Here is a political object lesson from the seamier, steamier end of the entertainment business: The new law in Los Angeles County requiring actors in pornographic films to wear condoms seems merely to have pushed the smutty movie industry into the quiet residential areas of unincorporated Ventura County. The lesson? Passing a law to banish unhealthy behavior does not necessarily solve a problem, it just kicks it to another place or directly into a courtroom.
People have protested the mayor's nanny-state obsessions, but he has made much of it stick. The soda restriction is on hold, however, because a state Supreme Court judge issued an injunction to stop the law, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." As for the age limit for buying cigarettes, it may have about as much influence on teen smoking as the age-21 threshold for buying alcohol has had on binge-drinking college freshmen.
Human beings have a stubborn inclination to continue self-destructive behavior, no matter what the law says. That is not to say that some things should not be illegal, even if many people flout the law.
When 57% of L.A. County voters approved the condom mandate in the November election, they had the good intention of preventing transmission of
Some of the "adult" film auteurs are not waiting for the court's decision. They have moved production from the San Fernando Valley, long the home of the celluloid sex business, to neighboring Ventura County, where residents have been registering complaints about strange sights and sounds in neighboring homes.
"It's really disturbing," Tim Gray, a 56-year-old father of four, told the Los Angeles Times. "We were eating dinner and we heard these loud sounds outside, like something really bad had happened. I went outside and heard, well, the typical sounds you'd hear in a porn movie. It was echoing all over the neighborhood."
Ventura County officials are now proposing their own condom requirement, hoping that will get the pornographers to keep on traveling to the next county.
The porn filmmakers could eliminate the whole problem by taking advantage of the amazing advances in special effects that have transformed production of mainstream films. After all, real, live men are not all that necessary in porn movies. There is just one part of a male porn actor’s body that gets any serious screen time and that particular body part generally looks weirdly unreal anyway. Surely, a porn counterpart of