Letter to Gazette: “Residents should protest the proposed porn shop”


Today’s Gazette includes a letter to the editor by Pat Styer of Northampton. She writes,

“For the past several days I’ve been talking to a lot of people, from strangers to friends, about the proposed Capital Video pornography store that moves toward occupying a large building on the corner of King and North Streets. More than half of the people I’ve talked to hadn’t known about this. Many were as shocked in disbelief as I was when first hearing of such a seeming impossibility.

“This letter is being written to let a few more people know about the distinct possibility that ‘Paradise City’ is about to accommodate a business, near the center of town, that proudly proclaims that women enjoy and need to be utterly brutalized. You think I exaggerate? Spend five minutes on the Capital Video Web site [site 1, site 2, site 3]. The pornography that these people sell is not just hard core, it is hard core to the limit in terms of violence against women….

“Some people have started a Web site about this issue called NoPornNorthampton.org, and another group is planning to demonstrate against the opening of a Capital Video porn business in front of the building they are trying to rent at North and King Streets. This will take place on Wednesdays between 4:30 and 6:30. Please join the demonstrations.”

Read the complete letter in the Gazette (may require a paid subscription).

We were also pleased to see a letter by Ms. Styer appear in the September 10 issue of The Republican:

“…In this woman’s mind the contemporary term ‘hate crime’ was the only one that seemed equal to the task of describing what was being filmed for public viewing [at a Capital Video website].

“It will take a lot for me to believe that the town of Northampton must allow a store that sells this stuff to locate near the center of our much loved and much visited town. Much visited because of the pleasant environment enjoyed, and perhaps taken for granted here.

“And what about the walking residents of Northampton? Studies indicate that porn shops in general, noticeably increase crime rates in areas where they are located. I certainly, will be taking other walking routes than I have been for the past 25 years, when going to Stop & Shop, or Foster Farrar, or the bank, rather than have to walk by a big Capital Video Pornography Store on the corner of North and King streets….”

Read the complete letter in The Republican.

33 thoughts on “Letter to Gazette: “Residents should protest the proposed porn shop”

  1. Personally I believe that this is very sexist of you to write. In the porn industry there are just as many men as there are women doing videos. Some do it for personal pleasure, others do it for financial reasons. Some women and men use the money to get them through college. This example might sound rather stupid, but think of all of the people that dont have the grades for scholarships, or dont qualify for financial aid. They have to find ways to gather enough money to get through college. These people might be your local lawyers or doctors.
    Another point I would like to make is about human sexuality. Do you personally think that you have the right to say what is or isnt right for everyone? Everyone has their sexual identities. Some like to explore deeper into theirs than others. Whether it be love making with their spouse in a room with 100 candles and satin sheets or covered in leather. Those can be concidered two totally opposite ends of the spectrum to some, but others the first example is tuesday nights and the second example is for the weekend. Its all personal choice.
    Also what is depicted in the videos that may or may not be sold there arent going to be viewed on public display. If a man or woman wants to buy a video they would be viewing it in his or her own home.
    One other statement… You also have the choice whether or not you want to even take note of the porn shop being there. You dont have to support a business you dont believe in, but you cant tell others that they cant support it if they believe in it. Just like those “Mom & Pop” businesses that were mentioned, they get support from consumers that believe in what they do.

    The human race was born with individuality. Later we were given the right to make our own choices, you can’t debate that fact. So to whoever is reading this and disagrees with what was said in the paragraphs before; remember the two statements I wrote above, and let people who want to walk in and explore do what they wish just like those people will respect the people who choice not to go in.

  2. I REALLY THINK YOU PEOPLE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES THAN AN ADULT BOUTIQUE. HOW ABOUT STANDING AROUND WITH RED,WHITE & BLUE SIGNS SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS. HOW ABOUT SIGNS SUPPORTING EDUCATION? HOW ABOUT FIGHTING CRIME IN OUR CITIES & STATES. YOU ALL SHOULD REALLY RECONSIDER YOUR POSITIONS IN LIFE. STOP BEING LOOOOOOOSERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I think those who trouble to read this blog will find it highly educational. As for fighting crime, we’ve already cited studies on how adult businesses can bring crime and blight into a neighborhood. As for important issues, we feel that women and healthy relationships are important. As for our troops, wouldn’t they be happier fighting for a culture they can be proud of?

