The Sporadic Beaver

We Will Fight Them on the Web

November 5, 2014

Tags: censorship, Beaver Street, Headpress, CNBC, Steve Colby, John Lee-Graham, Margaret Thatcher

I've had my issues with censorship in the past, though never with the U.K. England has always been a good place for me professionally--both in pornography and literature. It was British photographers, like Donald Milne, Steve Colby, and John Lee-Graham, who provided me with the material that transformed D-Cup into a cash cow (so to speak), thus igniting my career as an editor of "adult" magazines. And it was the BBC and British publications, like the Times of London, Uncut, and Mojo, that embraced Nowhere Man as serious literature and were instrumental in sending the book rocketing up best-seller lists. And it was Headpress, the London-based indie, that took on Beaver Street (where you can read about Milne, Colby, and Lee-Graham) after every publisher in the U.S. had deemed the book unworthy of publication.

So I was surprised last year when England became a new front in an ongoing Beaver Street censorship battle. The problem wasn’t with the book itself, but rather with this Website.

CNBC adult-entertainment-industry reporter Chris Morris explains what happened in his piece “No Porn Please, We’re British.”

The article describes how British Prime Minister David Cameron had announced that the four largest Internet service providers in the U.K. were, by the end of 2013, going to begin blocking all porn sites. If a costumer wanted to look at smut, then he’d have to request that the filters be disabled.

“Obviously people are not going to want to do that,” I told Morris. “People just don’t want to come out in public and say ‘I want to look at porn.’ A lot of people who do look at porn are inhibited, shy people.”

In response to Cameron’s statement that access to online porn is “corroding childhood,” I told Morris that kids have always found a way to circumvent rules meant for their protection and if they “want to look at pornography, they usually figure out how to do it."

When the porno filters were turned on, towards the end of 2013, the impact on this Website was immediate: traffic from the U.K. dropped off by 80 percent.

Even though this is not a porn site, and sites in the U.K. with far more explicit material were not being blocked, I thought there was nothing I could do about it. So I ignored what was happening and quietly hoped that the Brits would come to their senses.

Then, two weeks ago, I received several messages from readers in the U.K. telling me that they were unable to connect with this site. Something had changed and I decided to investigate.

Using the Website Blocked, I was able to determine that five major U.K. ISPs were blocking me. Blocked also provided contact information for the appropriate administrators of these ISPs, and I wrote to them.

“Robertrosennyc.com is a site dedicated to literature, publishing, and current affairs,” I said, “and you are improperly blocking me.”

Unlike their U.S. corporate counterparts—such as a certain mega-conglomerate that made the print edition of Beaver Street unavailable and initially stonewalled all attempts to communicate with them—these major U.K. corporations were responsive.

“Are there any words etc. on the Website which may be deemed sensitive to a young audience, Robert?” one of them inquired.

“No,” I replied. (Though I was tempted to say, “Yeah, Margaret Thatcher.”)

They were also reasonable. Within a week, every site but one—Talk Talk Kidsafe (yeah, I get it)—had removed their block.

England, I forgive you.

Day of the Locust

April 17, 2013

Tags: cut-up technique, Beaver Street, Antony Hitchin, Margaret Thatcher

The ignorance of the American media never ceases to dazzle, and it was on full display last week when Margaret Thatcher died. As soon as the news broke, the commentators on the cable show I was watching began describing Thatcher as a great prime minister loved by all, a veritable saint like her good friend Ronald Reagan.

This didn't exactly jive with what I remembered about the reign of the so-called Iron Lady. In her own country, she was at best divisive and at worst despised. There were riots in Liverpool, an unnecessary war in the Falklands, and an ongoing economic catastrophe that led to massive unemployment.

It’s this last point that I discuss in Beaver Street. Just as Ronald Reagan’s policies gave the world “free” phone sex, which transformed the porn industry from an underground phenomenon to a mainstream financial behemoth, Thatcher’s policies were instrumental in making D-Cup magazine a success.

It was soon after I began editing the magazine, in 1986, that, as I say in Beaver Street, I started making regular trips to London with fists full of cash to “persuade the nubile spawn of Margaret Thatcher’s economically ravaged England to reveal their fleshly charms.”

I explain how British photographers were placing ads in newspapers “inviting young women to come to London to audition as topless ‘Page 3’ girls,” and how Thatcher’s economic initiatives had driven “unemployed and underemployed students, nurses, housewives, and secretaries” to descend “locust-like upon the city because they believed that flashing their boobs in ‘respectable’ family newspapers was the first step on the road to becoming a big movie star or a famous lingerie model.”

On one trip, in late 1987, soon after the stock market crash, I witnessed hundreds of young women line up in a London warehouse that had been converted to a makeshift photography studio. One after another, they took off all or some of their clothes, as a photographer snapped test shots. And within weeks, thanks to Lady Thatcher, dozens of these women, having been told that they weren’t quite right for Page 3, had decided that “rather than go back to the night shift in a Liverpool fish-and-chips joint,” they’d make the leap to hardcore porn videos.

It’s this scenario that inspired “Bukkake Thatcher,” the latest poem Antony Hitchin has drawn from Beaver Street. (I’m running it today to commemorate Thatcher’s funeral, and I’ve kept the British spellings in her honor.) Using the cut-up technique, Hitchin has compressed into a few sentences the emotions expressed in a large swath of the book. And if you don’t know what bukkake means, go ask somebody who does.

Bukkake Thatcher

Penthouse Enron brain pictorial pulp lust bad writing on the wall for economically ravaged post-industrial America. Proficiently kink or fetish the young porn nymphos veritable antithesis.

Soulless ungloved stardom – cummer cyberspace mouse-click contraband epidemic of a vibrator cabal – whose picture appeared virus legislators syndicated war on drugs.

Weapon – she was FBI cold – a moneymaker sting exploitation violating possession. Nonstop traumatic gonzo bukkake ethical violations – anilingus handheld through Margaret Thatcher’s erections – Pentecostal Watergate conspirators’ congress fibre-optic aureoles of will.

Forevermore hairball – cherry pop Iran-contra – gold standard regurgitated anal sex two-headed monster naked in a bathtub representing French and Swedish markets. Cro-Magnon church savage mass-mailing academic paedophile backbone measured to Traci Lords Nixon search.

Warrant zealots anti-porn bible on TV – black on milk cartons hole of substance abuse grotesque – erotic – strictly mechanical – a vestigial camera insertion testimony to sleazy nubile spawn of fuck-and-suck-athon. Alzheimer's mouth shut manufacturing synchronicity god CIA Meese report.