Porn and The Two Faces of Conservatism “what’s real, and what’s for sale?”


This is kind of interesting in the sense of first amendment issues (do you relinguish your 1st Amendment rights on registration), but this story should peg our interests for another reason. Because conservatives, as is their habit want to have it both ways – pun intended, Coalition of conservative groups believe hotel porn may be prosecutable

“A coalition of 13 conservative groups – including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America – took out full-page ads in some editions of USA Today earlier this month urging the Justice Department and FBI to investigate whether some of the pay-per-view movies widely available in hotels violate federal and state obscenity laws,” Cary writes.

The advertisment featured a remote control above two outstretched, handcuffed hands.

“If what begins with a click can end as a registered sex offense, it’s time we rethink hardcore porn,” the ad said (PDF link).

“DOJ and FBI should immediately investigate whether ‘adult’ videos being sold in hotels by OnCommand and LodgeNet violate long-established Federal and State laws regarding distribution of obscene material,” the ad continues.

“Adult hardcore pornography can tragically lead to sex crimes against women and children,” the ad explains. “Yet sex videos are available in millions of U.S. hotel rooms which we strongly believe are prosecutable.”

I’ve never seen a study that says there is a demonstrable link between viewing sexually explicit material and committing sex crimes, but studies that demonstrate anything contrary to conservative beliefs are like trying to convince them that there is no link between Iraq and 9-11. The war on hotel porn brings up yet another situation where conservatives demostrate a talent for slight of hand as in look over here, don’t look over there GOP Corporate Donors Cash In on Smut

In the Utah County trial, Spencer asked the jury why a lone, small business vendor like Peterman should be held to a higher standard than the likes of W. Mitt Romney. At the time Romney was on the board of Marriott International, which was making huge margins on piping porn into hotel rooms. Currently, Romney is the Republican governor of Massachusetts and his travels around the country have helped fuel speculation that he might run for president in 2008.

Perhaps the most extensive mainstream media treatment on this subject ran four years ago in The New York Times. In a 4,000-word investigative opus, writer Timothy Egan connected the dots between porn and big corporate profits:

“The General Motors Corporation, the world’s largest company, now sells more graphic sex films every year than does Larry Flynt, owner of the Hustler empire. The 8.7 million Americans who subscribe to DirecTV, a General Motors subsidiary, buy nearly $200 million a year in pay-per-view sex films from satellite, according to estimates provided by distributors of the films, estimates the company did not dispute.

EchoStar Communications Corporation, the No. 2 satellite provider, whose chief financial backers include Mr. Murdoch, makes more money selling graphic adult films through its satellite subsidiary than Playboy, the oldest and best-known company in the sex business, does with its magazine, cable and Internet businesses combined, according to public and private revenue accounts by the companies.

“AT&T Corporation, the nation’s biggest communications company, offers a hard-core sex channel called the Hot Network to subscribers to its broadband cable service. It also owns a company that sells sex videos to nearly a million hotel rooms. Nearly one in five of AT&T’s broadband cable customers pay an average of $10 a film to see what the distributor calls ‘real, live all-American sex — not simulated by actors.'”

Egan’s story is a bit dated — corporate sell-offs and restructuring have changed ownership of some of the companies on which he reported — but there’s no evidence of a seismic shift in the adult entertainment industry during the intervening years.

For instance, Ruport Murdoch, the controlling owner of News Corp. — which owns both the conservative Fox News and the popular and frequently salacious Fox TV — continues to cash in. On one hand, Fox News employs commentators who promote the connection between Republicans and family values while other divisions of the company profit from sexually explicit content.


No one argues that the vast sums of money that flow into the Republican Party are based primarily on the self-interest of protecting the ability to profit from that sort of material. But money made off of pornography is finding its way into the Republican Party via very wealthy donors.

The lodging and tourism industry — like most major industries, with a few exceptions such as entertainment and law — has given a majority of its money to the GOP since 1990. Other than a few exceptions such as Hyatt Corp, most of the large hotel chains give predominantly to Republicans.

Since 2000, Murdoch and family members (all executives or shareholders of the News Corp., Rupert’s parent company) have contributed at least $100,000 of their personal money to the Republican Party, its candidates and right-leaning political action committees, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

(To be fair, the News Corp. has given only a little more than half of its $61,000 in corporate contributions to Republicans since 2000.)

Executives and officials at EchoStar have given prodigiously as well, but the company has spread its money around between the parties, with a heavy focus on contributions to congressional regulators of its industry.

Since 1994, General Motors Corp. has given all of its $53,850 in political contributions to the Republican Party.

This figure does not include the millions more spent by GM affiliates and subsidiaries since the early 1990s, including Hughes Electronics (the former parent of DirecTV), which has given 61 percent of its $878,259 contributed since 1990 to the GOP and its candidates. (See also: Automotive industry’s top contributors to federal candidates and parties)

AT&T, which sold its broadband cable system to Comcast a couple years after the Egan story ran in The New York Times, has given 54 percent of its $19,672,908 to Republicans. AT&T continues to own Liberty Media, which is the principle owner of On Command, a Denver-based company that is one of the two largest providers of pay-per-view movies to hotel chains.

