Who Mourns for Wayne Huizenga?

It was just a matter of time before all those lamentations for the end of the independent bookstore produced an offspring: In the Boston Globe's Ideas section, John Swansburg regrets the passing of the video store:

The demise of the independent bookstore has been augured for nearly a generation now, the inevitable casualty of behemoths like Borders and Barnes & Noble, online booksellers like Amazon, and ultimately, so we're told, of the universal, digital library imagined by Google and various techno-visionaries. The more imminent demise of the video store, meanwhile, has merited only occasional notice, mostly in the business pages. Yet something important is being lost here, something that isn't going to be replaced by rent-by-mail outfits like Netflix, video-on-demand services, or newfangled delivery systems like the Disney-backed MovieBeam. Though it may never have acquired the cache of the independent bookstore, for people who care about movies, the video store is just as vital an institution.

Video stores aren't just a place to grab a movie. The halfway decent ones—in other words, not Blockbuster, which is almost entirely given over to new releases, the so-called back wall—are places where the enthusiasms of the cinephile find a home. The theater is a place to see movies; the video store is a place to be among them—and to be among other people who love movies.

If this seems like the kind of thing you complain about when you've got nothing to complain about, it is, to a degree. For my money, obsolete media and institutions can be pretty clearly sorted into those that had some charm (vinyl records, manual typewriters, dial phones, 35-mm cameras) and those that had no charm (video and audio cassettes, 110 cameras, non-cordless bush-button phones, any personal computer more than three years old). After giving it a full five seconds' thought, I'd have to sort video stores into the latter category. I've never met the hypothetical wise clerk who's seen everything—not even at the legendary Kim's, where the clerks have the shitty attitude without the expertise to back it up. (The real model of the working-class cineaste was the projectionist: Why isn't anybody lamenting the decline of the full-time projectionist?) I suppose there's a question of where the next Tarantino will come from, but since even Tarantino has proven unequal to the task of being the next Tarantino, I'm not losing any sleep over that.

There may be something to be said for the communal space of the video store, but even there I'm not sure. When you browse at a bookstore, you can actually look through the text of the book you're considering. At the video store you're going on nothing but the back-cover blurbage, which, while it can occasionally be entertaining (my favorite being the pitch for Raid On Rommel: "Fans of tanks will appreciate the large number of tanks used in this film"), is notoriously unreliable, and even at its best is outdone a thousandfold by the information available all over the web. As for the argument from serendipity—you'd never have thought to rent Leprechaun In the Hood until the cover grabbed you—well, maybe: I still say with all the you-may-also-enjoy recommendations, user comments, DIY screenings, etc, your odds of stumbling across a winner (or memorable loser) are better than ever before.

Courtesy of Arts Journal.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    "Why isn't anybody lamenting the decline of the full-time projectionist?"

    Some people are, they are called ticket buyers. For 8 bucks is it too much to ask that the picture stays in focus? I'm glad I don't have perfect vision or I'm sure it would be worse.

  • ||

    and even at its best is outdone a thousandfold by the information available all over the web.

    I have often wished the video stores I went to would simply have an internet kiosk instead of a stack of outdated review books.

    The serendipity factor is pretty high for me, and one reason I joined a local store instead of netflix.

  • ||

    Who is lamenting independent bookstores? Here we have a Barnes&Noble, a Border's and a local store called TitleWave Books. TitleWave sells new and used, has a better selection (.5 million titles @33,000 sqft), equal or better prices and better service than either Border's or B&N. Viva Competition!!!

    As for video stores, NetFlix beats out any walk in store I have ever been to, both in terms of selection and information thanks to viewer reviews. Walk in video stores can die for all I care.

  • R C Dean||

    Far better than any clerk is the "if you liked that, you might like this" and/or "others who bought that, bought this" agent.

    I am most familiar with Amazon's but I am sure there are lots of others out there in the online/database world. I find it invaluable.

