John McCain

Have You Ever Seen a Communist Read Porno, Mandrake?

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perversion.gif

Via Patri Friedman at Catallarchy comes a truly mind-blowing (sorry, mind "boggling"… there might be children reading) 1965 film which some wise soul has put online in full for posterity: Perversion for Profit. Narrated by "outstanding news reporter" George Putnam, P for P is an anti-smut jeremiad underwritten by the "Citizens for Decent Literature," an organization, incidentally, founded by Charles Keating, whose last name became a moniker for five senators investigated for influence-peddling in connection with the Lincoln Savings & Loan scandal. (This, presumably, is how Sen. John McCain learned firsthand about the corrupting influence of money in poltics.)

This is such a target-rich environment that it's hard to know where to begin. There's the fantastic assertion right out of the gate that "we know that once a person is perverted, it is almost impossible for that person to adjust to normal attitudes" (one can only hope). There's the priceless claim that smut "weakens our resistance to the onslaught of the communist masters of deceit." The writers advance the… telling… theory that looking at pictures of scantily-clad muscular men will inexorably awaken powerful homoerotic urges in straight guys. We learn that "this same type of rot and decay caused 16 of the 19 major civilizations to vanish from the earth." And there's the dubious legal theory that "we have a Constituional guarantee of protection against obscenity." Whatever consultants came up with the film's stripped-down notion of the First Amendment's application to erotic material clearly should have heeded Tom Lehrer's summary:

As the judge remarked the day that he acquitted my Aunt Hortense,
"To be smut
It must be ut-
Terly without redeeming social importance."

The best part, of course, is that the bulk of the film is devoted to parading across the screen example after example after example of the kind of terrible, terrible filth that even now is being perused by perverts at your corner newsstand. In most cases, tiny virtual pasties obscure the naughty bits (though now and then the filmmakers "forget")—as well as, intriguingly enough, the models' eyes. (Presumably, if you're sufficiently repressed that you need to absorb your quota of salacious stimulus in the guise of a sensational cautionary filmstrip—a genre explored in Reason by Joe Bob Briggs a few years back—even the objectifying gaze of a cheesecake pinup in a photograph might trigger a shame response.) The only surprising thing is that people were able to kid themselves about what they were doing when they walked into the theater. It's almost as transparent as if someone had rounded up all the most lurid stuff broadcast on television in the last few weeks and made it available in one place under the pretense of allowing bluenoses to express their outrage. You know, like the Parents Television Council did until recently—presumably Brent Bozell at long last developed an irony detector.

But it gets better, gentle reader, so very much better. It appears that at "92 years young," George Putnam is still kicking, and penning a regular column for crank clearinghouse NewsMax.com. These days his ire seems to be primarily reserved for flag burners, "the merchants of cannabis," and above all—week after week after week—for the brown menace teeming at our southern border. (A new tenth circle of hell seems to have been opened and reserved for my onetime political science prof and former Mexian foreign minister Jorge Castañda.) In a surprising number, Putnam finds some excuse to refer to one of his famous "old and dear friends," from Jack Webb and Milton Berle to Richard Nixon. Now and again, I should note, he's tossed off one I agreed with: He shows a veteran's chariness of enthusiasm for preemptive wars, and is surprisingly hostile to the idea of writing hetero-only marriage into the Constitution, despite having warned in the film of sexual "misfits" hoping to "entice" your sons and daughters into their perverted lifestyles. But even then, he writes in a tone that manages to effortlessly evoke the same earnest stentorian voice from the film—the voice of a man confident he need not bother with persuasion, because he only articulates the latent moral indignation of every decent American. (I want to believe he uses the same tone to chase neighborhood scalawags off his lawn.) The result is an almost hypnotic collection of unintentional camp. Go read, and feel the vigor return to your precious bodily fluids. [Cross-posted @ NftL]

Addendum: Once you've seen the original, check out the pro-porn propaganda remix, Come Join the Fun!

