Defining the Body Politic

Tom Hymes
The call is out to rouse the adult entertainment industry from its presumed slumber in an effort to encourage (and influence) active participation in the upcoming election.

In many ways, and on many industry forums, the rather irritating presumption has been that we as industry individuals see the world similarly and have a shared sense of how the decisions before us this November will impact our businesses and the industry as a whole.

The truth, of course, is far more complicated. We are a disparate group that comes together not with shared values but shared goals, and while that alone might argue for also sharing certain desired outcomes, especially with respect to the next president, the fact is we are as far from an industry-wide consensus as we have ever been with any issue. Yes, we party hearty and work like dogs, and we absolutely do feel like a well defined and cohesive community — we really do — but at the end of the day our differences delineate us more than do our similarities.

One sees this conflicted sense of connection all over the place, in the way people interact on the boards, in the many cliques that have formed over the years and certainly in the frenzied mob mentality that rears its ugly head from time to time, but for me the most visible indication of the industry's distorted sense of shared interest makes itself known with the big ticket items, like obscenity, piracy, webmaster fraud and even .XXX.

I may be hopelessly naive, but some issues appear to me to be slam-dunk consensus material, especially given that our natural born enemies are so damned clear about where they stand on most of them. Take the question of obscenity. You'd think we would be and act as one on the matter, especially since so many of us are subject to prosecution. But instead of burying our petty differences and joining together to create a stronger whole, we bicker endlessly about arbitrary definitions of obscenity, damn our bothers and sisters for pushing the envelope and in the end all we accomplish it to divide and conquer ourselves. With friends like us, who needs a Morality in Media?

Even as we recognize that our business interests do not always align with one another, and that we now are unabashedly an industry that transcends nationalities, languages, technologies, currencies, cultures and almost every other human variable, we need to do a better job of exploring what we share, and we certainly need to improve how we come together in agreement not only on those issues that impact us all, but also on how we go about addressing them.

The irony is that our enemies have always known (and feared) the power that resides in the adult entertainment industry, which, should it truly organize, could effectuate positive change infinitely more than it already passively does.