    I used one of the "great" videostores, Star Video, in Madison, WI, during its heyday. The clerks never helped me with much of anything; what made it exceptional was the enormous number of titles it carried. An achievement which is dwarfed by any number of on-line operations today.

  • ||

    Well, for whatever it's worth, having rented movies from the place where Quentin Tarantino worked, I'll vouch for his eclectic recommendations.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    You know, you're right. I miss jumping in the car, half in the bag, racing down to Blockbuster to dump that shitty movie in the bin at 12:05 AM so I can get a late charge even though the movie was there before the store opened for business the next day.

    Oh, I suppose he's not lamenting Blockbuster, only the little hole-in-the-wall guys with 80 titles, five of which are recently released movies that you want to see. There was a clerk for whom English was a third language who bathed at least once a week. They generally had a sign up sheet for the good movies, all five are still out, but should be in by 5:00 today. Check back please, thank you.

    As an aside, I had a client in the movie rental business back when movie rentals were becoming popular. It is amazing how expensive those VCR tapes were back in the mid 1980's. This guy had several hundred thousand dollars tied up in inventory. Seems to me that his average cost per movie was around $85.00. I might be wrong about that, time tends to fuzzy things a bit. Irrespective of that, the prices have come way way down and now a DVD that last longer is 15 bucks in 2006 money.

  • ||

    >>(my favorite being the pitch for Raid On Rommel: "Fans of tanks will appreciate the large number of tanks used in this film")

    Oh, come on, you're making that up.

  • ||

    It is amazing how expensive those VCR tapes were back in the mid 1980's. This guy had several hundred thousand dollars tied up in inventory. Seems to me that his average cost per movie was around $85.00.

    I once had a video store tell me that they had no record of me returning a movie which I had, in fact, returned, and that they wanted me to pay the replacement cost of the movie. The movie in question ("This is Spinal Tap") was available for purchase on VHS from any number of retailers at the time and was available for under $30 -- but the chain wanted me to pony up $125 for the cost of the missing tape because that is how much those tapes supposedly cost them.

    Needless to say I never paid up after telling them on a number of occasions that I had in fact dropped the movie off in the drop box. Dunno what happened, but I remember thinking "WTF?? I can buy the movie brand new for so cheap, and they want me to replace the used, abused rental tape for over a hundred bucks?!?!?!"

    The one thing the local video store had going for it was it's availablity of porn VHS / DVDs for rent -- which Blockbuster and other family chains don't -- obviously the internet has quite a bit of porn out there to make up for the closing video stores, but for rental purposes, I actually liked the interaction of browsing the aisles with other perverts and seeing what kind of fetishes they had.

    There is something to be said about renting your porn in person. Esp. if the clerk gives you a "well if you like this....then you might like..." reccomendation for your porn

  • ||

    Indecisive Video Customer: They say so much, but they never tell you if it's any good... are either one of these any good?
    [Randal ignores her]
    Randal Graves: What?
    Indecisive Video Customer: Are either one of these any good?
    Randal Graves: I don't watch movies.
    Indecisive Video Customer: Well, have you heard anything about either one of them?
    Randal Graves: I find it's best to stay out of other people's affairs...

    [Clerks 1994 dir. Kevin Smith]

  • Garth||

    Oh.. ChicagoTom and everyone else.... Do y'all remember the sensation that was:

    "True Porn Clerk Stories"
    ?

    Sure you do.

    Relive them here:http://www.improvresourcecenter.com/mb/tpcs1.php

  • ||

    WC- Made me laugh out loud at work.

    Rememeber when every convenience store had a rental section: the tapes/boxes would reek of french fry grease and clerk sweat?

  • Jennifer||

    There is something to be said about renting your porn in person. Esp. if the clerk gives you a "well if you like this....then you might like..." reccomendation for your porn

    I'll probably regret bringing this up, but . . . I have a question for ChicagoTom, or any other guys out there.

