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_POSTEDON 2002-10-02 18:21:43 by jimmyd

Tales of Pornography jimmyd _writes "The bible says something about the sins of the father getting visited upon the son...or sons, I suppose. I don't know if daughters are included in that piece of bibilical wit and wisdom. Maybe they inherit their mother's sins--it really doesn't say (at least that I'm aware of). And because I like to think I'm an imaginative kind of guy, I sometimes wonder if pets inherit the sins of their owners. If so, my cockatiel could be headed for some serious shit--make that 'headed for some serious birdshit.'

You might guess I'm no theologian. Far from it. The extent of my bibilical knowledge comes from those few times I didn't ditch catechism classes (and there weren't too many times I sat and listened to them nuns), and from whatever movies Hollywood's put out on the subject. You know, movies like Monty Python's "Life of Brian."

It seems that in the case of the Zanes vs. Fishbein, there's some stuff going on that's in tune with whatever it is the bible says about this father/son/sins thing. Gene Ross has been gleefully sharing his touts' scuttlelbutt on the subject. And if Gene's sources are accurate, there's interesting intercourse going down between AVN's head honcho, Paul Fishbein (not to be confused with lukeford.com's honcho, Paul Flashburn), and the Zane family--Chuck and Matt--not to be confused with the Partridge's.

Most of us know there's no love lost between Mr. Ross and Mr. Fishbein. If you didn't know that, spend some time in the lukeford.com archives. It starts with all that Tessio and Clemenza stuff and goes on, chronologically, from there. And it sure as hell doesn't take a rocket scientist--hell, even *I* can figure this out--that Mr. Ross' take on the subject might be a bit jaded. It might even be a bit biased, anything's possible. And since Gene has gotten his meathooks on some emails or memos or whatever--communications that I'm pretty sure were meant to be kept confidential--he's made a couple of acres of hay out of it, in fact, I'll bet he goes on to make all the hay in the state of Kansas about it.

But I'm not writing this to assay Gene's motives or his methods. I'm writing this to fill up some space on my website, and to try and dissect what's going on in this three-way battle between two generations of Zanes, and Fishbein and company.

Let's take a look at Paul Fishbein first. You have to concede he's a successful businessman and a pretty shrewd one at that. You might like him, or you might dislike him. You might applaud his business acumen and strategies, or you might condemn them. You might think he and his magazine, with its reviews and awards, are for sale to a porno-elite group of bidders, or you might think everything's on the up-and-up and always has been. You might have no opinions, you might have strong opinions, or you might be somewhere in the middle on all this. But whether you like Paul or not, you cannot deny he's built a XXX empire, and you have to give him his due as one of the true, few, legitimate, power-brokers in this business.

Now what about this Matt Zane? Is he truly his father's son? In my past personal dealings with him, I'd have to say no. I'm not saying he couldn't be--maybe he could--but from what I've seen and from what I've heard, I'd have to say no. I just don't think he's interested in being a true porn-businessman. He sees himself as an artist--a filmmaker, a musician, maybe even some kind of a Gen-X prophet or guru . There was a time when I had some business dealings with Matt and his father. And the first thing I noticed, the very first thing, was this: Matt didn't sneeze without Daddy's approval. The old man was the skipper of that ship. A guy name of Bert was the salty First Mate, and Matt, well Matt was Chuck's head-in-the-clouds son who wanted to make his mark on pornography and the world. I'm guessing being a bad-boy kind of celebrity was first on Matt's list. I'd also guess that being at the helm of a porn company was way down that list, except for when it went to work for the things at the top of the list--especially the celebrity/prophet/Gen-X guru thing.

Let's take a look at Chuck Zane. Like Fishbein, he's a businessman too. And he's definitely shrewd, maybe even cunning. He's also known for being painfully honest. I've been told one of his favorite things to say was, "If I do business with you long enough, eventually, I'll screw you." How's that for honesty? I'll let you decided if Chuck was referring to a sexual act or something entirely different. Zane's had some hits and he's had some failures. He's certainly no power- broker, and if he's commanding an empire, that empire exists in a seriously confused and warped mind. So if you think his son's problems are just that--simply his son's problems, and if you think they are the fullfillment of some sort of biblical prophecy, and if you think Chuck Zane is innocent of any complicity in these problems, I've got some great Florida real estate I'd like to show you--but please bring your own fins and snorkel when you come to see it. Because you see, in my humble opinion, I seriously doubt if Chuck Zane ever really handed over his skipper's hat to Matt. And if he did, the ship's helm wasn't part of the deal. Sure, Chuck set up shop in Europe, but I'm told that was more out of neccessity and self-preservation than anything else (hint hint, nudge nudge, know what I mean?) And in this world of instant, global-communications, it's easy enough to get in touch with someone, wherever they might be, and ask permission to sneeze.

So what's my take on all of this? Matt Zane's a kid with lofty ambitions that may or may not be matched by the skills and talent needed to achieve them. Time will tell on that one, I suppose. Chuck Zane seems willing to pass off his problems and his debts to a son who is unable to solve them or pay them (fatherly love at its finest). And Paul Fishbein is a businessman with legitimate debts to collect: both moral and monetary.

If Paul Fishbein did Chuck Zane favors in the past, well, favors are rarely free. And since the only thing in common between Mother Theresa and Chuck Zane and Paul Fishbein is that they've all existed on this planet together for some period of time, I'm guessing those favors had some strings attached. Which means they could get called on--it's the way it often works with favors. But that's the way the whole freakin' world works. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Not here in the playground of the damned, or anywhere else.


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