The porn market is nuts.
While girls as hot, slick and tasty as buttered pancakes self-publish child-porn at MySpace, Joe Porn obsesses over mythical sets in which glamour models break their own rules. For some reason Mila Kunis naked is a far more interesting proposition than Mila Kuni’s porn star twin sister (who lives in my head) naked.
Thus the fabled Justine Joli b/g hardcore set and fisting video are discussed by typists with calloused palms, each message making the reality of their existance seem more ridiculous.
Well here you go.
While I know she’d rather this stuff not be out there, it is, and she’ll doubtless do better supported by fans than derided by hypocrites.
(NB: I know this isn’t news to everyone but DAMN, it is news to everyone else.)
There’s nothing unexpected about the AIDs outbreak currently ending careers in the San Fernando valley. When the greed of the biggest porn producers pressed against a short-lived condoms-only policy, cowardice won, the condoms came off, and a countdown to today’s disaster began.
The traditional arguments for condom-free porn no longer fly. No-one under 40 has lived in a world where unprotected sex was normal. We don’t wilt at the thought of a condom, or hark back to a halcyon past of spontaneous rutting. The idea male talent can’t perform reliably wearing condoms seems laughable in the face of a gay porn industry which requires them and the idea that testing removes the need for barrier protection has been proven false so many times I dare anyone to defend its efficacy.
So porn’s businessmen follow their own logic, making what sells and listening to customers over critics. Until porn consumers choose to reject condom-free material, it will remain the bulk or their production. Even as their profits dwindle, Darwinian marketing rules.
When the illness comes the industry turns to AIM, Adult Industry Medical, the clinic responsible for providing performers with clean test results and for notifying the industry when an unlucky individual falls through the massive holes in their net. AIM’s policy favors the business interests of the producers, most obviously because they are funded almost entirely thanks to their largesse. They once publicized every infected performer and sought the maximum attention. Today they respect the privacy HIV+ sex workers at the potential expense of their partners. The system is broken in ways perfectly suited to supporting the ongoing production of condom-free porn in the face of overwhelming evidence it costs lives. Porn’s newest intake were born into a world where AIDs is a problem you live with, not a death sentance. To a teenage starlet all this commotion can seem a little overblown. AIM doesn’t share it records with Los Angeles public health community, like the companies who fund it, they are comfortable interpreting everything but praise as attack.
It will get worse.
Female performers have careers so short they leave before they stop to think. Those who earn the power to protect themselves choose not to lobby for standards when doing so labels them as “difficult”. The independence and wealth the web can provide now bypasses those who appear on MySpace on their 18th birthday and sign contracts the following week. Agents and directors are powerful again. The future changed and it looks like 1990 now.
Male performers, at much lower risk of infection condom or no, compensate for comparatively low scene fees with volume. As advancing age makes chasing wood a problem, condoms, are more a threat to their car payments than a cause for good.
The owners are watch their sales decline and worry about piracy to the exclusion of all other thought. If sex doesn’t sell like it used to, how to sell safety? Scared to act alone, the few who worry stay silent.
Customers spend less and surf more. They don’t know where the clips come from or how they’re made. Retirement and death are invisible online. Traci Lords is still 19 and Jenna’s still a star. The hipsters who were going to change everything didn’t. Reluctant to look beyond a performers name to the system they work in, they haven’t realized the wave of independent production houses launched in the mid noughties has been subsumed by the establishment. They buy tattoos, youth and packaging in place of change.
Bullshit. Our recipe for disaster. Serves everyone. Bon appetit.
Charlotte Rampling in “The Night Porter”
Stoya’s decision to let Brian “Marilyn Manson” Warner carve a swastika – or as I’d like to think, ancient symbol of Janism – into her pubes couldn’t have been more poorly timed. “Nazi’s were badass and wore Hugo Boss” cretinism is harder to ignore in the shadow of this week’s Holocaust Museum shooting.
Rumors are flying about her future. It was a dumb move (made real following a confession to Gram Ponante), which won’t endear her to porn’s large and influential Jewish community, or right-thinking people anywhere. I predict it’ll appear to blow over but keep a thumb on the windpipe of her success. Racism’s part of the porn business but antisemitism remains taboo.
I’ve not met Stoya but always pegged her as smart and cool, if I’m right, I hope she lets me know what she’s thinking now. I have met Brian Warner and can confirm he’s pretty much exactly who you’d think. That said, the attention seeking efforts of an Alice Cooper impressionist are easier to understand than Stoya’s purely self-destructive dalliance with hate. It’s possible Brian engineered this stunt, in Germany where Holocaust denail and Nazi imagery are illegal, on purpose. It’s telling that he chose Stoya, not his actress girlfriend, as the victim. I’d bet there are photos somewhere too.
