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November 02, 2015

Porn For The Blind? It Ain't That New

CYBERSPACE—Over the weekend, ultra-conservative "news" site Breitbart.com published a story titled "World’s First Pornography For The Blind," in which poster Liam Deacon claims that, "An edgy artist from the Nordic nation has created an X-rated brail [sic] book for the visually impaired, featuring a 'diverse' range of people engaged in gay, straight and lesbian sex. The book—a world first—includes a woman wearing a strap-on, gay sex, an orgy and even bondage." Of course, being Breitbart, they got it wrong: "pornography for the blind" has been around for decades in one form or another—beginning, of course, with Playboy, which since 1970 has published a Braille edition of its magazine, without the ads and, sadly, minus Braille versions of the photos—and all funded by the Library of Congress. Oh, rest assured, when Congress caught wind of it, they tried to shut down the publication, passing legislation, sponsored by Rep. Chalmers P. Wylie (R-OH) in late 1985 which would withhold $103,000 from the Library's budget—the exact amount needed to print 1,000 copies of Playboy Braille Edition, though without Congress specifying that that's the reason the amount was withheld. But the blind, not being stupid, figured it out pretty quickly, and an amalgamation of plaintiffs, including the American Council of the Blind, the Blinded Veterans Association, the American Library Association and even Playboy Enterprises Inc. itself, sued Congress to restore the funds, and on August 29, 1986, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan restored the funding, which has continued to this day. But Nina Linde, whom Deacon referenced, who originally created the volume Occasionally Blind in 2010 but first donated a copy to the National Library of Sweden only recently, may not even be the first person to create Braille porn images. That honor may more properly be awarded to Canadian artist Lisa Murphy, who in April of 2010 created Tactile Minds, a magazine which included among its 17 raised images "a naked woman in a 'disco pose,' a woman with 'perfect breasts' and a 'male love robot'." One slight problem: The magazine cost £150 (US$259 in today's dollars). Said Murphy at the time, "There are no books of tactile pictures of nudes for adults. We're breaking new ground." And finally, there's the actual organization Porn For the Blind, a non-profit which provides "audio descriptions of sample movie clips from adult web sites." Among the clips are descriptions of scenes from BangBus, Pornhub and many other sites, with some clips having recognizable titles such as MILF Soup, Eighth Street Latinas, Big Sausage Pizza and more. Sadly, the clips are mere descriptions of the on-screen action ... but the site is apparently looking for more contributors, as noted on their home page. One problem with Porn For the Blind: It's incredibly boring. Their format, outlined here, appears to allow for none of the arousal that adult content is meant to stimulate, so this author sent the following email to the company: "Hi, folks. My name is Mark Kernes and I'm an editor at Adult Video News, the main trade magazine for the adult industry. I've listened to a couple of the clips available on your site, and I must say, I think you're missing a bet by not enlisting actual adult performers to describe the clips for your audience. I'm unclear what your audience gets from the clips as they presently exist, but I believe having adult actresses read descriptions of their own or others' scenes would add a level of excitement to your service that does not seem to exist presently. Please let me know if you think this would be a good idea for your site." We'll see if they respond.

 
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