No More Porn on Tumblr! Why?

I wonder if the announcement that Tumblr was banning pornographic content was perhaps inevitable, but not for the official and unofficial reasons currently being disseminated by the media.

The surface reasons seems to be tied into the confluence between technology and profits. The IOS App Store would no longer allow the Tumblr App because of an isolated child pornography incident. Since most Smartphone users rely on Apps, not allowing it would seriously lessen Tumblr’s overall use and scope. But why target Tumblr? Was it simply the, according to some sources, the 20 percent porn content?

It may seem that Tumblr was directly put between the proverbial rock and hard place, even though the microblog is a free service. An article in The Verge succinctly paraphrases the new policy:

“Banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations. The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity. The new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted. Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos.” The wording of Tumblr’s announcement seems to both evoke and invoke arguments about obscenity that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.

LGBTQ sexual pioneer Chuck Renslow started out as a physique photographer, and he definitely was pushing social boundaries during the 1950s with his homoerotic (as close to nude was possible, and one could often see that the posing straps were painted on) photos. He, like many other in this line of work, were “coding” their visuals, because it was one of the few ways gay men could experience their erotic desires and fantasies safely and privately. Many outfits mailed nude photos and films in plain envelopes, but these were often confiscated by the Post Office and the perpetrators, both the senders and receivers, punished.

Some of these incidents ended up in the court system. Renslow’s case ended in victory, as the judge made the ruling that if one deemed these photos obscene, so would certain masterpieces of art, especially from the Graeco-Roman period.

The Manual vs. Day case, which went to the United States Supreme Court, held that magazines consisting of semi-nude or nude males are not obscene and the Post Office cannot interfere with their dissemination through the mail. The case is notable for its ruling that photographs of nude men are not obscene, an implication which opened the U.S. mail to nude male pornography, especially those whose audience was gay men.

Tumblr of course is certainly not contained physically in brown, unmarked envelopes, but what is interesting is that Tumblr seems to be agreeing with that 1950s judge. Agreeing to some extent, yes, but also opening up once more some of the time-worn arguments about the complex relationship between sexuality, artistic expression, violence, and how this relationship builds and shapes an audience.

Going back to my initial statement, it seems inevitable that something of this nature would happen, because it’s obvious our means of communication have changed drastically since the days of postage stamps and nudie photographs and envelopes, and later, moving images of sexual acts in theaters that charged admission only to adults: physical mediums that exist in a controlled spatial situation.

What Tumblr and those who support restricting what they deem porn (for them, porn equals genitals which equals sexual acts) fail to recognize is not of course the nanosecond dissemination of mostly amateur depictions of sex which could result in more potentially dangerous situations: no, they fail to recognize the aesthetics (which tie into social contexts, of course) of a wide variety of LGBTQ pornography from the 1970s and 1980s, especially.

For example, Al Parker responded to the AIDS crisis by combining sexual acts and documentary in his film High Tech. Jack Deveau offers what one could claim is a documentary of gay life during the "hippie" era in Left-Handed. So many others of that period usually offer narrative structures: the sex acts aren’t just sex acts per se, but components in forms that explore the larger social issues of the time. And even some of the J. Brian films, which were not made to specifically address any social or moral issues, could be seen as living documents of gay sexual history.
 

Three cast members in High Tech
Three men using vacuum pumps in High Tech

Stars of Left-Handed
Stars Ray Frank & Robert Rikas in Left-Handed

The question remains as to how one could apply any standard of evaluation to any medium which communicates the erotic universally, but it seems a rather generalized case could be made that the older the porn, the more chances it could be determined to be aesthetically or historically significant. But the burden of proof would fall on the user, and in today’s lightning-paced communication environment, time is an enemy, rather than, as before, space.

Yet at this juncture, it seems like the only possible solution here is diversification. Perhaps Tumblr’s free-for-all ethos caused this implosion. Given the fluid nature of social media, those who used Tumblr, especially LGBTQ persons who still exist in various states of marginalization, will have to regroup, and unfortunately, some might claim, not return to closets or ghettos, but establish in their own tech-savvy ways other spaces for erotic expression.

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RetroStuds of the Past: Focus on Dave Connors

Dave Connors

Connoisseurs of retro gay porn are perhaps familiar with Dave Connors because of his starring role in One in a Billion, enjoying his big balls and big dick. (In fact, I can't think of another stud's privates who one could so aptly call “meat.”) In the movie, big businessman Dave can magically hear what others are thinking, which add some flavor to a day of kinky adventures. All seem to want to taste what is really magic, his meat.
 

Dave Connors in a buisiness suit

Dave Connors' huge cock

Art can reflect reality, and in an interview for Stallion magazine, Dave jokingly admits there are disadvantages to being “super hung:”

Connors: People have used any ploy and every ploy to get me into bed.
Stallion: How did they find out about what you were packing?
Connors (laughing): People talk! It's not something I can keep secret.
 

