upon a time, one worried about protecting his or her kids from
the type of porn one might find at the local drugstore.
In that quaint time, placing a brown cover over
the offending material, or simply putting the magazines behind
the counter, solved much of the problem. With the internet, however, the problem
has become more pervasive and invasive.
Spam and pop-up ads attack even the most pure-at-heart
computer user, while libraries force even their god-fearing
patrons to sign pledges to avoid smutty-net pages. But what if some curious kid really wants
to find smutty-net pages?
Well, the net shows little prejudice.
Almost anyone, it seems, can hook up to a computer somewhere
that will reveal a world that will make the old Hustlers
look tame. Call
it a new kind of democracy.
isnt children, however, that the American Porn industry
is after. Why court
controversy when theyre already making billions from their
parents by internet, video, and cable? Indeed, much of the concern over what children
may find on the internet has been a red herring: its adults
who are partaking of porn, and paying for it, in record quantities.
A smart aleck might even suggest that without the big
folks copious appetites for smut, the net would be mostly free
Porn descends into a myriad of West Coast porn companies
who have made multi-millions in the 90s.
While the Reagan White House pursued pornographers
voraciously, the Clinton Justice Department set other priorities.
This laxity, along with new cable and internet technology,
paved the way for a multi-billion dollar industry.
Interestingly, wealth, high-profile players, and college-educated
executives have made L.A.s kings and queens of porno indistinguishable
from the Hollywood elite.
issues surrounding pornography are complex and even a card caring
member of the ALCU may deplore the sexism and exploitive nature
of most porn. Many within the industry argue that watching porno,
transported over phone lines owned by Ma Bell, is now accepted
by mainstream Americans as a legitimate way to pass ones
time. This line of thinking views pornography
as healthy fantasy, perhaps enjoyed by a monogamous couple wishing
to spice up their love life. But others point to the emphasis that the
industry places on youth (as in the Barely Legal series)
and, in some cases, violence.
most disturbing coverage during American Porn involves
Extreme Associates, a company that likes to push the envelop
so far that they even frighten old-timers like Larry Flynt.
The script of one video calls for a woman to be beatenliterally
by two men and thenwithin the fantasy of the filmraped.
When asked if the woman in the video is really going
to be hit, company owner Lizzie Borden answers, Yeah.
Shes really going to get hit.
She likes it. Its good.
Sometimes, it makes you more horny when youre
getting hit. Really?
One begins to see how porn, under a talented director
like Borden, could replace costly therapy. Present during the
filming, the Frontline crew became so disturbed by what
was taking place they left.
have shown themselves to be hypocrites on the subject of pornography.
It would be nice to say that the people who watch hardcore
porn are sex-starved perverts and a small minority of the population.
But with $10 billion dollars being poured into the industry,
its obvious that a person within ones family, neighborhood,
and bible study group are watching.
It might be more helpful to ignore the usual pro/con
arguments concerning restricting porn and ask: what kind of
culture markets and purchases explicit material that includes
forced sex, bestiality, and inflicted violence?
achieves balanced coverage by including representative
footage of the porn industry while avoiding sensationalism. The only misstep occurs when the program
takes a brief detour into sexual ethics by allowing an interviewee
to ask: how many partners will a female porn star have over
a period of several years?
How will she ever tell Mr. Right about her sexual past? This brief diversion is worthy of talk-TV
and adds nothing to the program.
Overall though, American Porn provides fascinating
fodder for the ongoing debate about Americas favorite,
D. Lankford, Jr.
American Porn airs on February 7 at 9:00 PM.