  4. ARE YOU PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR MILITARY MINDS? WHAT IN JESUS NAME DO YOU THINK OUR TROOPS ARE FIGHTING FOR? MAYBE, FOR YOUR RIGHT TO STAND AROUND WITH STUPID SIGNS WASTING TIME AND SPACE. I HAVE READ YOUR IDIOTIC OPINIONATED BLOG, I DID NOT FIND IT INFORMATIONAL AT ALL. FIND BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR TIME. SUPPORT OUR COUNTRY, GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND THE FREEDOM THEY GIVE TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Which is better, having our troops fight for “Use Em’ Abuse Em’ and Lose Em’ #9” and “Office Slut Gangbang”, or for a humane culture that respects women? We are not advocating censorship. We are asking people for self-restraint. Our freedoms give the people power, and with that comes responsibility for what you say, buy and advocate. I am confident that the founders of our country would heartily approve of our campaign.

  6. Well let me see here.You say spend five minutes on the websites you have posted and I will see,as you put it, a business that proudly proclaims that women enjoy and need to be utterly brutalized.i did spend some time on those sites and NOWHERE IN EITHER SITE did i see those words written anywhere.i agree with the chief on this whole subject.Why don’t you people just let the business open and let the public decide if it will work or not.If you don’t like the type of business,then DON’T go there.Plain and simple.I have lived in this town all of my life and I am sad to see who things are going in it now.There are more important issues in this town to worry about other than a LEGITAMITE business that would generate revenue that could be used to sort out other more important issues in this town.All I gather from this whole site of yours is that it is YOUR opinion and it seems that YOUR opnion is the only one that matters.What about the people that don’t care that the store wants to open? Or the ones that want to see it open? I admire your passion,but focus it on things that matter.There are too many things on this site of yours that I find to be utter nonsense.The store OH MY is located right next door to homes but that seems to be OK with you.And as far as one poster here said about it being RIGHT next to Bridge Street school?How does that work?I know where the school is and it is quite a distance away.It seems to me that as of late,Northampton has become anti business.How many other businesses have wanted to come into town and the powers that be shot them down.I recall the same issue when Walmart was making plans to come into town.People were all up in arms about it but look at it now.THRIVING!!! So please,get off of your high horse and focus your time and energy on a more worthy cause and just let the store open in peace.If it survives,GREAT,if it fails,then maybe the people will have spoken.Let us who enjoy this type of business enjoy it in peace!

  7. We feel that movies with titles like “Office Slut Gangbang” and “Use Em’ Abuse Em’ and Lose Em’ #9” amply prove our point.

    We’ve already discussed how Capital Video is different from Oh My at http://nopornnorthampton.org/2006/08/18/how-is-capital-video-different-from-oh-my.aspx

    The relative merits of a Wal-Mart to the community are obviously much better than a Capital Video porn shop. We’re not saying Wal-Marts are all great, but their good points are much easier to spot.

    The effects of porn shops on neighborhoods and porn movies on how people relate to each other make this a public issue. These affect residents whether they shop there or not.

    If the Bridge Street School is too far from 135 King Street to arouse your concern, consider the Northampton School of Dance, which is across the street from the proposed porn shop.

    Porn shops harm other businesses by scaring away shoppers. How then is fighting a porn shop anti-business?

    As for our opinion, it is well supported here with studies and court cases. Perhaps you would share more evidence for your own propositions?

