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Thoughts Over The Morning’s Coffee: Mark Ashley: A Lack of Thought Out Articulation is Getting Our Asses Handed to Us

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Mark Ashley writes on – I promised Gene Ross I would write a response about why I felt I prefer to be quoted through my blog posts as opposed to an off the cuff interview.

Your post of ‘The Samurai’ today perfectly illustrates my point.

What I finally got out of this blogging other than more traffic, was an articulated thought out response to my point of view. What I learned after my post yesterday is that what is sorely lacking in this business is a) a real voice from talent and b) an diplomatic solution to the problems at hand.

It’s actually is a lot harder to write a thought out blog than an off the cuff blog with emotional and financial intentions. This blog got way more attention than I thought it would. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. I guess things need to be said.

To say I have to fight the urge to go back to L A is just not true. In fact I came to the conclusion about 6 months ago L A hardcore in it’s current form is just not my scene any more. It’s obvious that any opportunities upward in this industry only exist outside of that system at this point. That doesn’t mean I quit. I tried that and it’s very true that you are married to this shit for life. I’m not going anywhere. Besides you can’t run away from who you are .

As I progress as a writer provocation as a tactic can easily become a tool. But so does thought out articulation. And a lack of that is exactly why we are getting our asses handed to us by the state of California.

We can go on and on about agencies and Manwin takeovers all we want but if a true diplomatic process is not engaged by us we will inevitably be kicked around from state to state or underground if the current platform by the FSC is maintained.

And by us I mean talent. The days of allowing the existing power infrastructure to dictate the direction we follow are soon coming to an end. Any layperson viewing from the outside can see that. If we don’t assert our point of view and present them in a way that can be understood by lawmakers and the public and help implement a solution that works for all parties involved, organizations like AHF and the FSC will always be able to feast on us at will.

And constant negative trashing of each other only reenforces their belief in us as a bunch of uneducated disrespectful whores with no self control. That only feeds into theirs and the public’s perception of us.

Porn producers and agencies don’t threaten you with blackmail. They employ the tactics of exclusion from working. If you have a concern or complaint to issue to a general manager or director they will agree with you face to face but you better believe those calls for work will stop coming in.

It never used to be that way. Giving a heads up to a potential problem was a matter of course for most performers. Now terms like ‘problem’ ‘temperamental’ and ‘diva’ are used to describe anyone that dares critique or raise concerns.

The powers that be have made sure that anyone with backbone and a little self esteem are excluded. Corporate culling of the flock is rampant and honest savages like me don’t fit into their agenda. The ability to navigate ourselves has been lost and in my case I missed the producer boat so I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not one of the cool kids anymore. But that’s no reason to keep quiet. I’m married to this business so I’m going to follow through my way. And my way is the talents way.

Two things are obvious in the condom debate to me. One is that the condom-less model of production has been set in the market. The other is checks and balances beyond regular STD testing are also needed.

I find it hard to believe that something as trite as condoms have brought us to this point. Seriously, this is some insulting shit. There is a definite underlying message that’s being sent out to us by the state that has further implications beyond what we do with our bodies. This is personal. This says what we have been conveying to the public as a population is that we don’t conduct ourselves like professionals.

And when we allow so many outside influences to direct our own bodies we aren’t professionals. We’re just pawns for someone else’s agenda, pro or anti porn.

Which brings me to my point. We have no platform. To give credit to Michael Weinstein, he ran an excellent campaign. He found a message that stuck and he never let up on his message. We in the porn community can learn from this. Half-assed free speech arguments that have already been fought and won before most of us were even born won’t work now. Larry Flynt didn’t fight for our right to trash our communities or each other.

He fought for our right to conduct our kind of business in a free market capitalist society. And we won. And we’ve been running that train at 100mph for 30 years now. And it just ran out of fuel my friends.

What we need is a check and balance in our system. And my idea to both Los Angeles and Las Vegas is to incorporate what Las Vegas already has in place for it’s adult oriented workers.

A clearance from the police department and a business license from the secretary of state. And I have to give credit for this idea to my only conversation with Rob Black. He made a point that really stuck with me.

Weed out the hacks from the serious entertainers. It won’t be a very popular idea within the porn community at first but we seem to be running out of options at the moment. We’re getting slapped around like punks right now by the state and if we can’t come back with a real solution we will all have to book trips to Budapest to shoot things our way.

It’s not that far out of a possibility. We’re already seen as squatters in Los Angeles. Why not legitimize ourselves and fight for inclusion into the cities infrastructure and entertainment industry? This would be our way of saying we want the right to choose to shoot without condoms but we also recognize the reality that this is a responsibility.

The porn industry attracts a lot outsiders that don’t fully respect that this is a business and not a dumping ground. That would save a lot of money and time for the authorities as well as recognize the right of the performer to dictate the terms of their job. Inclusion gives us rights we don’t currently enjoy.

It gives us protection from predatory agents and producers as well as allow the performers the right to push their own boundaries as far as they want. It also says that we recognize and respect the authority of the city we want to do business in. We as pornographers have a tendency to push boundaries. And we’ve obviously pushed too far.

I think what Los Angeles and the state of California want is a show of respect from us through diplomatic means. It shows that we are professional entertainers and not the common perception of us as an out of control population of feral animals. That’s what we sell to the public and that’s fine, but business is business and we have to start acting like a business.

So if I were to start a platform that I think would solve 3/4 of the problems in this business it would be FREE AGENT RIGHTS. No more 20% discounts on our scenes. No more activist attacks. Full protection by the system. Full inclusion as serious entertainers. Full protection as free market enterprisers. Full respect period. That would be an industry I would be comfortable existing in. FREE AGENT RIGHTS for all performers. Think about it. It’s all about respect. We all want respect. We have to earn it ourselves.


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