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xmag.com : July 2003 : Carnal Knowledge
Carnal Knowledge

Ten years ago, we published the first plucky little issue of Exotic magazine. It was an 8-page pullout stapled inside of X magazine, a paid magazine we had published for six months. Besides the 5000 copies we put inside of the third issue of X magazine, we printed an extra 7500 to distribute for free at all the adult venues in Portland. We continued to publish both Exotic and X magazines for a couple more months, then dropped X magazine to concentrate solely on the free monthly Exotic.

Now we have published 120 different issues...120 deadlines... 120 cover shoots...120 huge printing bills...120 distribution days...Over 2 million dollars in printing and production bills...And 30,000 copies every month.

In the last 10 years we've seen plenty--at least 12 at last count--other local, adult-oriented magazines and papers come and go. We've witnessed dozens of strip clubs rise up and burn out. We've seen adult video stores and lingerie shops pop into and out of existence like primordial quarks. We've seen the city and the state try to legislate adult businesses out of existence more times than I care to think about and fought them tooth and nail--or pussy and balls--all the way. And we have survived.

When we started this humble little rag, Nirvana ruled the music world. Bill Clinton had just been elected President. My hair was halfway down my back. Nobody except university students, scientists, the military (and Al Gore) knew about the internet. We started publishing the magazine online, not on the internet but on our own local computer bulletin board system.

We laid the first issues of the magazine out on a Macintosh Powerbook 160 and a Mac SE. Both were black and white and neither had more than 4 megabytes of RAM. The 40 meg hard drive that held the final documents and images cost more than my car. What the finished product was going to look like was usually a crap shoot. Finding a printer that would print "smut" in Portland was nearly impossible.

Some things never change.

We were in the office in the middle of a 64-hour deadline stint when we heard the World Trade Center had been bombed (the first time). It kept standing. We predicted Kurt Cobain's suicide the month it happened (okay, so did a lot of people). We predicted O.J. would be found not guilty (ditto). We helped bring down the ultra-conservative Gubernatorial candidate Denny Smith, when we sent letters out to a few media people thinking it hypocritical that a religious "family values" candidate that professed his opposition to the adult industry actually owned the printing company that printed the T&A Times. He dropped out of the close race a week or two after it hit the nightly news.

We have been through six or seven editors, including myself, all whom have published detailed accounts of their own sex lives, the good, the bad, the ugly, the despicable and the unmentionable. Writer's regret, and the abrupt end of relationships, usually followed.

We wrote about Jim Goad during the media blitz of the censorship trial of his magazine ANSWER Me!--only to hear of him going to jail a few years after that--only to hire him after he got out. We nervously watched as he brought unprecedented quality--and notoriety--to the editorial pages, only to flame out in a blaze of glory as only Jim Goad would have it.

The magazine rode out the longest uninterrupted economic expansion in American history. And here we are now in the depths of a long-overdue recession. But like all good capitalists--and Barry Manilow--we'll make it through the rain...

I'd like to thank everyone out there who advertises with us, reads us, looks at our pictures or just curses us, for all the attention, good or bad, you've given us throughout the last decade. Without you, doing this would only be somewhat amusing.

And no one would get the joke except us.

 

X

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