October 24, 2006

The Great American Leper Colony

First off, let me unequivocally state that what I’m about to write is NOT an attempt to put down, razz, taunt, or show any sort of contempt for the porn biz. I’m a member of the club — hopefully, in good standing — and I’m simply thinking out loud here… cyber-loud.

For the last few years, porn pundits, as well as many pornographers themselves, have used almost any opportunity to shill this concept of the Mainstreaming of Porn. I’ve been guilty of it myself on more than a few occasions. Personally, I think it’s a load of crap. Just because porn now receives a lot of never-seen-before exposure through traditonal mainstream outlets doesn’t mean that porn itself has become mainstream. To the vast majority of people in the world, pornographers are like social lepers, freaks, and carnies, and that hasn’t changed. And for many of those civilians out there who are aware that an awful lot of porn is created and shipped from the San Fernando Valley’s West-side, the West SFV looks to them like one, big, porn-leper colony.

The real question is, is that a bad thing? Again, personally, I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s a good thing and it’s what has made porn more popular than ever before. The more the public is told by their so-called Moral Leaders to avoid porn, the more they want to experience it. Yep, people want to experience what they’re told they should shun and avoid. That’s human nature. If and when porn ever becomes truly mainstreamed I’m guessing many of us are out of a job. On the flipside, if the government passed some total porn-prohibition legislation, porn might be back to selling for ten or twenty times what it sells for now, just like it did back in the day.

I’ll use actual lepers as an example since I’ve already done so metaphorically: If I were to make and distribute a product called “Faces of Leprosy,” there’s a good chance it would sell and sell pretty well in spite of the disgusting imagery it would contain! Remember that gruesome series of videos called Faces of Death? It didn’t do too shabby in the marketplace. Again, it’s about people being drawn to things that their moral conscience tells them they should avoid. I think that explains why so many practicing Christians, including pastors and such, are drawn to porn. I’m sure this concept also applies to those people looking for kinkier and kinkier stuff on the web — possibly illegal content — to satisfy their craving for the unusual and bizarre even when that content might be gross and disgusting to experience. With that kind of stuff — the harder and possibly illegal stuff — people are like moths drawn to the flame. And, for those who purvey that sort of content, I suppose that’s a good thing for them… commercially speaking.

Another human trait is the need to be accepted and to command respect. That’s what drives so many pornographers to embrace this Mainstreaming of Porn concept. “I’m not a smut peddler, I’m an adult film distributor.” Again, I’m guilty of this myself.

But there’s a real dichotomy going on here, especially between attitudes and actions: On one hand, pornographers want to be perceived and accepted as providers of a legitimate entertainment genre. On the other hand, they continually and determinedly quest to produce content that comes as close to illegitimacy as possible. (Short of going to jail.)

So don’t be misled by porn pundits into believing John Q. Public is accepting us as legitimate, mainstream, entertainment. Thankfully, they’re not. And they’re completely aware that we are, still, a bunch of dysfunctional, social misfits. That’s why most of the public condemns us to social-leper status. It’s also why they buy our products in record numbers and why the real mainstream people are giving us more exposure than ever before. When it comes to those “real mainstream” people, however, don’t confuse exposure with acceptance.

Okay. I’m done thinking out loud here. If you’re still reading, thanks for your patience whether you agree with me or think I’m totally out to lunch.

Posted by jimmyD under It's all the same crap. |

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