Protest Pictured in Gazette; Letter Criticizes “Moral Police”


Today’s Gazette has a fine photo on page A3 of last Wednesday’s Feminist Action Mobilization protest at 135 King Street:

“A local group calling itself the Feminist Action Mobilization has launched a protest against a proposed porn shop under consideration for a building at the corner of King and North streets. The demonstrators say they will appear with posters and leaflets every Wednesday in September from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Capital Video is considering opening an adult-themed video and magazine shop in the former car dealership.”

There will be a fresh protest tomorrow, so join in or give us a honk as you pass by.

Also in today’s Gazette, Aaron Archambeault of Easthampton writes about “Being fair with the facts in debate over porn store”. Mr. Archambeault refers to our post from yesterday where Dr. Victor Cline discusses pornography’s effects on adults and children. Dr. Cline has treated approximately 350 sex addicts, sex offenders, or other individuals with sexual illnesses. In a long article documenting the harm of pornography, Dr. Cline mentions the case of Gary Bishop, a “convicted homosexual pedophile who murdered five young boys in Salt Lake City, Utah, in order to conceal his sexual abuse of them. [Bishop] wrote in a letter after his conviction:

‘Pornography was a determining factor in my downfall. Somehow I became sexually attracted to young boys and I would fantasize about them naked. Certain bookstores offered sex education, photographic, or art books which occasionally contained pictures of nude boys. I purchased such books and used them to enhance my masturbatory fantasies.

‘Finding and procuring sexually arousing materials became an obsession. For me, seeing pornography was lighting a fuse on a stick of dynamite. I became stimulated and had to gratify my urges or explode. All boys became mere sexual objects. My conscience was desensitized and my sexual appetite entirely controlled my actions.'”
Although Mr. Bishop appears to be confessing to a plausible result of porn consumption, Mr. Archambeault dismisses it as “obviously a case of someone who knows they have carried through a heinous crime, yet cannot place the blame on himself.” I guess Mr. Archambeault (who gives no credentials) just has superior insight into these matters than Dr. Cline, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has treated hundreds of sex addicts, sex offenders, and other individuals with sexual illnesses. Never mind that Dr. Cline’s findings concur with those of other researchers and those who work with sex offenders, such as Judith Reisman, psychologists at The University of British Columbia, Rory Reid, Robert Jensen and others.

Mr. Archambeault says our distinction between Oh My and Capital Video is not valid, because Oh My is located downtown, accessible to teenagers, and sells “the same products” as Capital Video. While there may be some overlap, there are still important distinctions to be made. Chief among these is attitude. Oh My is interested in enhancing and healing relationships. Capital Video, by contrast, features movies like “Use Em’ Abuse Em’ and Lose Em’ #9”, and movies that portray infidelity as natural, rampant, even therapeutic.

The principals of Oh My work here in their store. The public can talk to them, as we did earlier this summer. The owner of Capital Video, by contrast, is headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island. He has declined numerous media requests for comment. We get the feeling he just doesn’t care to address community concerns. We also believe that the owners of Oh My have not paid huge sums of cash to a capo in the Gambino family, nor have they battled a small town to keep from improving the health and safety of porn viewing booths.

Finally, Mr. Archambeault asserts that “there are many women who are making a fortune from pornography in clean environments who are there [sic] own bosses, and love their job.” The reality is that the number of Jenna Jamesons in the industry are few. Quoting from our FAQ,

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. STDs are endemic to the industry, and most porn actresses certainly exit the business quickly enough. As for the supposed rich pay, this is enjoyed only by a few. U.S. News reports (2/10/97):

“There is a constant demand for new talent, and few actresses last more than a year or two…. Checks sometimes bounce. The borderline legal status of the industry makes performers reluctant to seek redress in court…. The highest-paid performers, the actresses with exclusive contracts, earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year for doing about 20 sex scenes and making a dozen or so personal appearances. Only a handful of actresses–perhaps 10 to 15–are signed to such contracts. Other leading stars are paid roughly $1,000 per scene. The vast majority of porn actresses are “B girls,” who earn about $300 a scene. They typically try to do two scenes a day, four or five times a week. At the moment, there is an oversupply of women in Southern California hoping to enter the porn industry. Overtime is a thing of the past, and some newcomers will work for $150 a scene.”

