There has been a lot of back and forth regarding the proposed Measure B in front of L.A. County voters in November. Some say it’s a personal attack on the adult film industry centered here in Los Angeles. Some believe it’s a measure that will protect the people working in the industry. While others believe it’s a fight against the use of condoms in adult films. It’s none of the three.
It simply is an issue of the citizen’s right to freedom of expression and freedom of choice. It is a campaign, spearheaded by elected officials and made manifest through certain private interest groups that have aligned themselves in order to be rewarded in the future with power and influence to further the eroding of our civil rights as provided by the Bill of Rights.
Whether you believe the government has the right to mandate your private life and sexual practices or not, one cannot argue that our freedom to choose has been lessened. Given that these interests stood idly by when the right for gay couples to marry was overturned by conservative voters years back, these same people are betting that they can manipulate the voters into thinking that this measure serves to protect the public. They are betting that they can lie and get away with it.
You see, they don’t respect the people in the industry. In fact, we are looked at the same way the people in this picture above were looked at. As less than human. As animals. As disposable and not worthy of our concern. We are bastardized, shamed and pointed to as they cry out, “Here’s the real culprit, these are the dirty, disease ridden people that would rather make a buck than protect your sons and daughters.” The claims they make are refuted by science, the CDC, renowned doctors, published studies, documented medical records and common sense. Because the politicians don’t want the porn industry any longer in L.A. They’ve been happy to take our taxes, watch our product in the privacy of their home and fantasize along with the rest of the viewing public of hot sexual exploits. But now they want us gone. They’ve fought for years by constantly making obscenity claims against the most successful companies in the industry only to lose. Now, they realized, that if they could make it an issue of workers protection and work condition, they might have a chance at finally defeating the industry. They’ve bet that they could ride the wave in the resurgence of religious and political conservatism in this country and force their personal agenda on everyone.
That’s the play they made. They looked at everyone in this industry and it’s fans and said, “They won’t do shit. They’re cows, they’re unorganized, they’re only out for their self interest. They’re weak and uneducated. They’re stupid. They don’t have the money we do. They can’t buy the media we can. They can’t afford TV spots to fight us. They’ll lay down. They won’t fight. And we will win.”
That’s exactly what has happened. They’ve looked you right in the eyes and dismissed you as if you’re nothing. That your voice doesn’t need or deserved to be heard. They’ve sneered at everyone in this industry and said, “Fuck you, you degenerate.”
They want you to lay down.They want you to be so self indulgent, that you won’t care. They want you to be so disinterested, that you will flip on the TV and fade out.
Do you hear me? Are you getting what I’m saying to you? They’ve dismissed you like you are nothing. Each and everyone one of you. From the 18 year old newbie doing web cam shows all the way up to the owners of companies who’ve done time in prison for your right to express yourself. From the single mom of two in the office trying to collect 6 months of past due monies from distributors to the guy in the back room stacking boxes of DVD’s. The editors, sitting in rooms for 12 hours with no daylight, their eyes glazing over as they put together a feature of some hot girl they may never meet having the kind of sex they wish they could participate in. The tech people beating their heads against the desk because the server is fucking up or the broadcast picture is off color. The legal department fighting to make sure they don’t slip up and get sued for showing some brand name or insignia in a split second shot of an innocuous shot. The mom lugging her costumes around the country on the dance circuit so she can do shows and make enough money to pay for her kids because the father left years before. The guy doing scenes so he can pay for his bands recording time in the studio. The father fighting to pay for his son’s medical treatment that his insurance won’t cover while the mother recuperates from severe immune problems. The director who swears that she will not be like her own never-present-mother and actually loves the sound of her little girl screaming, ” Beeeekfessssss!”, in the morning, while her own mother left only twinkies in the cupboards growing up. The contract star who donates her time and raises money for some of the biggest charity’s in the country. The photographer watching his son graduate from one of the best schools in Southern California, hounded by college scouts because he could afford to live where he did because of his job in the industry. The people picking out wardrobe and making the sets. The production assistants. The cameramen. The directors and producers.These are the people they’ve written off.
The recovering drinkers and addicts. The many performers that are parents and just want to be able to raise their kids better than the broken home they grew up in. These are the people they said would lay down. The lighting guy with his son and wife. The brand director who raises money for animal rescue and houses them on her property. These are the people they say will lay down. I know these people and they are not weak. They are the strongest people I know.
