The Sporadic Beaver

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 Banning of Beaver Street

May 29, 2012

Tags: Meese Commission, banned books, Amazon, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Ulysses

Beaver Street is a book that deals with explicit sexual themes while launching a full-frontal assault on the outrageous hypocrisy of Republican anti-porn warriors who were either convicted of multiple felonies and sent to jail or were forced to resign from office in disgrace to avoid criminal prosecution--notably Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, Charles Keating, and Alberto Gonzales.

Because of this, I thought that there was a decent chance that somebody might try to ban the book, leading to controversy, a flurry of media attention, and a few more sales. What I had in mind was a group like Focus on Family, a fundamentalist Christian organization that I cited in Beaver Street because their founder, James Dobson, an “evangelical pediatrician,” had served on the Meese Commission on Pornography, which, in 1986, attempted to outlaw pornography in America.

Well, it’s time to file my little fantasy under: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Though Amazon U.S. has not exactly banned Beaver Street—they are selling the Kindle edition and allowing outside vendors to sell the paperback edition—they are not selling the paperback edition themselves, which means that they’ve made it extremely difficult for anybody who doesn’t want to read Beaver Street on a plastic machine to get their hands on it.

Amazon claims they’re doing this because they haven’t been given the right to sell Beaver Street in the U.S., which is simply not true. The distributor and the publisher have repeatedly reaffirmed Amazon’s right to sell the book in the U.S., but Amazon has repeatedly ignored them and continues to insist that they don’t have the right to sell the book in the U.S.

None of the readers, potential readers, and journalists whom I’ve spoken to about this believe that Amazon is so inept they’re unable to correct what amounts to a minor clerical error. They think that Amazon has banned the book due to its explicit sexual content, and nothing I say can convince them otherwise.

So, if perception is reality, then I’ve gotten what I wished for: Beaver Street, like James Joyce’s Ulysses, is a banned book.

Which is one more good reason to join me June 16 at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street to celebrate Bloomsday on Beaver Street and express your distaste for any organization that, intentionally or by benign neglect, bans books.

And, if you’ve got a little free time, do me a favor: Write to Amazon. Let them know that you don’t appreciate them banning books of any kind, even if they swear on a stack of Kindles that they haven’t banned it, that they simply don’t have the right to sell it.

21 Facts About Porn Star Missy Manners

June 20, 2011

Tags: Missy Manners, Elisa Florez, Orrin Hatch, Dave Patrick, O’Farrell Theatre, James Mitchell, Artie Mitchell, Behind the Green Door, Meese Commission, politics

Videotape box cover, Behind the Green Door: The Sequel.
1. Her real name is Elisa Florez.
2. She was born in Salt Lake City, in 1962.
3. Her mother was a fashion model.
4. She considered herself the “ugly duckling” in the family.
5. She believed her breasts were too large.
6. Her first job, at age 15, was a United States Senate page.
7. She later worked as a United States Senate intern.
8. She was a receptionist for Senator Orrin Hatch, anti-porn Republican of Utah.
9. She worked for the Republican National Committee and for President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign.
10. She studied political science at Georgetown University.
11. She moved to San Francisco in 1985.
12. Her boyfriend was sex-photographer Dave Patrick.
13. She competed in the Miss Nude America pageant.
14. She competed in an amateur night dance contest at the O’Farrell Theater.
15. She met James and Artie Mitchell.
16. She became Artie Mitchell’s girlfriend.
17. Her life with Artie Mitchell included such activities as tennis, racquetball, riding bikes, and doing coke.
18. She auditioned for the leading role in Behind the Green Door: The Sequel, and was selected over 300 other actresses.
19. She testified before the Meese Commission on Pornography.
20. She made a non-pornographic safe-sex video, Missy’s Guide to Safe Sex.
21. Her father was George H. W. Bush’s Undersecretary of Education.

Here We Go Again

April 21, 2011

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

On the 25th anniversary of the Meese Commission and the Traci Lords scandal, 42 senators are demanding the Justice Department vigorously prosecute pornographers. This is one of the stories at the heart of Beaver Street. Every time conservatives come to power, they do the same thing, and it plays out the same way: The anti-porn warriors are exposed as criminals, and resign in disgrace. Read the full story at Politico.