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The Porn You Will Always Have With You: California's Condom Cops

Rule 34 is bunk.

You know that rule of the internet: “If it exists, there is porn of it”?

Wrong.

One, because if there were "cellulite porn," I might very well be typing this beside my infinity pool in a double gated community somewhere south of the 49th parallel.

(Who am I kidding? I wouldn't be typing this at all...)

Two: last year I asked my blog readers if they’d ever heard tell of “Mountie porn,” and got one measly link to a low-rent "sexy Halloween costume" vendor.

Which seems bizarre, and not just because all those chicks dug Due South.

After all, uniforms have been a porn staple forever. As P.J. O’Rourke famously said:

I have often been called a Nazi, and, although it is unfair, I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.

Yep, that Hugo Boss guy has a LOT to answer for:

It was one of Israel’s dirty little secrets. In the early 1960s, as Israelis were being exposed for the first time to the shocking testimonies of Holocaust survivors at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a series of pornographic pocket books called Stalags, based on Nazi themes, became best sellers throughout the land.

Now while I wouldn’t call them fascists, our RCMP has burned a few barns in their day.

(And tasered a guy to death for having a nicotine fit at the airport. Then there was the time they stole all that dynamite...)

So: pretty badass. But still (almost) no Mountie porn. Hmmm.

All this to say:

My attitude about pornography is as subjectively personal as anyone else's.

In my case, it reflects my experiences as a Canadian female of a certain age, steeped in the anti- and pro-porn "wars" that preoccupied feminists in the 1980s.

 

That decade began with Not a Love Story (1981), a graphic anti-pornography documentary directed for the National Film Board by Bonnie Sherr Klein (mother of Naomi No Logo Klein).

Dennis Prager observes that when women first learn the truth about male sexuality -- which is hardwired to seek out visual variety, and leans toward aggression, domination, and indifference  -- they are usually disgusted and, more importantly, depressed. Not a Love Story was required viewing in my college media program; I remember a female classmate sitting next to me in the dark, sobbing. Tellingly, I don't recall my own reaction. Maybe I was a bit shell shocked.

The part I do remember all these years later was Margaret Atwood's recitation of her poem "A Women's Issue" (at the 14:00 minute mark below -- WARNING: GRAPHIC SEXUAL CONTENT):

It's true: within living memory, feminists were outraged by female genital mutilation and the wearing of burkas. We have proof, on film! Plus I was there!

But as we all know, leftist fashions change.

The second-wave, "off our backs" anti-porn feminism that sparked boycotts, pickets, out of control Phil Donohue Shows and even the fire bombing of Canadian adult video stores eventually collapsed for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, the usual progressive magic spells -- exaggerated statistics, dubious "studies," questionable eyewitnesses and outright urban legends ("rape vans," "snuff films") -- eventually lost their power, as they always do (although never soon enough to prevent real damage).

Also as usual, the same laws one set of activists campaigned for came back to bite their own comrades on the behind, with one example being the long and costly prosecution of a gay Canadian bookstore for importing "obscene" materials.

And how could an alliance that eventually included Gloria Steinem, Jerry Falwell, and Ted Bundy fail to disintegrate beneath the weight of its own contradictions and absurdity?

Just as importantly, many younger, third-wave feminists (i.e., those women who still had active sex lives) rejected the anti-porn party line.

At first, Susie Bright and the women behind the cheekily-title On Our Backs drew doctrinaire distinctions between porn and "female-friendly," "sex-positive" "erotica," but that became too tiring a pose to maintain.

Behind closed doors, many self-described feminists were forced to admit to themselves and their partners (if to nobody else) that the "degrading" stuff their older sisters railed against actually turned them on.

Fast forward to 2012 and the once ubiquitous anti-porn movement might as well have never existed.

New York's 42nd Street, once a tar pit of sticky floored grindhouses, has been Disneyfied, while at the same time, porn and its accoutrements are now mainstream. Tracy Lords, Sasha Grey, and James Deen are almost household names. The movie Boogie Nights romanticized 1970s porn production as a surrogate family structure for misfit human toys; The People vs. Larry Flynt sanctified the Hustler publisher as a First Amendment hero. Viewers of CSI learned new words like "switch" and "furry," and about the lucrative used panty trade.

Most importantly, porn went from analog to digital.

Video may or may not have killed the radio star, but the internet murdered old fashioned, easy to burn and ban VHS tapes and magazines. (Canada's Red Hot Video shops survived the Wimmin's Fire Brigade, but what's left of the chain is finally closing down because its business model is no longer viable. Just ask Blockbuster.)

(Porn, in turn, spearheaded many features of the internet we take for granted.)

Having survived attacks by straight women thirty years ago, the porn industry now has a new and unlikely activist enemy: gay men.

Being gay used to mean being all about freedom and non-conformity and living life as a daring, countercultural outlaw.

The gay liberation movement's fight to decriminalize homosexuality must have seemed like a great idea at the time, but this craze for legitimacy and "tolerance" (and some would say, obligatory acceptance) seems to have awakened a dormant Pharisaical tendency within too many gay activists.

I call them the Bitchfinder-Generals.

Today they bully the rest of society with their "anti-bullying" campaigns, and drag "homophobic" comedians into court or on slave-auction-style "apology tours," and demand the "right" to get "married" (something no self-respecting homosexual ever longed for until it became trendy a few years back).

