2004-12-07 10:55 p.m.

Reading It For The Articles

I came this close to buying Hustler tonight.

I caught myself actually reaching for it before I stopped. I didn't want to have to explain to the kindly, middle-aged Iranian lady behind the counter why I was going to get it. It's not that a woman buying porn really requires explanation, per se -- after all, this was in San Francisco -- it's more that I'd feel stupid and something equally stupid would come flying unbidden out of my mouth. In these situations, in this area, it's useful to have your political positions all lined up and ready for the defending and I didn't, other than that the women in these magazines look so glossy and waxy that I'd expect that any friction would sound like someone rubbing a beach ball. And even then I'd risk offending the kindly magazine/porn peddler because maybe she's into that kind of thing. So the magazine stayed on the (har) rack.

It was the headlines, not the headlights, that had caught my eye. The first one was "The Feminist Threat: Susie Bright & Amy Alkon." Why Hustler considers Susie Bright, of all people, a threat I'm not sure. And I had no clue who Amy Alkon was, until, through the wonders of Google, I found out that she's a fairly Cathyesque advice columnist. Her words of wisdom include, "Expecting the average man to be as emotionally articulate as a woman makes about as much sense as expecting your 4-year-old to get work as a tax accountant, or your goldfish to play fetch." She doesn't sound like much of a "feminist threat" to me, though as far as I'm concerned, Larry Flynt should feel free to hate on her all he likes.

But the headline on this issue of Hustler that really grabbed me was "Mills College - Inside the School of HATE." Picture "HATE" in big, red, drippy letters. Awesome! As soon as I saw TheBoy, I told him he had to buy this for me because I was too chicken to do so myself, even though I really was going to read it for the articles.

It turns out that the article probably isn't nearly as juicy as I'd hoped. TheBoy told me that a few months back Hustler ran an article, written by a male ex-grad student of the women-mostly college, about a fetish party held there. The students felt that they'd been -- gasp -- misrepresented by the porn mag, as if no one could have seen that one coming in an article about a women's college that didn't include a pictorial. For his part, the author told the local weekly that homophobic language had been added by the editors and that his version was strictly PC, but the damage was already done. The new article is probably just there to fan the flames of the current controversy rather than create a whole new melodrama about the feminist conspiracy against porn, and that's just no fun at all.

Larry, call me when you get a real controversy going against someone who won't rise to your bait so predictably. I'll even bring popcorn.

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