    Like most women, I'm not into porn. So I'm wondering: how long does one given porn tape . . . uh . . . do it for you, before you get bored with it and have to buy another? About five years ago I was in this video shop and saw Comic Book Guy's human avatar leave the curtained "adult" section with five tapes. And if I recall correctly, this was a store with a two-day rental period.

    So. . . five tapes in two days? Is that the norm? You can't just watch one tape five times?

    I still can't figure out why porn aficionados bother spending money on the stuff when it's free all over the Internet.

    This is a sincere question, not an attempt to make this thread devolve into sex talk. I have to leave these here Internets for awhile now, but I definitely want to check this thread when I get home tonight because I truly am curious.

  • ||

    The only good thing I can think about independent video stores is they have a good supply of porn without needing to go to a seedy "adult book store." You can just sneak in the back room of Bob's Video Den on Main St. Blockbuster doesn't have it ( though there are some local/regional chains I have seen with a good supply of backroom fuck flicks).. But then theres dat dere internet thingy with all the porn you can browse freely, VOD, dvds shipped to your door in the privacy of your home,etc. So yeah, I guess I can't think of anything good about and independent video store.

  • ||

    "The one thing the local video store had going for it was it's availablity of porn VHS / DVDs for rent -- which Blockbuster and other family chains don't -- obviously the internet has quite a bit of porn out there to make up for the closing video stores, but for rental purposes, I actually liked the interaction of browsing the aisles with other perverts and seeing what kind of fetishes they had.

    "There is something to be said about renting your porn in person. Esp. if the clerk gives you a 'well if you like this....then you might like...' reccomendation for your porn"

    Yup, those were the days -- when porn was a ritual. Deciding it's time to get some. Driving to the video store on a mission. Taking a quick look around to make sure no relatives or coworkers are in the store. Walking straight to the adult section, head held high. (No lurking near the entry and then slipping in. I'm a grownup. This is a free country. Sex is beautiful.) The thrill of seeing all those boxes lined up. The fun of browsing and finally picking 2 or 3 out. Then facing the gauntlet of the check-out counter. (That part wasn't usually too bad. Once a cute female clerk smiled at me and said "Have fun" without any hint of superiority. I was too stunned to say anything charming in response.)

    It's all just too easy now.

  • ||

    Jennifer -- Dunno about the other porn-dogs out there, but I'd rent multiple flicks because you'd never know if any one would be good or not until you actually saw it. Most of us have very specific tastes when it comes to porn (either your buttons are being pushed or they're not; there's not really a middle ground). I'd usually rent 3 at a time so I'd have pretty good odds of finding something to my fancy.

  • ||

    Like most women, I'm not into porn.


    That's an unfair presumption, I think. I read some study a while back (have no idea where I read it, unfortunately) that showed that internet/online/private porn consumption had significantly increased, in part due to women getting into it. The theory was that a lot of women didn't dig porn because it was socially stigmitized (you know, only creepy lonely dudes would usually browse the porn sections in video stores, and other myths), and since porn was now available to people via anonymous means, women could now get into it without fear of ostracism. In short, there are probably more women into porn than meet the eye.

  • ||

    TWC & ChicagoTom,
    That is about right for the price of tapes. Back in the day, movie studios would release a tape to Rental stores first, then follow it with a "Mass Release" 6-12 months later. The video store purchased the rights to distribute the movie with a hefty price tag. Technically speaking, even if the movie was available for "Mass Release" they could not rent out that tape.

    Now the movie studios release the DVDs to public and rental houses at the same time, for the same price. Certain foreign/independant films are not released for public consumption and can only be obtained through Video Rental stores, again at a high expense. It seems that movie distributors finally realized that people who are going to buy a movie are buy it, not rent it and vice versa.

  • ||

    Smacky brings up a good point. According to my unfortunately limited and entirely unscientific poll, Generation X girls are very curious about the whole porn thing, but Generation Y girls consume porn just like their male counterparts.

