The Sporadic Beaver

On Newsworthy Books, Richard Nixon, and John Lennon

July 18, 2015

Tags: Ozy, Richard Nixon, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography, Deep Throat, Watergate, Bild, Hollywood Scandals, Reelz, John Lennon, Nowhere Man

Before Ozy called to talk about the history of pornography in America, I'd never heard of them. But that's not surprising. So fragmented and expansive is the media today, even a high-profile news site can slip beneath my radar.

In any case, adhering to my philosophy of treating like Oprah everybody who wants to talk about my books, I spoke at length to Ozy, and when they ran the story, "How Nixon Shaped Porn in America," about the connection between Watergate and Nixon's efforts to ban the film Deep Throat, I was amazed by the results.

Not only was Beaver Street prominently featured, but the story was shared a respectable 1,760 times (and counting) on Facebook; was published in the popular German tabloid Bild as “Mister President wollte eigentlich das Gegenteil ... Wie Nixon dem Porno zum Durchbruch verhalf” (roughly translated as “Mr. President wanted the opposite of it... how Nixon helped porn to its breakthrough”); and was cited in the Washington Post and Baltimore City Paper.

That Beaver Street has remained in the news for more than four years in an environment where just about everything is forgotten within 24 hours is nothing short of miraculous. But apparently, that’s how long it’s taken the media to catch on to one of the book’s central themes: The biggest crooks—notably Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Edwin Meese, and Charles Keating—cry “Ban pornography!” the loudest.

And speaking of books that people keep talking about long after publication, on Tuesday, July 21, at 10 P.M eastern time, and Saturday July 25, at 2:30 P.M. eastern time, the Reelz channel will broadcast the John Lennon episode of Hollywood Scandals, in which I discuss my Lennon bio, Nowhere Man. Click here to find the show on your cable or satellite system.

Scenes from a "Deep Throat" Panel

October 7, 2014

Tags: Deep Throat, Kristin Battista-Frazee, The Pornographer's Daughter, Strand, Eric Danville, Beaver Street, Linda Lovelace, Richard Nixon

I was among the people who Kristin Battista-Frazee asked to participate in a panel discussion at the Strand bookstore, in New York City, to launch her memoir, The Pornographer's Daughter. This honest and unadorned depiction of what it was like to grow up with a father who was a major distributor of Deep Throat provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the fellatio flick that changed the way America saw pornography. Joining us on the panel were Dr. Belisa Vranich, who moderated, and Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace.


I’ve posted two short clips of my performance on this memorable night. In the above video, I read a key passage from Beaver Street that explains how Richard Nixon helped make Deep Throat the 11th-highest-grossing movie of 1973. And in the clip below, I talk about the possibility that Linda Lovelace was forced at gunpoint to perform in the film that made her America’s first porno superstar.


Click here to see the complete discussion.

Happy Anniversary, Deep Throat

June 7, 2013

Tags: Linda Lovelace, Deep Throat, Eric Danville, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Richard Nixon, Watergate, Lexi Love, Lainie Speiser


Amanda Seyfried shows off her porno skills in Lovelace
.

How did an hour-long loop shot in six days for under $25,000, about a woman whose clitoris was in her throat, earn over $600 million, and become the eleventh-highest-grossing film of 1973? How did the ability to swallow an enormous penis without gagging become, that same year, America's #1 topic of dinner-table conversation? How did buying a ticket to a dirty movie become an act of revolution and political protest? And how did Linda Lovelace become the world's first porno superstar?

Blame it on Richard Nixon. It was June 19, 1972, exactly one week after Deep Throat premiered in porn houses across America (and three days after Bloomsday), that the Watergate story broke on the front page of The Washington Post, and Nixon, in an attempt to distract the country from the emerging scandal and unraveling cover-up, ordered the FBI to shut down every theater showing Deep Throat, to confiscate every print, and to arrest the actors and the filmmakers responsible for it. And "Deep Throat" became not only the title of a film and a renowned sex act, but the code name for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's FBI source, who was feeding them the information they needed to bring down a president.

We will be celebrating this anniversary on Bloomsday on Beaver Street II, as Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, the book that was the original inspiration for the forthcoming film Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, reads from a collection of over-the-top vintage 1970s flyers advertising the late deep-throat artist’s 8mm loops. And we will come to a deeper understanding of how, though Ms. Lovelace’s athletic skills, Deep Throat would become a cultural touchstone, its commercial success in the pornographic arena still unsurpassed.

Joining Eric will be authors Robert Rosen and Lainie Speiser, adult actress Lexi Love, and a host of musicians and actors. The event is free, and you can download your invite here. Hope to see you on Sunday, June 16, at the Killarney Rose on Beaver Street, for the best Bloomsday party in New York City.

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.

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?

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.

Would You Buy a Used War on Porn from this Man?

May 3, 2011

Tags: Orrin Hatch, pornography, Richard Nixon

When Richard Nixon was running for reelection we asked, "Would you buy a used war from this man?" We were talking about Vietnam. But when Watergate blew up in his face he also declared war on porn. As Orrin Hatch attempts to save his doomed career by declaring war on porn, we're asking a variation on the classic Nixonian question.

Spiro Agnew vs. Orrin Hatch

April 29, 2011

Tags: Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon, Orrin Hatch, pornography, Beaver Street, A History of Modern Pornography

Today we shall contrast an anti-porn statement of Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon's bribe-taking vice president, with another pearl of wisdom from the Honorable Orrin Hatch, senior senator from Utah.

"As long as Richard Nixon is president, Main Street is not going to turn into Smut Alley." --Spiro Agnew

"Obscenity is toxic. Like other forms of toxic waste, obscenity harms everyone it touches." --Orrin Hatch

Read about it in Beaver Street, now back in stock on Amazon UK.

Orrin's the One

April 28, 2011

Tags: Orrin Hatch, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, pornography

It would be instructive, I think, to contrast a recent quote about pornography from Senator Orrin Hatch with quotes about porn that President Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew made nearly 40 years ago.

"Pornography is like a cancer in our society. It is spreading and is more harmful than ever." --Orrin Hatch

"Pornography can corrupt society and a civilization. The people's elected representatives have the right and obligation to prevent that corruption." --Richard Nixon

"A child's constant exposure to a flood of hardcore pornography could warp his moral outlook for a lifetime." --Spiro Agnew

Read all about it in Beaver Street.