  8. NOBODY HOLDS A GUN TO THE WOMEN WHO PERFORM IN ANY INDUSTRY, LET ALONE PORNOGROPHY.MEN DO PORNOGRAPHY IS THAT NOT A PROBLEM FOR YOU PEOPLE? I DO NOT HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT THE MEN IN THE BUISNESS!! DO MEN NOT HAVE AS MANY RIGHTS AS WOMEN? LET’S GET REAL HERE, IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLES CHOICES. IT’S OK TO HAVE A PORN SHOP IN THE CENTER OF NORTHAMPTON, BUT NOT ON A STREET THAT IS LOADED WITH COMMERCIAL BUISNESSES. IT’S OK TO HEVE PEOPLE THINKING ABOUT OPENING A GAY & LESBIAN CHURCH, WHICH BY THE WAY IS AGAINST GODS WILL TO BEGIN WITH. IT’S OK FOR MEN & MEN & WOMEN & WOMEN TO WALK AROUND HOLDING HANDS AND MAKING OUT IN PUBLIC. SHOULD OUR CHILDREN AND PEOPLE OF GOOD FAITH BE SUBJECTED TO THAT?

  9. We would argue that many women who enter the porn industry do so without appreciating their slim chances of a positive outcome. Others have their judgment clouded by drugs, sexual abuse and our pornified culture. Most porn actresses certainly exit the business quickly enough. More on this at http://nopornnorthampton.org/categories/Porn%20Industry.aspx

    and

    http://nopornnorthampton.org/2006/08/28/feminist-action-mobilization-holds-first-demonstration-at-135-king-street.aspx

    We would certainly agree that the male porn workers and male viewers deserve our sympathy. Our sense is, however, that women are getting the worst of it, certainly in Capital Video products, so that is what we have emphasized at present.

    As for new churches and public displays of affection (within reason), those sound like acts of love, something to be supported. Today’s porn, on the other hand, is about suffering, domination, and exploitation.

    No matter where porn is sold–the middle of town, the edge of town, or your cable box–it would be good to give some thought to its effect on you and the people who produced it, beyond the few moments of fleeting pleasure.

  10. We believe we have the right and duty to educate people about the impact of porn on themselves, the people they relate to, and their communities. Our hope is that as people become aware of these impacts, their desire to consume porn or welcome a porn shop into our town will wane. We don’t want people just to make choices, we want them to make informed choices.

    The porn shop is not just a private issue. It will affect people whether or not they themselves buy porn. Our FAQ (left-hand column of every page) explains why.

  11. OK,so here I am still looking for that so called quote that you posted here that is supposed to be on the webites you listed and that you even put in the local paper.Gee,I can’t seem to find it anywhere.Now to me that simply means that you misquoted the company and isn’t that considered slander? I wonder if the company knows about this? And as far as what i said earlier about the whole anti business issue,you have NOT lived here long enough to know the history behind what I said.Many businesses have wanted to move to the empty lot on King St. but yet have been turned away.Do a little research into it and you will see what I mean.I have also noted on this site all of the “research” that you list is old and outdated.Nothing recent.And also that the places that you note on here have NOTHING to do with this area.Have you looked into the state of CT. at all?They have plenty of this types of establishments without any trouble.Your lopsided opinions are growing old.And if all you can muster for your little protests is roughly a dozen people out of a city of 30,000,then maybe that speaks for itself.This city has more important issues to deal with.i could go on and on,but I have more important things to do with my time.As you have stated here,there are many people that are unaware that the store was planning to go in.Maybe all of your efforts aren’t what you thought they would be.And please don’t twist this post in your favor as you did my last.

  12. I am mystified why so many pro-porn advocates feel the need to be rude when presenting their case. Moreover, it’s easy to “twist your posts” because your arguments are poorly supported and easily countered.

    Anyways, please let me know what quote you are referring to, and I’ll let you know where it comes from. I agree that King Street appears to be a challenge with respect to getting quality businesses to locate and stay there, but putting a porn shop on it will almost certainly make things worse.

    My understanding from multiple sources is that some King Street property owners are simply asking too much money from prospective tenants and buyers, and so the properties remain vacant.