You see? That is their plan. They think the industry can be pushed around. Do you? Do you think you are these weak people they make you out to be? They’re counting on us to be so wrapped up in our daily lives, that we won’t have time to stand up and say, ” This is not right!”. They’re counting us out. They’re counting on us to snort another line, crack open another bottle of whiskey, load another bowl, pop another pill and say, “Fuck it.”
They’re counting out the girls who have survived breast cancer, cervical cancer, endless yeast infections, abusive boyfriends and husbands. They are counting out the guys trying to do the right thing and raising a family the best they know how. They’re counting out the people who have beaten their addictions and have gone clean. They’re counting out the people trying to save their houses from foreclosure. Or trying to pay for insurance. Or their car payment. Or their tuition fees for the next semester. Or simply feeding their kids.
They’re counting out the ones who racked up thousands and millions in lawyers fees fighting charges in court. The ones who went to jail and got out with nothing. The marriages broken up, the relationships ended. They’re counting that you are so broken, you have no fight left.
They’re discounting the people who took their own lives. The people who OD’d and died. Our friends, peers and acquaintances. Their families, friends and lovers left behind. They are saying, “You’re nothing and we will have our way.”
They’re counting on you to shrug your shoulders and tweet another picture of your hairless cat, your ass, your pussy, your Bloody Mary or your plate of Peruvian food. They are counting on you being disinterested, tired, disengaged and stressed out. They’re counting on you to be silent. That’s what they want. “Go to sleep. We’ll take care of everything.”
Then you wake up and it’s all different. Now, you have to find a ‘real’ job. Now, you have to move because you can’t afford the house because no one will rent it out for productions. Now, you have less people coming to your cam shows or dance gigs because they aren’t interested anymore in someone who HAS to wear condoms in scenes ALL the time. Now, you have to worry that if you do scenes for your web site, that they won’t come in and take your computer, server and equipment. Now, you have to pull your kids out of school because you have to move. Give the car back because you can’t afford it. Now, that offer to escort sounds like your only option now. No more buying clothes, designer shoes, new iPhones and toys. No more feeding the horses. No more vacations to Vegas or Italy. No more of the life you got used to.
They’re counting on you not to show up and speak. They’re counting on you to not ask your Twitter followers and Facebook fans to voice their opposition. They’re counting on all of us to just fade away.
Is that you? Are you going to let them do that to you? Are you going to let the voters be lied to? The voters are just like us. They are tired. They have money problems. They have things that demand their attention. They are going to vote from whichever voice is the LOUDEST. We may not have money for billboards or Tv spots but we have the internet. We have our social media. We have our websites and blogs. USE IT. Get your voice out there to be heard.
I can guarantee that not so far off in the distant future, when something happens with your children in school or your own life and someone is trying to force an agenda on you or your kids, it will be easier to fight then-if you fight NOW. They’ve taken our pensions, our savings, our right to protest without fear of retaliation. They’ve rewarded the crooks and left you with shit. Don’t let them take this, our right to choose how we live our lives.
This is a call to action. If you like hanging around and bitching about how the business is crap and this and that and the good old days, so be it. But when that time comes when you reflect and realize that at the most critical point in your young lives, you could have made a stand, you could have fought for YOUR rights, you didn’t. You looked the other way. And when your kids ask you, “Who the fuck was Martin Luther King or Gandhi or Nelson Mandela”, you will be able to look them in the eye and know that what you have to tell them means something. You think my drawing comparisons to these people is off base? Not in the least. They stood up for what was right. They marched, they starved, they led by example. And they didn’t have the resources we have today.
Who among you is Rocky, who won’t stay down on the canvas when you’re told to quit? Who among you is Rudy, who has been sitting on the sidelines and knows if he can make just one play, he can make a difference? Now is your time to play. Who among you is Ali, Agassi, Frank Mir, Gabrielle Giffords, the Red Sox? Who is going to tell you to shut up? Who is going to tell you you’re not good enough, go away, lay down, you can’t win, die, you can’t beat the Yankees?
The heroes today are not always the ones in the spotlight. They are the ones who show up and speak their minds. They say what they have to say. In the end, the pieces will lay where they may but you will never have to look at yourself and say, “Where were you when it counted the most?”
Do it for you. Do it for your kids. Do it for the soldiers fighting and dying right now for your freedom to choose. Because this is the greatest opportunity in the greatest democracy the world has seen in 2,000 years.