    As for the burn-out factor, most porn loses its appeal after a few viewings. As a porn consumer, I find it interesting, though that I get sick of watching pornstar A have multiple orgasms during anal sex, but I can become very aroused by pornstar B having multiple orgasms during anal sex immediately after.

    Oh, and BTW Jennifer, methinks you love bringing these posts around to sex you naughty little pornster!

  • ||

    " any personal computer more than three years old)."

    HEY! watch it!

  • ||

    No comment.

  • ||

    cecil is a douche: feeling a bit repressed today?

  • ||

    cecil: no. funny that...you're still a douche. :)

  • ||

    go!@home: I'v really always just fancied myself a douche-bag.

    What part of my post so inflamed your tender sensitivities?

  • ||

    cecil: nothing specific. sometimes i just find that it's easiest to just take my frustrations out at random people on the internetz.

  • ||

    Jennifer:
    My girlfriend in college way into porn. Way into porn. Far moreso than I was. She actually had -- excuse the expression -- the balls to walk into this dank little fuck-cave and rent stacks of the stuff. OK, so we watched it together. Got her off big time. But she got bored after one tape, so she'd stick in another and go to town on that one. I haven't viewed enough porn to know what the general limit is on one tape's "use" for your typical guy, but based on my experience, I'd say three? Four? But I'm betting if you had to, you could get a lifetime's use out of it. Like if you were stuck on an island with "Ass Blasters XII," a VCR and were somehow able to plug in to a coconut tree.

  • ||

    I can watch the same porn vid many, many times. I don't actually own a lot of porn, what with it so available on the 'net and whatnot, but sometimes you just want to be able to pop a dvd in the machine and get to work w/out having to search the internet. Course, there's lots of stuff you can just download and save.

    Anyway, my point is that I don't really get tired of my porn. Hell, I don't even need porn, to be quite frank. I pretty much want to take care of business all the time, solo or not. :P

    Don't know if my current gf is into porn or not...I should find out. :) I do know she likes looking at pics of hot girls, though. :) :)

  • ||

    Wow, Lowdog, that's very ... uh, honest of you.
    Do you stroke your own balls and hold your breath when you splooge all over yourself, too?

  • Kevin B. O'Reilly||

    ChicagoTom, try Wanted List. It's essentially Netflix for porn.

    Jennifer, mileage may vary from person to person, film to film. Some folks can't stand to watch a movie more than once, others will watch "The Shawshank Redemption" any time TNT is running it again (I believe that's about twice a weekend). Same thing for porn.

    As for the gentleman you saw walking out of the store with five movies, jp touches on one explanation. I used to work in a neighborhood video store with a porn selection and actually had a few customers who'd walk in after work, rent six tapes, and return them by closing. I was told that renters would copy the tapes to keep in their personal library.

    By the way, I used to work in the same store where the author of True Porn Clerk Stories worked (per Garth's reference above), though not at the same time. Classic stuff.

  • ||

    I'm with Tim on the demise of the video store, and his list of charming obsolete media in general. (BTW, my husband will argue with you on 35 mm cameras. He has, and uses, a 35 film and a 35 mm digital. Thus, holidays are like a photo shoot for Vogue but with more food and no heroin.) Mostly they were excellent gathering places for drunks looking for "This Island Earth" to laugh at. Well, I did that anyone. A .10 blood alcohol level is generally required to appreciate jacket blurbs.

    My dislike, however, wasn't crystallized until I had a clerk at Hollywood complain about my infant son making noise. He wasn't really crying, just gurgling. Aaron also scratched with a pen on one of the brochures at the counter. God knows those giveaway brochures must cost a fortune because Mr. Acne got real upset at the thought of losing one to ink marks. This at a place that specialized in kid videos. Since then, I always buy my Disney movies. It's cheaper in the long run, and Moonscape Face doesn't get any cash off of the transaction.

