We're All in This Together

Andy Fair
A panel at a recent tradeshow included two of the biggest names in the industry (on the straight side). I have a lot of respect for these men, both for their success and for the very public leadership roles they play in the industry. That's why I was so disappointed to hear them make such huge efforts to distance themselves from Extreme Associates and Rob Black. You likely are familiar with the Extreme Associates obscenity case, and if not, you should be.

The attitude these speakers took was more than just, "Wow, Rob Black's stuff is really out there and has nothing to do with me." It really had a sense of "He shouldn't be doing that, it's wrong, and he deserves to be prosecuted."

To the best of my knowledge, the Extreme Associates material is all staged. Everyone seems to be reacting as if the S&M scenes and violence are real. The performers were consenting and compensated. Rob Black was not charged with rape or assault. He was charged with "portraying" rape and assault.

We're all in the fantasy business, folks. Just because you don't like my fantasy doesn't mean I shouldn't be allowed to have it.

Maybe I'm more sensitive to this because I'm gay and produce gay content. It wasn't that long ago that portraying even the blandest gay sex was categorized as obscene. Only three years ago gay sex — in the privacy of one's own home — was still a crime in 15 states! That's right, you could sell videos of men having oral sex, but if you went to Texas or Atlanta or Puerto Rico, you could go to jail for having oral sex.

The current administration is out to get all of us. Don't kid yourself that they're only going after extreme stuff. That's the focus now because it's an easy target. But all porn is an easy target. And people simply won't stand up and demand their right to view porn. So we're all in this together.

There are elements of self-loathing, guilt, shame and a "maybe they are right and I am sick and wrong" kind of attitude imprinted on all of us when it comes to sex, whether virtual or real, gay or straight. In this way porn is similar to gay marriage and adoption — easy targets that people are deeply conflicted over. This is what gives the conservatives their power when they attack us, when they attack porn, when they attack gay marriage. People start questioning: "Maybe I shouldn't look at porn. Maybe gays shouldn't be parents."

An audience member at a panel I spoke on recently chastised me for calling my work porn. He suggested I use euphemisms like "erotica." That way, he reasoned, the mainstream will find all of it more acceptable. He was ashamed of what he sells, and wanted me to be ashamed, too.

Do you think the administration will stop after bringing down Rob Black? Whew, what a relief if they do. Glad that extreme stuff is gone? Now my kids can watch bukkake gang bangs without getting the idea it's OK to express violence toward women.

Once the government succeeds in going after the easy, extreme targets, they'll tighten the screws further. Today it's S&M, tomorrow it'll be ATM, the next day, anything anal, then threesomes, then oral, then doggy-style, anything homo, then nudity... where do you think it'll stop?

The real agenda is not to protect children or to rein in extreme imagery or even collect taxes. The goal is to control what you watch in your home.