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Capital Video Still Sparking Debate in this Massachusetts Town

Northampton, Massachusetts- Sex�it grabs your attention, right? That’s why CBS’s Steve Kroft reported in 2004 that pornography is now a $10 billion industry. Porn is all over the Internet, but what would you do if you found out it’s moving in next door? Can porn ruin a community? Some citizens of Northampton believe it will.

In December, the Northampton Planning Board approved a plan by Capital Video Corp., a Rhode Island-based adult chain store, to open a 6,000 square foot adult store at 135 King Street in Northampton.

Adam Cohen, who started along with his wife, Sandi Reiter, is trying to educate residents of Northampton about the dangers of porn in communities.

“We want to see less porn sold and consumed,” Cohen said.

Cohen and Reiter’s Web site offers evidence that explains why porn is harmful. The Web site has a feature called the “Anti-Pornographer’s Bookshelf” that offers links to texts that explain the female oppression in porn.

The “Bookshelf” also links to a CNN story about country singer Sara Evans and her recently filed divorce papers that cite her husband’s actions of adultery and porn watching as reasons of divorce.

Talk Back Northampton is a blog that was started in response to The blog was created to fight against censorship in Northampton.

Talk Back Northampton offers material that counters many of the points that are offered on the “Anti-Pornographer’s Bookshelf.” Some of the information provided is from a feminist group called “Feminists for Free Speech.” According to the Feminists for Free Speech report, the majority of people who buy porn are women.

“That’s just not true,” Cohen said. “I got on the Internet and found a lot of research telling exactly the opposite of that.”

With all of the seemingly contradictory evidence displayed in the debate over pornography, both sides of the argument expressed different opinions.

“There is not a control to this experiment,” Cohen said. “It’s the real world, it’s sloppy. What we’re asking people to do is not use common sense. Bottom line, [porn] is oppressive to women.”

Cohen focuses more on the harmful effects on porn in his arguments, but he also says that Capital Video is a company that isn’t consistent with the rest of the locally owned shops in town.

“If it weren’t for the censorship issue, everyone would agree that they don’t want this store moving in,” Cohen said. “It’s a large chain store that’s not locally owned.”

“Oh My” and “Pride and Joy” are two other shops in Northampton that sell pornographic material.

Carol Gesell, the owner of “Oh My” told the Boston Globe that the movies that she sells are probably similar to the ones that Capital Video will sell. Gesell’s store also sells oils, harnesses and DVD guides to domination according to the September Boston Globe report.

Teri Anderson, Economic Director of Northampton, says that despite the similarities between the two stores, there are concerns about the effects the large chain store may bring.

“There will be more traffic and it’s more noticeable and visible to the town,” Anderson said.

Cohen wants people to know the dangers of porn so they can be educated about how Capital Video Corp. might affect their town.

“When you’re invested in a community, your interest in this thing soars,” Cohen said. “I don’t want to feel afraid to walk around my neighborhood.”


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