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.