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  1. I have a question.

    How do you distinguish a major civilization from a minor one?

  2. How do you distinguish a major civilization from a minor one?

    Obviously, the major ones have more potent pornography.

  3. Movie can also be downloaded at much better quality at archive.org:

    http://www.archive.org/details/Perversi1965

  4. unintentional camp

    Are you sure it was unintentional? Wasn’t there at one point a mini-industry built around producing titilating or (relatively) graphic films thinly disguised as cautionary or educational, because, in that era, that was the only way to get that kind of material into theatres? I remember reading about that at one point, but am too lazy to look for references. Ah well.

  5. I’m sorry, Jesse, the correct answer to “How do you distinguish a major civilization from a minor one?” is “I know it when I see it.”

  6. I remember reading about that at one point, but am too lazy to look for references. Ah well.

    You’re obviously lazy and unmotivated because you’ve been reading pornography.

  7. When I was a young teen I had some of those indignant Christian books talking about how rock music was filled with horrible themes like sex and drugs and sex and rebellion and sex and Godlessness and sex, and to demonstrate this the book was illustrated with reproductions of album covers from obscure bands with incredibly risque cover art and detailed descriptons about why it’s bad to look at it.

    I tried to be indignant like a good little girl, honestly I did, but I’m sorry–some of the guys in those pictures were damn hot.

    That Christian moralizing “protect the children” book is why I knew what “bondage porn” was* when I was only twelve. Also the word “tumescent.”

    *It’s bad.

  8. Grummun-
    Click the link in the article about Joe Bob Briggs’ piece for us; that’s probably what you remember. In this case, I’ll bet on it being unintentional though.

  9. this same type of rot and decay caused 16 of the 19 major civilizations to vanish from the earth.

    I’m curious as to the methodology here; is he saying that 3 major civilizations disappeared for other reasons, or is he counting, say, Christendom, Islam, and China, which are major civilizations that haven’t yet vanished? Either way, how does he get even 16 major civilizations? Is he counting Alexander’s empire separately from Greece, and the Aztecs separate from the Mayas?

    Aw, screw it, I’ll just go masturbate.

  10. That picture is so begging for a Cthulhu parody.

  11. Oh, man. I remember the L.A. Channel 11 News with George Putnam. It was the Fox News of its day.

  12. The Crumsy Pirates – an Atlanta punk rock band – uses snippits from Mr. Putnam’s “Perversion for Profit” as the lead-in for our new video “Cowboy George”. We like to call this video a Presidential Pep Talk; and we’re probably the only band in the ATL who can boast a libertarian, a conservative, a moderate, and an anarchist all in one group. We don’t always agree on politics, but we are all generally pro-porn and skateboards and free speech and the Flying Spaghetti Monster – I mean, we’re PIRATES, ferFSM’s sake.

    Interested? Check it out – for the CHILDREN:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJbOotGXIRo

  13. That image Putnam’s standing next to looks to be an early drawing of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  14. merchants of cannabis…what about merchants of that abominable filth, what is it called, ahh yes, life extending pharmaceuticals. this guy should be dead already.

  15. When I was a young teen I had some of those indignant Christian books…

    Yep, like the only way to get to see anything was to go to the library and furtively leaf through the anatomy and health books.
    Wasn’t too good for any education on diverse practises though. Took me forever to learn that dark side of the human condition.

  16. Put a moustache on that NewsMax photo, and he looks like Rip Taylor. Imagine him narrating the film in Rip’s voice, and it’s even funnier.

    Maybe that’s why he’s against the gay ban.

  17. Talk about your Friday Fun-link. I feel like my morals have been corrupted.

  18. The only surprising thing is that people were able to kid themselves about what they were doing when they walked into the theater. It’s almost as transparent as if someone had rounded up all the most lurid stuff broadcast on television in the last few weeks and made it available in one place under the pretense of allowing bluenoses to express their outrage.

