LOS ANGELES—Leave it to the British press to query a rabid anti-porn activist like Gail Dines for her view on Lovelace, the recently released Hollywood feature about the life and times of Linda Lovelace. By now, however, all the film critics and all the pundits have taken a crack at Lovelace—whose subject matter and titular star are perfect fodder for reviews and commentary that stray beyond the movie’s merits to the politics of porn—so why the hell not get a Dines take, as utterly predictable as it’s going to be?
That Dines is not a film critic did not stop her from critiquing the film, of course. As a professor of sociology at Wheelock College in Boston, whose academic focus during her career has been the study of pornography’s alleged negative effects on society and individuals, she was probably itching to weigh in for a major paper like the Telegraph. Given her chance, she dutifully found fault with the movie for “depicting some male pornographers as ‘nice guys,’” according to the paper.
“If it glamorized anything it glamorized the actual pornographers,” she continued. “They didn’t show the pornographers for what they are. They’re not nice guys just doing this for a living.”
Dines also claimed intimate knowledge of Lovelace’s life, adding, “What happened to her in real life was so much worse than anything that was on the screen; it was incomparable. Until you understand the degree to which this was non-stop ongoing daily beatings I think it’s hard for people to understand why she stayed. They don’t understand the daily terrorism that women get.”
Is this woman in need of some therapy, or what? Using a hoary rhetorical device that no longer carries any weight because it is so transparently biased, Dines appears unaware that when she conflates a personal story with a gross generalization, as she did just there, she fatally undermines the argument she's trying to make in the first place. It probably doesn’t matter to her, though, because her life’s mission is to warn the world about the endemic evil of today’s pornographers, which explains her final comment to the Telegraph.
“Dines,” it reported, “added that porn had now become so extreme that the original scenes shot in Deep Throat would be considered mundane today.”
While that may be true, what she is really saying is that the daily beatings and terrorism experienced by today’s porn stars are also by definition more extreme than those she claims were suffered by Lovelace back in the 1970s. It’s a neat theory tied with a historical bow, but it’s also a flight of abstract fancy devoid of any of the empirical or even anecdotal data that Dines claims supports all of her research.
But who cares? She got to bash Lovelace in the Telegraph, and stick a finger in the eye of today’s pornographers in the process. All in all, a good day!