Defenders of the porn shop like to dismiss objectors as “moral police”, but the evidence of the harm of porn to porn workers, consumers and communities is strong and growing.

———————————-

A condensed version of our rebuttal to Mr. Archambeault is published as a letter to the editor in the September 15 Gazette (may require a paid subscription).

21 thoughts on “Protest Pictured in Gazette; Letter Criticizes “Moral Police”

  1. You know what amazes me? The fact that you are able to judge this business/industry on just a handful of movie titles.Have you wached those movies? I doubt it. So that must also mean that you are able to “judge a book by its cover.” You must be able to look at a movie title,book title and never have to purchase it because by reading the title,you already know what it is about.I asssume you also must be able to judge people by looking at them then. The research papers posted here? It must be safe to assume that you believe everything that you read. I know I sure don’t. And I love how you group every single person that vivew adult material into one group of potential sex offenders/rapists/molesters. Talk about stereotyping. And I also assume that seeing how OH MY also sells bondage accessories,you think that is OK. You logic is too lopsided as others have said here and I agree.All this is is to make you look good.What if this business was already established when you moved here?? Would you gripe then? I doubt it.As far as you mere 700 signatures is concerned,I have spoken to many more people than that and I get the same response.Either they don’t care one way or the other or they would like to see a new type of business come into town.And no,these people didn’t think it necessary to sign a little piece of paper stating as such.At this rate,I hope it does open just so you will have wasted all of your efforts and time.Your signs of no porn here,no porn anywhere is hypocritacal if you are NOT protesting the other places in town that sell adult material.I say get a grip people.And if you ask for research on the flip side of the coin,I’m sure you would be able to find it.I have.What I don’t think you realize is that the movie making industry is VERY regulated as far as STDs and the like are concerned.Look into it and you might actually be surprised.You rhetoric is beginning to get old and boring.

  2. Do you actually read the articles you link to? The Reisman article concludes that ALL pornography, which she gives a unique definition to, is bad. This would include material used to “heal relationships.” Cline, elsewhere on his site, proclaims that “An ‘adult’ bookstore is a place of evil. It is a den of decadence, debasement, degradation, and violence — a hell hole! It is filled with illegal, obscene, hardcore pornography.” Is this your position, too? Do the owners of Pride and Joy and Oh, My know this?

    Rory Reid states in the beginning of his screed, “… some suggest that sex offenders seek pornography to feed or fuel their pre-existing deviant sexual fantasies. They contend that pornography provides validation for unhealthy (sometimes referred to as “alternative”) views on sexuality and deny that the material itself creates those perceptions. There have been several research studies to substantiate these positions. Some producers of sexually explicit material are quick to site these studies as a defense for accusations or allegations made against their industry.” He then chooses to ignore that research and proceeds to present his own opinions (“Regardless of these positions…”) It’s also interesting to note the typo in Reid’s article (“site” instead of “cite.”)

    Instead of insulting people who write letters to the Gazette (how do you know that Mr. Archambeault does not have expertise in this area?) why not at least post some peer-reviewed material to support your position?

  3. [Referring to paco’s comment that begins, “You know what amazes me?”] Those of your arguments which are interesting have been addressed on our blog and FAQ. As for your other claims, they are meritless and unsupported by verifiable documentation.

  4. Typical response from you.Addressing nothing that I have said.All you seem to care about is research.Look into research on the other side of the coin.Or are you too narrow minded and one sided to do so.There is plenty of research out there that states the actual benifets of adult material.If only you would take a little time to research it yourself.Again,typical response from you.NEVER addressing what has been posted.There was a lot that I said in my previous post but you chose to ignore it.Do a little research as I have about it.I’m sure you will be surprised.If as you say you believe all that you read,then maybe you will believe the research done on the benefits from studies done around the world regarding as you put it…..PORN.Why not call it what it is? Adult material. Look into it.

