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An Open Letter to Adult Video News

[NOTE 26 Apr 00 -- This article is from early 1996. Some URLs have been updated and names changed to protect the no longer innocent ;-) ]

So, it's time for a ramble... or is it a rant? Only those who survive to the end will ever know... ;-)

AVN in their CD-ROM supplement published an article by Tony Lovett (who must lurk here) and Mark Kernes (who doesn't lurk here). It seems that Tony had more to do with it than Mark did, because I can't imagine who has ever really spent any kind of time here writing the hatchet job that they did. Let's start at the beginning: (I wouldlike to thank Calera WordScan 4.0 for making this all possible)

> Net of Fools or Caught in the Web
> by Tony Lovett and Mark Kernes

First, the title should have been a clue. I guess in some respects we can be considered fools, but I feel it is a little like the pot calling the kettle black... but they can fall back on "We get paid" and I can't. Well, I can, but to say that I get paid in nice letters that boost my ego just doesn't sound capitalist enough, I guess. But there's a lot of ground to cover, so let's move on...

> Long, long ago, before the days of hypertext and QuickTime(tm), when
> newsgroups ruled the Net, the only real forum that focused on porno
> movies was to be found at "alt.sex.movies." And it still can be. But in
> those golden years, "asm" (as "alt.sex.movies" is affectionately known)
> wasn't the overcrowded and occasionally banal forum it has now become,

Unfortunately, this is largely (but NOT ENTIRELY) true... more on this later...

> but instead, if you are to believe the musings of disgruntled Net
> old-timers, it was an idyllic roundtable of geniuses, savants, and at
> the very least, high scorers on the SATs, all of whom had salient and
> educated opinions.

Well, before the explosion of commerical providers, the Net was populated by college students and scientists -- groups which generally have high scores on their SATs, and some of which could be called genuises or savants.

Now, USENET sometimes had those qualities, and sometimes it had a low signal-to-noise ratio.

What really makes a.s.m. suck lately is the overabudance of advertising. Plain and simple.

> But those days are gone forever, and probably for the better. (Too many
> eggheads in one place is never a good thing. It inevitably leads to
> war, bad government, and Sunday morning talk shows).

This is an inane point. I would much rather smart people run things than idiots.

Politicians are usually smart people who get too caught up in their own hype. Smart people know that war is futile and Sunday morning talk shows -- just sleep through like most people. An analog kill file if you will.

> Fortunately, the issue is moot, now that the barbarians (the new wave of
> common computer users like me - and worse) have crashed asm's gates, and
> there's no point in crying over spilt milk.

True. An influx of people is usually a good thing for any closed society. However, much like we as a country and trying to deal with the waves of illegal immigrants, so are the denizens of alt.sex.movies trying to deal with hordes of newbies.

> Besides, we were all
> neophytes at one time or another, which is something some of the
> snobbier net vets should keep in mind before they start a-flamin'
> newcomers.

Newcomers use the same argument, and oldbies do too. Yes, we were all all new once. Most us read the FAQ for the group before we posted. If you take the time to read the FAQ for any group (not just this one, though I think -- biased tho I may be -- that we have a pretty decent FAQ) you are far better off than someone who doesn't.

Look at some of the comp.* groups that have programming FAQs. If you ask a programming FAQ that is either covered in the manuals or in their FAQ, you are told in no uncertain terms to RTFM -- read the fucking manual.

It's only polite.

FAQs have been around as long as USENET has.

Allow me to quote the FAQ of FAQs as to why they started:

> In 1982, while acting as an official NASA presence on the gatewayed
> ARPAnet mailing list SPACE[-Digest]/net.space news groups, [Eugene
> Miya] tired of seeing "dumb answers" to recurring questions. The
> situation as Eugene saw it was that the answers to these questions were
> are often poorly thought out, inconsistent, and uninformed.
> Furthermore, the posters of the questions often weren't trying to find
> the answers from books, magazines, or other references. They also
> weren't paying attention to previous answers to these same questions.
> Rather, they were just taking the easy way out - email the question and
> wait for the answer.

