Caught with its pants down, the adult entertainment industry is scrambling to avoid striking out during election time. What can we do first? Lets start with a simple definition ...just what is "pornography?"
Legally, the word has no meaning whatsoever. As defined by the Supreme Court of the United States in Miller v. California (l973),obscenity is not a synonym for pornography. In fact, Websters defines pornography as "writings, pictures, etc., intended primarily to arouse sexual desire. Therefore, poetry, music, dance, and any other art form can be interpreted as pornographic.
Unfortunately, prosecutors and other would-be censors often use the terms pornography and obscenity interchangeably creating a false image an image that more often than not insinuates that pornography involves children, violence and/or rape. This is completely untrue. By the actual definition of pornography, everything from adult movies to Calvin Klein ads to Tom Jones songs might be construed as pornographic since all of these could be interpreted as being "intended primarily to arouse sexual desire.
The erotic entertainment provided by the adult industry may be dismissed as obscenity by some individuals. Yet pornography is not necessarily obscene simply by the nature of its sexual content. That is why Henry Millers Tropic of Cancer, James Joyces Ulysses, or the film Carnal Knowledge were all initially convicted as obscene, but reversed on appeal.
While community standards play a significant role in determining what is legally obscene, just because one community is offended by a book or film does not render the communication illegal. Indeed, notwithstanding the extremely conservative standards of certain communities, less than one-tenth of one percent of all commercial adult entertainment has ever been charged as being obscene.
Remember, despite the misuse of the term by the media, as well as legislators and prosecutors, pornography is legal; harmful matter for minors is not.
To illustrate my point, we are now facing a ballot initiative, Measure 31, being sold as anti-pornography, simply because it will revert Oregon's constitution to that of the Federal Constitution, allowing communities to define their own (hundreds of different) definitions of obscenity... with the hopes that it will regulate the adult industry into non-existence.
In an effort to capture their attention and halt their momentum, I would like to suggest that we continue to organize, hire a lobbyist (I will volunteer), create our own detailed legislative agenda and, sometime next year, hold an event in the capitol, tentatively dubbed Adults for Adult Entertainment, and lobby the living shit out of the state legislature in an effort to educate, and stop the spread of further regulatory efforts.
Operationally, the three day event will include: a special insiders capitol briefing on the legislative process and all legislation that has been introduced that affects the adult industry, participation in the legislative floor sessions, a united industry media publicity event and a class designed to show how to lobby legislators and members of the press. Along the way we will have a couple of formal speaking dinners, an all-out lobbying day with legislators and staff and, if possible, we will testify before legislative committees. The highlight of the event will be a gala function designed to honor the senator / assemblyperson of the year (for example - awards for both the legislator who does the most for free speech and the senator / assemblyperson who did the least).
As a lobbyist who has transformed the image of the adult entertainment industry in California into a positive one, I firmly believe that by instituting this program we will show that we wont just roll over and play dead; rather that we are a force to be reckoned with.