M Y O B

The Life and Times of Bruce Bramson

THE PORN REVOLUTION

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I INTERRUPT MY NARRATIVE …

… to discuss a matter of some importance to several large segments of our population: pornography.

I’m old enough to remember vividly the days when there was NO commercial porn. What porn there was consisted mostly of typewritten material, often second-and third- carbon-copies, occasionally with crude drawings included. A friend of mine had a HUGE collection of this stuff. Later, when the firm for which we both worked got a dry copier, he made Xerox copies in large quantities. Since he was the “key operator” for the machine, he got away with it for many months, until he left an “original” on the platen which someone else found. There was a bit of a dust-up, of course, but only a very few knew he was the perp, so he went on with it, being more careful! But I digress…

As I completed college, I found there were some magazines available here and there: these were not really pornographic in today’s sense of the word. There were no “dirty-book stores”: only a few magazine-stands would carry these off-color rags. One of these was a tiny (like, 5″ X 7″) black and white booklet called Tomorrow’s Man. It was mainly devoted to body-builders, posing (often oiled) in miniscule thongs and jock-straps. Penises were generally stuffed out of the way, which gave rise to the notion that most body-builders are not well hung. (The porn revolution has busted that myth!) Fizeek was another of these magazines, very similar in design and scope and there were several others.

Then there was AMG (Athletic Model Guild), in a slightly larger format, also black and white. This was produced in Southern California and appeared to contain mostly navy guys (”seafood”) earning a little extra cash (to buy booze and girls, of course). I suppose a collection of these magazines would be worth some money nowadays. In the early issues the boys were mostly dressed, usually shirtless, and showing some basket (sometimes enormous ones—I often suspected salamis had been substituted for the real thing). The intent of these photos was certainly to provoke a salacious reaction in the reader, and I suppose it was successful for some: but the other intent was to “push the envelope” and get porn main-streamed. As time went on, the guys wore less and less and various symbols (often scratched on the negatives) were used to indicate sexual preferences, physical statistics and so forth. It is difficult, now, to believe that to state (or even suggest) that someone was “gay” or -gasp- homosekshull, was forbidden! [When someone implied Liberace was homosexual, he sued (libel), and WON!] The cute stuff in AMG was all designed to avoid prosecution for distributing “obscene” material under a whole bunch of court rulings generally lumped together and called “obscenity laws”

TM eventually disappeared (a copy from 1954 was available recently for $95.00), but AMG pushed on pushing, their material becoming more prurient and occasionally in color. Then, in 1973, came “Miller v. California”, which, while not opening the flood-gates exactly, did make it obvious the definition of obscene was not an easy task. It gradually dawned on people in general and on the courts, that obscenity was as much “in the eye of the beholder” as in the producer: by this time, AMG was definitely obscene, and was to become far more-so before it folded.

However, from the 70’s on, pornography “took off”. Large-format magazines that had kept the air-brushes busy removing “lumps” began including explicit (and occasionally real) hard-ons: the air-brushes went to work enhancing rather that deleting! With the useful addition of “adult” bookstores where all this stuff could be displayed and sold, the pornography market exploded. Specialty-subject mags appeared, including kiddie-porn, which as quickly as it appeared was legislated out of existence. My favorite title of the “niche rags” was Stump, and I leave it to my readers to imagine its contents!

Professional pornographers were quick to exploit technology: even amateurs quickly saw the possibilities of the Polaroid camera! I had a neighbor in the early 50’s who took photos of every hard-on he could find (he’s immortalized in Piece on Earth at Nifty). Prior to that, all porno had been produced on conventional film, an expensive and laborious process given that one had to find places to develop film that would NOT call the cops if they found a hard-on (or worse). The advent of the electronic camera for production (professional and otherwise), and the internet (for distribution) has radically changed the whole “porno” scene. Kids growing up today have this phenomenal wealth of porn available if they want it, and the ready means to produce and distribute it themselves if so inclined:  and they do, as I’m sure my readers know.

It’s all pretty amazing stuff for old farts like me who have watched it all unfold.  My own career, such as it is, writing “fuck stories” began in 1987 with First and Second Cousins: it has been on Nifty practically from its inception.

PeeYes: I’m also old enough to remember that the Nifty (gay) Archive was originally accumulated by someone at Cornell University: whether student or faculty I’ve never known. Its original URL ended in cornell.edu! I suppose someone eventually discovered it and forced it off-site! But it still exists here and contains thousands of original gay stories; many are fine examples of “one-handed-reading”.

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Written by Bruce

December 12th, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Early Years

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