25 February 2014

The Pervert Mentality (Part Two)


Now, there’s nothing wrong with expressing your opinion in print about adult films. I recently did so myself in a post called “The Big Nasty”. However, Ms. Taormino is doing more than just sharing her feelings about pornography. She’s also revealing how she feels about LGBT folk, and that revelation is most disturbing! The objectifying tone and denigrating vocabulary she favors scream out the presence of a depraved Pervert Mentality! Let me direct your attention to:

1) Her eagerness to disparage Gay identity. Pervert Mentality sufferers consider so-called political correctness (otherwise known as respect for another person's dignity!) a crime akin to aiming a pistol at someone and shooting him down. Yet they see no problem in aiming murderous epithets at a minority group! Since they claim membership in the same group, wouldn't that qualify as murder/suicide? Pervs ridicule those of us who object to slurs, disregard the damage they do to Gay self-esteem, and refuse to consider what impression their (dare I say it?) queer acts of verbal self-annihilation leave on heterosexual Americans. At best, Straight folk are confused about who and what we are; normalization of sex and gender insults only worsens that state of confusion!

2) Her eagerness to identify with oppressors via use of the aforementioned ugly pejoratives. When Pervs cut loose on LGBT folk with filthy labels, they come across as either mischievously ignorant or arrogantly ignorant. I would definitely characterize Ms. Taormino’s demeanor as the latter; her brandishing of sexual slurs has a decided swagger to it. Reading her copy, it was hard not to think of a leering, foul-mouthed male chauvinist pig! In fact, I'd like to have filed a sexual harassment complaint against her. That she'd crave unequal power dynamics in her erotic encounters comes as no surprise to me: Her love of heterosexist language suggests an inner desire to subjugate Gay people!

3) Her eagerness to fetishize Lesbians and Gay men. She and her “f*g-loving” lady friends objectify us to the point where we almost seem less than human! She describes our “culture” as orgasm-based. If you judged Gay people solely by her characterizations, you’d never guess that we we eat, sleep, go to school, earn a living, care for loved ones or do anything but have sex! This is so typical! Pervs define LGBT folk exclusively in sexual terms, which, of course, is no different from what uninformed Straight people do! They take our image and narrow it down to a crude, pornographic stereotype. The parallels to racial objectification are very strong.

4) Her characterization of homosexual orientation as a “sexually fluid” identity. Pervs scoff at the idea of LGBT folk having unique sexual orientations. No, we merely "play with gender and sex", and when we do that, it's called "queerness"! They insist that, dammit, despite their inborn attraction to women, Lesbians do lust after men! Especially men “who could be mistaken for ‘d*kes’ with their clothes on” . . . never mind that the context here is porn flicks, where clothes invariably come off. Pervs are notorious for deliberately confusing homosexuality with bisexuality; it jibes with their omni-sexual worldview! Unfortunately, it also feeds into the myth that Gay people just need the "right" opposite sex partner to jump-start their dormant heterosexual attraction. Claims of homosexual "fluidity” are even more alarming when they include lechery for “barely legal” boys! Holy potential pedophilia, Batman! Approval of underage sex often forms part of the Pervert Mentality (see my earlier series of posts titled “The Pleasure Seekers”).

5) Her idealization of Gay porn to the point of making misleading statements about it, or in this case, allowing such statements to pass without correction. It has never been true that all Gay porn actors are sexually versatile! Anybody as familiar with the porn industry as Ms. Taormino claims to be should know as much! A good many of those actors identify as Straight (and no, I'm not bullsh*tting you). Others consider themselves Gay macho men, and these "traditional" males refuse to perform passive sex acts on film. In fact, the Straight-acting credo is so pervasive, pornographic film critics make a huge fuss whenever a reputed “top” appears on screen, shall we say . . . out of character? When macho actor Victor Ríos shot a "bottom" scene for the 2005 Titan film Drill, reviewers at XXX Showcase Magazine all but heralded the event with trumpets!

6) Her apparent ignorance of the fact that LGBT folk are an oppressed minority. You wouldn’t know we were in the midst of an equality struggle from the way Tristan Taormino talks about us, would you? However, I’m sure she does know. I give most perverts the benefit of doubt! They’re hardly uninformed about the struggle. They just couldn’t care less about it! Hedonism is always at the top of their agenda. LGBT equality is so far down on a Pervert Mentality sufferer's list of priorities, you practically have to send out a hunting party to find it!