The latest and weirdest gay campaign just scored a victory in Los Angeles:

The new ordinance, which takes effect March 5, will require porn performers to wear condoms while shooting on location in the city. (…)

The Los Angeles law was the result of months of aggressive lobbying by Weinstein and other AIDS activists, who have long called on the government to step in and make the porn workplace safer. The council approved the law only after activists pressured it by gathering enough signatures to ask voters to decide the issue at the ballot box. The industry has been forced to suspend production several times amid reports that adult performers contracted HIV. One was Derrick Burts, who tested HIV-positive in 2010 and said clinic staff told him he was infected by a fellow performer.

"AIDS prevention" used to be what "bullying" is now: code for "gay," and a cause you failed to support at your social and professional peril. (Remember when any actor seen NOT wearing a red ribbon at an awards ceremony was suspected of "homophobia"?)

But as demonstrated by this new L.A. ordinance, the talismanic word "AIDS" still has the power to sway businesses and governments, even though it's been clear since the beginning that -- contrary to two decades and billions of dollars worth of propaganda -- AIDS affects only a tiny number of North Americans, the vast majority of whom engage in physically risky behaviors.

Believe it: as long as you're dutifully "raising awareness," the gay lobby and its useful idiots will forgive anything. AIDS activism covers a multitude of sins:

 A killer who’s serving life in prison for shooting a Napean cop has lost a fight for parole and deportation to his native England where he could live unsupervised by authorities.

“He continues to pose a moderate risk of re-offending violently and if deported to the U.K. ... would not be subject to mandatory supervision,” Near said in his Feb. 27 decision. “Granting parole would pose an undue risk to society, even though the society at issue was in the U.K.”

The board said Collins is active in jail helping inmates with programming, peer counselling and HIV/AIDS work.

A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal last year ordered the Correctional Service of Canada to pay Collins $9,500 for making him stand up for a daily head count even though he suffers from severe chronic pain.

He was also presented the 2008 Canadian Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.

Anyhow, upon hearing about the new mandatory condom law, sensible people naturally raise sensible objections:

What do gay activists care about what happens during straight porn shoots? Is this campaign really an attempt to shut down porn production all together and if so, why?

Won't production simply move to a different city, or, more likely, won't more movies be shot underground and in even less "safe" conditions, as filmmakers try to get around expensive and annoying government regulations?

If everyone ignores this law, as some predict, what was the point of spending all this time, money, and energy to pass it? Why do we continue to humor professional lobbyists and busybodies acting out their Erin Brockovich fantasies at public expense? Why are the same people who chant "keep your rosaries off our ovaries" now lobbying the government to make men wear condoms?

How will this law even be enforced?

I contacted one of my regular blog readers, who works in the industry. He offered to try to answer some of these questions, on condition of anonymity:

The condom law only applies to films shot outside of studios. You don't have to use condoms unless you're shooting on location. I suppose it's a windfall for a few studios in the Valley who've lost work to companies that prefer filming at glamorous home locations. I just don't see how the cops are going to keep track of who's making a porn film. The vast majority of people shooting porn films don't bother registering for a permit. The law doesn't require the porn biz to do anything proactive, so it looks like everyone's doing business as usual and figuring that the government is still pondering all the loopholes. The producers are still aware that the law is officially in effect, and they know the 2257 forms they use to confirm a performer's age are also going to provide legal confirmation on the dates of their shoots.

I can't tell you if anyone's openly defied the law by not using condoms on a location shoot. It seems nobody's shown up to enforce the condom law at any of the major studios, and you'd think the government would start with the big names that are easily found. Nobody's heard anything about people reviewing footage shot for films, either. If the condom law does start to get enforced, I think people will just shoot in spacious homes in San Francisco or Nevada that are sitting empty.

Also, keep in mind that the porn industry is very wary of safe-sex advocates. There have been a few over the years who mostly cared about shaking down production companies. It'll be interesting to see how relations go now that there's a law to be enforced.

There was a time when everyone would be pissed off and paranoid about the law being so vague. Now everyone just figures that the porn business has to put up with the same crap that any other business does.

That last line leads us to the bigger problem...

California is arguably the most heavily regulated state in the union, and its economic health (or lack thereof) speaks for itself.

Whimsical, trendy safety regulations inspired by junk science are killing American self-reliance and enterprise.

Sometimes these rules may even kill actual Americans.

See Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe's classic essay on the "law" that really made America great -- "Safety Third":

Of course, behind it all is the thousands of pages of OSHA. In the absence of authority, we look to whatever there is. And OSHA certainly has saved lives and calls a lot of shots, but it's amazing, when you really talk to workers one on one, and get to the root of their views on safety, how disconnected we were from the basic tenets of risk -- how risk has become a thing that has slowly evolved in the way we assimilate work.

You have to fall. You have to get bruised and knocked around. Of course, nobody wants pain, danger, agony or misery, but when you build an entire philosophy based on keeping those things from happening, there's an unintended consequence. It's obviously this twitchy, jerky, sort of pedantic creature we've created that is us.

Risk used to be something that you were compensated for, straight up. But our insurance companies and our lawyers have basically assumed the job of eliminating risk, and they've succeeded to a certain degree.

Because that should be a much more pressing concern than the well-being of a small number of consenting, risk-taking adults.

That is: the metastasization of the State in the name of "safety," led by quixotic self-appointed activists for "social justice," who are driven by their own psychological demons to put the world to rights.

And "social justice" is the stubborn application of unworkable solutions to imaginary problems.

As Mark Steyn put it when contemplating the proposed condom law almost two years ago:

One can make arguments for permitting porn and for banning porn, but there isn’t a lot to be said for the bureaucratization of porn.