> Eugene therefore decided to start a series of monthly posts in 1983 to
> rectify this sorry state of affairs. The mechanism of periodic postings
> was also a way to provide information to those who didn't have access to
> the archives.

For the rest of this story, check out the FAQ of FAQs found on the Web at: http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/text/faq/usenet/faqs/about-faqs/faq.html. This document is also available from rtfm.mit.edu

> As my mother always says, "Never argue with an idiot. > That's what the Kill File is there for."

So you and your mother didn't talk much? (Sorry, couldn't resist a little ad hominem attack...)

A kill file is not an effective way to manage new people. It is an effective may to manage inane threads and consistently poor posters, but a lousy way to handle newbies. Well talk more about kill files later.

> Then again, since web sites are
> designed, edited, and allegedly proofed before they are presented by the
> individual or company, they spare you the painful experience of having
> to wade through the insurmountable wealth of detritus, often badly
> misspelled, that awaits you in asm.

It is not hard to wade through the "detritus" once one learns their way around a newsreader and the group.

Unfortunately, none of the major online services that I have dealt with (AOL and CompuServe) offer decent newsreaders and to use nn through Delphi is a not only a chore, but the killfile doesn't work.

Successful navigation of a newsgroup is essential to one's enjoyment of the group. In all honesty, I can't see how someone can read Usenet with AOL's newsreader. AOL has a great service, my wife loves it, and there are parts of it I find useful, but as an Internet provder, they are lacking. Once the "masses" can use their own newsreaders I think we'll see a lot more people enjoying the net...

> Likewise, alt.sex.movies is fraught with enough tit-for-tat, na-na-
> nana-na feuds that will jettison you back to your immature, junior- high
> years. Unlike the flames from the anti-porn crowd, however, these
> topics can actually be somewhat amusing - if you enjoy reading comments
> from alleged adults who possess the emotional make-up of a
> kindergartner.

You forget, on the net no one knows you're a dog.

> From the self-possessed ramblings of a certain ex-porn
> star who shall remain nameless [Ed.'s note: Mr. Lovett's opinions are
> entirely his own], ...

Brandy bashing is nothing new and hardly creative. Like her, hate her, keep your opinions to yourself, we've already heard them... and if you feel the need to bother us with them, at least make them creative.

> ...to the plethora of Hatfield/McCoy arguments over
> sundry porn minutae, ...

I don't recall any of these... and what exactly is "porn minutae?" Is that like the "Tales from the Crack" column.. no, I guess that's just gossip.

...and I guess this is quite different than any of the sports groups debating who had the better pitching record, or if Thurman Munson would be in the Hall of Fame if he were still alive...

> ... foolish forums of this ilk will provide you with
> more laughs than an evening spent with C-SPAN, as well as give you new
> insight into the nature of psychosis, neurosis, and character disorder.

If you off-the-bat consider yourself above the participants in any given forum, you will not enjoy the forum.

I can look at AVN and say "bunch of sorry ass motherfuckers who couldn't write their way out of a paper bag" but I would guarantee that my enjoyment of the magazine would be much lessened than if I said "I never read this magazine, let me give these guys a shot..."

I must say though, your 5 A review of Bobbit:Uncut had me laughing harder than any evening I ever spent with C-SPAN.

I will take the last adjectives as nothing more than unsupported mean-spirited ad hominem attack.

> "What Porn Star Would You Like To Have Sex With?" is an asm topic that
> has generated more than its share of telling responses.

.. and its one that hit my killfile the first day it showed up. However, if you're languishing without a killfile, you have to suffer through the "detritus" of this thread day in/day-out.