Tristan Taormino talks feminism, so it's a good bet she doesn’t think of herself as heterosexist. All the same, she comes across that way in this column! In the interest of penning a racy tidbit for sensation-hungry readers to gobble, she reinforced ugly and harmful stereotypes. Did Ms. Taormino do so on purpose? I’d rather think she didn’t, but either way, the damage was done! Nobody who harbors anti-Gay prejudice had his or her bigotry challenged by reading TT's assessment of Gay pornography. The only thing she challenged was the idea that Lesbians and Gay men are normal human beings deserving of respect! Sure, you and I understand that LGBT folk aren't the equivalent of porn actors, but does most of the world's heterosexual population understand that? Seeing as how they're afraid to shower with us, I seriously doubt it!

Jerry Maneker was highly upset that this column appeared just prior to the California Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-gender marriage. "If the author was seeking to sabotage the fate of same-sex marriage in California,” he told me, “(it) couldn't have appeared at a more propitious time!" I know where he’s coming from, but its appearance would’ve been upsetting at any time. Would any columnist writing about pornography that featured members of racial minorities call the performers “n*ggers” or “sp*cs” or “ch*nks” in print? No! Would any columnist claim that ethnic or racial identity was changeable? No! Would any columnist dare define minority group cultures by their sexual habits? Hell, no! Imagine the firestorm of protest a newspaper would trigger by publishing such racist trash! Yet the only comment Ms. Taormino’s column generated for days was one praising her spicy subject matter. Until I posted a response yesterday, her distorted characterizations had prompted no outrage at all.

While I’m disappointed, I can’t say I’m surprised. Whenever I surf the 'Net, turn on radio or TV, open a magazine or newspaper, or attend a movie or play, I brace myself. I know from experience that if the subject matter touches on Gay identity in any way, I'm liable to see LGBT folk depicted as cartoonish freaks and/or sex-addicted anarchists! I know I'm liable to hear us called every vulgar, misogynist name you can think of. I know this will be done, and it's nearly always done without reproach! LGBT folk are usually the worst offenders, too, but rest assured that our enemies on the Right Wing are still doing their part. Regardless of whether it comes from friend or foe, the message is the same: Gay = Queer! With so many people in the media so determined to marginalize us, what else could we be but marginalized?

Ms. Taormino is part of that marginalizing conspiracy! She'd no doubt defend herself by accusing me of taking her remarks out of context. I think she's the one who's got a problem with context! Where in her column does she acknowledge the reality of anti-Gay bigotry? She can’t pretend that reality doesn't exist, especially not when she’s using the very language of bigotry! When people are struggling to climb a hill, you don't send boulders rolling down on them: That's just plain malicious! If you unleash those rocks in a spirit of playfulness, that makes your act even more twisted and contemptible. Contemptible is surely the word for her demeaning ruminations on Lesbians, Gay men and their sexuality!

It’s bad enough that an allegedly LGBT woman would write such an insulting piece, but it’s infuriating that mainstream periodicals would be so insensitive as to run it as an entertainment feature! This is just another heartbreaking example of how the press, the general public, and we ourselves welcome defamation of our kind, discourage intelligent discussion about our kind, and support a status quo that excludes and stigmatizes us! It's an intolerable situation that will change only when a significant number of us (especially those of us with media platforms) realize that it's intolerable! But that kind of realization will never, ever dawn on people who suffer from the Pervert Mentality.

Originally published in June of 2008.
The six vintage cover images accompanying this post are among hundreds you can see at this website . . .
. . . an archive of Lesbian paperback art from the 1950s and ‘60s. While the artwork is often quite striking, the lurid copy speaks of an era when Lesbian and Gay existence was totally defined by the Pervert Mentality! Life was a living Hell for us back then, far worse than today. Please, let’s leave hurtful, ignorant perceptions in the past where they belong!


  1. Don, what a nasty can of worms this Ms. Taomarino person has opened--which I'd bet good money she fully intended to do.