  5. [Referring to Jeff’s comment that begins, “Do you actually read the articles you link to?”] The boundary between erotica, by which we mean that which supports love, and pornography, by which we mean that which destroys love, is not perfectly well defined. The experience of sexual material may also vary somewhat with who is viewing it, why they are viewing it, with whom they are viewing it, and other factors. We encourage sellers and consumers of pornography to take a close look at their activity and ask whether it is taking them down a good path. You wouldn’t be afraid of that, would you?

    Maybe Mr. Archambeault does have expertise in the treatment of sexual illnesses, but he doesn’t mention it in his letter or otherwise substantiate his speculations about Gary Bishop. It seems unlikely that he has more expertise in this area than Dr. Cline.

  6. [Referring to paco’s comment that begins, “Typical response from you.”] We don’t pretend to be a neutral forum. Nevertheless we have considered opposing information when we come across it and discuss it on the blog when we think it’s worthwhile.

    If it’s so easy to come up with research supporting your position, why don’t you share some with us? You don’t expect us to do all your work for you, do you?

  7. Heart plush spank-her. Gentle or hard..this soft faux fur and leather covers every mood you and your queen of heart could experience. Glide the soft delight or make his heart race with the leather side.

    Under the Bed restraint system from Sportsheets. This system sets up in just minutes without hooks or bedposts. Easy to hide just tuck under the mattress when not in use. You can restrain your partners arms or legs from the sides, top or bottom of the bed. And it can be packed up for those special nights away from home.Products sold at OH MY.Is bondage OK in your eyes? Maybe not,but for some it is.And if it’s not OK in your eyes,why then is what OH MY sells ok with you? This is becoming tiresome and I have noticed that so far the only ones posting here are FOR the store.Is this the response you have expected? I think not.

  8. You’re not really encouraging sellers and consumers to take a close look at their activities; your spreading disinformation about pornography and creating a bad environment for business in town.

    But just out of curiosity, how many consumers of pornography who decide that it is taking them down the right path will it take to make you give up your fight?

    By the way defining pornography as “that which destroys love” is poetic and all, but much too vague to be of much use in this debate. After all, if one person in a marriage gets fat from eating Dunkin’ Donuts all the time and his/her spouse falls out of love because of that, then Dunin’ Donuts would be selling pornography, according to your definition.

  9. How about “those who disagree with NoPorn Northampton.” People who disagree with you don’t necessarily support the porn store, I certainly didn’t read the letter that way.

  10. Interesting.You ask that I do some research and share it with you.Well,I did TRY to share it with you and I guess you decided NOT to post it here and share it with anyone else. I did a Google search on the benefits of pornography and there are plenty of documented researches that explain the benefits.In fact,all of the research that has been done around the world reflects the same thing.Pornography actually REDUCES rape and the like.But of course,you refuse to believe that.All I am asking is that you look into it and you will see that maybe you are not as right as you think you are.

  11. Dear Friends,
    Today at the demonstration against the opening of Capital Video Porn about a half dozen young (teenage?) men showed up with quickly made, cardboard and magic marker signs and were whooping it up for the rush hour traffic going by. One of the signs read “Honk if you are Horny” so they were obviously “counter demonstrating,” and probably impulsively so. I thought they were great and was glad to see them there because my reason for demonstrating at rush hour is to let as many people as possible know about the prospect of the opening of a Large Chain Porn Store blighting the corner of North and King Streets, making it dangerous to walk around parts of Northampton close to downtown for the first time in our history. I feel that the larger the numbers of people standing on the corner of North and King holding signs once a week, the more people will be informed of this likelihood. I do not have a problem with the counter demonstration antics of these boys because I know this town well enough to be certain that this big porn shop will be anything but welcomed by a very large majority of the residents, and it seems that, since the city’s hands are tied in terms of stopping them, the more that the citizens are aware of what is probably coming, the better chance we have of stopping it. Young, hormonal, peer pressure driven males, showing off for each other, are the least of the worries of the concerned protestors, and in my mind, are a welcome sight. They’ll do anything for attention and that’s exactly what we need! Thankyou! Anne Dropper

  12. [Responding to paco’s comment that begins, “Interesting.You ask that I do some research and share it with you.”] Yes, we received your information and are taking a little time to give it a well-considered reply. Don’t worry, we’ll respond.

