The image above is a vintage German New Year’s greeting postcard, at least 100 years old. According to Spanking Blog, where I found this, the German text indicates she has a “hateful tongue” so her husband feels like he is running a “spank home for gossip addicts.” But it’s OK because beating her ass on the regular keeps her skin “strong and pretty good.” Ha, ha, hilarious, Happy New Year! (That’s what it says on the bottom of the card, for real.) Prosit Neujahr!
2018 is just a few days away. Why am I featuring a shockingly misogynistic wife-beating postcard (that is supposed to be funny) at the top of a blog post about porn?
Well, one of the running themes in 2017’s news in the United States was a big realignment in our public understanding of consent. This did not touch the porn industry very much — hold that thought, I’ll be coming back to it — in 2017; but it shook the mainstream entertainment industry to its roots, and much of politics and industry besides. From Harvey Weinstein at the pinnacle of the movie business to Senator Al Franken and Representative John Conyers in politics to Louis C.K. in comedy, powerful men have suddenly discovered in 2017 that they are no longer allowed to grope, pressure, harass, get naked in front of, masturbate onto, and/or flat-out rape with total impunity subordinate women, co-workers, and employees, as they have been in the careless and arrogant habit of doing pretty much since forever. It’s been a powerful shock to them all, and the ones who haven’t been outed, shamed, fired, sued, or prosecuted for it yet are at least beginning to run scared, and precisely nobody is sympathetic except other nervous men with dubious behavioral histories.
Hence the title of this post, and quaint postcard graphic. We’ll probably be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing in 2018. The public beatings will continue. Morale will improve when male sexual behavior does. The only way out, for abusive men, is to take your lumps and to improve your behavior. The only way out is through. General George Patton was fond of a military maxim, variously attributed to Napoleon, Frederick The Great, or the French Revolutionary War hero Georges Danton: “Audacity, more audacity, always audacity!” The sexual equivalent is “Consent, more consent, always consent!” Learn it, live it. Get it tattooed on your dick, if you need the reminder.
And now to porn. Porn has always had an image problem; the old-school feminists who think pornographers exploit women have always claimed that consent on the set of porn shoots is inadequate or lacking. The truth, of course, varies from producer to producer; the better ones shoot pre-roll and post-roll (sometimes making these available to members) showing the models establishing their limits, safewords, and post-shoot contentment with how it all went down. Not all producers do this; not all who do this, do it convincingly. Making ethical porn is a big subject that I don’t know as much about as I would like. But I do know this much: for purely commercial reasons, most producers try pretty hard to run clean sets with happy performers. Overall, the industry record on consent issues is pretty good, because the industry has a lot of enemies and is under a lot of scrutiny. When people ask “Why hasn’t the abuse scandal hit the porn industry in 2017?” I think it’s plausible to suspect the answer is that porn’s act is actually cleaner than, say, Hollywood’s is.
That said, there are at least a couple of suspected bad apples in porn’s performer barrel. Ron Jeremy, whose reputation for groping fans and performers outside the context of shoots is of considerable longevity, is receiving considerable new negative attention in the new environment, such as this exposé feature in Rolling Stone. Accusations against James Deen from 2015 are getting a bit more press attention in the current environment as well. My prediction for 2018 is that the wave of revulsion and reform that’s sweeping Hollywood, the news media, politics, and other industries will reach the porn industry in 2018. Any producers and performers already tainted by problematic reputations for consent violations, along with those whose consent issues are not yet public but become so, will be swept from the industry by the same broom that is currently sweeping out Hollywood and the halls of Congress. And you know what? Nobody will cry one tear for any of them.
The beatings will continue until morale improves. That’s my prediction for the porn industry in 2018. Happy new year! Cheers! Prosit Neujahr!