Only Dirk Diggler Could Go To China
Film permits issued for X-rated films in Los Angeles County have dropped this year to almost zero in the wake of a law requiring condom use during porn shoots.
Only two permits have been issued for pornographic filming so far this year, far off pace for an industry that typically gets about 500 permits annually, said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, a nonprofit that oversees permitting throughout L.A. County.
"It's a steep drop," Audley said, adding that "both of those applications came in January."Coupled with an apparent increase in adult films being shot in nearby Ventura County — where one politician says residents have complained about "moans and groans" echoing from film sets — the permitting decrease has been seized on by porn producers who have long claimed condom regulation would cause them to leave, harming the Los Angeles economy.
"We're not surprised by this," said Diane Duke, chief executive of the Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry trade group. "Movie companies are beginning to look for other areas" outside of the San Fernando Valley, the longtime base for most of the industry.
Whenever Tom Wolfe writes one of his periodic essays looking back at how the US underwent its metamorphosis from Ike's buttondown America to the freak show that followed beginning in the late '60s and the seventies, he always mentions the seemingly overnight ubiquity of the porn industry, to the point where what would have seemed shocking as late as the mid-1960s was simply part of a background ambiance taken for granted by everyone in the neighborhood. For example, in the Great Relearning, Wolfe wrote:
The great American contribution to the twentieth century’s start from zero was in the area of manners and mores, especially in what was rather primly called “the sexual revolution.” In every hamlet, even in the erstwhile Bible Belt, may be found the village brothel, no longer hidden in a house of blue lights or red lights or behind a green door but openly advertised by the side of the road with a thousand-watt backlit plastic sign: TOTALLY ALL-NUDE GIRL SAUNA MASSAGE AND MARATHON ENCOUNTER SESSIONS INSIDE. Up until 1985 pornographic movie theaters were as ubiquitous as the 7-Eleven, including outdoor drive-ins with screens six, seven, eight stories high, the better to beam all the moistened folds and glistening nodes and stiffened giblets to a panting American countryside. In 1985 the pornographic theater began to be replaced by the pornographic videocassette, which could be brought into any home. Up on the shelf in the den, next to the World Book Encyclopedia and the Modern Library Classics, one now finds the cassettes: Sally’s Alley; Young and Hung; Yo! Rambette!; Latin Teacher: She Sucks, She Has Sucked, She Will Have Sucked.
If only Nixon could to China, then only the PC left could have killed the porn industry in Los Angeles. As P.J. O'Rourke once quipped, "You can't get good Chinese takeout in China and Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism." And all you need to know about the excoriating effects of 21st century political correctness is that you can't shoot porn in Los Angeles. No wonder, as Richard Miniter noted in 2008, "In the 1950s, the most puritanical place in America was somewhere in Kansas. Today it is Los Angeles."
Update: Which isn't necessarily to say that banning porn shoots in L.A. is a bad thing; but it is something that the left would have gone nuclear over if conservatives had attempted the ban. But they surrender astonishingly quietly when it's an internecine struggle between left and lefter.
But freedom also must be the freedom to do dumb things, which reminds me of the conversation that Adam Carolla had with the now sadly deceased Andrew Breitbart on California's smoking bans: