply out of morbid curiousity.

Obviously, as genuine advocates of free speech, I would never ask any contributor to stop posting on this topic, but for my own part, speaking strategically, I’ve decided to let them carry on their vendetta with no help, direct or indirect, from me.

Just a thought to consider.

Ernest 

That particular criticism rankled some of the BPPA members as well as me, since it was perceived as a subtle slam at the blog for directing antiporn attacks towards Nina and the forum.

My first response to Ernest follows:

WOW…interesting points.


As one of the main contriibutors of the BPPA blog, I can’t speak for Renegade Evolution (who is the owner and chief founder of the BPPA blog) or any one of the other main contributors…but I feel the need to respond to your points.The main reason why so many antiporn sites are listed there is the stated policy that is agreed on by all the participants there uses the principle of “Know your enemies”; and that the viewpoints of the other side should be openly discussed and sourced whenever possible, with all transparency and clarity.

I understand and appreciate the fact that due to past circumstances and the history of previous attacks on you and Nina, you would feel as you do about attracting unwanted attention to those sites. Nevertheless, I still believe that exposing and repudiating their myopia and their positions is crucial to building an effective opposition to their policies, and that merely allowing them to promote their views unfettered only encourages them that much further. They may indeed be a tiny minority and an isolated voice, but they do have some degree of outreach that goes far beyond their small numbers…and I don’t believe that they should be simply ignored or dismissed.

Obviously, we will be much more careful about seeking your approval before posting or linking anything here in this forum; and if you prefer that we not use anything from this forum to refute their arguments or actions, just say the word and we will respect your wishes. (Here, I do speak for the rest of the members of the BPPA as well as for myself regarding my own blogs and sites.)

I will say that my own personal philosophy regarding dealing with these antipornfeminists is perhaps the exact opposite of what you prefer; I’d rather directly and openly confront all the contradictions and inaccuracies of their arguments, since I feel no need to hold back anything; nor am I hampered by any need to protect my past histories or actions on my part.

But, I do respect highly your position and your situation, Ernest, and will honor your request….and will take your suggestions into consideration along with the rest of the crew.

And I will forward this privately to the rest of the BPPA members for their consideration, too.

Anthony 

And initially, Ren did decide at first to remove links to Nina’s site and forum from the BPPA blogroll.

Ernest did attempt to make an initial offer to clarify his position:

Anthony,Thank you for your prompt and typically heartfelt reply. As I said, I’m not really asking for any specific action on your part or that of your compatriots, whose views I largely (though not entirely) share. I merely ask you to consider the situation strategically. I like to think of myself as a principled person who willingly takes risks on behalf of dearly-held beliefs, but my real-world experience has taught me that the effectiveness of those risks is what makes them worth taking. If by exposing myself or others to potential harm, I achieve nothing more than serving the purposes of my opponents, the risk is not worth the reward.

I completely agree with you that the preposterous arguments of anti-porn feminists must be confronted and exposed for the crypto-mystical, anti-rational, anti-intellectual bunk that they are. I suggest, however, that the most effective ground on which to join that battle is their own. Obviously, as they have nothing but contempt for anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest, indeed for the very idea of reasoned argument, they’re not about to allow you or anybody else to address their vicious lies and warped beliefs on Web sites they operate or at gatherings they sponsor. But there does exist a larger leftist/progressive community consisting of numerous blogs, publications, organizations and events through which they could be challenged to defend their destructive fixations that have cost the left as a whole so dearly, along with the nation itself and the greater world that might benefit from leftist dissent uncontaminated by their toxic brand of identity politics.

It has been their ability to shame and shout down all who do not embrace their rabid fanaticism in those venues that has, to a great extent, prevented the emergence of both an effective leftist critique of their madness and, more urgently, the formation of a unified opposition to the catastrophes of resurgent American imperialism abroad and the rise of theocratic absolutism at home. It is the responsibility of sane leftists with realistic priorities to kick these lunatics to the curb on their own street, rather than making it the onerous burden of those of us already embattled against a rabidly hostile regime bent on throwing as many of us as possible in jail and driving the rest of us out of business to have to fight a second front against this small but vocal claque of hate-mongers on ours.

That’s why Nina knowingly exposed herself to the savage hostility certain to follow by debunking Chyng Sun’s so-called “research” at AEE on Counterpunch rather than simply railing against it here. As she said at the time, the internal leftist/progressive struggle over pornography is really a battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of liberals who support progressive causes, if not necessarily progressive ideals.

It is the objective of Chyng Sun and her allies to humiliate defenders of free speech into backing away from protecting explicit sexual expression that makes them dangerous not only to us, but to anyone who regards open discourse about sexuality as a progressive priority. The success of the gang from KPFK in forcing NION to give back Larry Flynt’s money both demonstrates this danger and emboldens those to whom suppressing dirty pictures is more important than saving Iraqi and American lives.

Rather than starting up more Web sites and chat groups where we who deplore such moral disasters of the left can tut-tut about them and ventilate our anger and frustration over them (though, BTW, I have no gripe with anyone doing so, as we all need the support and reassurance of like-minded others), the more critical task lies in meeting these false-flagged reactionaries on the common turf of Z-Net and at the university campuses where anti-war groups are bullyed into turning away desperately-needed potential allies in the name of ideological purity.

Certainly, given the vile tactics anti-porn feminists employ and the personal viciousness with which anti-porn feminists attack all who dare stand up to them, I can’t blame anyone for preferring to lob rhetorical water balloons from behind the safe anonymity of friendly homepages. As one of the founders of BPPA pointed out, in contradistinction to the seemingly more menacing foes we face on the right, anti-porn feminists are much quicker to engage in the ugliest kind of trolling, hacking, DOS attacks and ad hominem smears. We’ve experience all these things repeatedly since Nina dared to tread on the sacred cyber-soil of Counterpunch. Nina has become nearly as popular a target as Larry Flynt, an honor I know she appreciates but a noxious burden nonetheless. As an example, here’s a lovely quotation from a recent article by APF stalwart Rebecca Whisnant:

“Thus it is that prominently featured on the website of “feminist pornographer” Nina Hartley is a new film entitled “O: The Power of Submission.” (13) Perusing Hartley’s list of favorite links, one finds a site called Slave Next Door, which carries the tagline “real sexual slavery.” The portal page of this website reads, in part, “Slave Next Door is the graphic depiction of a female sex slave’s life and training for sexual slavery. It contains extreme bdsm situations and . . . sadistic training.” In clicking to enter the site, one is told, one affirms that one is “not here in the capacity of law enforcement or religious activist.” (14)”

I can practically see all the grave faces and nodding heads in the room as Whisnant delivered this laughable “evidence,” which simultaneously distorts Nina’s opinions, this site, my movie, consensual BDSM and the perfectly sweet and thoughtful blog of our friends Master N and embre, to a group of fellow porn-bashers at one of the many recent conferences where said bashers meet to come up with new ways of heckling us. Who wants to be subjected to that kind of treatment?

And yet, if leftists and progressives who don’t buy the APF line hope to prevent it from prevailing and thus further enfeebling an already isolated, fractious and fundamentally ineffective community, that’s exactly the kind of warped logic that must be addressed where it lives. Twenty years ago, it was a group of feminists, led by Betty Friedan (founder of NOW), Rita Mae Brown, Kate Millet, Adrienne Rich and other icons of the women’s movement, who filed the amicus brief in the appeal of the McKinnon ordinance that helped restore mainstream feminism’s committment to civil liberties for all. Sensing an opportunity in the current atmosphere of political repression to undue that courageous stand, the new crop of APF fanatics shows signs of gaining real traction within the tiny, nearly invisible left that remains in America today. If they succeed, they’ll make sure it remains exactly that: tiny and invisible, though surely pure of corruption by the “harms” of porn and its defenders.