In March of 95, I said these threads were contibuting to the demise of the group:

> 3) Personal Preferences: In a nutshell, WHO THE HELL CARES? Why does
> anyone care who the top 6 cocksuckers are? Let's face it, no one is
> coming up with novel suggestions. Little Oral Annie. Oooh. Racquel
> Darrian. Really? Tori Welles... Traci Lords... THAT'S ABOUT EVERY
> PORN STAR EVER. Are we going to publish these results in a book? Why
> are we collecting this data? So it can be just one more post in a sea
> of uselessness? I don't care who your favorite porn star is, and let's
> face it, no one else does. Why should we? Do we really need validation
> that other people find Savannah hot? Why should it matter? Are we that
> disconnected? Are we that repressed? Or is everyone 15 years old and
> they just don't realize that these topics can be discussed maturely...

> And I don't care which celebrities you want to fuck. yeah, who DOESN'T
> want to fuck Heather Locklear? I got news for you -- she'd never live
> up to the jerk-off fantasies.

> And I don't want to buy anything! Why can't everyone be like Blowfish?
> How long did it take ESP@intac to make my killfile once I got one?
> Immeasurable. They were my first.

So, killfiles help make your experiences better. But only if you use them correctly. You think the people that post to the "who'd ya wanna fuck" threads are idiots? Then kill the thread and be done with it. But don't judge the group on the basis of a single lame thread.

> Check it out
> and see who your peers are getting wood over these days. The answers
> range from ancient history (Sharon Mitchell, who's still around and
> still fucking),

So I suppose she's not that ancient, she's just been in the business a long time. We should all look so good at her age.

> On an off beat note, I
> particularly admire the individual who had the balls to admit Sally Layd
> was his first choice for a fuck. Such honesty is refreshing.

Like this article...

> Unfortunately, this topic - as is
> most of asm - is dominated by the male voice. The sole female who threw
> in her two cents let us know that she wouldn't throw Racquel Darrian,
> Hyapatia Lee, Jon Dough, or Derrick Lane out of bed for eating crackers.
> That's one crumb-ridden bed.

Unfortunately, a.s.m. has not had a wealth of women posters. There was one gal, Sarah, who posted quite a bit, and now another, Amy, seems to be posting a bit iirregularly, but I can see that there is not much for them to reply to.

Much like Tim's recent plea for gay posters to delurk. I see it as a big catch-22. Without gay posters there are no gay threads, and with no gay threads, no gay posters. I can only take my hat off to Tim for trying... I hope he finds some posters out there in the ether...

> A related topic, and one with more potential for laughs, is "What Porn
> Stars Would You Poke Only If You Were Drunk?"

. and it was meant for laughs when it was started, but people seemed to have missed the humor and took it for real.

> One old-timer showed his hand by voting
> in the paleolithic likes of Penny Morgan as his least likely fuck (you
> know her better as Rachel Ryan),

Actually, I know her as Serena, Penny Morgan and Rachel Ryan. Why are you talking to me like I am an idiot? Do you have contempt for me?

I'm only 26, and I remember Rachel/Penny/Serena's movies.. does 26 make me an old timer?

> while another gracious fellow gave the
> following analysis of Kitty Foxx: "You would need two bottles of Jack
> Daniels, half a gram of coke, and two hits of PCP before you could even
> think about fucken [sic] that old bitch." Sounds like a hot date to me.

Making fun of others people's jokes is hardly funny, and makes you look foolish.

Almost any post taken out of context is simple to make fun of and often inane.

> The lone female in the group presented her predictable choice of the man
> she wouldn't fuck if he were last one on earth. Three guesses as to
> this Hedgehog's name. But the best answer of all, in my opinion, was
> the following: "None. My cock don't work when- I'm drunk." Again,
> there's always at least one honest one in the bunch.

.. so we can assume you didn't post it?

> Those of you less enamored with such idle chatter will also find some
> newsworthy topics in the group. The Max Hardcore/Zane split is
> well-documented here, as are discussions on racism in the movies, the
> philosophical meaning of wet shots, and perhaps most importantly, why
> women wear scarves in all those Swedish Erotica loops. Yes, I'm
> serious.

Now, here you go again... you mix serious issues with frivolous ones and cheapen them all in the bargain.

The racism threads were an important part of the group and some were quite enlighteneing to read. Sure, others were drek, but that's how it is.

