The Sporadic Beaver

Listen to the Scatterbrains Podcast Here and Now!

May 17, 2014

Tags: Scatterbrains Podcast, Alia Janine, OnMilwaukee.com, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, Traci Lords, Edwin Meese



No need to even leave this website to listen to my interview with Alia Janine, which was originally posted on OnMilwaukee.com. Just click on the player. Next thing you know, you'll be hearing Alia sing the theme from Rawhide. Apparently , if you live in Milwaukee, this song has nothing to do with cowboys and everything to do with Rosen.

Scatterbrains Podcast with Alia Janine

May 6, 2014

Tags: Scatterbrains Podcast, Alia Janine, OnMilwaukee.com, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, Traci Lords, Edwin Meese

Yes, I'm aware that The Sporadic Beaver has been more sporadic than usual lately, but I've been unusually busy with life, literature, and work. I will, however, break my silence with this bit of news: My Scatterbrains Podcast interview with former porn star and Milwaukee native Alia Janine is now live on OnMilwaukee.com, that city's premier arts and entertainment Website.

Alia, whose X-rated talents cannot be overstated, has developed (so to speak) into a first-rate interviewer. It’s her ability to put her subject at ease, and make an in-depth interrogation seem like a friendly chat that sets Alia apart in this competitive journalistic arena. Some of the people she’s previously interviewed include porn star Belle Knox, actor Joe Reitman, and comedian Gareth Reynolds. They’re all archived on OnMilwaukee.com.

Alia and I cover a lot of ground in a half hour, but mostly we talk about Beaver Street, deconstructing everything from the invention of free phone-sex at High Society magazine (which marked the dawn of the Age of Modern Pornography), to the Traci Lords scandal, to Edwin Meese, the rabidly anti-porn attorney general who was driven from office under a cloud of corruption.

And please stay tuned to The Sporadic Beaver for more big news.

The Dirty Dozen

April 3, 2013

Tags: Beaver Street, pornography, Edwin Meese, Meese Commission, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Eric Holder, Morality in Media, Traci Lords, Gail Dines, Missy Manners, Orrin Hatch

The War on Pornography is an ongoing effort, dating back to the dawn of recorded history, to cleanse the world of smut. It's an unwinnable war waged by radical religious groups and radical political groups of both the right and left wings. It's a subject I explore in Beaver Street, writing at length about the Meese Commission and their use of underage porn star Traci Lords as a pawn in a sting operation designed to bring down the porno industry in America. And it's a subject I've written about extensively on this blog, detailing porn star Missy Manners' relationship with anti-porn Senator Orrin Hatch, of Utah, and more recently deconstructing anti-porn activist Gail Dines and her efforts to have actors who perform in S&M videos charged with war crimes.

The War on Pornography is a crusade marinated in hypocrisy, corruption, and absurdity that never stops providing me with material, and the other day it provided a little more: Morality in Media (MIM), an interfaith religious group dedicated to the elimination of pornography and obscenity in American life, is best known for their "Dirty Dozen" list, which contains the names of individuals, corporations, and government agencies who, in MIM's estimation, are the "12 top enablers of our country's pornography pandemic." Among those names are such entities as Comcast, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Hilton Hotels, and the Department of Defense--because the Pentagon allows porn mags to be sold at commissaries.

MIM has just selected a new #1, the dirtiest of the Dirty Dozen: Attorney General Eric Holder. Why? Because Holder, they say, “refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws against hardcore adult pornography” and “has initiated zero new obscenity cases” since he’s been in office.

One of the points I make in Beaver Street is that “the biggest crooks cry ban pornography the loudest.” The examples I cite—Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, Charles Keating, and Alberto Gonzales—either had to resign their offices in disgrace to avoid criminal prosecution or, in the case of Keating, went to prison after being convicted of multiple felonies.

Which makes me think that, unlike, say, Attorney General Edwin Meese, who, in the midst of fighting his War on Porn, was busy committing crimes ranging from influence peddling to suborning perjury, Eric Holder might actually be a paragon of moral rectitude. Which, I think, is what most Americans would want their attorney general to be.

I can only congratulate Eric Holder for being #1.

Happy Anniversaries

January 25, 2013

Tags: Edwin Meese, Meese Commission, Traci Lords, Beaver Street, History of Modern Pornography, Nowhere Man, Vanity Fair

Anniversaries are useful things when it comes to promoting books, and many books are published to coincide with particular anniversaries--because there's always an upsurge in media attention, especially when those anniversaries have round numbers. November of this year, for example, is (shockingly) the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Beginning in the fall, you can look for a flurry of expensively produced volumes about John Kennedy, and don't expect to be able to pick up a newspaper or magazine--assuming you still physically pick up printed matter--without reading some kind of article about the latest book, TV show, or commemoration.

I've been conscious of the importance of anniversaries since Nowhere Man was published right before the 20th anniversary of John Lennon's murder. There's no question that the media attention surrounding that event was instrumental in putting the book on best-seller lists. Ever since, I've been seeking out anniversaries anywhere I can find them.

There are plenty of Beaver Street anniversaries to celebrate, though for the most part the media tend to overlook them—even though they are events of genuine historical significance. 2011, for example, was the 25th anniversary of the Meese Commission on Pornography and the Traci Lords scandal. I don’t recall hearing anything about either one of those events. In fact, Edwin Meese, arguably the most corrupt attorney general in the history of the United States, has managed to squirm back into the news, his corruption unmentioned as he mouths off about ways to impeach Obama. And this month, January 2013, is the 30th anniversary of free phone-sex, the first fusion of erotica and computers, and the beginning of the Age of Modern Pornography. Please clue me in if you’re aware of any commemorations. And while you’re at it, please join me in spirit on April 11 to celebrate the day, 30 years ago, that I began working in XXX. (Yikes!)

