Misery Loves Company…Or Is It Just For The Sex

Despite what Ben Bernanke recently declared, the economy is still in the crapper. People are unemployed, companies are struggling and I already know that my bonus will be dramatically lower than last years’ number.

I do find some comfort knowing that others are troubled too. This article from The Economist highlights another industry that is struggling and the impact on its specialized workers has been particularly dramatic and is in a part of the Country hit particularly hard by the recession, Los Angeles.

This article titled, “Hard Times” addresses a large industry currently on its knees. Actually, on  knees or back is common in the industry. Here are a few exerpts from the article.

EVEN Nina Hartley, who became a pornographic actress in 1984 and continues to be one of its most sought-after performers at the age of 50, is feeling the recession. “Last year I did a scene a week, this year I do a scene a month,” she says. As a sex celebrity, she has not dropped her fees, charging about $1,200 for a “straight boy-girl” scene.”

“Pornography had been immune to previous recessions, so the current downturn has come as a shock.” (Bold added by this author for affect–or is it effect–I can never get that right.)

If the Valley used to make 5,000-6,000 films a year, says Mr Kernes, it now makes perhaps 3,000-4,000.(Why would we need  3 thousand new porn films a year let alone 5 thousand. It isn’t like one is all that different than another — or so I have heard.)

For the 1,200 active performers in the Valley this means less action and more hardship. A young woman without Ms Hartley’s name-recognition might have charged $1,000 for a straight scene before the crisis, but gets $800 or less now. Men are worse hit. If they averaged $500 for a straight scene in 2007, they are now lucky to get $300. (First of all I am shocked at the reverse gender bias in the industry. Second, $1,000 per scene!!)

Pornography in general has become “like potato chips, everywhere and cheap, to be consumed and tossed,” says Ms Hartley. It’s not the same as in the golden age…( I love the potato chip analogy. As for the golden age, what is as good as it once was?)

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Ancient Porn

No I do not mean from the 1960s.

Most people read The Economist for the thoughtful analysis of business and politics around the globe. I read it for the centerfold.

This short entry from the May16, 2009 issue of The Economist titled “Unveiled”:

Old PornFrom photography to the internet, a characteristic sign that a new medium is going to succeed is that it is exploited by pornographers. And that, it seems, is not a recent phenomenon. A find reported in this week’s Nature suggests that sculpture, too, brought the smut-makers in early. Nicholas Conrad of the University of Tübingen, in Germany, describes what is probably the oldest human statue yet discovered. It is 6cm tall. It is carved from a mammoth tusk. It dates from about 35,000 years ago. It was found in a cave in south-western Germany. And it is, not to put too fine a point upon the matter, obscene. As 35,000 years ago is reckoned the moment when modern man, Homo sapiens, arrived in Europe, this discovery adds to the evidence that human thinking—or male thinking, at least—has hardly changed since the species evolved.

Ah, smut carved from a mammoth tusk. If this doesn’t increase my readership I may have to “write” about the troubles at Playboy.