On a practical level, Stoya should apologize fast, keep her head down, and move on. Manson should return to wanking over his copy of “The Night Porter” and making records no-one’s interested in. This is proof, if any were needed, there is such a thing as bad publicity.
All the recent talk of North Korea seems to skirt the state of their jizz bizz. Many would assume there’s as much porn in North Korea as food (i.e. not much) but they’d be wrong.
“Porno became prevalent in late 1990s, first among party officials and it leaked out to the public. Nude or bikini-worn women dance in North Korean porno with music.
Such indigenous videos disappear as foreign-made porno being imported. The first consumers, and the largest now, are high-ranking officials of the party and army.
It costs 2000 North Korea won (approx. USD 1 =3,200 North Korean Wown) to rent a porno CD for an hour in North Korea. Even middle school students collect money to rent one.”
North Korean readers – I’ll accept this stuff C.O. D.
I’ve written about the porn industries obsession with exaggerated genital statistics in the past pointing out that, though possible, a 13 inch member is as common as a man who stands 8’10″ in socks.
The industry has always known this, and used to go out of its way to deceive us into thinking it’s stars were bigger than they were. John Holme’s iconic portrait shows four pairs of hands covering a member we’re supposed to believe takes root just below his navel. The legend of the playground in my day, “King Dong”, was a truly impressive 18″ prosthetic supported by a healthy dose of racist stereotyping.
Today we’re being given “Rico the Destroyer” who we’re told is 13″ inches of black, blah, blah, blah. Where’s the respect? In photos of this one-man moon rocket he’s about half obscured by a single hand. If he’s 13″, that means her hand must be about 6″ wide. Pick up a ruler and measure the width of your fist. I’ve got hands thicker than a bankers wallet and mine only measure 4″. Assuming these women aren’t 6’3″, their hands are probably 3.5″ max. So doubling that and adding a bit gets us to 7.5″ or 8″.
I really don’t care but it bothers me they’re not even proffering the respect of an attempt at deception, and why are blogs like Fleshbot not calling porn flacks on this garbage?
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Now Jenna Jameson’s no longer pretending to be in the adult industry the media’s having to decide on a new face for porn. Tera Patrick has always wanted to be as big as Jenna, but the zeitgeist is so far from massive implants and guitar based Rock ‘n’ Roll that she seems quaintly out-of-touch. The story now is slight, pale, body-mod free women who can claim to be everything the last generation weren’t. Ironically they’ve come full circle. No longer independent and business focussed, they work for other people and tell themselves that doing what the public demands is proof of their freedom, not a failure to set the agenda.
Enter Sasha Grey.
Cast in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience she’s enjoying a very intense 15 minutes. She’s a pretty, 21 year old, proud autodidact starring in a film people can admit to being interested in without shame. The LA Times, Backstage, Tyra Banks and others are all dusting off their favorite porn fable. Someone’s escaped the pen, Sasha Grey’s going mainstream, porn’s no longer in the closet.
The problem of course is that porn’s not been in the closet for over a decade. Everyone under 30 experienced an unlimited, porn-fueled, puberty. Their experience and attitudes to sex are so radically different to those even five years senior that it’s hard to communicate across the gap. They’ve seen everything and are looking for ways to process what they know, experience what they’re attracted to, and stand apart from the past. For the first time in America it’s possible that people claiming no sexual shame are telling the truth. More likely they’re just ashamed of what they haven’t done.
Sasha’s a prime example. Her real name’s all over the web. She’s too young, and too libertine, to guard her non-porn future the way performers did back in 2005. She makes her money in other people’s movies and is becoming famous for being visible, where her predecessors became famous for the money they made becoming visible, then walked away rich and anonymous.
Is she cracking the mainstream? It’s easy to measure. Crossing over means being seen as a talent outside the field you came to prominence in without being boxed in by your past. When a comedian like Jaime Foxx appears in an all-black comedy movie he’s just a comedian who got an acting gig. When he plays a boxing trainer in a serious drama he’s crossed over. Casting a pornster to play a prostitute is not breaking the mainstream. If Sasha goes on to play roles with her clothes on, in which she isn’t being used as a sexual lure, then she might have made the jump. Sadly for her, while no-one cares if Jaime Foxx does the odd stand-up tour, until the first internet generation of American adults is in charge, it’s doubtful the public will welcome a working actress who makes the occasional scud-flick.
No one sane would want to, but in case this is it Sasha will have to pretend that working as an autonomous body-part is as rewarding as the art, music and acting she’s allowed to dabble in.