    As for some of our data going back to the 70s and 80s, I’ve seen nothing to indicate this data has become invalid. If anything, porn in America has become more violent, degraded and pervasive over time. See “Porn Addiction Grows”, “A rough trade”, and “Pornography Is A Left Issue”. The latter article, by the way, was published on December 6, 2005. One of the authors, Dr. Gail Dines, came to Northampton to speak on this issue just last month, presenting us with the very latest in porn documentation. Guess your review of our site wasn’t very thorough.

    None of the Capital Video locations we saw in Connecticut were in the middle of a large array of homes, schools, churches and counseling centers such as 135 King Street is. Porn shops are well known to discourage pedestrians from passing. That won’t do King Street any good.

    You assert without evidence that porn shops in Connecticut haven’t caused “any trouble”. I have more faith in the numerous scientific studies cited on our site, which indicate that adult businesses do increase the risk of crime and economic blight in their areas.

    At this point, well over 700 Northampton residents have signed our petition, with more coming in every week. That suggests to me a lot of people do care about this issue, and they’re certainly making their feelings known to their city councilors.

  13. here is the so called quote you used.” a business that proudly proclaims that women enjoy and need to be utterly brutalized” where did that come from?you list off some names of movie titles.sorry to say that those types of movies have been around for years and obviously they sell well or they wouldn’t conitunue to be made.as for being rude?maybe because you are insulting the intelligent people with your drab arguments and people that enjoy adult movies and such.as for the CT.stores,I was NOT referring to capitol sores.i meant the adult stores in general which there are plenty.and as far as what you stated about the rent being high on king st.,that may be a small part of it but there is more behind that story than just that.obviously capitol video does NOT think the rent is too high or it would not have looked into moving in there.and how much foot traffic is actually on king st.?not much by my count.at least not in the area we are talking about.it’s people like you that move to MY city and thing that they are the law and feel the need to put their nose in where it does NOT belong.i love your statement about keeping people alive.what does an adult store have to do with people dying? nice try.

  14. Thank you for clarifying the item you had an issue with. This letter was written by someone else, but we support their opinion. We believe these movies sold by Capital Video and its affiliates present a brutal view of women and their desires:

    Nastiest Thing I Ever Done: “What’s the nastiest thing you’ve ever done? We are sure it’s not as nasty as what these fuck toys are going to show you as they step up to the challenge.”

    Terrible Teens: “…Throat Chokin’ C-Shots!…:

    Stick It: “Breaking new frontiers and taking porn on a voyage not yet known to man ‘Stick It’ pushes anal carnage to the limits of the law….”

    American Ass 2: “…These girls are depraved and Pat makes sure they get a good ass shtupping!!! Some of the prettiest assholes we would all love to fuck raw!…”

    As for arguing that porn is acceptable because people want it and are willing to pay for it, we would counter that porn consumers are misguided as to what will make them happy, and fail to appreciate the amount of suffering involved in the making and selling of porn. We have also noted recent studies suggesting porn has addictive qualities, implying that porn consumers lose the ability to make wise choices.

    Plenty of ill-advised enterprises make money. Why, we could open up a brothel or a crack den at 135 King Street. That might do even better than a porn shop. But elevating money to be the only important value doesn’t seem very “Northampton”, does it?

    I walk by 135 King Street nearly every day and see plenty of foot traffic by my count. But even if there wasn’t, I think we can assume that a city whose slogan is “Walk Into Something Wonderful” would want to encourage more pedestrian traffic in this area, not discourage it. Are they not building an expensive bike path close by this store?

    As for keeping people alive, our recent posts have discussed how porn workers are at risk for STDs. Earlier posts documented the high rates of unsafe sex that occur in porn shop viewing booths. Then there are the issues of crime and harassment that adult businesses can bring to their surroundings.

    It’s our city, too. A Rhode Island porn chain with a bad record wants to locate here, take away our money and leave us with any bad effects. That makes it our business.

    BTW, I like your reference to “capital sores”, one of the better Freudian typos I’ve seen.