No matter how unpleasant the prospect, it’s up to you and your friends to do what Friedan and her compatriots did two decades ago. You must take your fight to the enemy instead of hunkering down on safer terrain. It’s your movement that’s at stake and you need to take it back from posers like Gail Dines, Bob Jensen and Stan Goff. If you won’t stand up to them where they are, how can any of the rest of us be expected to join you when you exhort us to stand up to the real power and potential fury of the ruling elites?

While APFs may claim to have been “censored” and “silenced,” the truth is that Gail Dines can get airtime on Fox News to spout her claptrap at no personal risk whatsoever, while we have members of our tribe facing 75 years in prison for selling videos. We know very well the real dangers of incurring the wrath of the real patriarchs, as opposed to the imaginary version against which leftists are constantly inveighed to do battle. If your gang isn’t ready to haul a few loud-mouthed mountebanks out of their ivory towers and expel them from your midst, why should we trust you to carry the standard into far more dangerous combat?

I’m just raising these questions. The answers need to come from your side. So far, all I read is a lot of electronic bickering. When I see you all picketing outside the gates of Wheelock College, demanding equal time for Nina to answer the slander and abuse heaped on her there, I’ll be more favorably disposed to help you make your case here.

As I do believe in freedom of expression, I won’t oppose your use of our bandwidth to channel traffic to your site, but I hope you’ll take into consideration the nuisances to which you expose us in doing so and offer up something in return that will make it all seem worth the additional trouble.

Ernest

My own rebuttal of that:

Welll…that’s a lot to think about.


I’m not sure, then, that the BPPA would be the proper venue for such a campaign that you would want, Ernest; since that blog is more for a generalized defense of porn rather than an explicitly Left critique. (The founder of that blog is more of a traditional conservative libertarian.)I’d guess that a more explicitly Leftist “pro-porn/’sex-positive” organization which directly confronted the smears and lies of antiporn “feminists” and their allies would be more productive by your suggestions. That would be a splendid idea, especially as an compliment to the more general mission of BPPA; and as soon as I get my bandwidth issues resolved; I will get to work on that by developing a forum dedicated to that very need.

I should say, though, that perhaps your targets should also be turned towards not only people like me who have indeed gone into the bellies of the beast and directly confronted APRF idiocy (remember Gooney Goff?? Z-Net??) but also towards more mainstream liberal and leftist groups who have remained generally silent or have avoided debate on this topic. Whatever happened to groups like Feminists for Free Expression or the Feminist Anticensorship Taskforce, who at least attempted to build a progressive critique to MacDworkinism in the 80s, but disappeared as soon as the battles seemed won?? Why aren’t there more porn talent who happen to be progressives (or even, heaven forbid, even Leftists) speaking out explicitly on the connections between defending sexual speech and expression and other left/liberal values that they profess in supporting?? It can’t all be a one-sided mission, you know.

Yes, indeed, there is a great need for sex-positive progressive folk to directly confront antiporn ideology whereever it wields its head; and to be much more open and loud about it. That will take both time and effort, however, and even some patience.

Also….considering the closed-loop policies of such organizations as Z-Net in its obvious biases towards antiporn ideology, wouldn’t it be more useful for sex-pos progressives to develop their own institutions of support and outreach and education, rather than waste time and energy attempting to roll over existing organizations that are simply too rooted to change??

Finally….like I said before, I am only one person, with limited time and resources; I’m sure that no one will question my dedication to the mission of defending the principles that I believe in; and I most definitely don’t question you or Nina’s dedication to the same. All I ask for is that we all respect our own methods and tactics, even if we may disagree with whatever tactics we may persue to the same goal.

Just my own personal opinion.

And may I assume that you speak for Nina as well on this??

Anthony

And in the next post, I cited both Trinity and Ren defending the mission of the BPPA blog (cited with permission from the both of them):

Incidentially enough; here is Renegade Evolution’s response…..


…upon learning of Ernest’s critique (posted originally via email, with permission granted by her to post here)

Quote:
I can understand Ernest’s concerns, but hey, as my people are wont to say “Silence = Death”…and I will point out that the BPPA is, for me, not only somewhat FUN, its also a theraputic and LITERARY way to point out my flaws. It’s not as if I’ve not “taken these issues to the people”…after all, I did engage in that long and futile email forum debate with Bob Jensen, I, along with Jill and others, sent letters of protest to Weelocke for NOT including sex workers in their conference, sent letters of protest and raised quite a stink about their use of porn performers images without consent or question, I then informed the porn companies whose work was sited of the use of that work by Wheelocke, and well, I’m a member of both HIPS and SWOP East…so yes, I BLOG about porn, sex ed, anti porn tactics, the 1st Amendment…I also DO in real life. I also know that I’ve had a decent number of “on the fence” feminists say by reading what I’ve put out there, they’ve rethought their feelings on porn and other aspects of sex work, and even some rad fems reconsider their beliefs on the matter, and to me…well, that counts and progress.I also think exposing the tactics the other side uses is important, because there still are a lot of people sitting on the fence, and I’d rather have them leaning to our side and have places where they can read the other side of the story and rebutals to the MASSIVE amounts of anti-porn propoganda out there. I mean gee, it’s not like I’ve been threatened or outted before, right? Damage is already done…I might as well, both in life and on the net, stand up for what I believe in.

Ren

Incidentially, she has also went ahead and removed all links to this forum from the BPPA blog as well, out of respect for Ernest’s concerns.Update: Trinity of A Strange Alchemy; another contributor to the BPPA blog; just recently added this question for Ernest:

Quote:
Anthony,I’m a little unclear on what exactly Mr. Greene wants us to do.

Is he saying he wants us not to link to NIna’s spot, or that he thinks we shouldn’t link to the *antis’* spots (because then they’ll see the trackbacks)?

Because if it’s the second, I think it’s important to link to them to prove what we’re saying AND to allow opponents to rebut. Think about how gross it is that they don’t link to us, and can make up any context they will for what we say. I don’t think it’s right for us to do the same.

Trinity

A legitimate question, I’d say.Anthony

To which, Ernest finally comes correct and makes his points clear, and directly addresses Ren’s and Trinity’s concerns [special emphasis added by me]:

Anthony,Thanks for getting back to me on this, and for a number of points well-made, as usual.

I think I may have created some misunderstandings that need clarfication and you have raised a question or two that need answering.

First of all, let me say that I don’t think sites like BPPA are bad things. On the contrary, I agree that exposing the lies and distortions of anti-porn feminism in whatever forum is a good thing. I do have concerns about amplifying their volume by callling attention to them, but that concern only applies if nothing else is done beyond preaching to the converted. I merely suggest that activism consists of more than just sharing opinions with those of like-mind.

As such, I give full credit to you for your willingness to take the battle to the other side’s terrain, and I commend ren for doing the same. I particularly appreciate ren’s challenge to the use of our intellectual property against us, and would offer as a further possibility the idea of acquainting APFs who use stolen explicit images in their propaganda that they, too, are subject to the requirements of 2257 and may find out for themselves the truth about just how “lawless” and “unregulated” our industry really is if they continue to do so. The measures you and ren describe are exactly the kinds of things I’m talking about and I hope you’ll do more in the future. I hope your influence grows on the left and that eventually you’ll help return some balance to the conversation about porn in that community. In short, I’m not criticizing you, your friends, what you’re doing or what you’re not doing. I’m merely raising strategic questions about how best to achieve our common goals.

