Measure B has passed – some comments and thoughts

So I spent pretty much most of yesterday absorbing – absorbing the numbers and watching all the comments, statements, and questions flow in. Now, here’s a little bit of what I have to say.

On November 6, 2012, LA County voters passed Measure B.

But with 1,171,287 votes for “Yes on B” (55.85%) and 925,782 votes for “No on B” (44.15%), it was hardly a landslide. In fact, if all the votes were ratio-ed down to just 20, these percentages are akin to a vote balance of 11 to 9.

But misrepresentation and sensationalism from the “Yes on B” camp continued yesterday with statements like: “Now that the people have spoken so overwhelmingly…” – ehh, pretty sure 56% VS 44% is “overwhelming” in no one’s book.

Anyway, aside from picking apart nastiness from the “other” side, here are some themes I noticed in people’s reactions yesterday.

 

What more could have been done?

Well frankly, a lot.

Many people have discussed the “David and Goliath” dynamic that framed this entire charade (with the porn industry being David, in spite of what squeaks and squawks came from the global, mega-funded AHF/Goliath), and I don’t disagree with that characterization… however, and I hate to say this, but I don’t think any campaign budget increases would have made a difference. This is because too many people in the adult industry either didn’t take this situation seriously and/or too many people just didn’t care.

Now, don’t get me wrong – many folks fought, donated, spoke up, and reached out. Each of you – and you know who you are – are champions. But so many more people did nothing: big organizations that did not donate, performers that didn’t engage their hugely significant social networks, and behind the scenes workers that just didn’t pay attention. You all know who you are, too.

Now, I realize that so many people are simply struggling to survive and thus couldn’t give much time or money or whatever. This is an issue that plagues many movements. But I also don’t think the “oh my god, I’m soooo busy or broke” thing is as applicable an excuse as many would like to think.

Further, the industry is fractured and factioned to a fault – multiple NO campaigns running, people not supporting this because they support that, etc etc. I am not trying to suggest that any or all of these internal grievances are not warranted, but I am trying to suggest that external threats to the adult industry were (are) bigger than all this middle school bullshit.

So apathy and a fractured community were issues, and a more cohesive, united effort could have been made.

 

There is also the issue of message – namely, that the industry was (allegedly) delivering the wrong message to the public. I disagree.

It’s not that the NO campaigns were delivering the wrong message, it’s that different messages work for different people. “Minimizing government waste” and “saving jobs” only work for some. Ironically, it seems that the state of California is hell bent on racing… everyone!!… to the bankruptcy/unemployment finish line. Maybe “No on Government Waste” was the wrong message for LA County?

Or, perhaps the message could have been diversified. I saw one comment from performer Kristina Rose (who is remarkably insightful and blunt. if you are unfamiliar with her, I highly recommend following her Twitter feed here: @KristinaRoseXXX) that read:

“maybe instead of marketing our ‘No on B’ campaign towards the people tht steal porn we shoulda made our side appeal to the women tht hate us” (sic)

(pictured: from @KristinaRoseXXX on November 7, 2012)

Though porn piracy didn’t seem like it was a big NO directive, Kristina has a point – why not reach out with different messages? I know there is the problem with splitting scarce resources, but a diverse series of platforms might have helped reach people on different terms… Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

I’m sure there’s more that could’ve been done; these are just the oft-discussed ones that I noticed. But any and all “coulda, shoulda, woulda”s are moot as Measure B has passed. Sooo, what now?

 

What now?

Attorney Michael Fattorosi (Twitter: @pornlaw) wrote an extremely useful and interesting article regarding the implementation of Measure B, which he generously allowed me to repost in full on PVV here. I highly recommend reading it.

Regardless of all the legal issues Michael describes, there seems to be two big reactions coming from the community: fight and move.

Hmmmm…

I have to take a moment here to express my extreme frustration: currently, as in right now today, it is only legal to produce porn in California and New Hampshire. It boggles my mind to no end to hear both industry insiders and “experts” and commentators from outside the business discussing industry-wide interstate moves.

Here’s the thing: yes, porn is produced pretty much everywhere – duh!! There are several known hubs throughout the country, and geniuses discuss the fact that porn is produced in X, Y, and Z and no one seems to mind there so oh em gee let’s just go there!!

But all it takes is one person to care.

All it takes is one sheriff in Florida to go all “not on my watch” and that’s it – legal issues. Now, this may be a good thing. This is pretty much exactly how porn production was legalized in California and New Hampshire (in the courts). But legal battles are costly, to a tune that even big companies may not have the funds to handle. (have you ever noticed that most large established companies with a history that reaches back into the 1980s/early 1990s shoot in California? maybe they’re based elsewhere, but they shoot here… this is not an accident) And clearly the whole “industry banding together” thing (ie for legal funding) is tenuous at best.

The notion that the adult industry can just pack its proverbial bags and bail is silly, too. One message that was kinda being delivered by various NO campaigns but maybe should have been emphasized more fully is that PEOPLE work in porn – people with families and friends and mortgages and leases and kids who go to school, etc etc… Uprooting doesn’t just work like that. Plus it’s expensive to move (this is another moment where that whole “all porn peeps are rich” fiction comes in)

And I hate to say it, but guess what? AHF apparently has nothing better to do but follow porn everywhere. I believe them when they say that they will.

 

Action!!

There is the idea of legal action, which will most certainly be a key dimension moving forward, but what about industry action? Because please don’t fool yourself people: this is not going to go away.

The adult industry needs to get organized and active. The only thing holding this ship together currently is the Free Speech Coalition (FSC). Many people have issues with the FSC…

[I myself am just about headed to their Summit today, and I am more than a little miffed about their lauding of PiracyWin… but I also know that PiracyWin stepped up to the plate where so many other “respected” members of the industry did not… but it’s a plate they stole… but maybe they’ve changed… but people don’t change… gah!!]

…but they are the industry’s trade organization. Support or oppose them, they are established, connected, and active.

There is the idea of unionization. Personally, I think that the IDEA of a union (versus what a union actually may be) doesn’t sit well with the adult business as a community and a culture – BUT – organizing labor is not a bad thing. This idea needs to be explored, as does the idea of allying with other marginalized groups and/or adopting others’ successful organizing tactics. Because a lot of progress has been made in the world in terms of civil rights…

But here’s the sociology thing: sex, sex work, and porn in particular frazzle peoples’ brains. I cannot stress this enough. Even within progressive, sex positive, activist communities, porn is a hotly contested topic. Will other marginalized-but-advancing communities embrace the adult industry and fight alongside it? Or, will the adult industry have to get over itself and get it done on their own? (something else?)

I want the former to be true, but in all my years of exploring and knowing and talking and doing and watching, I think the latter is a more unlikely likely.

 

Thus, do not lose your momentum, adult industry!! Do not allow your spirit to be broken!! Because sometimes people have to step up and fight for what’s right, with little gratitude or support, for the good of the community. Or, in this case, for the good of humanity.

Ask yourself: what would Larry Flynt do?

 

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