opinion

Sitting Out the Recession in Jail

Tom Hymes
Dear Max Hardcore,

I just wanted to send a few thoughts your way as you begin a 46-month stint in federal prison for an obscenity conviction that should never have happened in the first place. First, I want to say I hope the sentence served is substantially shorter, if not reversed altogether.

I have interviewed you several times over the years, but we have never been close and I do not know you well. I may not be a great fan of your work, to say the least, but neither do I think that is relevant to anything. I don't want to speak about obscenity laws because I think we both agree that they are fatally arbitrary and, well, seriously fucked up. But I do want to talk briefly about the manner in which you have faced this whole ordeal.

Brother, you have taken it like a man.

I haven't seen or heard one self-pitying peep out of you since you were indicted, even at parties over the past few years, in one on one conversations, when you could easily have bemoaned your fate and the unfairness of it all, and declared yourself a martyr to the cause.

Instead, you talked about how you weren't giving up the fight and how the world hadn't seen the last of Max, and how you really do believe in the System and the freedoms we enjoy and so often take for granted. That as the Man was working overtime to take away yours.

It was impressive, but I have been impressed before, particularly when you were one of the very first of the "video" crowd to attend Internext shows, years ago, when 98% of the producers still thought the Internet was for chumps.

You were always there, way ahead of most of the others, visible, asking questions, making deals, and palpably eager to learn everything you could.

I was there when an online guy tried to coax you into a fight at the pool in Hollywood, Florida, because, as I recall, he was offended by the content you made and felt he needed to make a statement. You didn't bite or back down, as I recall, and the confrontation petered out.

And I have seen you pilloried on adult chat boards by a lot of people in the industry, with comments along the lines of, "You had it coming," or, "That's the way it goes," or, "You play with fire, you get burned." You know, the sort of comments one would expect from people who share similar risks. (Excuse me while I puke.)

I also have heard the quieter asides, "I don't give a shit," or, "He got what he deserved," or the slightly more generalized, "Fuck him." There have been a number of those lately, but then that sort of attention is nothing new to you, is it? As the king lightening rod in an industry renowned for its headline grabbing, boundary-pushing egoists, your skin got thick a long time ago, didn't it?

So I just want to say that all this has been noted. You have thus far acquitted yourself quite honorably. I also want you to know that you will not recede into oblivion. If I am allowed and able, I promise to visit you in jail, to see how you are doing and to continue covering your story. I'm sure I will not be the only one.

On a last note, not that it was your choice, but you probably picked the best possible time to take to the sidelines. This is going to be one brutal recession. I know, it's not much of a consolation, but it's something.

Take it easy, Max. See you soon,

Tom

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