In response to Trinity’s question, and yours, please remember that I began my post by saying that I am not asking for any specific action concerning BPPA. I didn’t ask that the link to our site be removed, or that you not link to APF sites. In fact, I’m sorry if that’s how my comments were interpreted. As far as linking to nina.com is concerned, the damage was done long ago by the other side, which knows all about us and will continue to come around here whatever you do. I’d as soon have our link back on your site, as at least we might get a few more friendly contributors as a result. And I fully agree that air and light best serve in separating good arguments from bad, so I don’t support the idea of silencing any point of view. I think knowing one’s enemies is important and I appreciate BPPA’s willingness to address all points of view and to expose the specious claims of our opponents. Frankly, I’m sorry my comments seem to have been taken some other way and apologize for not stating them more clearly. Personally, I would like to see our link restored at BPPA. We are all part of the same struggle and I don’t wish to see us excluded from solidarity with your efforts over there.

Where you and I don’t agree is in your implied criticism of progressive elements in the industry for not joining you at the barricades. Those of us who can certainly do. Nina is most definitely a case in point, as it was her blast on Counterpunch that made her such a popular target for APF attacks. And while FACT seems dormant for the moment, FFE is very much alive. Indeed, BPPA links to their site, where you’ll find such familiar names as Carol Queen and Candida Royale.

And I don’t buy the argument that the larger leftist community and its organizations and media are so closed to counter-arguments about porn there’s no point in confronting them directly. That’s a costly concession of defeat when the other side has simply dominated the floor by intimidation and should be challenged, as they were successfully twenty years ago, which was one of my main points earlier. Setting up alternative institutions is fine as far as it goes, but ceding the larger leftist entities to the other side, which is exactly what happened at NION, carries dangers not only for those of our particular persuasions regarding the expression of sexuality, but for the left as a whole, which the NION episode demonstrates all too vividly.

Indeed, when you propose that liberals should take a more active role in this struggle, you make my point for me. First of all, they are the ones who do so most effectively. Nadine Strossen and the ACLU have done more to protect sexually explicit expression than all the self-identified leftists in the land. They’re the people who put up the money and the time to fight the court battles that directly impact what we do. However, they’re largely excluded from leftist forums in a way that avowed leftists are not. Moreover, they are the very element Chyng Sun and her friends are trying to shame into abandoning us over here, and to some extent (I’m not defending this, BTW), traditional liberals have been cowed by the ferocity of APF rhetoric into avoiding the whole debate. As someone who doesn’t much respect liberals when it comes to stands on principle, you of all people can hardly expect them to conduct a campaign to reassert support for Amendment One among leftists who have largely turned against it. Liberals and their organizations have no credibility on your side of the fence.

The suggestion that working porn performers could get in the fray is problematic as well. Most are very young, very busy with learning their way in this business while trying to sort out their own sexualities, and generally not politically inclined. They’re extremely resistant to organization, as we’ve found to our dismay through repeated attempts to do so over the years. Morevoer, when they do step forward, as a few have on talk shows and in other mainstream media, they get beaten to pieces, much as Belladonna was by Diane Sawyer and Jenna Jameson by Bill O’Reilly. They don’t get the kind of respectful treatment APFs can always count on from fundamentally conservative news sources.

As to confronting APFs in their campus strongholds, both Nina and Ron Jeremy have done so and will continue to do so, not only because they believe in the importance of this work, but also because they have the luxury of time and the visibility that come with being senior members of the industry. Remember too that we’re involved in a much higher-stakes conflict with the feds. Come October, at least two major obscenity cases will go to trial in federal court with long prison sentences on the line should our side lose. That’s a battle outsiders don’t face and I’m sure you can understand why we conserve much of our strength for it. That’s the place where we must make our best arguments, not only for our own sakes, but for those of anyone who values freedom of expression, even that of our enemies.

No one questions your dedication or your principles and while I may respect your choice of methods and tactics, I would hope you and your friends would be open to some outside examination of the latter. We’re all seeking the same thing, but we may not agree on every article when it comes to the best method of achieving it.

And yes, Nina and I have discussed this at length and are in agreement on these issues. She will be out debating Susan Cole on college campuses this fall and will continue to take the fight wherever she can get on the field. She just leaves this part of the task to me, as we’ve found that letting her do the talking and letting me do the writing is a more effective distribution of labor. We’re on the same page as far as basic philosophy is concerned and share the same tactical perspective born of many, many years in this struggle.

In no way is this a one-sided mission. We all have contributions to make suited to our resources and beliefs. Nina and I welcome support for the cause from virtually any source. Unlike our enemies, we have no litmus test that excludes leftists, progressives, libertarians, sexual liberationists, liberals, or anyone else who embraces individual liberty.

The last thing I wish to do is add to the internal dissension within that loose coalition. I hope you and your friends will regard this as a message of solidarity and conciliation and will simply consider the practical issues I’ve raised.

Again, I’m not attacking anyone here or proposing any specific changes of approach. I’m merely offering a perspective for others to examine.

Ernest 

Based on that post, the links were put back up…and they remain to this day.

Later on in the thread, Ernest goes on on what he sees as one of the main problems with passive Left acceptance of antiporn propaganda:

Oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood…


I think it’s smashing too. Lot’s of good, thought-provoking reading and many important ideas, (and Sheldon’s too – kidding) all centralized in one place. Excellent. I wish nothing but the best for BPPA. I don’t even have to agree with everything said there to see its value.I like to think I make myself pretty clear, but sometimes I wonder if all these years of W.’s rule haven’t started to affect my relationship with the English language. Never intended to be critical of BPPA, its value or its intentions.

That said, I’m still stuck, if that’s the correct word, with my worries about what might actually be effective in countering the hammerlock that APF thinking seems to have gotten on leftist debate. By an ironic coincidence, in a completely unrelated thread in this section, Eric posts a letter he’s sent to Noam Chomsky seeking clarification of Chomsky’s denunciation of Hustler after having granted Hustler an interview.

I may not always agree with Chomsky, who was a huge presence in the left of my own radical era and remains one in the left of today, but he’s always been a man of courage and committment regardless of the waxing and waning of his popularity. I’d like to think he’d speak his mind when it comes to Hustler or pornography in general without worrying about how his comments might be received in certain quarters. And yet I’m not optimistic that Eric will get a straight answer on this one out of Chomsky – or any answer at all.

That’s what I’m really talking about on this thread. When figures of Chomky’s stature have to engage, as he did, in all kinds of backpedaling for having dared allow his words to appear in Hustler, I can’t help worrying about the APF influence on the left as a whole.

This sort of degenerated into one of those endless and useless wrangles over who is more responsible for the current state of affairs, when what I really want to hear discussed is what might be done to take back some of the ground we’ve lost. Why was there no counter-pressure from our side in the NION affair? Why did no one raise a voice in anger when KPFK devoted an hour of airtime to (using a favorite phrase of Stan Goff) San and Ann Simonton to bash Nina and subsequently refuse her even the courtesy of an explanation for refusing to allow her an on-air rebutttal? Why does the left cave so quickly to identiy politics of all kinds, this kind in particular? What is to be done if there is ever going to be a broad-based anti-war movement to resist what threatens to be a much longer and even more destructive conflict than Vietnam? Kronstadt may think the domestic anti-war movement was largely irrelevant to the outcome that time and that the NVA simply hammered the Americans on the ground, but I was here at the time and know otherwise.

For the left to regain credibility as a political force in American life, whether the issue is pornography or Iraq, it will have to address the problem of identity politics directly. No faction’s individual interests or orthodoxies can be allowed to so dominate the discussion as to exclude literally milliions of potential supporters from participation in dissent against the worst and most dangerous policies this nation has ever adopted.

