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July 13, 2016

Op-Ed: Michael Weinstein, Your War Is Now Officially Petty

If I were Michael Weinstein, I’d be feeling kind of silly right now. Wait, let me modify that a scooch: If I were Michael Weinstein and I suddenly encountered an epiphanous burst of rational thought, I’d be feeling kind of silly right now. Years upon years and millions upon millions of dollars sunk into waging a war to shelter porn actors from the hazards of their job by way of condoms, all looking more infinitesimally insignificant than ever in the grand scheme of things this particular moment. How’s that? Because right now, the entire country is trying to come to grips with witnessing the horrific reality of what a real job hazard looks like. Today, memorial services were held for the five Dallas police officers killed last Thursday night in the line of duty. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (odmp.org), at this halfway point of 2016, there have been 57 deaths in the U.S. of on-duty police officers (discounting four from heart attacks and one from a “9/11 related illness”). The number of porn actors who have contracted HIV (or any other deadly disease) while on the job this year—or in any of the 11 years prior—remains zero. Yet you, Mr. Weinstein, continue to insist that the job of a porn actor is fraught with "danger." That the government and the taxpayers must step in to force safety measures upon them because they just aren’t safe enough, dammit. Do you see the absurdity? Is it sinking in yet?  If not, maybe this article will bring it into starker relief for you. Let me call your attention to the following excerpt in particular, which contrasts the Republican Party's declaration of porn as a public health threat against a real menace: "While there have been exactly zero porn-related deaths reported in the United States this year, there have been more than 28,000 shootings, including 7,239 gun murders, so far in 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive." Did you, a gay man, ever imagine you would find yourself in the same ideological hemisphere as a party that would consider sanctioning "conversion therapy" for homosexuals?    Of course, you probably don't see your condom crusade as comparable to a political party painting an entire legal industry as a public health crisis. Yet you both exhibit the same lack of understanding of adult entertainment. You probably still believe in some way that this one-man war of yours is for the greater good—despite the fact that not one California political party, not one AIDS organization outside of your own, and certainly not the very group of people whose protection you so staunchly purport to have in mind supports you in your stampede to impose what has now been dubbed Prop 60. Which makes it seem as if you, sir, are a man of such bull-headedness that no amount of rational opposition will sway you. What is your stake in this fight, Mr. Weinstein? (Well, outside of those millions of government-supplied dollars you’ve put toward it, if you can separate yourself from them for a moment.) Unless you have secret aspirations of becoming an on-camera dick slinger yourself, I’m fairly certain it doesn’t affect you. Since no active member of the porn industry is affiliated with AHF that I’m aware of, it doesn’t affect anybody in your organization. Other than active industry members, it doesn’t affect any of the voters whose tax dollars you’d like to siphon to its enforcement. (And whom you have no problem deceiving into thinking they’re doing something noble by voting in favor of it.) So what is it? Seems pretty clear to me: You just want your ego validated. You need it. This LA Weekly cover story of a few months ago did a decent job of exposing just how much of a megalomaniac you truly are. No logic, no truth, no anything is more important than your sense of self-righteousness. And at this point, it feels petty. In light of the events unfolding all around us lately—the racial tension, the acts of terrorism, the real and present dangers—your obstinate fight to put condoms on porn stars is so trivial, it’s downright offensive. You’ve become the political equivalent of the ornery old neighbor who raises hell with the homeowner's association because he thinks anyone who leaves their window shades open at night is inviting unsavory characters to lurk the neighborhood. Hey, grandpa: Mind your own damn shades and shut up. Statue photo by Alex E. Proimos/Wikipedia Commons

 
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