  • ||

    The problem with porn is that it's so fucking boring (no pun intended, I assure you). You never put in a porno, settle down on the couch, and then see a cute girl on screen and think to yourself, "Damn, what would I have to do to see her naked?" She will be in a moment. Yawn. And the show is never as good as you hope. The girl might have a great body, but usually the bad acting or the bad lighting or the INCREDIBLY bad music is so distracting that I personally just can't get into it. My current gf likes to rent pornos and she loves it if I'll come over and watch them with her. I think she gets into it pretty well. Maybe I'm just defective. I had roommates in college who would get a 24-pack of Milwaukee's Best and 5 or 6 pornos around 9 in the morning. They'd break for more beer half way through. Then they'd stumble over to the Wherehouse and get 5 or 6 more videos (and more of that nasty "beer") in the evening. Somehow they never seemed to be getting laid by actual girls...

  • ||

    Ass Blasters XII was a subpar effort, in no way comparable to Ass Blasters XI, although the franchise did redeem itself with Ass Blasters XIII.

    I stole that joke from somewhere. Anyway, at least when I was in college, the purpose of the video store was not so much to rent videos but to get mood altering substances of ambiguous legality: nitrous oxide, ephidrine, pipes, various herbal things which made doubtful claims, etc.

  • ||

    I really believe most people haven't gone in a good video store. They're out there and if you love movies more than the people who complain that RUMOR HAS IT isn't in (I don't work in a good video store right now), it's like obscenity, you'll know it when you see it.

    I worked in some great video stores, where we buried the competition because we actually cared about movies and never dumped our catalog. People would drive miles to rent SYBIL (at the time, very OOP) or CHRISTMAS VACATION (especially when Blockbuster was dumping all catalog),for example. And be happy as shit. And come back just because they could find what they want. Walking around a good video store is the perfect cross between an excellent museum and a kick-ass flea market.

    Specialized is how some people viewed these stores I worked at when they wandered in, mainly because they didn't look like Blockbuster or Hollywood and that's all they're used to. We carried the new releases but we didn't have 600 in stock so that made us specialized to them as well.

    And contrary to the snobby video clerk stereotype, most customers come in with that chip on their shoulder. The snobby video clerk, they're out there, I know, but I've had more than one customer judge me as snobby because we had a Jon Jost section or some other director they'd never heard of. Me, the guy who had to fight tooth and nail with my boss to get THE CAR when Anchor Bay released it years ago. It's against my nature to be snobby.

    When I told customers the kinds of movies I like they'd get all snobby and call them "cheesy" and "B-movies". If Tom Cruise or Will Smith ain't in it, it's a B-movie. Or if it didn't say Miramax, they were convinced they weren't watching a worthy foreign or independent film. I just let them run their mouths. They've got to live with watching SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, not me.

    With DVD, we've taken a lot for granted. All kinds of movies have come out. Some before never released on VHS. Cheap bastards, too.

    A lot of these DVD releases have already gone out of print which means that good video stores in urban or extremely rural areas will live if they've have bought themselves a diverse selection of titles and not dumped them.

    "Where your Sundance films?"

  • Jennifer||

    Many thanks for the insights, guys.

    I suppose my comment "women aren't into porn" isn't as true as all that. Just me, I suppose. When I think "porn" I think first of this video some (girl) friends and I tried to watch when I was about eighteen--we were expecting to see some sexy sultry thing, and the first image that greeted our eyes was an extreme close-up of genitalia in action. It was the polar opposite of sexy; the sort of thing I'd watch if I had to take a vow of celibacy and wanted to feel not-bad about it. After a couple minutes of this sort of thing we all agreed we had no interest.

    In college there was porn in some bars where I worked but that was just background static and I paid little attention.

    My third and final experience with porn was the one where I learned Fate does not want me to watch dirty movies. Jeff and I had this tempestuous on-again off-again relationship for many years before we moved in together, and during one of our "I'll never speak to you again" periods I dated this guy who suggested we try watching a porn movie together.