Dave Connors interview in Stallion magazine

According to the interview, Dave was born in Florida, and he was inhibited as a child. He came out at the ripe old age of twenty-one:

“I finally came out at twenty-one in the Marine Corps. I had a lot of friends – and I could never understand why now, I know, at least I know what I missed – although I did have some very nice encounters in the service.”

But the path to pornhood was not smooth for Dave, as he claims he lost that Marine-induced “self-discipline” to drugs, and then gained it back in prison. Yes, prison.

By the age of 39, Dave had already made several porn movies, but he claims his experience in One in a Billion was enlightening, as it was his first experience with sync sound. And Dave did not have to lie on the casting couch to obtain his meaty part in that movie; he asked Al Parker, Parker had an idea, and voila!

Now, for a country boy from the sticks of Florida who looks like naturally strong, like he could wrestle a couple of alligators, he certainly fills out a business suit well. His career climaxed in the yuppie eighties, and in some ways he embodies that look: clean-cut, chiseled jaw, a “dirty blond” with just a hint of bad frat boy now grown up to dominate board rooms.
 

Dave Connors at 35

Some of the more famous films he made include The Biggest One I Ever Saw by Giant Films and Dirt Bikes for Falcon.

Tragically, at the time he was shooting what was to be his last film, Wakefield Poole's One, Two, Three, Dave succumbed to AIDS.

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Thanksgiving Porn?

We at Bijou Video carry some of the best Halloween porn, and we are in the process of coming out with some interesting “Christmas tree” porn, but Thanksgiving porn?

Seems perhaps an oxymoron, as turkeys and green bean casseroles and Norman Rockwell grandmas in aprons (and family feuds too), don't seem to lend themselves particularly well to erotic expression.
 

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

I did a search on google, and Thanksgiving porn does show up; on pornhub, I found an image of a cute young guy in bondage trussed up like turkey on a table, but not much else that really ties into the holiday.
 

CTA train, Chicago

I did find a link to a Thankgiving parody vintage gay porn video from 1983 called Spanksgiving, complete with wavy lines that indicate a well-played Beta videotape and the ubiquitous pornstache. It's pretty hilarious, if you now what is being satirized. I particularly enjoyed the placement of the pumpkins around “Rock Hansen's” crotch.

Perhaps the easiest erotic connection one could make with a day that focuses on food is food porn, which comes in all shapes and sizes. I don't think some of the usual Thanksgiving food items would work with assplay (a firm zucchini, for example), as they are usually too glutinous and goopy. But if you get into messes, I guess one could certainly rub some cooled down gravy on a willing victim and lick it off. Ew …
 

Traditional Thanksgiving food

I am forcing the issue here, I am afraid.

I am wondering perhaps it Thanksgiving could be a day to rest form the libido; instead of feeding it with a healthy diet of erotic play, one just feeds. Literally.

Perhaps the inevitable nap could stimulate some cuddling, which could always be start rof some hanky panky rather than the end of it.
 

Cute guys cuddling

But most significantly, remember that many LGBTQ persons will not be able to spend time with blood family. I hope that many will thankfully enjoy Friendsgiving, a newly coined word that emphasizes inclusivity and the real situations of many who courageously created their own bonds of love and sharing.
 

Friends toasting over Thanksgiving meal
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Odd People and Incidents on Public Transportation Redux

CTA train, Chicago

I was reading a piece lately about some rather deplorable conditions (bedbugs, ew!) and raunchy actions (primarily sex) on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains. The evidence originated from those who should know, the operators of the trains.

Now I am a regular rider (both by choice but also because of financial constraints), and I have noticed some odd behavior lately, and one could possibly attribute some of the aggressive behavior to the polarized climate of stress since the last election, but let's face it, the transportation is for the public. And no one in a public environment is ever completely placid and uniform, despite the presence of certain social etiquette mores.

I won't discuss the panhandlers or persons who sadly are suffering from some form of mental illness, specifically, as they, regardless of their individual backstories, have always been a constant presence on the subway. I will instead focus and comment on the more odd, and one even charming, people and actions I have noticed through the years.

A heavyset African guy plugged into headphones was falling asleep. His head gradually ended up on the shoulder of a young woman sitting next to him. She actually responded nicely, gently nudging him, and I heard her say, “You were falling asleep.” He looked dazed and immediately shut his eyes again. This falling asleep on people is not uncommon; a former coworker of mine told me she did the same, and she told me the nice elderly woman next to her just let her rest that way through most of the journey. I have never fallen asleep on anyone on the subway, though I have often through about resting my head on the chest and shoulders of a few hot guys here and there on various trips.
 

Two men leaning against each other on subway train

One rush hour, on a particularly crowded train car, a woman began flossing her teeth. I think this action ranks with the bedbugs. People were so jammed in and in obvious discomfort that this action went unnoticed, though a heard a few tsking sounds here and there. Ew!

I overheard a woman (and yes, I was listening), overall rather in coarse in clothing and flat of voice, firing someone. Yes, on a cellphone, and yes, on the subway. The corporate jargon words and phrases I heard included, “I don't think this position is working out for you.... as a manager, I've felt the need to discuss what is going on with you recently.... you are just not a good fit for us right now.” On the subway? Come on! Where is the sense of proportion, boundaries?