I’m still waiting for anyone on the left to take on the very real issue of what to do in the face of a Supreme Court that will be hostile to civil rights cases for the rest of most of our lives. Even within our own interest group, where there was once hope that laws against so-called “adult obscenity” would be overturned by the current porn prosecutions under Lawrence v. Texas, there is now the grim realization that, should any of those prosecutions actually reach the high court, those laws will not only be upheld, but may be substantially broadened.

In short, my real complaint is that the left is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic in much the same fashion as Bush where Iraq is concerned. In both instances, a defeat of epic preportions looms with terrible human costs, and no specific means to prevent either of these related disasters has yet been put forward.

I’m not a leftist myself anymore, but I know this nation needs leftist activism now even more than it did three decades ago, and I’m not reassured by what I see so far.

Again, this is a general observation that implies no criticism of the nice folks at BPPA, any individual here or any other well-intentioned person. It’s just a lament and a plea for action where action is urgently needed.

When I have the time, I do hope to get over to BPPA and post a purely friendly and completely non-critical greeting. I can only offer my full and unconditional support to such a worthy enterprise.

Now, if somebody will tell me how we’re going to keep Rob Black and Lizzie Borden (whose work I don’t like at all but who shouldn’t be facing ruination as a result of it) from going to the pen for the rest of their lives, I’ll feel a bit better.

Ernest

 Interesting and fascinating questions…anyone up to the challenge???

“Pro-Porn Activism”: It’s Our Time Now!!!

Ahhh, lookee here…guess who got really fed up with being misinterpreted and distorted??

And look what she has created in response??

And who in the hell is that whom she invited to guest host there?? Gee….who’d thunk it?? 😉

YeaPornies of the world, go there and unite!!!!  You have nothing to lose but your inhibitions…..and a foe of those heavy chains.

Renegade Evolution: Pro-Porn Activism

While RadRightFems Pontificate, Nina Educates

The following is a passage excerpted from the Introduction of Nina Hartley's latest book, Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex. Although the book as a whole is more of an "how to" guide on manuevering through the maze of roses and thorns and ultimate pain and pleasure that is human sexuality; this particular excerpt is where Nina lays out her basic philosophy of sexual freedom from a definite progressive, sex-positive feminist, and sexual liberationist perspective. I post this as a response to all those who continue to insist that those of us who call ourselves "sex-positive" are simply the negation of those we call "sex-negative".

Sexual Liberation: In and Out of Fashion but Always in Style (pp. 5-9)

If there is one thing we've all found out during the past half-century, it's that sex doesn't exist in a political vacuum.  As a woman and a feminist, I developed my own sexual politics from the ideas of others and my own life experiences.  They're simple in theory but not always easily applied.  They require rigorous honesty and a willingness to learn.  I believe the body's innate capacity to experience sexual pleasure is an inherent good, requiring no validation by external authority, but I also understand its power commands respect.  My core position is that, between consenting adults, nothing short of physical harm is forbidden, no form of sexual activity inherently immoral.  For that to be true, consent has to be real.  Consent is not the absence of "no." It is a statement of shared intent that must be continually renewed.  Every party to an act must fully understand and wilingly choose to participate.  Within these parameters, all choices should be honored.  That's been my message for more than twenty years, and I'm sticking to it.

These beliefs have broad implications from which I don't shy away.  I believe that all womnen must have complete access to the full spectrum of reproductive choice.  Without control over fertility, women cannot be equal partners in sexual self-realization, as nature makes the stakes so much higher for us.  I believe all consenting adults have the right to private pleasure without fear of government intrusion or hostile social scrutiny.  As you would expect, I consider the viewing of erotic materials part of that sacrosanct zone of private pleasure.  I do not believe that all sexual relationships are, or should be, struggles for political power.  We all have a say in how political we allow the personal to be.

Sexual liberation requires that we take full responsibility for our actions and that no outside agency or church, state, or social organization should be allowed to do that for us.   I believe that sexual jealousy is not "natural" but learned and that it can also be unlearned. I believe that we each have within us all the love and joy we need (with plenty left over to share with others), and that only fear and conditioning prevent us from accessing those feelings.  I believe that our bodies and our feelings, if honored and trusted, can lead us to our best lives, despite our diverse backgrounds.  I realize that these ideas have been vigorously challenged from many quarters.  Though I've submitted my own thinking to the test of daily life and the ongoing examination of what Zen calls "the beginner's mind," I remain an unabashed sexual liberationist in the broadest sense.  My agenda is not hidden.

Sex, in its purely physical expression, has no intristic meaning.  We, as adults, must give it meaning each and every time we choose to be intimate with one another.  The beauty of the body is that it has its own wisdom, its own language, and its own timetable.  Physiology has no "right" or "wrong."  Friction on the flesh produces the release of neurotransmitters that, in turn, stimulate regions of the brain.  Our skin is our largest organ.  Not only does it keep our insides in and pathogens out; it also transmits sensations….and some square inches are more sensitive to attention than others.  Caring touch keeps infants healthy, and lack of touch will create a condition called "failure to thrive," a potentially life-threatening syndrome most commonly seen in institutionalized children….though it can occur in any child lacking adequate care.

Only though touch do we learn at the most basic, nonverbal level that we are loved, safe, and important to our caregivers.  How we are touched in infancy and early childhood directly affects the development of our brains, particularly the ability to form healthy attachments in later life.  It's not just essential in childhood; we need it all through life.  In adulthood, one form that need takes is erotic desire.  It's inevitable, eternal, purposeful, and precious.  It's also anarchic, distracting, subversive, and frequently quite selfish.

Every culture has rules and limitations surrounding sexual behavior, though we often fail to take that into account when our own choices are in question.  In our search for personally satisfying erotic lives, we must understand how the culture of our childhood affects us today.  Was it particularly modest? Free and open about nudity? Judgmental of unconventional sexualities? Shame based? Fear based? Did it stress comformity or encourage individuality?

All through life, emotional connection starts with physical contact, through the dominant "romantic" conception of relationships as constructed by our culture insists otherwise.  When we open up our exploration of sex, we find it infinitely more complex and nuanced than we ever imagined.  Many forces are in play when we allow ourselves to be sexual, and we need to be aware of their influences.  While sex itself may be "natural," in humans, all sexual behavior is learned.

In order to be whole, we can and must learn what kind of sexual expression is authentic for us and own it, choose for ourselves what restraints to put on it, and ultimately make peace with it.  I believe that this happens anyway, whether conscious or not….which is why consciousness is so important.  Human beings  have proven miraculously resistant to ferocious external pressures on their sexuality.  Western civilization has inveighed against the sinful excesses of sexuality for centuries and seen no reduction in them whatsoever.  Clearly, like it or not, individual sexual choice will always be in individual hands….and that's exactly where I think it belongs.  I put my faith in the basic good intentions and good sense of human beings when it comes to sex.

It's worth every tear, every struggle, and every heartache to make peace with our sexual selves, even if we never choose to share our bodies.  When we are truly centered in this way, we no longer fear the opinions of others or need to judge what others do.  Our first and most important relationship is that with ourselves, and coming to terms with our bodies is the cornerstone of that relationship.  Grounded in self-acceptance, we can build healthy relationships based on love and respect instead of desperation and deceit.  There is so much more on the line than momentary pleasure.  When total sex is a legitimate end to itself, its most important function is as a strong foundation for emotional intiimacy.  That is its ultimate satisfaction.

