NoPornNorthampton Mails Open Letter to Northampton and Longmeadow

On September 27, NoPornNorthampton mailed a version of its Open Letter to Barry G. and Annette E. Goldberg of Longmeadow, MA (PDF, explicit language) to virtually all the registered voters of Northampton and Longmeadow, over 29,000 people. The Goldbergs own property at 135 King Street in Northampton, and are in the process of leasing it to Capital Video Corporation. Capital Video calls itself “the largest adult retail chain in the nation”.

The letter describes the crime and blight known to attend sexually oriented businesses, and describes some of the movies sold at Capital Video’s websites. Many readers will find this material offensive and disturbing. So do we. We take no pleasure in publicizing it. We do this only so the public will know the nature of what Capital Video sells, and understand why we are so concerned about it.

Our hope is that this mailing will help prevent Capital Video from injecting its products into Northampton on a daily basis. Even if you don’t shop in the store, it will affect you in two ways. It is likely to make its area of Northampton less safe, less comfortable to walk around, and less economically vibrant. Capital Video’s products also educate viewers to treat women badly, look down on fidelity, and engage in mindless sex without regard to love, commitment, disease, pregnancy or children. Capital Video’s products are like rocks aimed at values many people cherish, and the Goldbergs have the power to say no to this at 135 King Street.

The fact that many people find it unpleasant to investigate or discuss the nature of today’s pornography helps enable porn merchants to slip into towns like ours without sufficient debate. After careful consideration, we decided that holding some of Capital Video’s wares up to public view would help people understand what’s at stake, and how toxic porn has become today.

We made several attempts to communicate privately with the Goldbergs over the past few weeks, generally by Express Mail. The information in Wednesday’s letter will not be news to them. We received no response. We decided it was time to widen the debate. Let businesspeople know they should balance profit with compassion. Please ask the Goldbergs to find a more suitable tenant for their King Street property.

9 thoughts on “NoPornNorthampton Mails Open Letter to Northampton and Longmeadow

  1. …engage in mindless sex without regard to love, commitment, disease, pregnancy or children.

    And sex with someone you don’t love is BAD. Sex without commitment is BAD. STDs are a punishment for people who had been BAD. The only proper use of sex is the conception of children.

    I’m moving to San Francisco…

  2. We don’t say the only proper use of sex is to have children. We do say that Capital Video porn films appear to consistently ignore issues of pregnancy, disease and children. By showing only a small part of reality, they are a form of bad education. We are trying to redress the balance.

    Sex is a powerful act. We hope people will do it mindfully and with care for the feelings of others.

  3. Sigh, more misleading comparisons. In a Hollywood movie, you’ll generally get a wider perspective, more emotional depth, and more realistic consequences than in a Capital Video porn film. Not always, of course, but I’m sure your average person can make out the difference easily in most cases, just as they can with Pride & Joy vs. Capital Video.

    It’s not always that hard to make a good judgment call, Jeff, if you do it with a wise heart.

  4. “Sex is a powerful act. We hope people will do it mindfully and with care for the feelings of others.”

    How naive to think banning a porn store from King Street will have any effect on that!! How men treat women, and how women treat themselves, is a matter of upbringing and environment. How people view sex stems from the same things. But if you want to attack issues of mysogeny (which is NOT necessarily inherent to porn) and mindless sex at such a superficial level as opposed to attacking the roots of the issue, then you’ve got your work cut out for you: The internet is making its way into MANY more Northampton homes than the goods from any local porn shop ever will. Better get to work at keeping the internet out of Northampton! Start waving your banners right away!!!

  5. I would say our campaign relating to 135 King Street has attracted enormous attention to fundamental issues. The Gazette calls it “some of the most vociferous debate seen on any issue in Northampton in recent years”. Obviously we can’t police the Internet (nor do we want to), but we are getting people to think about the media they consume and the responsibilities of businesspeople.

    If misogyny is not an important component of Capital Video porn, you could have fooled me:

    Violent, misogynistic movies

    Movies that promote infidelity, despair, call women “sluts” and “whores”

    Capital Video’s Magazine Rack: Bondage, Racism and More

  6. I’m saying myisogyny isn’t **necessarily** inherent to porn, and I stand by that. Look, I was actually a victim of the porn industry as a very lost, confused and impressionable 19 year old, so I know first-hand what disgustingness lies within. But I’ve also seen lots of porn (the producers would probably call it erotica) that isn’t at all disgusting. Tacky and aesthetically displeasing, yes, but not disgusting. So, since this America, until that day when all citizens can agree on the line that divides so-called erotica from “porn,” it’s all a matter of free speech and freedom of expression. The word “freedom” is devoid of any qualifications or caveats for “when the free person goes too far.” Therefore, in our America, and in our town of Northampton which prides itself in its respect for all people, freedom of speech and expression simply shouldn’t be regulated.

    If I had my druthers there wouldn’t be a porn shop on King St because I find porn shops distasteful and I drive King St every day. If I had my druthers, the city would be in the midst of a big push to beautify King Street (IT NEEDS IT!!!!!!!) and so ALL of the businesses there would have aesthetically pleasing store fronts. If that were the case, and the porn shop moved in within my fantasy beautifying guidelines, then I wouldn’t have any complaints about it at all. I wouldn’t like it, but so what? I don’t like that strip where McDonalds and Burger King are, and I hate it that there are so many Dunkin Donuts on King Street. So be it, those are just my feelings, and I’m just one citizen in a diverse town of many.

  7. I’m not saying it’s impossible to produce erotica, just that Capital Video clearly prefers to produce porn (by our definition). It is wrong for the Goldbergs to help Capital Video sell this material, and certainly not in the middle of large numbers of homes.

    Plenty of your constitutional rights are regulated. The law does not permit you to have child porn or nuclear weapons in your basement. The courts find it’s acceptable to regulate adult businesses because of their “secondary effects” on their surroundings. This is not about speech. This is about crime, health and economic blight. Northampton is asking certain porn merchants to compromise to reduce these harms. There will be no blanket censorship of pornography.

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