    "Okay," I said. So he puts in a tape, and the first thing I see is the standard-issue porn blonde walking down a beach. Then a guy with long dark hair walks up to her, and at first you could only see his back, and then he turned around and HOLY SHIT THAT LOOKS LIKE JEFF.

    Or at least, the way I figured Jeff would have looked about six years earlier. Hair an inch or two longer, body a little more tanned and toned, but otherwise--the same.

    So my jaw's hanging open, and I'm staring at the screen with extreme intensity, and my date is interpreting this as lustfulness when what I was actually thinking was "I will kill him I will kill him I will so fucking kill him holy shit I will kill him."

    After about four minutes of this the woman finally moved out of camera range so that I could get a good look at the guy's equipment, and that's when I knew it wasn't Jeff after all. But by then I'd lost all interest in sex.

    (When Jeff and I got back together that was of course one of the first stories I told him, over dinner. When I got to the denouement he dropped his fork and then gave me a look.)

  • Ship Erect||

    Kim's clerks definitely do not have the art film know-how that their enormous libraries would seem to indicate, but all the way across the country in L.A., people at Vidiots and Rocket did. I find it odd that workers at all three stores can look up a film on their computer by actor and director but none had internet access that would let them connect to the IMDb, which is far more useful.

  • ||

    Jennifer, the porn story was priceless. I've never understood it, either. I don't think the gene is Y-chromosome related so much as that there are some people who get turned on and others, like me, who just get bored. I've only seen one porn flick, in college, and the thing I most regret about it was that I was stone-cold sober the whole time. A roommate's best friend from high school insisted that the three of us go to the porn theater across the street from the University of Texas main campus. (It's now a CVS pharmacy.) All I remember, besides thinking "I paid twice the admission for a REAL movie for this crap?!!?" was that someone got arrested while we were there. I fell asleep, which was no mean feat in that filthy place. Roommate, however, really, er, um, wee -- llllll, got involved. Very much involved. Disturbing-to-my-small-town mind involved. Roommate and I just sort of ignored the thing.

    My other porn theater experience didn't even involve going inside. My boyfriend and I were extras in a friend's film school graduate project, which had to be filmed in front of one of the other X theaters in Austin, because it was the only early - 50's theater that would let us film out in front all afternoon. No one would even buy a Coke from the concessions. I walked down the block to a Dairy Queen for drinks, only to be accosted by a hooker, angry at me for horning in on her territory. (I was dressed in a full skirt, peter pan collar blouse, and pony tail, a la Sandra Dee. I would only have attracted seriously weird customers.)

    I do wonder, however, whether women read more text porn than men do. I've read some bodice-rippers that contained scenes much hotter than anything in the straightforward porn department. It amuses me that books designed for suburban church ladies have more seriously hot sex than most books sold at the icky bookstores.

  • Czar||

    "For my money, obsolete media and institutions can be pretty clearly sorted into those that had some charm (vinyl records, manual typewriters, dial phones, 35-mm cameras) and those that had no charm (video and audio cassettes, 110 cameras, non-cordless bush-button phones, any personal computer more than three years old)."

    Keep in mind your own biases based on age, though. I'm 25, so I look fondly back on VHS, my old 286 computer, my first combination tape recorder/radio, etc. What you see as having charm and what you see as stupid is largely based on what you grew up with.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Keep in mind your own biases based on age, though. I'm 25, so I look fondly back on VHS, my old 286 computer, my first combination tape recorder/radio, etc.

    Audio cassettes and 110 cameras have been around my whole life and I never grew attached to them. The pleasure of obsolete tech is in the tactility of it.

  • Jennifer||

    I do wonder, however, whether women read more text porn than men do. I've read some bodice-rippers that contained scenes much hotter than anything in the straightforward porn department. It amuses me that books designed for suburban church ladies have more seriously hot sex than most books sold at the icky bookstores.

