Dead Porn 

Where beer and an R-rated movie intersect, the DABC melts down.

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In the 1960s, the subject and definition of what begats obscenity was being heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio. Justice Potter Stewart famously admitted he could not define, understand nor describe obscenity, "but I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

The movie that Stewart couldn't describe as obscene—despite a clearly orgasmic moment—was called The Lovers (Les Amants), by the French director, Louis Malle (Pretty Baby, Atlantic City). A handful of prissy citizens in the township of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, took it upon themselves to protest to the local sheriff that a female actress in The Lovers—perhaps unlike themselves or their spouses—actually got off on sex, and that was obscene. The film was confiscated, and the theater's manager, Nico Jacobellis, was found guilty of showing porn and fined $2,500. In 1964, the Supreme Court sided in favor of Jacobellis, reversing the decisions of the lower courts.

So, for the past 52 years, men and women have shagged on screen (or pretended to), no worse for the wear. That cinematic shagging should not be confused with the hard-core porn that the devout Marriott family used to profit from in their hotel rooms nor the kind sent by dick spammers to your email. Celluloid passion went on about its business until this past week when Utah shagged itself.

The local cinema gem, Brewvies, has just been cited for serving beer alongside the First Amendment and, as such, will face a hearing before the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) Wednesday, April 20—likely before you read this. At stake is a $25,000 fine and a 10-day closure.

Talk about a rise! That's more than 10 times the screwing in the Jacobellis case, but you know how boner Utah is—always hard on crime. My guess is that by the time this case reaches its climax, Utahns will once again look like a bunch of boobs.

To wit: Three agents from the DABC recently ordered some beers at Brewvies and sat to watch the R-rated movie Deadpool, meaning that they could have gone to any movie theater in town and watched the same movie with gaggles of 16-year-olds. But, they chose an adult place—Brewvies—to delight in the comedic jokes of Deadpool with fellow adults.

At some point, a couple of naked actors took to grinding, resulting in fake orgasms, as did a unicorn through its horn (you know, like all unicorns do) during the illustrated movie credits. So far, no word on how many beers they drank on our dime. I can barely comprehend the trauma.

This isn't the first time Brewvies has been fined for such a breach of our prurient standards—a few years ago, they paid a $1,627 fine for showing the movie Hangover Part II, proving transvestite prostitute actors and actresses scare the DABC. The problem is clear in unclear-thinking Utah: There is a direct link between alcohol consumption and pornography, and they are not to be mixed.

Thus, Utah has nightclubs and beer halls where adults can gather for drinks, but where the only obscenity they might witness is when a member of a televised basketball game grabs his nuts and flips off the opposing teams fans, a BYU vs. Utah game, perhaps. We also have totally nude dance clubs—all female as far as I know—but booze is not allowed, just fake mammaries.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gary Herbert declared porn a "significant health crisis," and signed an anti-porn resolution that calls for education, prevention and research to end Utah's porn epidemic. I've always been a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not theorizing. I'm convinced that Brewvies got nailed at the precise time Utah's governor would look best in making his proclamation. Why? Because Brewvies has been open, what, two decades? And only a fool might believe that Brewvies is inconsiderate of community standards. It shows movies for all audiences. It's not a porn house. This wasn't porn, not even X-rated. Bejeezus, folks. Those three agents waited till the time was right, and last week, the time was right. This bust is not an accident nor is it even decent investigative police work. It's bogus. It stinks.

The author of the porn health crisis resolution is Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. Let's agree that porn can be harmful, let's also agree sugar can be. But while Weiler deserves credit for starting the dialogue, he must also know this BS bust of Brewvies is not going to make his efforts any easier. Weiler told the Deseret News he doesn't want to impinge on the First Amendment and desires to protect children from the degrading, harmful and addictive nature of pornography.

But, he also says, regarding pornography (still not defined, but, whatever) that, "if adults want to do that, that's their choice." Yeah, "choice," Utah's favorite word that really means, "I choose for you."

Utah has a porn crisis. Who knew? Everyone. When Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, rumors of computer porn were circulating, leading to a prominent LDS bishop and I speaking in my office. He told me the deepest, darkest secret up on North Temple was that so many members of the faith were active porn consumers. He described it as an epidemic way back then. I had only one thought for him: Quit hiding the fact it's there and do something about it. What happens over 10 years later? Brewvies gets busted. Nice try, fellas. Utah's porn crisis is all yours, Governor Herbert, all yours, North Temple.

The crisis is not one of mixing beer and unicorns, it's of mixing sexuality with spirituality. Personally, I'd rather drink and dream of rainbow-spewing unicorns. CW

Send comments to john@cityweekly.net

Staff Box

Have you seen the movie Deadpool? Where do you rank it on the pornography scale?

Pete Saltas: I forgot there was any semblance of nudity in the movie. Either I'm desensitized, or it wasn't a big deal.

Scott Renshaw: It's porn on a middle-school level, where anything vaguely naughty is a big giggly joke. Also, if it were real porn, they would have figured out a more creative way to apply that "able to grow back his extremities" ability.

Jeff Chipian: I would say it's pretty close to Edward Penis Hands or Ass Ventura Crack Detective. but nowhere near Two Girls, One Cup.

Paula Saltas: I haven't seen it yet, but now you have me intrigued. Don't "R" rated movies have a plot and porn no plot? Anyway, they both go better with a beer.

Andrea Harvey: Haven't seen it, and had no interest in seeing it until now.

Enrique Limón: After the extensive research I had to do for the news piece on p. 13, I would have to say no. A hard no, if you know what I mean.

Mason Rodrickc: I haven't seen it yet, but you wanted more answers, and I can safely assume that it's as pornographic as Equus, insofar as, probably my inner child will see something it should not have seen and will sorely taint the lovely virgin memories I once had. Harry Potter's wand, ooof ...

Jerre Wroble: I would go, if only to see the climaxing unicorn. But I guess I won't be seeing it at Brewvies, my movie theater of choice. Thanks, Obama ... er, whoever.

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