The scarves issue was lighhearted, but it was worthy of a mention... I notce you didn't come forward with any answers. Why did they all wear scarves?

> Perhaps the most important facet of the newsgroup is the ability for any
> individual to create a topic and invite comment - not a forte of the
> Web. So if you're in the mood for interaction with other bipeds as
> opposed to html links, the alt.sex.movies newsgroup will provide you
> with just the right size soap box to stand on and shout your opinion to
> an eagerly awaiting world.

Just don't expect an answer... and READ THE FAQ BEFORE POSTING.

> And if you like alt.sex.movies, you're sure to enjoy the asm Web page
> (http://www.xmission.com/~legalize/asm/asm.html),

This site is lame.

Rich hasn't updated in months and there's hardly a shred of his own work on it. He converted some things to HTML which any decent monkey could do. He claimed most of The Biokeeper's bios as his own, then never updated them. He has links to many things he did not create. If Rich's site is good for anything, it is a good library that went out of date about 5 months ago... and when he did, he asked people to send him 5 bucks because he was "spending money on the site." Well, guess what, I am and Heretic is and everyone else is too.. and we don't ask for a nickel.

For up to date information, "Heretic" offers the "ass-kickingest" a.s.m. site around. His is the one I call "the official a.s.m. homepage"

Heretic offers (with help from the Good Doctor, Peter van Aarle) to the net community a searchable database of performers, directors and titles from 1989 to present.

Heretic wrote the database code himself and Peter compiled the data. He archives works from other people who wish to remain anonymous. He keeps a library of newsworthy posts. He provides more service to the net community for FREE than most people try and charge for.

(Heretic's code is gone, but th data can now be found at http://www.iafd.com)

> which features answers to FAQs (frequently asked questions),

Actually, he offers a link to my FAQ, a 120 page document explaining the ins and outs of alt.sex.movies and USENET in general.

> star biographies and filmographies,

Which he stole from The Biokeeper....

> somebody's list of best anal scenes, best b.j. scenes, etc.

The up to date lists can be found at Heretic's site...

Heretic's site, by the way, is http://home.eznet.net/~rwilhelm/asm (4/26/00 - It's gone now...)

I can only comment on the web site part of the article by questioning its omissions.

AVN failed to mention their own site. I am not sure why this is, but I can only imagine it is because they have not gotten their faster machine, and they're still running it on an old Mac... and they haven't updated it since they announced it in July or so...

Ron's site was omitted... because I don't know.

My site was omitted because... I don't know.

Peter van Aarle's site was omitted because... I don't know.

Oh wait a minute.. we're not commerical sites... does that have anything to do with anything? Who knows.

The other omission is anything good said about our group.

We offer the casual reader quite a bit: Ron's Database and Archive; Videosan's Database; the FAQ; the REVIEWS; knowledge and well meaning tone to most of us here.

I mean, Imperator's reviews; Jaguar Night's Playbooks; my archive; the a.s.m. archive' -- there's well over 500 reviews on-line and there for the taking, not to mention the others that are scattered across the Web. None of this was mentioned.

Instead we get childish sniping and a hatchet job. It's easy to be superior and write a hack job -- it is harder to write a decent article explaining to people who may be new to the net what we're all about.

I wish they just took the first part of the FAQ, plagarized it and let it go at that... at least it would have been informative.

I am so disappointed by all this. I just don't understand it. We do good things. We may have bashed AVN once or twice, but they defended themselves here. We don't have that advantage. I can't go to AFW and ask them to print my rebuttal... :-(

People complain we (especially me) get snippy with newbies. Maybe so, but it's only because I post the FAQ every two weeks, and I don't suffer fools gladly.

I spent months compiling and writing the FAQ, the least someone can do is take an hour and read the damned FAQ so they don't ask where the Marina Sirtis porno is.

I guess I am done.

I'm ticked off, and will somehow mold this into a cohesive letter and mail to AVN in hopes of getting my rebuttal published. However, I fear that doing so will allow them to have the last word with their italics at the end of my letter... and I am not sure I need to open myself up to that.

So, until then, I remain...


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