I thought that sticking your dick in a vacuum cleaner was an urban myth. Probably because I have a Dyson that’d rip it clean off. This gent has turned a love of double insertion, a graduate degree in electronics, soda bottles and old vacuum cleaner motors into the future.
Wii Do It. I see it now.
You can follow me, on Twitter, here @SugarBank. (47)
Don’t panic – I was using Twitter before Oprah was. (52)
I don’t really understand the appeal. (38)
As someone who never got into IM, super-public IM seems like a step back. (74)
As a micro-blog Twitter makes more sense, but I find it hard to say hello in less than 140 characters which is awkward. (120)
Most of all I find the volume of shite problematic. (52)
I open Twitter, it vomits tweets all over me, I close Twitter and wonder why I’m involved. Most of it’s not that interesting. (125)
All that said – I do post occasionally and I’m sure it’d be more frequent if I new more, better, people. (105)
See you in 140 (it’s a fad). (28)
The utterly predictable stunt of mixing nudity and pop videos still works if you’re smart enough to make it interesting. Make The Girl Dance took three women, sans clothes, and had them walk through the center of Paris miming along to a cutsie boombox.
It’s all done in one take but most people will be too focused on the nudity to notice the artistry. For some reason they flopped the images too, I un-flopped the still above because French written backwards seems foreign to me.
In London the crowd behind them by the end of the street would number hundreds and be turning violent. In America they’d have been arrested. In Paris – as any Francophile knows – people smile, glance and get on with their day.
Compared to porn’s take on exhibitionism you can’t but wonder where all the style, taste and fun has gone. (The only kink they understand at Kink.com is BDSM. Why can’t they produce anything that’s not a BDSM scenario at heart).
One day, I’m gonna live, in Paris. I promise. I’m on it.
Bacchaus, who correctly concluded being a pornographer would garner more respect than being a lawyer, is close to closing ErosBlog.
At Wired Bruce Sterling is incorrectly hailing the change as a portent of doom for porn in general. You and I know porn’s weak because it’s mostly rubbish. It will be strong again when it stops losing ground to non-porn-sexy-stuff which doesn’t assault you with ugliness and stupidity.
Bacchaus’s full, pro-chicken, rant is here. He gets it exactly right when he pegs his problem as having nothing to sell. I worked that out at the beginning of 2008. Now I’m working to fix that.
If you’re a sex-blogger without a product, how are you making money? Anyone clearing four figures on ad links alone?
(Apologies getting to this embarrassingly late. Wired’s uncomfortably thick RSS feed has lain neglected by me to the tune of 300 posts.)
The AVN Industry Directory 2009
For the first time in my life I’m getting AVN delivered. Living in the US has its advantages and, criticisms aside, AVN’s still the most significant jizz-bizz publication. A digital subscription would be even better but until there’s some way to send words down a wire we’ll have to put up with print.
Preceding my first issue I received a copy of AVN’s subscriber gift, the “AVN Industry Directory 2009″. I’m surprised to report it’s pretty useful. Along with lists of suppliers, service providers and manufacturers, there’s good information on filming in LA, the adult ecosystem of charities and foundations, and a glossary of terms. All information you could Google, but only if you know the right questions to ask to start with?
It’s not perfect of course. Some of the tech definitions are flaky, the financial statistics are fiction, and, if you’re not interested in making porn films, much of the industry info’s redundant. AVN still stress the V in their name as hard as the A, it would be nice to see them admit it’s all just bits now. That said, it’s free, nicely presented and has been researched by people with a professional interest in keeping you out of jail – unlike many websites.
If you run an adult website or blog you probably qualify for a free AVN/AVN Online subscription. They make money selling ads, and the more porn professionals they have on their lists the more they can charge. Industry insiders are worth more to them as readers than buyers so ask and you’ll probably receive.
Over at Xbiz slippy2 has posted a rant that’s getting attention:
Porn is a very strange industry. It seems to operate in its own universe, with no oversight, few laws, and no direct customer feedback. Couple this with the fact that all you need is a handycam and a couple grand to make a porn video, and it’s no wonder that 95% of the content is garbage, made by completely unqualified amateurs.
I have consumed a lot of porn over the years, and put money in a lot of your pockets, so I thought I would provide some feedback that you can take or leave.
I see very disturbing trends in porn, and it’s made me seriously consider giving it up completely, for the rest of my life. It’s not that I’m religious, right-wing, or puritanical in any way shape or form. It’s just that I have a conscience, unlike many of you apparently.
