Assume The Position
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on April 2, 2015
Perversion for Profit is a 1965 propaganda film financed by Charles Keating and narrated by news reporter George Putnam. A vehement diatribe against pornography, the film argues that sexually explicit materials corrupt young viewers and readers, leading to acts of violence and “perverted” attitudes regarding sex—including inclination toward homosexuality. Although Perversion for Profit is quite serious in its suggestion that pornography could erode the integrity of American culture, Peter L. Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in a 2003 review that it was “shrill and sometimes comical”.
Today, Perversion for Profit is in the public domain, and due largely to its unintentional humor value, it has become popular on the Prelinger Archives website and on YouTube. As Peter L. Stein observes in an article for the San Francisco Chronicle, however, the film also has considerable historical significance, serving as a sort of time capsule of pornography from the era as well as an example of historical concerns regarding media influence:
…as the parade of girlie magazine covers, men’s physique pictorials and campy S&M leaflets continues, the film betrays a kind of prurience the filmmakers could hardly have intended. What results is a remarkable visual record of midcentury underground literature and sexual appetites, and a gloss on the values of the society that condemned them.
“Now, you might ask yourself ‘Why this sudden concern? Pornography and sex deviation have always been with mankind.’ This is true. But, now, consider another fact: never in the history of the world have the merchants of obscenity, the teachers of unnatural sex acts, had available to them the modern facilities for disseminating this filth. High-speed presses, rapid transportation, mass distribution: all have combined to put the vilest obscenity within reach of every man, woman, and child in the country.”—George Putnam, narrator.
“This same type of rot and decay caused sixteen of the nineteen major civilizations to vanish from the Earth. Magnificent Egypt, classical Greece, imperial Rome, all crumbled away not because of the strength of the aggressor, but because of moral decay from within. But we are in a unique position to cure our own ills: our Constitution was written by men who put their trust in God and founded a government based in His laws. These laws are on our side. We have a constitutional guarantee of protection against obscenity. And, in this day especially, we must seek to deliver ourselves from this twisting, torturing evil. We must save our nation from decay and deliver our children from the horrors of perversion. We must make our land, ‘the land of the free’, a safe home. Oh, God, deliver us, Americans, from evil.”—George Putnam, narrator (closing words).
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on June 9, 2014
The Dirk Diggler Story is a 1988 mockumentary short film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It follows the rise and fall of Dirk Diggler, a well-endowed male porn star. The character was modeled on American porn actor John Holmes. The film was later expanded into Anderson’s successful 1997 breakout film Boogie Nights.
Dirk Diggler (Michael Stein) was born as Steven Samuel Adams on April 15, 1961 outside of Saint Paul, Minnesota. His parents are a construction worker and a boutique shop owner who attend church every Sunday and believe in God. Looking for a career as a male model, Diggler drops out of school at age 16 and leaves home. Jack Horner (Robert Ridgely) discovers Diggler at a falafel stand. Diggler meets his friend, Reed Rothchild (Eddie Delcore), through Horner in 1979, while working on a film.
Horner slowly introduces Diggler to the business until Diggler became noticeable within the industry. Diggler becomes a prominent model and begins appearing in pornographic films. Diggler has critical and box office hits which leads him to stardom. The hits and publicity lead to fame and money, which lead Diggler to the world of drugs. With the amount of money Diggler is making he is able to support both his and Rothchild’s addictions. The drugs eventually cause a breakup between Diggler and Horner, since Diggler is having issues with his performance on set.
After the breakup Diggler tries to make a film himself, but it is never completed. He then attempts a music career, which is successful but leads him deeper into drugs because of the amount of money he is making. He then stars in a TV show, which is a failure both critically and commercially. Having failed and with no work, Diggler returns to the porn industry, taking roles in low-budget homosexual films to help support his habit. On July 17, 1981, during a film shoot, Diggler dies of a drug overdose.
The film ends with a quote from Diggler: “All I ever wanted was a cool ’78 ‘Vette and a house in the country.”
The film was Anderson’s first real production having experimented with what he called “standard fare”. Anderson conceived the film when he was 17 years old and a senior at Montclair College Preparatory School. Anderson called his friend Michael Stein, telling him to come over for a production meeting, and told Stein his idea: “John Holmes”. Stein loved the idea and was cast to play the role of Dirk Diggler; he selected his own wardrobe. Stein showed Anderson some video of his friend Eddie Dalcour, who was a professional body builder, which Anderson loved and cast him in the role of Reed Rothchild. Anderson’s father, Ernie Anderson, narrated the film and Robert Ridgely, a friend of Anderson’s father, played the role of Jack Horner
The film was shot in 1987 using a video camera and steadicam provided by Anderson’s father. Some scenes were shot at a motel. Anderson raised money for the film by cleaning cages in a pet store. Being influenced by This is Spinal Tap at the time, he decided to do a mockumentary and used the John Holmes documentary, Exhausted, as a model for the film, even taking some dialogue almost word-for-word. Anderson worked from a shot list and wanted the actors to be serious since the characters took their work seriously. Anderson edited the film using two VCRs. According to Anderson, the film drew admiring laughs when it was was shown at a University of Southern California film festival.
The Dirk Diggler Story was expanded into Anderson’s 1997 breakout film Boogie Nights with a number of scenes appearing almost verbatim in both films. Two actors had roles in both films; in Boogie Nights, Robert Ridgely played The Colonel, a pornography financier, and Michael Stein had a cameo appearance as a stereo store customer. The main differences between The Dirk Diggler Story and Boogie Nights are the mockumentary versus narratives styles in the former and latter films, respectively; Diggler’s stint in gay porn in the first film versus his prostitution in the second; and Diggler’s dying from an overdose in the first film versus his happy return to his former roles and lifestyle in the second.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on May 30, 2014
Phil Prince was a director of rather sleazy bondage and discipline films in the New York of the late 1970’s and early 80’s. As the editor of some of these films, Brian O’Hara became acquainted with Prince and gained his consent for a filmed interview. Outtakes from Phil’s films intercut with his ruminations on the porn world circa 1984.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on May 25, 2014