When I talk about "total sex," I don't just mean "totally hot sex" or "totally rockin' sex," though these are certainly desirable goals in themselves.  I mean sex that involves us totally, encompassing all the biological and emotional forces at work inside that remarkably sensitive envelope through which we feel the physical world. 

That's the kind of sex I've learned to have….and you can, too.

[Slight varations in syntax by me, but the words are all Nina's, posted with her permission.
Copyright 2006 Avery Press, with addition permission from Nina Hartley/Ira S. Levine]

And they say that all we care about are our erections and "moist pussies"?? Ahhhh…yeah.

 

“Blogging For Sex-Ed (Post) Day”: My Penny’s Worth

As is the usual for me, I tend to catch things a bit too late…so I will apologize to Renegade Evolution if my contribution to her mighty and well-timed carnival isn’t so well-timed. 

Most of my thoughts are reflected all so well by other contributors, to which you can check their links over there at Ren’s…so my contribution will be a bit more brief. Mostly, it will be an expansion on a comment I sent there today.

Personally, I do happen to believe that sex education is pretty much FUBAR..mostly because of the natural monopoly that the Christian Right has established over the dominant ideology with their "abstinence only" policy of denial combined with their meme of "Sex is a privilege given only to married couples for the direct purpose of procreating God’s/Allah’s, Yahweh’s/whatever deity is king of the moment’s childen; anything else is sin and heresy and a direct threat to homeland security worse than ‘Islamofascism’". I’m not so sure, though, that using the schools as a vehicle for an alternative would be an effective counter solution.

The problem I see is that all the political and social institutions in this culture are driven by a lot of sex negativity and sexual denial to begin with; and it doesn’t necessarily come exclusively from the Christian Right. Even the most supposedly liberal and hip and cool parents are just as capable of passing extreme judgements on adolescents about their sexuality and their sexual development, even as they pay begrudging respect to the incessant growth and popularity of sexual imagery driven by both the improvements in technology (especially the Internet) and the natural thirst for information previously hidden from young adolescents and young adults. Of course, there is much to be concerned about when it comes to teenage sexuality….STD’s, reproductive issues such as unwanted pregnancy and abortion, proper health care, and simply negotiating sexual desire with others who might not have their better interests in mind.  But simply firing stats about how many women get infected with the variant strains of herpes or other STDs or moaning about how many young girls are dressing like the Pussycat Dolls and reading Jenna Jameson’s bio without wanting to burn it afterwards is no more effective than merely throwing condoms at young men and telling them, "Just do it, as long as you wrap up." (Not that the latter shouldn’t be part of the message, mind you."

The main issue here for me is that most young adults don’t have the resources or the access to non-judgmental, accurate, and humane information about their personal sexuality, and that the alternatives (either watching porn or relying on the usual misinformation and disinformation) simply don’t meet their needs adquately enough.  The fact that the overwhelming majority of these adolescents happen to be working class who often rely on material designed basically for the more economically privileged might be a factor that has been lost on a lot of sex-ed activists.  For these people, it isn’t enough merely to offer condoms at the local clinic; there has to be a complete system of health care available and accessible to them. So, it is as much a class and economic issue as it is a cultural issue…indeed, the two simply cannot be seperated.

My own personal solution to this dilemma is to combine progressive peer- and community-based structures of role modeling and mentoring where adults and the more mature adolescents can do the bulk of the shoe leather and educating work on demystifying sexuality and providing the accurate and non-judgmental information and resources needed; with an overall assault on economic inequality overall.  A focus on a radical, sex-positive, humane, and egalitarian approach to sex education that doesn’t rely on imposition from above, but rather on reform and even revolution from the masses and from those most affected would do much good, in my view.  This is NOT the libertarian Right "if it feels good to you, it’s OK, and damn the consequenses for everyone else" approach that is far too commonly pushed as an opposite to the "faith-based abstinence only" lies; it simply acknowleges that adolescents are, no less than adults are, sexual beings who do deserve both support, respect, and the full array of choices and responsibilities for exercising their right to explore that aspect of their being. If, after some time, the educational establishment decides to catch up and adopt this approach, that would be fine by me….but until then, I wouldn’t trust them to teach my nephews and nieces about the facts of life any more than I’d trust Playboy or Penthouse or the next Vivid feature.

And yet…..even they would be totally preferable to the numbnuts who currently populate the White House and who are channelling the worst of sexual Puritanism to impose sexual ignorance on the rest of us.

OK…that should be enough for now, I guess.  I’d say more..but I gotta go earn my paycheck.

 

 

Where “Reefer Madness” Meets “Raunch Culture” (Or, Radfems Gone Wild…Again)

Dig, if you will, this picture:

A putatively "liberal feminist" writer for a neoliberal website writes an essay for the website of the not-so-liberal Wall Street Journal Op-Ed section decrying the antics of Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis (who is still, in my book, a grand insult to assholes everywhere for using young women for his profits)….and, as a means of granting protection to young adult women from such sexual predators, calls for legislation raising the legal age for consenting to perform in adult sexual media from 18 to 21….for their own protection, of course.

It is true that teenagers become legal adults at the age of 18, right around the time they graduate from high school. The age of consent to serve in the armed forces is also 18 (17 with parental consent), as is the minimum voting age since 1971, when an amendment to the Constitution lowered it from 21. But the federal government is already happy to bar legal adults from engaging in certain activities. Most notably, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 raised the drinking age to 21 (by threatening to withhold highway funds from states that did not go along). In practice, the age limit is flouted on college campuses and in private homes. But it has still had a positive effect, not least by driving down fatalities from drunk driving.

A new legal age for participating in the making of erotic imagery–that is, for participating in pornography–would most likely operate in the same way, sometimes honored in the breach more than the observance. But a 21-year-old barrier would save a lot of young women from being manipulated into an indelible error, while burdening the world’s next Joe Francis with an aptly limited supply of "talent." And it would surely have a tonic cultural effect. We are so numb to the coarse imagery around us that we have come to accept not just pornography itself–long since routinized–but its "barely legal" category. "Girls Gone Wild"–like its counterparts on the Web–is treated as a kind of joke. It isn’t. There ought to be a law.

— excerpt from Garance Franke-Ruta: Age Of Innocence Revisited (OpinionJournal.com)

Never mind that most of the regulations on alcohol she cites deal not with private consumption or even age limits, but with blood-alcohol level and purchasing of alcoholic beverages, or that the law she quoted did not legislatively raise the age but simply threatened to pull highway spending to those states who refused to go along. But that’s moving away from the main topic here…

Anyways….said writer gets deservedly whacked for her proposal as a infantilization of otherwise legal adult women who are simply not to be trusted with their own judgement and free will on such matters; as a gross paternalism that dictates that young women old enough to be drafted to die in war and old enough to be executed as adults for capital crimes simply can’t be allowed to make basic decisions about their sexuality; and as an ineffective solution that ignores the modern technology that allows such "hostile" and "damaging" imagery to show up without the aid of GGW cameras.

How does said writer respond to such criticisms??  By breaking out the old "my critics are evil liberal men who care more about their dicks than the damage of raunch culture to women" card:

If I had intentionally set out to write an article intended to provoke a backlash that made liberals look like a bunch of leering louts eager to ogle 18-year-old girls and transform society into a deregulated libertarian paradise where low-income women are routinely exploited, I think I could scarcely have come up with a better approach than the Wall Street Journal piece I published on May 4 arguing for raising the age of consent for appearing in pornography to 21. Such a backlash was, perhaps, entirely fitting, given that the topic was a soft-core porn company that has cut deals with major Democratic Party donors and preys mainly on young women in red states But it was also disappointing in the extreme.