Amid all these anniversaries, there’s one personal anniversary that somehow escaped my attention: On January 12, 2011, Beaver Street was mentioned in the media for the first time, in the February UK edition of Vanity Fair, the one with Justin Bieber on the cover. This is significant because here it is, two years down the road, and Beaver Street continues to garner media attention. How rare is it that people are still talking about a book two years after publication? Trust me, it’s rare. And it is cause for celebration. You are cordially invited to join me in spirit as I toast to my ongoing promotional campaign.

The Sleazeball Six

September 1, 2011

Tags: Rick Perry, pornography, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, Alberto Gonzales, Charles Keating, politics

In Beaver Street I call Nixon, Meese, Keating, and Agnew (aka Dick, Ed, Chuck, and Spiro) the "Fab 4" disgraced anti-porn warriors of the 20th Century. But in writing about Texas governor, presidential candidate, and former porn monger Rick Perry the other day, it occurred to me that I should add to the group Alberto Gonzales, Bush's attorney general, a 21st century anti-porn warrior who resigned in disgrace before Congress could formally threaten to impeach him for lying under oath. So, with Al in tow, that would make the group the DC 5 (as in District of Columbia, not Dave Clark). But it's really hard to not include Perry himself in the group. Though not a declared anti-porn warrior, he is ignorant, misguided, and morally bankrupt—in short, everything a certain segment of the population is looking for in a president. And as a conservative, evangelical Republican who once invested in Movie Gallery, a video rental chain that specialized in hardcore pornography, that makes him hypocritical and sleazy, too. And it gives me license to call this supergroup The Sleazeball Six, which is both fitting and catchy.

Rick Perry: Republican Porn Monger for President

August 30, 2011

Tags: Rick Perry, pornography, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, Alberto Gonzales, Charles Keating, Michele Bachmann, politics

One of the political oddities I discuss at length in Beaver Street is the fact that the biggest crooks cry "Ban pornography!" the loudest. And for some reason, which I'll leave open to interpretation, the most corrupt, ban-pornography-crying politicians are invariably conservative Republicans. The five grotesque examples I cite are: President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew, Attorney General Edwin Meese, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and banker Charles Keating. All of them declared war on porn. Then all of them were forced to resign from office in disgrace to avoid prosecution or impeachment, except for Keating, who was sent to jail for racketeering and fraud.

Which brings us to the curious case of Texas Governor Rick Perry, an ultra-conservative Republican and evangelical Christian who does not believe in evolution, global warming, or separation of church and state. Perry is running for president, but has never spoken out against pornography, like most of the other Republican presidential candidates, notably Michele Bachmann, who wants to ban it altogether.

The apparent reason Perry has never declared war on porn is because he once trafficked in pornography. According to Salon and numerous other sites, the Texas governor owned between $5,000 and $10,000 in stock in Movie Gallery, a Blockbuster-like video rental chain that was known for its wide selection of XXX titles, and was the target of the American Family Association, a socially conservative group that recently helped Perry organize a prayer rally to save America from Obama. The AFA had once described the Movie Gallery’s product line as “hundreds of these hard, nasty-looking videos that were extremely graphic.”

Among the titles that Movie Gallery carried were: Teens with Tits Vol. 1, Teen Power Vol. 4, Teens Never Say No, Big Tit Brotha Lovers 6, and Bisexual Barebacking Vol. 1.

If I’m not mistaken, I ran positive reviews of most of these videos when I was editor of D-Cup. Who knew that I was helping Rick Perry make money?

The Norths of Beaver Street

July 29, 2011

Tags: Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Edwin Meese, Traci Lords

The diverse subject matter of Beaver Street, which takes an intimate look at the history of the late 20th century through a pornographic lens, is often reflected in the bizarre juxtaposition of certain names in the index. And perhaps the strangest juxtaposition of all can be found under the letter N.

One is a highly decorated Marine lieutenant colonel who was at the center of the Iran-Contra scandal, which was linked to the Traci Lords scandal by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, who was at the center of both scandals.

The other is a bisexual porn star famous for his seemingly impossibly copious ejaculations, and who appeared with underage porn goddess Traci Lords in Holly Does Hollywood (1985).

North, Oliver 145
North, Peter 108, 126, 167

Read all about this web of scandal in Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography.

Michele Bachmann: Ban Pornography Now

July 11, 2011

Tags: Beaver Street, pornography, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, Charles Keating, Orrin Hatch, Michele Bachmann, politics

Michele Bachmann, anti-porn congresswoman from Minnesota.
One of the major points I make in Beaver Street is that the biggest crooks cry “Ban Pornography!” the loudest. As examples, I cite the four greatest anti-porn warriors of the 20th century: Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, and Charles Keating. All of them tried to rid America of the “cancer” of pornography, and in each case their war on porn proved to be little more than an effort to distract the nation from their own illegal activities, which included income tax evasion, bribery, and suborning perjury. Three of these guardians of morality resigned their offices in disgrace rather than face impeachment or criminal prosecution. Keating was convicted of 73 counts of fraud and racketeering and sentenced to 12½ years in prison.

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who seems determined to join this distinguished group. In an effort to save his political career, Hatch has demanded, along with 41 other senators, that the Justice Department investigate and prosecute pornographers more vigorously. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, “The porno investigation is the last refuge of the doomed politician.”

Last week, Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann stepped into the XXX fray, signing a pledge to fight against “all forms of pornography.” The pledge also suggests that African-Americans were in some ways better off under slavery, and that homosexuality can be cured.

It’s probably not necessary for me to say that Michele Bachmann’s ignorance and bigotry rivals that of Sarah Palin. All I can do is wonder what crimes she’s committed that will lead to her inevitable disgrace.