by Rex Breathes

Deep Throat. For 99% of the people, young and old, reading this magazine, those two words are instantly identifiable. Babe Ruth. Home Run. Hot dog. Deep Throat. Even your mother probably knows what Deep Throat is, was and always will be: the most outlandish of all American icons.

Linda Lovelace defines the seventies as much as Nixon, Vietnam, Watergate, Karen Carpenter and The Brady Bunch. Lovelace and Throat penetrated mass consciousness as the naughty darling of the media.The Watergate informant – never identified – who supplied Woodward and Bernstein with their leads was nicknamed ‘Deep Throat.’ Twenty-five years later, in the mythical Washington D.C. of X Files, the mysterious agent who supplies Mulder with clues is called ‘Deep Throat.’ Talk about Deep Impact. Madison Avenue should be so lucky. Dare you say pornography is not art when the media/entertainment complex is borrowing clues from its mother: Linda Lovelace. The innocent girl-next-door transformed the image of porn from mobsters, back alleys and sex slaves into a mainstream, protected-by-the-Supremes art form, reaching her zenith in 1975 with the release of Linda Lovelace For President.. Who knows. If she had actually run she might have won. The competition (Carter, Ford and Pat Paulsen) was pretty lame in ‘76.

Lovelace, who claims she was emotionally and physically abused by her mother, went on to become a pawn in the Andrea Dworkin feminist censorship crusade. Some of Lovelace’s outrageous claims (she was forced at gunpoint to perform the scenes in Deep Throat) were paraded out as fact during the Meese Commission on pornography in the ‘80s. No doubt Linda, who claims to be a born-again Christian, has a hard time swallowing the folly of her youth. But it’s also easy to see that Lovelace found a sense of family, acceptance and belonging, coupled with financial reward, by joining up with the Andrea Dworkin censorship fascists. Ironically, Lovelace stated that she was rewarded in exactly the same way when she stumbled into the world of porno films... at the urging of her then boyfriend. Of course, after joining Dworkin she claimed she was drugged and brainwashed at the time. If Lovelace’s descriptions of her childhood are accurate, then it follows that she would be desperate for attention, acceptance, family and belonging. And she would change, chameleon like, to gain these precious things. What’s fascinating about Lovelace is the ease with which she has transformed herself from porn star to seventies kitsch icon to anti-pornography feminist mouth piece to born-again Christian with the ease of an Oscar-winning actress.

When conducting the Commission on pornography, Edwin Meese and company – who were on a witch hunt and were well motivated – were unable to find any other former porn actors to speak out against the industry. Furthermore, they couldn’t locate anyone who could corroborate Linda’s claims – drugged, brainwashed, forced at gunpoint, etc. To date, Lovelace is the only former porn star to speak out publicly against the industry. This is rather bizarre when you consider that a whole slough of people have come forward to speak out against the CIA, military black ops or even Scientology, risking their safety. Pornography, like gambling, was taken out of the mitts of organized crime back in the seventies when capitalists saw there was money to be made in such enterprises. Now it’s legal and growing in popularity with mainstream America. In other words, the mob isn’t gonna come and get ya.

Deep Throat ran continuously for nearly a decade at the New Paris theater in Portland. That’s the record. In fact, it’s the continuous run record for any film ever released in America. When Storefront Theater Company took over the New Paris lease in ‘83, the collective of actors, directors and artists cleaned up an epic amount of come off the floor. Later, Angry Housewives would enjoy the longest continuous run of any live theater production in the history of Portland at the New Paris. Instead of come, it was Cornflakes spilled on the house floor every night.

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