Let me just list my critiques of the state of porn, and please take it in the spirit it was intended:
Extreme Porn: this will be your downfall, as the vast majority of normal people find this stuff disgusting and disturbing, and would be likely to support legislation to stamp it out. Why can’t you guys police yourselves? Why the fascination with all things disgusting and degrading? Do you really need to simulate rape or have sex with animals to make a dollar? Where is OSHA? How is it that it’s legal to physically assault your employees in this industry, and no other?!
Violence Towards Women: More than any other thing, this has made me feel that I simply cannot continue to support this industry in good conscience. The slapping, spitting, choking, strangling, degrading, it’s sickening. Shoving baseball bats up women’s asses, making women suck the feces off of the guy’s dick… Only sick, demented, woman-hating losers like this stuff, so why do you produce so much of it??? At the current rate of escalation, it won’t be long before the guy is just punching and kicking the woman as he has sex with her.
The ATM trend: While I’m on the subject, what the hell is up with this???? Why does EVERY video have to feature this despicable act that only a few psychos actually enjoy?
Total Lack of Originality: It seems that the ideas are all dried up. Every single porn produced these days either A) looks like every single other porn, or B) tries some retarded gimmick to compensate for lack of creativity. Oh gee, let’s put this retard in a face mask and that will make the video exciting and kinky! I know! Let’s shoot the video in a mechanic’s garage!!! That will make it totally fresh and creative!
Technical Craft: I hardly need to mention this, as it’s obvious to everyone. Why can’t this industry ever seem to employ QUALIFIED camera operators, gaffers, sound men, directors, and editors? It’s as if you just let your buddies fill in on all these jobs after a 5-minute orientation. The quality of most videos is absurdly low. This is the only business I know of where someone with zero training, experience, or talent as a photographer, can….make a living selling photographs! Ridiculous! The editing in this industry is so awful it makes me wonder if the video is even edited at all.
Ugly, horrid male talent: Man its hard to get it up these days watching porn because of the moronic male talent. Is there not a single male porn star without 40 shitty prison tattoos? Seriously, why all the awful tats? They are so distracting and stupid it’s unbelievable that you would hire these people as MODELS. These guys all look like ex-cons who couldn’t make it in any other field. Many of them are straight up retarded looking, and behave like violent, woman-hating assholes in their videos. The few guys who don’t have shite tattoos make up for it by wearing ridiculous bling or stupid clothing. The idea is to NOT BE DISTRACTING!!! Is that really so hard to comprehend? I don’t want to be distracted by the guy’s shiny silver watch in the foreground when I’m trying to look at the WOMAN. Good god, this seems so obvious, why don’t you get it? And by the way, you can’t tell me that there aren’t thousands of better looking, qualified male actors available. Since Viagra, almost anyone can do it. It’s clear that you just engage in nepotism by hiring the same losers over and over for decades.
Face Shots: We NEVER want to see the guy’s face, and we RARELY need a close up of a woman’s face. Every time the action starts to get good, the moronic cameraman feels like he needs to zoom in to the talent’s FACE. ARRRGH.
Formula: It’s official – every single porn video produced follows the exact same formula, but with different actors. Solo tease, blowjob, ass licking, fucking in the usual positions, a little anal, facial pop shot. BORING. We’ve seen this a million times.
Running time: We do not need to see a mindless, viagra-fueled drone mechanically pumping away at a girl for 30 full minutes. Your ploy of trying to make up for lack of quality, with a long running time, is very transparent. I would bet that almost all guys would rather jerk to a high-quality, 10 minute scene any day, instead of having to work the fast forward so often.
Extremism to compensate for lack of creativity: Rather than create sexy scenarios or actually use your brain to come up with more stimulating ideas, most porn directors simply default to making all of their material more extreme, and including more slapping and choking. I want to puke when I see this, or crawl into the screen and beat the living shit out of the male “talent” for committing heinous acts of abuse against women.
Gonzo: soulless, mindless fucking just doesn’t create a thrill. There is no set up or any type of scenario created any more, just straight to the mindless plowing.
High Cost: Guess what? We know that you are cheap and you didn’t pay your crew or talent very much at all, as evidenced by how ghetto your material looks. So why do you think a DVD is worth 50 bucks??!!!
Kitchen Sink Approach: Rather than segment videos out according to people’s different tastes, you try to cram every conceivable fetish into every video you produce. The result is utterly annoying: way more time spent skipping scenes than actually watching video.
Quantity over Quality: Making 100 videos a year doesn’t make up for the fact that none of them are any good. People would rather pay more for higher quality, and not need to buy so much of it to find the good stuff.