Critics of my article have raised some good points, but by and large the responses were disturbingly marked by a far greater concern for access to pornographic depictions of teenagers than for the exploitation of young women. “I Want My Barely Legal Porn!” Matthew Yglesias trumpeted at his eponymous blog, boasting his argument “befits a man whose blog was once featured in Playboy‘s ‘Girls of the Pac Ten’ issue (really!).”

[…]

Other[s] liberals, finding the present raunch culture wanting, posited a need for an even more sex-saturated media environment. “If the brain-damaged idea of sex as explotation [sic] is the problem, I say let us militate against that idea,” wrote thespian Roy Edroso at Alicublog. “Let us have wide and unapologetic dissemination of sexual imagery.” And yet others called for a loosening of existing laws intended to prevent the exploitation of the young. Avedon Carol, a UK-based founder of Feminists Against Censorship, argues that existing child porn laws go more than far enough. “As if being treated ‘like a child’ when you are a child – and therefore not recognized as owning your own sexuality – were not bad enough, Garance wants to treat us as children when we are well past childhood,” she objected.

[…]

Sadly, in the rush to defend raunch culture, neither Yglesias nor the other critics closely examined the record of “opportunities” provided by Joe Francis’ firm (or others in its genre), the cases against them, and the long history of failed legal attempts to prosecute firms like his for abusive treatment of 16-21 year olds under existing laws. Nor did they look at the major Democratic donors who have helped Francis expand his reach and normalize his approach of creating “gratuitous nudity, end to end,” even though such efforts have helped fuel the backlash against “Hollywood liberals” that has been so successfully used against would-be Democratic office-holders.

— excerpted from Garance Franke-Ruta: Porn Again (CampusProgress.com)

…and recruiting a well known antipornradicalfeminist to her side.  Entree’ vous, Ann Bartow:

Can the harms that attend our new raunch culture be resolved, as some suggest, by amending the consent waiver process? Or will it require something more?

The proposal — first suggested to me by Ann Bartow, author of the Feminist Law Professor blog and a professor at the University of South Carolina Law School — to build a waiting period into the consent to participate in pornography is an intriguing one, and would do much to mitigate the impact of alcohol on the burgeoning porn-star for a day phenomenon. Yglesias also suggests this, as a counter-offer to my proposal that the age of consent to participate in porn be raised to 21. It’s a fine idea as far as it goes.

Revising the consent process, unfortunately, does not get to the heart of the problem, which is about the right to privacy and the costs to young women of the cultural and technological changes of the past decade.

And in the next paragraph, Franke-Ruta gives the game away….it’s really all about protecting young women’s privacy and "intimacy", regardless of whether they want such protection or not…..and mostly, it’s about wiping out "rauch culture":

The issue is only partially about consent, or even impaired consent. The issue is also that over the past decade and a half there has been a massive decline in the space of life that is private in the sense of being undocumented for all posterity, even if publicly conducted — and that there has been a simultaneous increase in media outlets, distribution channels, and commercial interest in the “scandal” of young female nudity.

Yglesias pretends that a young woman’s “decision” to have nude pictures of herself floating about without her consent is no different than picking a college major or “getting tattoos.” But he’s wrong. People don’t lose their jobs – or become permanent public spectacles – over “buying lottery tickets” or choosing to major in chemistry rather than physics. The difference is that there is an active harm being done to young women when pornographers take control of their images, without their consent (but with the consent of the courts), and that what people are choosing to do when they pose for pictures and what ultimately becomes of the images they choose to be in are often very different things. Miss Nevada Katie Rees lost her crown after pictures of her, bare-chested and kissing other girls, surfaced on the internet. She was 19 when they were taken, grown in form, but clearly not yet a mature individual. Or look at the case of the friends of American Idol contestant Antonella Barba, 20. Semi-nude pictures of her surfaced soon after she joined the show, leading her to say, “The pictures that were released of me – the ones that are of me – they are very personal and that is not how I intended to portray myself nor do I intend to portray myself that way in the future.” And it wasn’t just pictures of her, either. There were plenty of shots that exposed her young friends, too — women who were not looking to become famous or trade on their figures, and whose momentary goofing around at a beach outing is now public for all posterity.

Should such women have the right to control their own images? And do young women have an interest in not being manipulated, whether through drink or through peer pressure, into situations where they sign away what rights they do have? Those are the real questions at stake. The laws, as they currently stand, err too greatly on the side of protecting pornographers’ rights to transform unwitting or intoxicated young women into sexual commodities, and favor men like Francis, who reportedly earns $29 million a year, over the impecunious 18-year-olds off whom they have become rich. Raising the age to consent to be in porn to 21 may seem like an overly broad solution; alternative proposals that would address the issue of involuntary distribution and publication of private images, in addition to the questions of drunken consent, may ultimately prove superior. So far, however, I haven’t heard them.

Now, I could go into the basic fact that Franke-Ruta completely mistates and distorts Avedon Carol’s objection to her proposal as "loosening existing laws designed to protect the exploitation of the young", even as she herself further down decries those existing laws as woefully insufficient (she does the same to Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon by quoting her in support..ignoring the fact that she goes on to state her ultimate opposition later on); or that she completely takes out of context various male liberal commentator’s glib snarkiness as tolerance for kiddie porn predators….not to mention that she doesn’t even bother to post links to Lance Mannion (who has a nice rebuttal to GF-R’s lunacy here) or Roy Edroso to show what they really said (or didn’t say) about her proposal); or that she basically uses the old APRF slam of "(male) liberal Democrats" as essentially sexual slavers and child traffickers (she quotes several Democratic politicos who recieved money from Joe Francis’s enterprise as proof that liberal men are covering up his rape and pillarging..perhaps that explains why the WSJ Op-Ed site managers were so quick to promote her column.

But it’s Ann Bartow’s entry into this that fascinates me most of all. Of course, you’d expect her to rise to the defense of wiping out porn and all things "raunchy", but really, Ann….how in the hell does soft-core kissing and panty flashing and boob flashing lead directly to "trafficking in women" or double anal or other "degrading" activity??  And how would limiting the rights of 18- to 20-year old women to willfully engage in such behavior help protect the rest of womenhood, anyway?? And what would prevent you from moving the goalposts further and saying that 22 year olds aren’t mature enough to make such decisions, either, and thusly the age of consent should be moved up even further to "protect" women from their own actions?  After all, they don’t need GGW to get them drunk or even to flash their goodies; anyone with a decent digital camphone and access to the Internet can put out compromising photos on the ‘Net…and for free, no less. 

After all, if Jessica Valenti’s bare midriff book cover for Full Frontal Feminism and Teri Hatcher’s "see my panties" cover for her feature article last year at Vanity Fair was enough to raise Bartow’s pressure about "raunch" images, why should we think that she would rise to the occasion and diss pictures of young inebrieated women flashing and kissing as "damaging" to their future career?

Fascinating how sexual conservatism makes for strange bedfellows, ehhh??

(For the ultimate defense of the girls who do such dastardly deeds of posing for porn or such; see Greta Christina’s seminal article here.

Rot In Hell, Jerry Falwell; Presente!, Joe Levine

It’s not just the fact that he was a blatant segregationist in the 60s.

It’s not just the fact that his church was the primer behind the "Moral Majority".

It’s not just the fact that he was the pioneer spokesman for the Religious Right, the forrunner to the likes of Pat Robertson.

It’s not just the fact that he called feminists "witches", called Tinky Winky gay, and Jewish folk "Satanist".

