I catch Debito Arudou posts throughout the week, and was not so surprised by yesterday’s, where he points out a “project” of sorts going on at the slam blog Tepido dot org. It reminded me of a story that ran on Gawker (also picked up at Salon) about a scandal going on in the adult video industry of late.
First the “blue movie” story: This is very sad, because it goes right to the gray area in which adult video (AV) exists in America, and probably quite a few other countries. The people who work in it are real people; but they are not keen on having their identities or elements of their private lives broadcasted all over the cyberspace. (Practically, to anyone with an internet connection.) In their trade, though, in order to stay alive, they have to be tested for communicable diseases. The biggest concern, of course, is HIV.
A clinic in California was selected to certify the adult performers as to whether they were OK or not. This clinic had real names. Somehow, there was also a connection between the people’s real names, and their stage names.
Someone gathered this information, put it together, put it out on the internet sometime in late February, and now there is quite a scandal. Many ex-AV stars went on to other things in life, “moved on” as the well-worn and annoying phrase of today goes, and weren’t looking for the exposure.
As to who did this, the fingers are pointing to someone who was on the outs with the AV industry. This person denied it, but doesn’t deny having some connection to the website which made it all available. Furthermore, he feigns some noble purpose to the activity, that I think virtually anyone else would see as having low and unflattering motive.
The post at Debito called to mind the above.
It is no secret to those who follow the Debito social network, that the small group of people connected to Tepido, seem to have a problem with the first site. The original Tepido website was a mirror image, in different color, of the iconic Debito.org. I don’t know if “Tepido” is supposed to mean anything (like “te pido” in Spanish is “I beg you”), but it all seemed to be done up as, well, a slam site. I had hoped that the fellow, known as Ken Y-N, would, you know, “move on” to other topics. But that never happened.
Sometime over the weekend, someone there posted a few things to the effect that they had identified 63 users of the Debito website by real name. [Update 9/28/11: Per note below, this later was said to be “not true”, but I don’t have the information to say credibly either way.] I know I have been personally trashed by someone within the tepido circle, and so the news was no surprise to me, that one of them would have made a list of 62 more. I’m not sure the actual number matters as much as the fact that someone chose this course of action. To me, it’s troubling. [Update 5/27/11: Now I’m told that there wasn’t this 63. But the problem is, there is an identified number of people. Just not 63. That is a problem.]
Many internet users want to use the internet. There are people who send out or get their opinions through the internet. There are people who entertain or get entertained via the net. There are companies making big business off search, off content they don’t pay for, and advertising that they charge for. We all know that it’s not that there are no enforceable rules when it comes to the internet, but that it’s expensive enforcement. Somebody tells me who a tepido player is, and suggests I get them knocked out of JET, and then, it’s like, wait, do you realize the amount of time and effort that goes in to having to do that?
The harms carried over the internet have to be big, and you have to get someone with power to care.
So I thought about the rather small AV community, who were doing the right thing and getting tested. The medical information should not have leaked, but it did. These people rely on a certain standard, and then someone comes along and kicks the standard out from underneath the people, just because he can. There is some “high-minded” cheap excuse put out, under anti-gay rhetoric, that the exposure helps “clean up the business”. But really, it’s about wrecking and doing bad things to other people.
In a similar way, the Ken Y-N band of twelve (max) don’t want the people in the Debito social network to communicate over the internet. That’s really what it is. So they start targeting people who read and comment on Debito. The latest “high mindedness” is that this is all part of an effort to protect Japan’s image in the face of alleged inaccurate press that Japan is receiving after the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and the bad radiation around Fukushima plant. But last fall, there was some utterly different set of excuses put out there. I am sure, in another situation, there would yet other reasons put forth.
The porn wikileaker and Tepido Naruhodo both seem to be people who couldn’t quite reach their goal, and so resorted to the internet to make projects out the success they saw other people achieve through those other people’s efforts. People will debate me about whether being an AV star is an achievement, but be creative here a bit, because along some lines of thinking it is. Making a website that is geared towards slamming some other private citizen’s website is definitely not any kind of achievement.
[Update: some of the comments at the Japan Probe piece on Debito go to the rationale of “letting everyone have their say about things they object to that they see on a site”. No one is saying that people shouldn’t be able to say what they object to. The troubling part is the systematic attacks on one person and one person’ s site. It’s really designed so that the other person doesn’t get to have his say.
It troubles me about these people who think they can come up with the most sophisticated reasoning for why the internet canvas should be theirs exclusively, to do whatever they want. This is not a free space; it’s simply another communication tool.
I had that “just a forum for a different opinion” pile shopped around to me last year, and I didn’t buy it. People don’t buy Fox News—and you expect them to buy that?]