Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dog 1 (1969)

"Where are the products that the arch feminists promise?  The ones that complement and support their rants of brutal misogyny and sociopathic self-absorption?  The pornography that breathes and breeds abuse?  The videos, magazines, and photo sets that exist unequivocally above the common, simple-minded analysis of doggerel and money-charged excesses?  The work crystal clear in motive and hard action that lays waste to any need for the clich├ęd female rhetoric of thoughts-equal-action?
Where can one go for the good stuff?  The mean, mean evil-minded material that proves the monolithic porno business to be as dirty and sad as the feminists need it to be?"
- Peter Sotos
 

"One of my claims to fame is that I knew the dog even before Linda did." - Jamie Gillis




Although certain draconian definitions state that pornography's single-minded purpose is that of sexual arousal, porno has always been a two-sided coin. You do indeed have the aphrodisiac side, your basic jerk-off material. However there's always been a grimy underworld that deals, not in eroticism, but in obscenity and degradation and taboo. Outside of a minority of fetishists, the demand for this darker material is driven almost entirely by basic human curiosity. Enter... Dog 1 aka Dogarama aka Dog Fucker. Although Bodil Joensen's Animal Farm was the smash-hit animal porno among bootleggers and tape trading circuits, Dog 1 was a lesser-known and rarer slice of filth that became highly prized due to its lead actress - Linda Lovelace, an unknown at the time of filming. Just as Linda went on to become the world's most famous pornstar, Dog 1 eventually became much larger than just a dog-sex porn loop, achieving notoriety for considerably more unsettling reasons...

First, to the movie itself: We open on Linda, facedown and spreadcheeked, getting pooned from behind (this was before her mouth became such a desired commodity) by a nameless dude. He finishes up and shoves her away, leaving her unsatisfied. Desperate, she reaches for fulfillment by other means, of the furry, 4-legged variety. Her sweet German Shephard. Woman's best friend, all too eager to roll over, bury his bone and go fetch the pieces of her broken heart.
 

Jaunty music plays. The air is thick with romance; forbidden lust unbound. She sensually fondles his doggy meat. He tongues away at her delicates in a gentlemanly manner that suggests he'd gladly have bought her a fancy French dinner first, if only he had any idea what was going on. She takes him in her mouth for a mere 2 seconds, as long as his furiously jackhammering pelvis allows, before he returns his probing tongue to her nether regions to repay the favour. Then... he mounts! Tail up, boner a-quiver, he pounds against her, switching from doggy style to missionary with the natural skill of a pro. Then, as quickly as it began, it's over...


Of course, the reality of this so-grainy-its-almost-unwatchable porn loop is far less obscene than I'm making it out to be. Anyone with the most minor interest in bestiality porn will already know that the dog material out there is little more than harmless hilarity. If you've ever seen a dog hump someone's leg, then you'll know that they're far from the most attentive of lovers in the animal kingdom. The canine pornstar is always too desperately frantic in his sexual efforts to allow genuine coitus to take place. Actual penetration is non-existent, outside of the occasional happy accident. W.C. Fields once said, "Never work with animals or children." I'd say that's probably more true of porn than any other line of work.

 

About a decade after Dog 1 was made, Linda Lovelace was taken under the wing of anti-pornography feminist group Women Against Pornography - most notably undercover Playboy bunny Gloria Steinem and unfuckable warthog Andrea Dworkin - and became outspoken about the unsavoury truth behind her porn career. She left her life of "sexual slavery" and became the first big-name "porn survivor", to use Dworkin's own terminology. We all know the story by now: supposedly forced into prostitution and porno by her husband, Chuck Traynor, who would beat her regularly. Gang-raped, hypnotised, forcibly sleep-deprived and threatened with a gun. Some friends and co-stars have backed up her tales of abuse. Others have labelled her a compulsive liar and an insatiable sex freak unwilling to take responsibility for own choices.

