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Porn without condoms -- it's the next worst thing

August 17, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • A staff member holds a packet containing a free condom in the HIV department of Taipei City Hospital.
A staff member holds a packet containing a free condom in the HIV department… (Sam Yeh / AFP/Getty Images )

Michael Kinsley, I may have uncovered your next worst thing: porn actors without condoms.

You may recall that, in a recent Times Op-Ed article, Kinsley wrote about changing attitudes on same-sex marriage, and then mused about what other issues Americans will undergo a change in attitude on:

There is something you think today that will seem preposterous and even offensive to your 20-years-from-now self, if you're still around. Some injustice that will seem obvious, although right now we can't see it at all. What will it be? It would be nice to get a heads-up.

Well, Michael, here's that heads-up: Someday soon the sight of adult film actors outfitted with condoms will be normal.  And no one will believe that we once allowed the Wild West days of unprotected sex.

Los Angeles has already moved on this issue. The City Council approved an ordinance in January after several high-profile instances of porn performers becoming infected by HIV.  Pushed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the ordinance is believed to be the first of its kind. It requires adult film producers, when seeking a filming permit in the city of Los Angeles, to have actors use condoms.

Of course, the porn industry isn’t happy. It claims this isn't a health or workplace issue but an example of government overreach. Some filmmakers are threatening to take their action elsewhere. (I figure that's just bluster. Ever try to shoot porn in the middle of a Canadian winter? Ain't gonna happen.)

But there are a few things to be worked out, such as just how to enforce the new law. As The Times reported

In a report issued Wednesday, a working group focused on ways to enforce the new condom ordinance said Film L.A. Inc., the office that processes film permits, should rework its applications so passages that discuss hazardous working conditions and dangerous special effects also mention the "transmission of blood and infectious materials."

Those applications also should include a check box in which film companies explain whether the productions will feature various forms of sexual intercourse and, if so, what kind, the report said.

(Now, and I’m just guessing here, I’ll bet that if you were to advertise this "form reader" position, the line would be around the block. Imagine: "So, how was work today, honey?" "Oh, same old grind.")

Anyway, there's also the question of who's going to monitor the film shoots. The working group "recommended that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council begin searching for a medical professional to conduct inspections of adult film performances."

Which sounds like a big job for one person. And it appears that the Fire Department, which was asked to come up with some figures on what this process might cost, agrees. (Why the Fire Department? Perhaps because firefighters have a certain, shall we say, history with porn shoots?)

Here's what the firefighters came up with:

Still unclear is the amount of the inspection fee that would be charged by the city to adult film producers. The working group asked officials at the Fire Department to come up with an estimate if they were charged with the task and was informed the cost could range from $2,204 to $3,472.

Depending on the number of film shoots and the frequency of the spot checks, the task could require more than 100 full-time Fire Department employees and cost more than $1.7 million, officials said.

Now, honestly, that seems like a lot of folks, and a lot of money, just to crack down on condom-less porn producers. But hey, it's early. Roman orgy police weren't built in a day.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping that Kinsley writes a third column on the topic. His second installment included some reader suggestions, and honestly, they were kind of lame: front lawns, women's high-heeled shoes, something about "voluntary submission to noise that ruins your hearing."

My nominee, on the other hand, mixes sex, politics and government.

That has to be a winner.

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