    The stuff's definitely text porn. Check out these submission guidelines for one romance publishing house (text below):

    I'd love to see darker historical romance with a lot of "meat" to the plot . . . Highland warriors, pirates, highwaymen, spies, clan wars, Vikings, Tudor, Celtic, American Indian, revolutionary period--the list goes on and on, and the possibilities are endless. . .

    . . . keep in mind that your audience is mostly women, 25 years old and up. They want the men in these books to be different than what they see every day in their lives: romantic, cultured, strong, capable, take charge, witty. NO nerds or wimps. If they wanted that, there are plenty of NY books to satisfy that need. Heroes shouldn't demean the heroine or humiliate her and vice versa. Strong heroines are very good. Bitches are not. Learn to recognize the difference between spunky/sassy, and bitchy. . .

    . . .Explicit language is perfectly acceptable as long as it not overused and is appropriate for what you've established with your characters. A medieval lady would never say "Eat my p*ssy, my lord"

    http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/submissionguidelines.htm

  • ||

    I do wonder, however, whether women read more text porn than men do.

    At the risk of linking to a highly nsfw quasi-porn site, there is:

    www.cliterati.co.uk

    with the sub-title of "because women like sex too"

    Not a dirty picture on the site, just explicit stories, apparently geared for women.

  • ||

    Back when I was an undergrad, we used to have coed porn-viewing nights. The girls got really into and enjoyed it. Though the vast majority of the time was spent giving the movies the MST 3K treatment to the movies, making fun of the guys with a pillow on their lap and rating the money shot (based on volume, creativity, location and accuracy).

  • ||

    I hate pornography! It undermines a woman's place in society! Why, it gets me so angry that I want to, I want to.....why I want to SHAKE MY FIST!!!! Ggggggrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

  • ||

    Jennifer,
    I had a similar reaction to porn when I first saw it. I thought it was about as exciting as watching piston engines moving up and down (hey, maybe that could be a porno....starts in a garage, girl comes in to see the mechanic, they start to get it on, camera pans back and forth between graphic genitalia action and piston engine movement on one of the cars....:).

    After seeing a few of these I didn't see any for years thinking all pornography was the same. Then when I went to Japan I started dating a Japanese girl who one day said, "hey, Timu, why don't you bring some AV by tomorrow night?" "Ha ha," I laughed. When I failed to bring any porn to her apartment the next day she was really upset. "I thought I told you to bring some AV. I've been looking forward to it all day." But I don't think she was necessarily typical (my sample size is small however). But I actually got into some of the Japanese porn. Not the bondage stuff or abuse (seeing someone act like they are getting hurt is not a turn on to me) stuff but the ordinary office lady meets repressed co-worker stuff. I think the reason I got into it was for the same reason I didn't like the first porn I saw in the States. In Japan, at the time, they showed everything but the genitals, which to me, leaving something to the imagination actually enhanced the effect. But I might be strange in that way.

    As for as how much of one video, for me it's like having sex with someone you don't know too well, where the attraction is almost all physical. With no emotional content, novelty becomes more important.

  • ||

    In addition to the too graphic nature of most porn, I think an additional problem is just how poorly made the films are, how bad the acting is, and how stupid and trashy everyone seems

  • ||

    Several years ago I was watching TV with my girlfriend, and out of the blue she says "I'm bored. Why don't you go pick up a porn and we'll watch it together?"

    I felt like an eight-year-old at Christmas morning.

    And the first time in my life, I was PROUD to be in a seedy video store. I made eye contact. I stood in front of the security camera and made the "rock" hand gesture. And I told the clerk my girlfriend was going to make me dinner after we watched the damned thing.

    Good Times.
    Any time you meet a payment.
    Good Times.
    Any time you need a friend.
    Good Times.
    Any time you're out from under.

    Not getting hastled, not getting hustled.
    Keepin' your head above water,
    Making a wave when you can.

