May 13, 2004

The New Proud Porn Masters of Our Major Media

IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS AMERICANS have been brutally subjected to a disgusting new media transformation arising out of the Iraqi prisons. It is not the pictures themselves, as fascinating as they may be, but the phenomenon of process by which the torrent of pictures have been jammed onto the pages and screens and websites of ‘major media’ with promises of “new, fresh” pictures to come tomorrow and for many days thereafter. Regardless of what Hollywood and cable televison has been about for decades, the tacit agreement between the Pornographers of America and the Major News Media of America has been that the former would produce the porn and the latter would only report on it. That agreement has, in the last two weeks, come to an end.

It is true that major news media are still struggling to learn Basic Porn Upsell 101, but they are clever, educated people and they’ll get better quickly.

You may have been brought up to think of professional media, professional journalists, and those that own the organs of major media as somehow responsible and respectable. You know you are a fool, but still you cling to this last shred of hope in what you were once taught. Alas, this latest run of image-mongering shows you how wrong you are. They are nothing of the sort in this instance.

In this instance, CBS, NBC, ABC, 60 Minutes, the New Yorker, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time and all their ilk right down to the last man and woman that makes up their ranks, have become nothing better than pornographers, and poor ones at that.

Yes, after years of reporting on and viewing, condemning, approving and tut-tutting over the increasing tsunami of porn sweeping the globe, the major media have finally stumbled on a way of getting in on the game. And while their methods are still rather crude, I’ve no doubt that their vast exposure to pornography while ‘covering’ it over the years has given them the basic tools to exploit this for their political and commercial gain.

Here’s what they are doing and, if you have had any exposure to how pornography is peddled on the internet, you’ll recognize the method.

The first thing you have to do these days to have a successful porn site is to find a niche and fill it. This is very hard to do since, in fact, there is no category in porn on the net so low and so vile and so disgusting that it has not been filled to the brim since, perhaps, 1998. Within the realms of internet porn there is truly nothing new under the slime. With one exception -- “amateur porn.”

Amateur porn is fresh by definition since amateur porn is porn before it is polished. It is porn aborning and porn in the process of becoming. Fresh and steaming, it always finds a ready audience since it is porn that has not been seen before. Indeed, within the business of pornography amateur porn has been the one area that has seen consistent growth over the last decade. The most recent blockbuster entry into this category was the Paris Hilton video. Previously it was the Pamela Anderson video. Other examples abound.

The Iraq Prison photos have proved to have tapped a rich new vein of amateur porn for the major media. Indeed, it has been an unexpected bonanza because by their very nature the pictures and videos coming out of the prison have fulfilled the basic criteria for successful porn in the internet age:
1) It must be fresh and unseen -- a “Porn-Scoop” if you will.
2) It needs to have both men and women in it with the constant implication of orgiastic bisexual hanky-panky. (It is not an accident that the most sought-after sexual fantasy partner in the realms of porn today is the trans-sexual who embodies both genders in one carefully constructed body.)
3) It should have a strong element of the transgressive in it -- dungeons, torture, rape, domination, various S&M props such as leashes and cells are a plus.
4) It needs to have the “feel of the real” -- out of focus, spontaneous, gritty and grainy -- in a word, “amateur.”
5) The people in the porn should by and large be in late adolescence -- teens “barely legal” -- because firm young bodies are always more stimulating to look at than real ‘mature’ bodies. Soldiers, whether ours or theirs, are good for this since they all tend to be in shape. Indeed, so much in shape that one wag remarked that the printing of the pyramid of naked Iraqi males by the Village Voice was the first time in history that that paper claimed not to like an image of a male backsides.
6) Last and most important of all, the porn presented must be such that, while looking at it, people can claim to be disgusted and revolted at the same time they are frantically expecting and looking for more.

The Iraq Prison photos have all of this in spades. They represent that rarest of things in the pornography business -- a mother-lode of fresh, hot subject matter. And the best part of it is that, for most of the major media, the source is free. They didn’t have to spend a penny producing this porn, all they have to do is put it in the proper frame so it can be consumed.

