SMOKE: A World Of Porn
Originally published: 17 July 2003
I vividly remember that Hustler edition in the late eighties in South Africa - plastic-wrapped, with warnings all over the place to help protect the young and innocent. I can't remember what exact year it was, or which edition, but I remember the hype all right.
For the first time in South Africa you were going to be able to legally look at the genitals of a female, although the law on it was pretty dicey at the time.
The centrefold model had a silver leaf imposed over her crotch, which could be scratched away with a coin - the same type of stuff they use for scratch cards.
Hustler's argument was that even if some untainted, goldi-locked, saintly child somehow managed to get their hands on one, and for some reason was able to open the carefully sealed plastic and miss the enormous warnings on both sides of the cover, and tear off the inner booklet (which had perforated edges, meaning if you wanted to see what was inside you had to tear it open), and then - if somehow they got through all that - they would still be confronted with a silver leaf covering the model's modesty.
If the kid then chose to follow Satan and scratch it off, and in so doing saw a cute minge which instantly turned him into a raving murderer involved in brutal animal sex and snuff movies, well... so be it.
Fair enough, you would think. But in reality I seem to recall that the issue was banned, which didn't stop it appearing on every book counter in every shop in the land. Plenty of hot, sweaty blokes scraped that leaf off and it was a seminal moment in South Africa's porn history.
Prior to that issue Hustler had had a war with Scope magazine and David Mullany (Editor), as to who was going to publish the Full Monty first.
Mullany had kept many a gent happily entertained for years with his combination of humour, cars and coquettish models photographed by Suze Randall, but you didn't even get a nip - it was all covered up, and all nips were tastefully draped in numerous inventive ways.
Finally Mullany aquiesced and threw in a token nip, but only because Joe Theron's Hustler was rocketing up the charts, just one step away from a silver fig leaf.
After that the game was up for Dave, who turned his magazine into a half-assed car publication, only for it to die a quick - if strangled - death.
Man, those were the days, when your mind could still be blown and an exposed nipple was an entire fantasy in itself.
These days, of course, you get free nipples wherever you look - in movies, on television, in advertising - hell - I get free nipples in my goddamn ProNutro. They're everywhere, and lovely as they are they don't impress me half as much as they used to.
Bare bums are a marketing ploy, entire female sports teams in a number of disciplines from all over the world have nude calendars made and porn stars are no longer the pariahs they once were.
These days you are just as likely to have Jenna Jameson over to your Hollywood soiree as you are Dame Maggie Smith, and I sure as hell know which I'd choose.
According to Newsweek, the rise of pornography as an accepted part of everyday life has been meteoric.
"Pornography has gone mainstream all over America," said the magazine in a recent issue. "From movies to television shows to music videos and magazines, porn stars and porn iconography are everywhere, pointing to a national comfort level that few would have predicted even a decade ago."
You would think the boom in pornography is directly related to the rise of the Internet, and while the Internet has certainly helped make mainstream pornography more acceptable to many, there are a number of other factors, mostly arising from American culture.
American culture is fast becoming one giant advertising campaign and the rest of the world (including South Africa) has caught on real quick.
You don't sell your pair of shoes by having a smiling, trustworthy ol' Mum settin' there smilin' - you stick your pumps on a near-naked babe who tells you that if you were to wear the shoes she was wearing you'd be just as sexy as her. And she'd throw in a threesome with her best friend to boot. With strawberries and cream.
Very few ads don't come with a sexual connotation anymore and indeed they are getting bolder all the time, constantly pushing the limits of not being retracted.
The other night I saw my first nip in an advert - some bird in an elevator who flashes open her business suit, and if you pause at just the right point in the video you have made (koff koff), the nip is plain for all to see.
Now head on over to your time machine and hop forwards 20 years - I see a return to Roman times, baby. Remember them crazy Romans? Wild orgies, an extremely permissive society, porn paintings on the bath house walls, public sex - one heaving, sweating mass of boy and girl flesh, with seperate sexual identities gradually fading into one, where sexual orientation ceases to exist and pleasure is all that matters.
I mean - where do you go for your kicks once you've switched over and are devoted to being defecated on, or eating your own privates, or getting the skin flayed from your back by some masochistic Mama who calls you Bitch?
Sex sells and in a world whose direction is dictated by where the big money is, you can be sure that this is only the beginning.
The more we see, the more we accept; the more we accept, the more we see. Sex is becoming less and less of a mystery and we need to go further and further if we want to keep impressing.
I dunno. I think I preferred the mystery woven by fellers like Dave Mullany. It made the reward so much sweeter.
All Smoked Out,