No…if you want to know everything about the man who passed from this earth yesterday, this legendary quote just after September 11, 2001, will suffice just fine:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen"

Ernest Greene’s dad, who passed away pretty much the same day as "Rev. Falwell", gets far more love and sympathy from me than Falwell ever will. Nina’s notation from her site diary:

Sadly, Ernest’s father passed away yesterday, so we’re on a plane to Denver on Tuesday.
[…]

Joe was 91 years old on the 12th of this month and was healthy and living life to the fullest until the
very end. He had business property in town and even worked some that day!

He didn’t feel so well when he woke up Sunday and, while in the hospital room waiting for a CAT scan, his aortic aneurysm, which he’d had for over five years, burst, and he died quietly and without pain, his girlfriend of twenty years holding his hand.

While we’re understandably quite sad, it was good to know he didn’t suffer and that he was living his
life the way he wanted to, full of work, travel and friends.

May Aphrodite and the rest of the Goddesses comfort and guide you on your journey, Mr. Joe…you lived well and did good….and raised one hell of a son to boot.  Even if he did turn out to be slightly perverted…in the best way.

And may the same Goddesses rain down lightning bolts on Falwell’s ass on his journey…in the opposite direction.

 

“Bound, Not Gagged”: Where Sex Workers Defend Themselves

It seems like some people are finally getting tired of being beaten down.

Please go over to the new blog Bound, Not Gagged, which is run by sex workers and their supporters who are simply fed up with being silenced, distorted, and intimidated for standing up for their rights to be heard and accepted for their profession.

The contributing authors list includes such heavy hitters as Jill Brenneman, Scarlot Harlot (nee’ Carol Leigh), Robin Few, Melissa Gira, and Karly Kirchner; and they even got Annalee Newitz as a liveblog contirbutor.

Already, they’ve posted some righteous and thoughtful missives on the DC Madam case and the future of sex work.

And just as already, the usual love letters of support from the radfem caucus has been rolling in, too.

Just go there and give your support.

…And Speaking of Sexy Sex Intellectuals…

Significant salutations and congratulations are in order to “Waking Vixen” Audacia Ray….for pulling off the major trifecta of earning her Masters degree from Columbia University; having big success with her nice little alt-porn production The Bi-Apple, and pulling off a successful opening day debut of her Sex Workers ‘ Vision II exhibition in New York City. All at the same time…while she’s still editing the sex worker e-zine print publication $pread and her upcoming book Naked on the Internet, too.

Well freakin’ done, Dacia….and you still manage to look like this:

The lovely and sexy Audacia Ray hosting her Sex Worker's Visions II exhibition.

I could say something about how she looks even better with her clothes off…but that’s not for this blog. 😉

Way to go, Dacia….good things do happen to those who deserve them.

[Slightly edited to reflect corrections by Dacia in comments….]

The DC Madam Scandal: Linkage To Some Sex-Poz/”Whore’s Eye” Perspectives

I could write a great deal more on the fallout from this :"DC Madam" scandal that’s doing such a cock-block on Capitol Hill….but I know of some very deep sex intellectuals (some of whom also happen to be quite sexy, even) who can do the job better than I ever could.  So, here’s some linkage to articles you should be reading:

Dr. Susan Block:
Strangelove Hookergate II
(the original from Doc Suzy’s "Bloggamy"; the reprint from Counterpunch)

Dr. Carol Queen:
Hip-Hip-Hypocrisy!! With A Paean To Prostitutes (from her own blog)

Melissa Gira (from Sexerati) [with h/t’s to Ren and Jill B]:
Johns Gone Wild: The DC Madam’s Gift To Sexual Health

Elizabeth Wood (Sex In The Public Square):
Will The "Washington Madam" Case Destigmatize Sex Work? 

If you know of any other articles out there from a sex-poz perspective, just holla ’em back at me.

 

Jill. Freakin’. Brenneman. Original. Headbussa.

Not in the literal sense, of course….but she’s been on a freakin’ roll of late with some righteous takes on everything from the DC Madam case to the defense of sex workers from APRF distortions.

But it’s this long overdue pixellized ass-whopping of The Troll Better Known As Der Gregor that puts her over the top and earns her the Fighting 101st PHB (Sex Workers Defense Regiment) stripes.

This is what happens when you push someone a bit too far with bullcrap, parroted boilerplate, and out-and-out lies.

"Beatriz" is a reference to a female Latina who, in an earlier thread, posted an English translation of an original statement released by an Argentinian male antiprostitution feminist group; which Der Gregor attempted to mistranslate and twist to fit his ideological lunacy.  When called out correctly by Beatriz, he suceeded to mock her Latina ancestry (calling her "Beatrice"), even claiming that she was an invention of Jill used to smear "radical feminists" and promote Jill’s alleged "pro-porn" and "pro-prostitution" positions.

Ultimately, Jill reached her limits of tolerance, and belted out this comment in response to Gregor’s nonsense.

Originally found here; scroll down to 10th comment, or read the whole thread for background and context.

Gregor’s excerpts in quotations [For this reprint, also in italics]

“ What in the World are you talking about/ you are a maniac, I am cuban, a man of color an activist for 25 years,”

Gregor

[Jill’s response]
Well that changes everything. What are you kidding? Peron was Argentinean, Pinochet Chilean, both sharing your Latino ancestry. And? They were both murdering fascists who claimed to be doing what they were doing as part of some war against evil. Your ethnicity means nothing because you demonstrate having learned nothing from being in a minority class. You figure because you are Cuban and a man of color that you are entitled to judge, to grossly violate the human rights of others, to make absurd allegations and to hide from any accountability? By the way, I thought you were a male person not a man. It seems now you are a man when it suits you.

You’re an activist in what for 25 years? Radical feminism? Now you prove it. Der Gregor is obviously a pseudonym. Who exactly are you? Who are you connected with? Who in radical feminism knows you? Because I know many of the radical feminist players in the last 11 years. Do you dare come out from hiding behind the screen name? If you have the connections to activism you claim, I will have at least heard of you or someone in the radical feminist circles that I know will know you and be able to validate your activism.

Your actions define you Gregor.

“"Beatriz" or whoever is behind that quick profile, came offf the gate insulting and ridiculing , “

No she didn’t. She wrote a response to the Manifesto and gave authorization for it to be posted. You took it upon yourself to translate that manifesto with artistic license and present it as authentic and got caught. You tried to play off as being a native Spanish speaker when it’s obvious you aren’t. What happened is you got in over your head. You stuck the manifesto into translator software, used a peripheral knowledge of Spanish and tried to call it an authentic translation. All Beatriz did was translate the Manifesto accurately and note your alterations.

You on the other hand wrote a document that misrepresented the Spanish and was virtually incomprehensible in English.

You took it upon yourself to ridicule and insult her. Worse you attempted to lower her to non human status. Here is a piece of information about prostitution. Do you know how the San Diego Police and other police departments refer to violence against prostitutes? No Humans Involved. Which you should know this being the great radical feminist. You should know the authors of No Humans Involved number 1 and number 2. I know them both and have worked with both of them. One closely for an extended time period.

You feel it is feminist to throw baseless accusations out challenging that Beatriz is either non human, male, a predator? You as a Latino try to denigrate her Latina ancestry by anglicizing her name? And then you claim to be feminist, a man of color, an activist………… Actions define you. Anyone can cut and paste.

“thinking she was insulting and ridiculing me but as you and her and the rest of you pro prostitution people here have no moral capital to use,”

Your actions here define your moral capital? I rest my case.

“Anyone sitting back and loking at your arguments sees the clear facts. you are a *proponent* of prostitution and porn. “

Ok, Mouth. Prove this. State your facts. I am a proponent of prostitution and porn how?

If "Beatrice" was not also a propnent of porn and prostitution she would not be esconced there next tou you in your pitch post, would she.”