  13. paco’s comment that begins “Heart plush spank-her” focuses on sexual paraphernalia. Most of this could be considered “dual-use”, that is, it could be used in a loving or non-loving way. Intention and consent are the keys here, and that’s the responsibility of the participants. This is completely different from the movies sold by Capital Video, where the lack of love is palpable.

    We have already noted how the principals of Oh My are interested in healing relationships, so I trust their judgment far more than that of Kenneth Guarino, who apparently believes that watching films like “Office Slut Gangbang” is of no more consequence than “selling doughnuts”, and who has so far refused all media inquiries about his plans for Northampton.

    By the way, there’s no basis for assuming anonymous comments on the Internet accurately reflect the views of the citizenry as a whole. There’s no accountability. For all we know, many of the comments that are supposedly from different people could be from the same person. It is even possible that some comments are a kind of “astroturf” paid for by Capital Video itself, fashioned to simulate authentic grassroots opinion. We feel that our citizen petition, which was signed by 687 Northampton residents and 284 non-residents as of August 17, is much stronger evidence of the true sentiment of the people. More petitions are coming in every week.

  14. Jeff, I’ve seen a stream of rhetoric from you about our “disinformation” and “specious” arguments, and a near total lack of evidence to back this up. I guess such evidence must be hard to find.

    As for creating a bad environment for business, that’s exactly what porn shops do.

    As for “Dunin’ Donuts”, isn’t it time to move on from this inapt analogy? You appear to be falling into a common pattern of porn defenders. Rather than address the merits of anti-porn head on, they invent a bizarre caricature of our arguments and dwell on that instead. In my book that’s misdirection.

  15. On 9/12, “paco” suggested we look at “Censoring Pornography Is Counterproductive”, which purports to show that pornography is harmless, even therapeutic, and that suppressing it shames people, increases sex crimes, and causes people to crave it more.

    These assertions have not been supported by other studies, which have found that viewing both violent and non-violent pornography can:

    • increase the acceptance of rape myths
    • increase male aggression toward females
    • decrease sensitivity to the crime of rape
    • predispose willingness to rape
    • increase the acceptance of violence against women
    • decrease support for women’s rights
    • alter perceptions of “common” sexual behavior
    • decrease sexual satisfaction with self and partner

    The notion that the pornification of society reduces sex crimes has been well countered in an article we discussed earlier, “Some Myths About Denmark”.

    The evidence for harmful secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses is strong enough that numerous American courts have upheld their regulation, even in the face of vigorous challenges from the best lawyers porn dollars can buy.

    It’s quite possible that many consumers get bored with porn over time. That would explain why some go on a downward spiral of addiction, seeking more and more violent and degraded fare. If you compare the typical porn of 40-50 years ago to that sold today by Capital Video, it would appear the pornographers are spiraling down to meet them. This situation does not seem to us to be an argument in favor of porn.

    As for porn’s therapeutic qualities, it’s hard to square that with this factoid:

    At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two-thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said Internet porn contributed to more than half of the divorce cases they handled.

    As for the article’s other breezy assertions about porn, we believe these are well addressed in our FAQ and other blog posts. We encourage you to read them.

    I’ll say again. We are not advocating censorship. We are providing information so people can gain greater awareness of porn’s impact on themselves and their communities. If this makes them feel guilty about consuming porn, that might be a sign that their media diet is unhealthy.

Leave a Reply