    Frankly, had I stumbled on it on my own, I can't imagine I'd have got through three or four paragraphs before chucking the whole thing as ludicrously desperate and ridiculously misinformed. I have no knowledge of Ms. Taomarino or her credentials to write about this or any other gay-related topic. One supposes her involvement in "the industry" gives her that right; one also supposes she'd be equally entitled as a casual porn consumer.

    But, for me at least, her tone and reckless use of broad assumptions, questionable (and questionably applied) broadsides, negative lingo, etc., speak more to someone on the outside preening to get "in" than anyone "inside" with any idea what she's talking about.

    Camille Paglia she ain't--and I'm don't even care that much for Ms. Paglia to begin with, but her analytical skills (skewed though often they are) and occasional, if inadvertent insights make this writer look like a sixth-grade wannabe. Clearly, she's out of her depth and out of control and not worth the time and words we've given her.

    Even if Ms. Taomarino had the self-discipline and finesse to frame her argument more tastefully, what's her point? Why should one "group" enjoying porn (or any kind of media, for that matter) produced by and for another "group" matter to either of them? Or her readers? Or us?

    I own several New-Age "spa CDs" that my masseur duped for me, which I often use to fall asleep. Does that mean I secretly long to be a massage therapist or that I'm deeply conflicted about my musical tastes or that I'm confused about my faith identity and sit on the verge of moving to Sedona to study chakra healing? No, it just means I'm exhausted and wound up at the same time and I think hearing some monotone music may help me fall asleep faster. It says nothing about me, my masseur, the musician, or anything else that someone might want to read into it. I'm just tired, dammit!

    Pornography is a big problem in our community in that it feeds self-defeating fantasies and fosters a body culture that destroys positive self-regard and deprives spiritual awareness. I've personally known many people in the business--big stars, some of them--and they've all said the same thing: it's a business, a commodity, and it's dangerous--both to involve oneself in its production and to consume it--because it's all smoke and mirrors.

    Of course, if its purveyors publicized this, they'd go broke and we'd all be buying posters of The David for moments when we need a little visual stimulation... The issue, I think, isn't whether Lesbians enjoy Bel Ami videos or whether gay guys get turned on by MILF smut or any other odd combo we can think of. The issue is not knowing that the emotional and physical responses we get from porn are not the same as those from real-life experiences.

    That's what I think is most dangerous about porn, particularly gay porn which is so pervasive and influential in our culture. It heightens our insecurities about our physical appearance, driving us to spend hours on end in mindless activities that make us look good--when we should be investing at least a good part of those hours in developing our minds and spirits. Surely nobody thinks the gay gym fixation has anything to do with health. Yet it's resulted in tremendous sacrifices to our mental and spiritual wellbeing.

    Porn encourages us to seek prospective partners only among those who look like potential smut studs, passing by many less-than-physically-perfect candidates who may actually be ideal mates. And it devalues what happens sexually between two people into a sort of stunt show rather than true intimacy and emotional exchange. It's been my experience that heavy porn consumers tend to be heavy people consumers, too. They don't care about story lines, character development, plot twists, theme, or anything else that defines our lives. All that matters to them is the money shot. When that's over, they're off in search of a new package offering another hot scene.

    Now if Ms. Taomarino had suggested women (including Lesbians)--or anyone for that matter-- use gay porn to mitigate physical tensions that frustrate their sex lives with partners they love, that might have held my interest! Her approach, though, was such baldly obvious, pseudo-academic poppycock that it was beneath laughable. And to Jerry's concern about its potential influence on the California Supreme Court, I truly hope they're smart enough to ignore such rubbish--which, evidently, they are.

  2. Tim,

    Just like I never tell people not to use sexual slurs (I know how futile it would be), I never tell anyone not to view erotica/pornography. I tell them to approach these things responsibly, as you would strong drink or a firearm. You never want to approach slurs as if you didn’t know they were toxic, and you never want to approach porn as if you didn’t know it was a distortion of real human relationships.

    My problem with Tristan Taormino is that her approach to both slurs and porn is immature and unhealthy. She lives in an X-rated La La land where insults like “dyke” and “fag” are toys to play with, and LGBT folk are what they’re portrayed as being in adult films. She’s like a naughty little girl playing with matches, but since she’s a high-profile entertainment/sex columnist, she can potentially burn a lot more people than herself with her demeaning nonsense theories about “queerness”.