One obvious point is that as a movement conservatives are the most ardent activists of the anti-porn parade while at the same time they also constitute its major distributors, finance it, and give most of their political contributions to conservatives. What might not be quite so obvious is that the conservative businesses for porn and the conservatives that act as though they were against porn form a perfect circle. Conservatives finance porn, distribute it, give most of the spoils to conservative pols that use it as a campaign issue. A cultural issue that would not be as large as it is without conservatives money to propagate the very porn they say they’re against. If porn slinks back into the back allies of commerce and paper-bags then it no longer serves conservatives as a rallying point for their cultural outrage at the so-called decline of western values. Except for a few old school feminists this is simply not a big issue for liberals; not because liberals have a pro porn platform, but because they generally don’t think it is government’s place to be peeping Toms. As a practical matter neither party can or will devote a substantial amount of law enforcement or judicial resources into a war on porn that would probably be more tragic and pointless as Prohibition. Not to mention that if conservatives really want to be the squeaky clean rubber ducky party free of the taint of wide screen titillation they might want to start returning some of those contributions, beginning with Dubya himself, Will the “Moral Values” GOP Refund the Money?
It would be a mistake to think of the conservative schizophrenia in regards to sexually explicit entertainment as some kind of conspiracy where the sheriff lets a few bad guys go free in order to make people feel threatened thus insuring his job security. Adult entertainment is a colorful punching bag which they know cannot be banned; a puritan posse bent on rounding up of all porn creators, distributors, and consumers would require a prison the size of Utah. The two faces of cultural conservatism is likely more in the nature of what we could call the conservative’s Denial Problem. All things conservative, to the Joe and Jane Sixpacks of conservatism are bright, shiny and pure, in their mind it is not possible that anyone that belongs to the same elite club is capable of being part of the cultural demons that cause them so many sleepless nights as they have visions of Sodom and Gomorrah. Its all the fault of the heretics…excuse me, liberals. If they could just have a great national cleansing, a purge of the heretics that embody all things non-conservative they’d have the return of the garden of Eden pre-apple consumption.

I tend to leave most things strategic and Democratic to the great thinkers of that sort of thing to bloggers like MyDD, Donkey Rising, DKos, Tapped and others that write about those issues so well, but I like to think that I’m gracious enough to take advice even from the enemy, Liberal politics will prove fruitless as long as liberals refuse to multiply

The trouble is, while most “get out the vote” campaigns targeting young people are proxies for the Democratic Party, these efforts haven’t apparently done much to win elections for the Democrats. The explanation we often hear from the left is that the new young Democrats are more than counterbalanced by voters scared up by the Republicans on “cultural issues” like abortion, gun rights and gay marriage.

But the data on young Americans tell a different story. Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They’re not having enough of them, they haven’t for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That’s a “fertility gap” of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%–explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Let’s put aside for the moment the bizarre fact that a prominent conservative web site is giving advice to liberals on how to go forth and multiply in order to win elections. Arthur C. Brooks like all paid up members of the ruling class are both deeply obsessed with Democratic sex and damn sure of conservative moral supremacy. He’s sure that all children of conservatives will just naturally grow up to be right-wingers and conversely, that if liberals were creating more offspring( I haven’t checked his stats, but will give him the BOTD for now) that would automatically grow up liberals. Brooks has approached this imagined problem like conservatives approach much of the world, as a business dilemma. Liberal women are in his mind reduced to incubators, that much like an old dye tool collecting dust in the corner it is not being used effectively. We need to dust off, oil, and crank up those wasted ovaries and get out the vote. Maybe Brooks should have titled his article, Liberals Better Get Fucking. No snark intended I have a difficult time keeping up with all dark strange back allies into which the conservative mind ventures. As Brooks did his research and thought out his little piece it never occurred to him that post Eisenhower conservatism is an intellectually bankrupt and morally repulsive political philosophy and that liberals might eventually gain an electoral advantage because we’re just plain right most of the time.

Does Brooks remember that Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and that Bush won in 2004 by just 2.9 percentage points( 51% to Kerry’s 48.1%) which is the smallest margin of victory for a reelected president since 1828. Democrats would win the presidency and the Senate easily except for one thing, modern right-wing Republicans are the most prolific and audacious liars in the last hundred years of American politics. If they were hooked up to a truth machine and forced to tell the truth about every issue, every vote, every campaign dollar, about their foreign policy escapades, they’d be lucky to get elected to the national kool-aid testing board. Which would leave them plenty of spare time to get their freak on and make some more voters.

one time a thing occured to me
what’s real, and what’s for sale?
blew a kiss and tried to take it home

lyrics from Vaseline by Stone Temple Pilots