    People all over American do this just about every night at 10:00 pm when they watch their local news broadcast. Last night, I was flipping through the local news channels, and they were all reporting on the same study on teen sexuality. The broadcast that took the cake reported on the study under a graphic that read, “Condom Crisis”.

    Expressing outrage is to listening to someone talk about teen sexual activity as laughter is to listening to an off color joke. “Isn’t that awful? …Turn it up!”

    Oh we got trouble
    right here in River City…

  19. This is totally a tangent.
    I just read an article of his on newsmax.com about You Don’t SPEAK for Me, a Latino anti-ILLEGAL immigration group. The testimonial page includes this:

    My name is Carmen Morales. I am a Puerto Rican, but an American first. I came to the United States at the age of 3 with my grandparents.

    I wonder what country she was originally from.

  20. That Christian moralizing “protect the children” book is why I knew what “bondage porn” was* when I was only twelve. Also the word “tumescent.”

    That’s funny. I think I first learned what “cum” and “to cum” were from a Christian propaganda pamphlet.

  21. The vilest porn I ever saw was exhibited by a group called Students Organized Against Pornography (in 1992 or 1993, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio). They were feminist anti-porn crusaders rather than Christian ones, but their presentation was pretty much along the same lines as “Perversion for Profit.”

  22. smacky and Jennifer: I learned what a Steely Dan was from Dr. James Dobson

  23. biologist,

    I don’t think I want to know. Considering it’s James Dobson, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made it up.

  24. You can laugh at it now, but I imagine it was pretty effective in its day. We forget how much public speaking and mass communication change from generation to generation. Putnam’s audience was the Center: people in their thirties and early forties with children. This is an interesting historical artifact not because it preserves a curiosity of the conservative fringe, but because it was intended to influence the majority.

    I, personally, find the modern political speech grating. The endless references to “the children,” “America,” “family values,” all the speeches manipulative in exactly the same way, regardless of their agenda. This is a speaking style that will one day be mocked as thoroughly and mercilessly as we now sneer at such past touchstones as “the Communist menace” and “the American Way of Life.”

    Incidentally, in the third or fourth poster, “A Two Billion Dollar Industry!”, did anyone but me notice the fat fellow raking in the dough looks like a Jewish banker from Nazi Party propaganda?

  25. A Tom Lehrer reference, Awesome! Tom was one of the truly funny ones. Not like what passes for comedy today.

    Jennifer,
    What are you saying about bondage porn? That the Christian porn primer said it was bad, or that you have passed judgement on it personaly?

  26. I think I first learned what “cum” and “to cum” were from a Christian propaganda pamphlet.

    I think the first time I ever even saw the word “cum” was when my college printed it right on my diploma.

    But that was before the age of teh Internets, spam e-mail, and incredibly lame puns in come-ons for online pornography. Speaking of which, I didn’t mean for that last thing to be a pun.

  27. What are you saying about bondage porn? That the Christian porn primer said it was bad, or that you have passed judgement on it personaly?

    I’m saying that I knew quite a bit about it at an appallingly young age, and those sex-is-evil Christian books are why.

    Idiots. If you want to look at dirty pictures just look at the damn things, without making somebody else go through the trouble of writing descriptive monologues explaining why these are perfect examples of the sorts of pictures you shouldn’t look at, except of course you should look at them here (in a Christian context) so that you know what NOT to look at elsewhere.

    Biologist–

    I learned what “Steely Dan” meant from one of those rock-is-evil books, too. Also “10CC.”

  28. Jennifer: hey, me too! we must have read the same one.

    smacky, no he didn’t make it up. given that you have indicated that you prefer not to know, I decline to enlighten you. just continue to enjoy the Dan.

  29. Does anybody recognize the book he was reading from. I could swear I was assigned to read it in 7th grade. Of course, the book we read was ultimately about how gang life and living for “kicks” was a dead end.

  30. I sure somewhere out there in the ether, Lenny Bruce is laughing his ass off

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