Editor’s Note: My expectations for this blog and whatever sort of following I generate are pretty low at the moment. For now, this is a writing and learning exercise for me. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a few comments and emails regarding two of my earlier posts: A Year Without Porn: Parts 1 and 2.
I decided not to let the comments through moderation. This is a blog about publishing and not a political blog. Now that was completely unexpected.
One email was from a fellow single copy sales alumni. The memories I talked about in Part 1: Working in my Dad’s warehouse, reminded him of some similar memories he had and he shared them with me. He also talked about his thoughts about the current state of the magazine wholesaling and distribution business.
Not surprisingly, my correspondent was not hopeful for the future. It’s been said before: It often seems like the publishing industry is committing suicide.
The other email threw me a for a loop. This correspondent may have missed the point of my post . What I had written was a discussion about whether or not adult magazines have a future in the digital world. I started the thread with the comment that after so many years of having at least one adult magazine publisher as a client, I had just passed the one year mark without an adult magazine publisher as a client. That feels significant when considering all of the recent developments in the digital publishing industry, plus the remarkable jackpot that the porn industry finds itself in because lately it has given so much of it’s content up for free.
“…it’s OK with me if the porn industry dries up and goes away. How can you be sad that you aren’t getting any money anymore from those people? Why would you take money from people who don’t respect women and hate women? Don’t you pass yourself off as a father? Do you have daughters? Do you want your daughters to work in porn?”
So let’s deal with the easier questions first. Yes, I am a father and yes I have daughters. No, I do not want them to work in an unregulated industry where the principal participants take off their clothes and have unprotected sex for the enjoyment of others.
So was I lamenting the decline of the porn industry?
Now let’s deal with the first part of the question, because that will explain what I was feeling and what I was trying to say.
Personally, I find the possibility of porn (or erotica) more interesting than the actual end product. To me, much of it is dull and repetitive and not very attractive. I’ve never really had much time or interest in it. Some of what I have seen is far rougher than I find appealing. The rougher stuff seems to reflect the active dislike of women that the male actors or directors harbor inside them. What they show on screen is their way of getting that out to the world. That is unappealing, retrograde and sad to me.
I don’t think it should be outlawed, but I don’t think it should be pushed into the shadows either. If you want to take something that is socially marginal and twist it and make it worse than it could be, try to outlaw it and push it into the margins. If you want porn to go away, work for a more enlightened society.
So enough about that already.
For me, the appeal of the single copy industry has always been the people that I work with. This is true even of most of the people who have worked in “adult magazines.” Our industry attracts characters. Both male and female. I like characters. When I traveled more, I felt like I collected characters. They make the world interesting.
Some of my most interesting clients over the years were the publishers and single copy guys (and gals) who worked with, for, or owned adult magazines. They were singular, unique, blunt, opinionated and unapologetic about what they did for a living and who they did it with.
And interestingly enough, dear correspondent, they were also remarkably respectful of the women (and men) who appeared in their magazines.
I miss them.