Most of you will sneer and blow this post off. Fine. But I’m not just some Joe out there, I’m a professional video producer myself, and I recognize crap when I see it. I have never seen an industry more ripe for a competitor to come in and just absolutely dominate, simply by observing the above criticisms and doing it right.
He makes a number of good points. The industry appears to be more focused on the competition than the customers.
It’s a common business trap. Currently every social website’s trying to rip-off Twitter because that’s easier than thinking about what people want. The copying is mindless and in the porn industry the same thinking has taken hold. What Max Hardcore once shocked us with (A2M), is now mainstream. It wasn’t demanded, just copied by companies too lazy to innovate and too deaf to listen.
Watching porn movies starring people who were only entering adolescence in 2004, means adjusting to a sexuality which has little in common with anyone who had a pre-web childhood. Customers like slippy2 are either dinosaurs, extinct as others rise to take their place, or tigers, killed off prematurely by a world hunting them with technology they don’t understand. Time will tell.
This Josh Simmon’s piece is currently for sale in my local comic book store, Secret Headquarters. I’m not sure that one of the greatest pop bands ever would appreciate being reduced this far and I’m pretty sure Frida was more lino than shagpile.
When I started SugarBank Fleshbot was an inspiration. It was the first sex-blog that didn’t read as if written by undergraduate philosophy students trying to shock their parents.
Jonno, the founding editor, managed to balance his need to foster professional relationships with the ability to maintain his integrity. Fleshbot gave SugarBank some great early coverage, we did a little work together and later I was offered a writing job, and eventually the helm. It was an impressive operation but I declined. I wanted to spend my energy on something I could own and people told me the owner, Nick Denton, is a tool.
Who knew it would all fall apart?
Today half the posts read like lightly re-worded press releases because they are. Then there’s the mountain of advertorial, sponsored links to video clips and photosets frequently presented raw, without even the pretense of editorial commentary.
Happy to “report” on any event which lists them as VIP and provides free drinks, positive coverage in Fleshbot can be assumed. Companies like Digital Playground seem to have Fleshbot so firmly under control they can rely on the site as an extension of their marketing department. They’ve garnered 14 posts in the past 30 days, much of it for non-news like announcements of the cast in imminent shoots. Even in-the-pocket outlets like AVN don’t cower with such relish.
The reasonably good joke of appointing a ‘Supreme Commandress’ stopped being funny when it was co-opted as a promotional vehicle. Rather than skewering the egos of aspirational pornsters they’ve chosen fawning fandom. Ironically there refusal to write anything challenging, controversial or interesting about Joanna Angel runs counter to her own well-honed pitch as a performer who’s controversial and interesting. They’d actually be doing her a favor if they treated her fairly.
The writing staff are the source of the problem. The editor, Lux Alptraum, belongs to the school of journalism that sees bias towards things you favor as benign. It’s an up-with-everything-sexual attitude which banishes all insight. Anyone who’s spent time in the industry knows its riddled with scumbags and angels – just like any other. Through Lux’s posts the world of professional sex reads like a Judd Apatow movie. Max Hardcore’s a nice guy who got screwed because wanting to defend the First Amendment precludes admitting he’s a thug. Nice and simple and totally wrong.
The blogs sole regular contributor, D. Cypher, has a side gig running – I kid you not – a PR firm for porn performers. A quick search for posts mentioning Lisa Ann, a client of Cypher’s, written by Cypher, makes the corruption embarrassingly plain. Shouldn’t his editor wonder if he’s working with the $20 a post or the $$$ monthly retainer from Lisa Ann in mind? Is Fleshbot a place to pump his clients or pick new ones up?
Despite this I still look at Fleshbot. Gram Ponante might be the best writer in jizz and sometimes I give a shit what Stoya had for lunch. Maybe they’ll get smart and give Gram that editors position, maybe they’ll clean up their act and eliminate their editorial conflicts and junket-happy ways. Maybe. I watch and hope.
Ironically, the once-hipster sex blog couldn’t be more traditional in its view that porn isn’t worthy of real journalism, educated analysis or baseline respect for its readers or participants. Shame.
This set is a couple of years old but has just popped up again at ambush.
In my long, jaded, blogging absence I’ve spent a lot of time looking at sets like this (between viewings of Femme Fatale and Angel-A). Objectively European fashion magazines employ better models and photographers, devise more interesting poses and print on better paper than any US jazz mag I can name so why bother with Playby et al?
This isn’t news. The US adult publishing industry is a zombie. Mostly due to relentless stupidity on the publisher’s part and an inability to understand the market.
Someone should eventually realize magazine’s worth of this stuff, well printed and bound, would be worth paying for.