Better still, the government, for the most part, is not trying to eliminate this porn stream but to enable it. In fact, the government, in the form of congress, is in the position of being the first group to see this porn. Ritual condemnations are heard along with proclamations of the publics right to consume the porn seem to be the order of the day. To paraphrase some of our elected representatives: “This is the most revolting and disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. You’ve got to check it out.”

An added plus is that the Major Media get to use the frisson they receive from the porn to indulge their other compulsive vice, the attacking of the Bush administration. This is porn that allows them to get off right after they have gotten off. Plus they get paid for it. It is, to say the least, a satisfying moment for the members of the major media in more ways that one. If they can continue to get and publish more fresh porn they can continue to get up and off at a frequency and with an intensity they haven’t had since they were sixteen.

As you can see, these photos were made for the major media pornographers of our moment, and they have not been slow to take up the challenge of providing more for the ravening crowds already disgusted and revolted and stimulated by what they have seen to date. They’ve learned that one of the things people who like porn have in common is that once they’ve seen it, they’ve “used” it and they need something new. If you don’t provide it, they’ll be off to another place that can.

For as professional pornographers know and the new pornographers at CBS, NBC, CNN, the various Times, and the Post are just learning, you have to be ready to put up new porn on a daily basis to keep the revolted and disgusted customers coming back for more. That’s the way of professional pornographers and it works. If you put up fresh porn on a daily basis, your (traffic) (circulation) (advertising) (revenue) increases. If you do not put up fresh porn on a daily basis, the same factors fall. Hence, the almost pathetic “debate” about releasing and circulating all the pictures is now the order of the day among the professional members of our media. They need fresh porn. If they don’t get it, they might have to start commissioning it or even, as may well have been done in Britain, producing and directing it themselves.

One editor for the Washington Post claims to have “thousands of shots” just waiting to get printed in that noble paper and slammed up on the website. While he makes the appropriate noises about how restrained he’s been, it is not hard to hear the heavy breathing in the background as he contemplates the political excitement he and his fellow journalists at the Washington Post will feel as they slowly get to release them over the weeks and months to come. You might think he’d be ashamed to do so, but it is clear that, at long last, our professional major media people have no shame left in them, no shame at all, sir.

The final example of how hungry our major, established, professional media have become for fresh images to extend their wallow in this Pornocopia comes from The Boston Globe this week.

The Boston Globe, which is owned by the New York Times, was so desperate for fresh porn to publish that it allowed itself to be hoodwinked by two local political hustlers into publishing porn said to be from Iraq that was actually from a professional porn site dealing in prison porn and located in Pennsylvania.

Doing its part in racing to the bottom, The Boston Globe blithely published a picture showing two of the sleeziest political race hustlers in the Boston Area holding up a large placard of stills they claimed were from Iraq. The stills were, as noted above, professionally posed porn from Pennsylvania. Although the stills were contained within a picture of the two hustlers making a “presentation” of their lies to the community, it was nevertheless crystal clear that the kind of penetration associated with canines was happening in the upper left of the picture along with several other triple-X rated images.

This was printed without question, in living black and white, in the news section of the Boston Globe. A bit of a shock for a number of readers and the children of readers who weren’t really expecting this in their morning paper, but there it was. Right past the reporter (who was taken in by the hustler), right past the photographer who must have seen what was in the picture, right past the photo editor who surely saw what was in the picture, and right past the editor who is responsible for all the pictures and news in the paper. A phony story pitched by phony hustlers and then presented as news. The news? Penetration in the Boston Globe! Buy two!

Only it wasn’t news. It was just more porn being delivered right to your doorstep by the major media of America. They’ve tried it. They like it. There will be more. “This just in: more prison porn from Iraq.”

Pretty soon, we can count on a splash page coming up when we log to offering : “FREE! HOT! 1,000 pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners and full-streaming video for only $2.99 for the first three days. Click here if you are really, really, really over 18.”

As Gary Snyder has observed: “Once a bear gets hooked on garbage, there’s no cure.”

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Posted by Vanderleun at May 13, 2004 12:59 PM | TrackBack
Save to


"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Porn has legs. Kerry will mount and ride it.

Posted by: howard at May 15, 2004 2:33 PM
Post a comment:

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Remember personal info?