I've noticed these three incidents involved boundaries. People are doing actions in public that one normally does in private, either at home in the bedroom or the bathroom, or in an office.

And speaking of boundaries, I must admit, I've never seen any overt sexual activity on the subway, and I really don't remember any particularly passionate public displays of affection. But then, I don't take the CTA that late, when more of these incidents might occur, the results perhaps of intoxication other factors that cause one to break taboos.

And lately, because the majority of the riders are plugged into phones (perhaps the new conventional subway behavior), certain actions tend to stick out more, even a conversation. For example, I overheard a heated conversation between high school boys who looked like conventional nerds with big thick glasses, 90-pound weaklings who would get sand kicked in their faces by jocks, about obscure astronomical data. Something about orbits and velocity. Really advanced math. Well, in a few years, these kids will be making the big bucks and never have to ride the subway again.

Still, in my subway observations and musing, I would rather fantasize about the more conventional hot young business guys in their tight dress pants and gleaming brown derby shoes or the rougher types in athletic gear freeballing.
 

Manspreading guy in athletic gear

People on the subway have come a long way since Ethel refused to ride it in blue jeans when she had to take Lucy, vaguely disguised as a beekeeper, to the silversmith. Lucy had somehow gotten a loving cup/trophy stuck on her head.
 

Lucy on subway with loving cup on her head

But that's so much interesting than staring at a phone screen, eh?

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The Death of Jack Chapman aka "Tank": A Warning and a Challenge

Last week I tweeted a developing a story about a member of the gay bear BDSM community, Jack Chapman (who took on the name of Tank Haferpeten), who died at the age of 28 from complications that ensued after a silicone injection into this balls. Tank was a “pup” in a polyamorous community under the mastership of one Dylan Haferpeten, commonly known on a various social media sites as “noodlesandbeef.”
 

Dylan with his pups
Dylan with his pups

Dylan and Jack aka Tank
Dylan and Jack aka Tank

This group of guys fetishized muscle growth, changing their body from conventional bear builds to bodies that resembled certain types of superhero cartoon or anime figures: abnormally large muscles and other body parts, attained not just by working out in the gym, but by artificial means such as steroids and silicone.

Some have claimed that Dylan himself suffered from some form of body dysmorphia, a pathology called “bigorexia:” his body could never be big or massive or muscular enough, and he was willing to do whatever he felt he needed to do to make his fantasy a reality. Yet when this dysmorphia doesn't just affect the individual, but others, the fantasy becomes a literally monstrous reality.
 

Illustration of bigorexia: a muscular man looking in the mirror and seeing a skinny man

Note I used the word pathology. Safe, sane, consensual BDSM relationships manifest themselves in different forms depending on the specific desires and needs of the participants, but the sources I have explored claim that Dylan's control of his pups took on abusive forms, including mandatory severing of family and friend relationships outside his polyamorous group (the pups had were only allowed to contact Dylan, and Dylan only, on their cellphones) and financial control (for example, signing over salaries to Dylan).

More tellingly, When Jack temporarily severed the relationship, Dylan sued him in small claims court for money supposedly owed, and he even refused to physically sever the collar Jack was wearing. When Jack returned to Dylan, he signed over an inheritance to him. (Three weeks later, Jack was dead.)

And in Tank's case, the most obvious abuse was the insistence on silicone injections, an unsafe, life-threatening procedure. (Some sources even claim that Dylan is connected to two more deaths related to silicone injections.)

What is even more disturbing is Dylan's attempts to cover up what actually happened, claiming Jack died from a lung problem caused by wildfires in the area (not going on at the time of his death a week ago). Dylan even concocted pictures of Jack in breathing gear. He also claimed Jack was alive when he wasn't. The death certificate, which has since been changed to reflect the true cause of death, silicone poisoning, first claimed Jack died from pneumonitis.

I'm not going to draw hasty, sensationalistic conclusions about some of the evidence I present above, but the story, even in sensationalistic forms that use terms like “sex cult” and “harem” which decry physically, socially, and psychologically healthy BDSM relationships, is profoundly disturbing on many levels.

There's a danger inherent in breaking taboos and living in insular communities that develop around breaking said taboos. Gay, bear, BDSM, leather, fetish, whatever: we are drawn to who we identify with and what we like, but a breaking of boundaries can result in a dangerous blurring of the boundaries that help define the dignity and self-worth of individual persons. In Dylan's case, his narcissistic pathology destroyed not just a person's body, but his soul and spirit.

On the other side of the globe, in Jack's native Australia, a mother, brother, and grandmother are grieving for their son. They don't regret that he was gay, or a bear, or into BDSM: they regret that a disturbed, dangerous individual who lacks a soul destroyed a whole, loving person.

Abuse is never OK. Never. It's up to all to us, starting at the local level, to watch out for each other. And social media gives us the power to do so on a global level.

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