This name in quotes thing is disgusting. Like somehow you have discovered a conspiracy and are showing you aren’t fooled. You are the fool.

Your bullshit calling her Beatrice. I don’t know anyone named Beatrice. There is no Beatrice. Beatrice is the creation of a pathetic misogynist racist who masquerades as a feminist. You believe that your Cuban ethnicity protects you from being the standard Gringo? It doesn’t. You are the classic loudmouth from the United States that gives the US such a poor reputation worldwide.

“so, what are you trying to say, that this Phantom person who has no picture of themselves and no profile to speak of, and is foursquare on your side is *not* pro porn and pro prostitution? “

There is no phantom person. Thus your point it moot.

BS, and PS…. That dog don’t hunt.”

Great, you are quoting my quotes now. How amazing is that?

Last topic. We’re going to talk about feminism, oppression and reality. Who do you figure you’re dealing with? You want to sit and lecture me from your pulpit about what it is like for women victimized by clients and pimps in the sex industry. You save the rhetoric that you have read in books. Your knowledge is from books. What you know about what it feels like to be harmed by men in the sex industry is what you read and what you pretend to live vicariously through the suffering of others.

Let me clue you in. I know exactly what it is like to be harmed by men in prostitution. Pimps and clients. I know exactly what it feels like. Because I was victimized. It isn’t theoretical, isn’t some mantra that I memorized from various women’s writing. Most of which being women who’s claim to their knowledge is from having interviewed women in prostitution. Not even first hand experience. Who exactly are you as a male to lecture a woman who was in prostitution and was harmed in it on what that harm is? On what it feels like? On what oppression is? Or what she needs to recover from it?

I know exactly what it feels like. And when I needed help to get out of it, there wasn’t any. When I needed medical attention, I got stigmatization from health care providers. When I needed help from the justice system after being victimized by criminal predators, I instead faced all the lack of rights and resources afforded by a society that has no respect for prostitutes, for sex workers.

You believe your war against porn and prostitution mattered? Not a bit. Since you were an activist when this was happening to me, what exactly did your activism do to help me or anyone else? Nothing.

You believe I would have needed you to explain my oppression, explain the violence, explain what the oppression is and who was committing it? Please. What an arrogant presumption on your part to believe you know better than women in the sex industry what that oppression is, what it feels like and what they need to end their oppression. You can save your theoretical, misogynist first world feminist bullshit for someone else. There is a world of difference between theory and reality and reality wins. I needed human rights, real world resources and compassion. Not some theory with vague promises of my liberation as a class. If you had any idea what you were talking about you would already know this and it wouldn’t have to be explained to you. You want to learn about prostitution and about the victimization of women in prostitution then shut your mouth and listen instead. Because your actions demonstrate that you know nothing but empty theoretical rhetoric that you try to force feed to impose your dominance and to fill the holes in your credibility.

Your actions are disgusting. Take your statements, your actions and your “proof” about Beatriz and try to sell them . Because your inept racist misogyny won’t fly well with women in general much less feminists including most radical feminists. When you try to make that sale and they realize that Beatriz is exactly who she states she is, they are going to recognize the salesman sold them nothing but disingenuous feminism attempting to cloak hatred, cultural imperialism and patriarchal misogyny. There is a reason why your best ally in your fight on this blog is xyradicalfeminist who at best is intellectually about 14 years old if not that in actual age.

Jousting is over. I’ve had enough of your allegations, absurd conspiracies and empty rhetoric. If you want to keep going we are going to match reality vs. theory. Real life experiences as a woman in prostitution vs. your male perceptions and assumptions. You want to talk about violence against women in prostitution? Violence by men? We can play that. Let’s match your theory with reality.

While we are on the subject of violence. Understand this. Your actions and words directed at Beatriz, Ren, myself and others, are emotional violence perpetrated by a man of color, male person,………… whatever you call yourself.

I do believe that a standing ovation — or five — is in order here.

While Jill can stand on her own, it’s nice to have backup when dealing with asshats like DG….earlier in the same thread, yours truly and Renegade Evolution gave him the reading he deserved as well (both consolidated in one comment by me due to some issues with MySpace’s commenting system):

[Reprinting Ren’s comment…hopefully with the code stripped for brevity]

Jill, you’ll have to excuse my bile here for a moment…but….

FOR FUCK SAKE

This man [Note: reference to Randall Tobias, the official who was outed as using the "DC Madam’s" services] was the driving force in policy that denied monies to any countries and programs that did not openly, publicly, and legally condemn prostitution. Not the johns, Gregor, the whole business. Money was cut from programs that saw to the health and education of women in the business RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW, not in this magical future that is…what? Just going to appear one day? After the revolution? What? Yeah, anyway, cut funding from those things for those women- Who, you know, maybe if they HAD better educations and more opportunities they, you know, might not stay in prostitution? They might find ways out and into other jobs? Something like that?

Now, I realize you think if men would just stop using porn and seeing prostitutes everything would be all better…so great…get on that…though I am not sure if you and some other radical feminist men closing your eyes and wishing hard enough is going to make that happen or not, but in the mean time, there are people in this business, and they matter, and frankly, you are a shitty humanist and feminist if all you can do is sit around and attack and insult some women who, you know, actually give a shit about and try to help women in the sex industry in the here and now…those who cannot sit around and wait for your glorious revolution, or don’t want your glorious revolution, but still matter because they are humans and all.

And finally…WHAT about the MEN? You know, some feminists, caring about WOMEN and all…don’t necessarily think EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING always has to be…you know…about the goddamn men!

Now, why don’t you sit down, shut up, and ponder that for a moment? You want to get the men to stop? Ally with like minded men? Post your manifestos where men with read them, spread the word, so on…but WHY you are constantly harassing and attacking a woman who is trying to HELP women is just beyond me. It certainly isn’t doing ANYTHING to stop men from adding the demand part to the supply and demand part of sex work, is it?
[/Ren]

Oh, but Henchwoman, you so forget….you might as will be pissing into a Cat 5 hurricane eyewall as far as Gregor is concerned. This isn’t even about the hypocrisy of an antiprostitution activist engaging in the very same behavior that he would prosecute and demonize others for doing.

Nah….for Gregor, this is about castrating MEN as a class for the sins of having erections and thinking about women as free and equal sexual beings…which, in the eyes of the microcoded implanted endless loop computer chip program that substitutes for Gregor’s brain, directly leads to rape and abuse and "degradation" and all sorts of damage and destruction.  No, for him, it’s all about the SEX that must be totally purged and the men who must be "retrained" to reject their "base sexual desires" so that "men" like him can feel superior and offer himself to his extremist mentors as worthy.

And it’s that much harder to sell his "eternal victimhood" castration fantasies with all that sexual imagery in the way, and all those women who do happen to — horrors of all horrors — LIKE having sex outside of radfem standards, not to mention women like Jill who dare to defend these women as actual human beings rather than the foolish sluts and sexbots and brainwashed victims of "patriarchy" that need his "protection" from the evil male penis.  Thusly, she must be attacked with special fury as a "sellout", an enabler of rape, and a paid agent of Teh Male Enemy.

Well….too bad if I don’t happen to want to be castrated for crimes I don’t commit, or for having a working penis and the brains to respect a woman’s choices.  And too bad for Ren and Jill that they would rather risk being continuously harrassed by you so that they can stand their ground for actual justice for these women.

Somebody [better] change this broken record….please.

Anthony

His response to that??  To call me "phalleocentric".

My response to him from henceforth?? To simply ignore him as a dickhead and an asshat.  But, given Jill’s blast, I do believe that we’ve probably seen the last of him there for a while.