  • ||

    I think an additional problem is just how poorly made the films are, how bad the acting is, and how stupid and trashy everyone seems

    Yeah.....there's no character development or anything. Where's the three act structure? Where's the sub plot? And haven't these actors heard of Strasberg?

    Personally, my cinema tastes begin and end with Goddard. There's such an illusive quality to his work......

  • ||

    (I was dressed in a full skirt, peter pan collar blouse, and pony tail, a la Sandra Dee. I would only have attracted seriously weird customers.)

    I resent that!

  • ||

  • Jennifer||

    In Japan, at the time, they showed everything but the genitals, which to me, leaving something to the imagination actually enhanced the effect. But I might be strange in that way.

    That sort of thing I could actually see myself get into, only perhaps not with Japanese guys. But I've pretty much accepted fate's dictum that I avoid such things.

    It's not like I need help generating dirty thoughts, anyway.

  • ||

    It's not like I need help generating dirty thoughts, anyway.

    Random fact:

    Did you know that on a ten-hour long-haul flight, an average, healthy male will produce 14 totally separate and totally unique erections.

    Consider yourself enlightened.

  • ||

    Jennifer may have hit the nail on the head noting that women "... want the men in these books to be different than what they see every day in their lives...". I suspect that that's why some (many?) men like porn. They want women different than the one(s) they encounter in everyday life: the way that they dress, the way that they undress, the acts that they'll perform, the places that they'll perform them, etc. Maybe the guys who aren't into porn feel that they're already getting what they want in sex/relationships and don't feel the need for that type of fantasy. And that isn't an indictment on the their less-than-willing/curious parnters. Perhaps they are satisfied in many or most other aspects of their relationship.

    Billy Crystal (I think) once said, "Women need a reason to have sex. Men only need a place." That may have something to do with the perceived gender-inequity in porn appreciation. Although, in reading some of the comments here, maybe that isnt as generally true as I had thought.

  • R C Dean||

    I was dressed in a full skirt, peter pan collar blouse, and pony tail, a la Sandra Dee.

    Sounds smokin' hot to me.

  • Jennifer||

    Jennifer may have hit the nail on the head noting that women

    That wasn't me; that was a cut-and-paste from a romance publisher's submission guidelines. I actually tried writing one once, but I could never get more than a paragraph or two done before the whole thing devolved into self-parody.

  • Jennifer||

    Jennifer may have hit the nail on the head noting that women

    That wasn't me; that was a cut-and-paste from a romance publisher's submission guidelines. I actually tried writing one once, but I could never get more than a paragraph or two done before the whole thing devolved into self-parody.

  • ||

    OK, everyone -- call out your favorite porno film title. My personal favorite: Cum-Fart Cocktails II ... you really don't want to see it.

  • Peter K.||

    I knew the 2 Huizenga daughters in high school. Hawt and charming!

  • Peter K.||

    I knew the 2 Huizenga daughters in high school. Hawt and charming!

  • dhex||

    "NO nerds or wimps."

    quick! someone bust out some ladder theory STAT!

    literary porn is pretty popular with teh ladies, according to my small anecdotal pool. my wife really dug some of anne rice's "beauty" series, while i think the stuff is kinda insanely pointless. (we both agree the story of o is really boring, however)

    i think vice mag nailed it a few years back with a "do" of some pretty guy with a ridiculously well-groomed japanese guy with an absurdly well-coiffed pompadour and the caption read something like "add some unicorns and this is basically what girls think about when masturbating"

  • ||

    My local video store (Mondo Video-A-Go-Go by LACC) does a good job of hanging on by its fingernails because it's also a "social club". So I get to hang out and drink with the clerks and watch films with them. Caterpillar's 1972 safety film, "Shake Hands With Danger"? Yeah, seen it. I can sing the theme song.

    $20 for a lifetime membership and $1.50 rentals on weekdays is good times. They do well over half their business through porn rentals, and have lots of "classic" stuff from the 70's and 80's. Not that I would know...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement