Boston Globe: “Adult video store plan divides Northampton”

Today’s Boston Globe prominently features an article about the porn shop debate in Northampton.

Jendi Reiter and Adam Cohen have been called busybodies, Bible-pushers, and Communists since they started fighting to stop an adult video store from opening near their home on the edge of Northampton’s cafe-studded downtown.

The couple laughs off most of the name-calling, but there is one thing they want to make clear: They are not repressed, and they are not against sex. It is pornography they do not like…

Opponents of the store who include neighbors and some local feminist groups said they object to the videos it would sell, which they describe as addictive, violent, degrading to women, and capable of influencing the behavior of those who watch them…

“Our request to the property owners is that they show Northampton the same respect they would show their own community,” [Reiter] said.

Last month, Capital Video revised its proposal, eliminating plans for private viewing booths in the store. But the company has moved forward with the permitting process and could appear before the city’s Planning Board next month. A spokeswoman for the company did not return a phone call earlier this month…

Most opponents say they do not object to two existing downtown shops that rent adult films, one of them a gay bookstore. The difference, they said, is that the owners are local people with a history of being good neighbors, not distant, unresponsive corporations…

Read the full article.

8 thoughts on “Boston Globe: “Adult video store plan divides Northampton”

  1. In keeping with sex-positivity as well as adhering to feminist politics- it seems that the more troubling aspect to this potential business is that it’s a non-local corporation that could possibly detract from residents’ support of the locally owned sexuality stores. So, buy local!

    Also, it concerns me that people who would use the term feminist to describe themselves would also think that anti-choice is an ok way to be. Rather than being against pornography, be in support of the sexuality expressions you’d like to see (hear, feel, taste or whatever)
    Don’t ‘yuck’ someone else’s ‘yum’- the puritan shameful body thing we got going in this country hasn’t been working…..

  2. Oh, so OUR “erotica” shop is okay, but YOUR “porn” shop is not. Yes, I think I get this. “Okay for me, but not for thee.” Where have I heard that before? I’m sure if I think about it for a while, it’ll come to me…
    Anything less than an absolutist stance on freedom of expression is sooner or later going to backfire.
    Do you seriously think that making *any* common cause with the Phyllis Schlafllys, the James Dobsons, the Jerry Falwells of the world is NOT going to make *all* of our lives that much more restricted, repressed, and dangerous? As soon as you make it ok to censor anyone, YOU’RE going to be among the first up against the wall. There are an awful lot of Christianists out there, just waiting for their chance to impose Christianist Sharia law on all of us. And guess what? There are a LOT more of them than there are of us — and by “us,” I mean all the GLBT and feminist communities AND the anti-war crowd PLUS the greenies, the animal-rights, the supporters of labor, and the immigrant-rights groups all combined. If you can take the power to shut down a “porn” shop, you’re of necessity giving them the power to censor Dworkin, Chomsky, and, eventually, when they work their way down that far, YOU.
    In a world where everyone’s most basic rights are being rolled back in front of our eyes, you’re making common cause with your own worst enemies.
    And as we so wisely say about abortions, if you don’t approve of porn, don’t buy any. But let it go at that — or else you’re just feeding the flames that already threaten to engulf all of us.

  3. Sounds to me like the zealotry is on the side of the free speech advocates, who blindly promote this value over all other things. Not crime, not economic blight, not STDs, nor compassion for porn workers, porn addicts or porn shop neighbors slow you down for a second. Free speech is important, but can the world really be so simple that if we just take free speech to an extreme we will live in paradise? Look at who’s taking advantage of the brave trail you blaze–Kenneth Guarino, a convicted criminal and long-time mob associate. Talk about keeping bad company.

    We’ve given people lots of tools to discern porn from erotica for themselves. That’s not censorship. That’s education.

  4. The article has a brilliant quote from one of the proprietors of Oh My… talking about how they carry much of the material that Capital Video carries. They also carry equipment for bondage, domination and sado-masochistic sex. So why isn’t Mr. Cohen’s legion of shills outside of that store protesting?

    Answer? They’d be exposed for what they really are and run out of town on a rail.

  5. Better answer? All vendors of harmful pornography everywhere should reevaluate what they are selling, whether they are a large store, a small store, a hotel or a cable company.

    Clearly Oh My and its proprietors have a far better attitude and track record in business than Capital Video, so we are inclined to cut them more slack. This doesn’t mean, however, that they shouldn’t be mindful of what they sell.

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