  15. Well of course, but what is legal is a changeable concept. Plenty of things are legal now which were illegal in years past (e.g. gay marriage in Massachusetts), and vice versa (smoking in restaurants). The core of the arguments we’ve been hearing is that if people are willing to pay for something, businesses have the right to provide it and other people have no right to protest.

    If you prefer examples of legal businesses that are not appropriate for 135 King Street, we can return to our old mock suggestions of a bombing range or a toxic waste dump for the site.

    As we’ve said many times, a healthy community depends on much more than the law to function, it requires judgment and self-restraint from the people.

  16. It’s interesting that you say a community requires judgment and self-restraint because your actions seem so directed towards limiting someone else’s ability to exercise their own judgment and self-restraint. If you believe that people in Northampton have the ability to exercise sound judgment, why are you working so hard to keep this porn store out? If your assessment of the people of Northampton is correct, the store won’t succeed anyway, right? On the other hand, if you don’t think the people in Northampton can exercise judgment and self-restraint, then it really doesn’t matter what you do, since we’re all, in a sense, damned already.

  17. We are not the state. We don’t have the power to force anyone to do anything. We are not advocating censorship. The ordinances we support won’t even affect Capital Video’s plans in their current form. What we can do is to educate people, and demonstrate why they should exercise judgment and restraint on their own.

    Capital Video, and the porn industry as a whole, have left a highly visible trail of tears in their wake. Must we repeat the miserable experience of other people and other towns?

    As we’ve said before, if people are going to make a choice, we want it to be an informed choice.

  18. If you truly wanted people to make an informed choice, you would provide a more balanced view pornography and its place in society. Instead, you pick and choose the facts from various studies to suit your purposes. You neglect to mention, for example, that the notion of an addiction to pornography or other sexual material is highly controversial and not even recognized as a disorder by the APA.

  19. Jeff, if you have evidence that porn is harmless or even beneficial, by all means please share it with us. Porn worldwide is a $56 billion industry. They enjoy plenty of airtime. Anti-porn activists are like a tiny mouse squeaking beneath this hulking giant.

    Perhaps we haven’t proven beyond all possible doubt that porn is addictive, but the evidence so far is highly suggestive, seems logical, and is something people should consider. It’s not surprising to me that a professional body like the APA would lag reality. It wouldn’t be the first time.

    Don’t you find it interesting that neither Kenneth Guarino nor the Goldbergs have made any public comment to date, despite numerous inquiries from the media? Wouldn’t you think that if they had good arguments to make they would be making them?

  20. I suspect that the best argument Guarino would make is opening the store in the first place. Retailers don’t have to make arguments that their wares are beneficial; the marketplace takes care of that. Dunkin’ Donuts just opened a store in town. They sell products that many would consider harmful, or at least not beneficial. I don’t recall anyone suggesting that the the CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts make “good arguments” about their products.

  21. If citizens produce evidence that a business use might harm them, I say the business has a duty to respond and try to meet with their concerns. We’re a society, not a bunch of economic units that can’t feel pain.

    Courts have upheld the regulation of adult businesses precisely because the public has an interest in protecting their neighborhoods from crime, blight and harassment. This is not just a private business transaction.

    Dunkin’ Donuts, by the way, goes to considerable lengths to present their case to the public. Have a look at their elaborate online Press Room.

  22. I find it hard to believe that you’d be satisfied if Capital Video posted the typical blather you can find on most corporate press room sites.

    The problem is when you say, “if citizens produce evidence that a business might do harm.” As you’ve shown, anyone with an Internet connection and a little bit of time can find “evidence” that a business might do harm.

  23. Jeff, I’ve invited you to bolster your own position with facts and logic, and it would appear that you prefer to speculate about our reaction to a non-existent Capital Video PR program, or suggest without any proof that the evidence for harmful effects of any given industry is as strong as that against the porn industry.

    For many industries, say nuclear power, there are indeed harmful effects, but there are important benefits as well. With respect to the porn industry, the evidence tells us that, over time, the costs are high and the benefits are few.

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