 

Dog 1 played a part in this dark tale, though mainly through rumour of its existence; a mystical Holy Grail of depravity that showed just how used and degraded Lovelace once was. Although she initially denied even starring in the stag loop, when video copies surfaced, she professed to have been forced at gunpoint to perform. The cameraman of Dog 1 has since come forth to say that Linda starred with no coercion. Others on the set have stated that not only was she willing, but highly enjoyed herself. The question arises: If Dog 1 is so perfectly emblematic of the misogynistic brutalisation of women that's rampant in the porn arena, why did she deny her involvement? Her unwillingness to even acknowledge its existence suggests her anti-porn crusade was driven as much by shame as it was abuse. And, of course, a good deal of the shame forced upon porn performers comes from, you guessed it, anti-pornography groups like Women Against Pornography.
 

You see, some founding members of Women Against Pornography were proponents of an especially vehement brand of radical feminism that insisted that almost all forms of sex equate to sexual subjugation of women, that sex itself is inherently disempowering to females. You enjoy a hard peen inside you, ladies? Well, then you're assisting in the enforcement of male sexual dominance. Feel confident when you wear a sexy outfit? Sorry, you're merely beautifying yourself to satisfy the all-powerful male gaze. What about if you don a studded leather dominatrix get-up and horse-whip a man into submission, that's pretty powerful, right? Nope, wrong again. You're only fulfilling male desires, shaping yourself as a slave to male expectation.

These attitudes were even more extreme when it came to pornography. Female porn performers were labelled as "objects" or "things" or "commodities" or "filthy" or "inferior". All of these words were supposedly employed in the defense of women, yet effectively served purely in the offense, with not a hint of self-realisation that, in denying any form of female sexual power, women are relegated solely to the role of victim. I am woman, hear me roar... but only because men enjoy the sound of my roaring. This is 'feminism'?? And these broads actually had the nerve to call other people misogynists???
 

Don't get me wrong, in the midst of all the varying stories about Linda Lovelace, there lurks the undeniable fact that she was physically abused, to an unknown extent. Make no mistake, Chuck Traynor was a grade-A scumbag. But why should porn take the blame for his douchebaggery? The porn industry is certainly not the only big business to treat its workers like meat. As far as I can see, porno offers a comparatively high rate of reward for a comparatively low level of work. Unlike other industries, a lifetime's employment in porn is not gonna lead to crippling back and joint pain from heavy manual labour. Nor do you find ex-pornstar's spending their twilight years frantically gasping for air into asbestos-filled lungs. No risk of Carpal tunnel syndrome, unless one specialises in handjob vids. The only potential damage is psychological. I'm supposed to care because getting fucked on camera for a bit of easy money might lead to self-esteem issues? You gotta be kidding me.

Fact is, life is a series of mistakes, some of which you learn from. We protect children from the harsh realities of life, because they're not yet equipped to handle the obstacles that life presents. When you're an adult, you're on your own. Expressing concern about the role of women in pornography is essentially saying that women should be treated like children. That women are too stupid to make their own life decisions, too weak to deal with their mistakes and too fragile to handle the consequences. There's no way around it. The porn industry is more honest and upfront about itself than any of those who oppose it.

 

The most loathsome thing about Lovelace's whole ordeal is the way that, without a shred of irony, the anti-porn feminist brigade objectified her, in a different manner than that which they accused the porn industry of doing, but no less dehumanising. Instead of viewing her as tits, ass and cunt, they used her as a symbol. She was their trump card. The misused piece of meat that proved all their cock-fearing speculation about the grunting, knuckle-dragging, woman-hating porn industry to be every bit as depraved and misogynistic as their wildest, most rape-filled dreams. She was no longer a woman. She was women. She was the face of an entire demographic. She was every female who'd ever been filmed getting filled with man-meat and later regretted it. They reeled her out in front of rallys, sociology lectures and government hearings. They quoted her in books. They put her name on placards. And, much like the porn industry, they gave her a small sliver of their profits, then left her to fend for herself. What a pack of hypocrites.

A human being is always objectified and condescended to whenever they're considered part of a demographic. Reduced to a gender or a race or a sexual preference or a career choice. So, to conclude, I'm gonna say that, as a person, as an individual, I like Linda Lovelace. I like her despite her hypocrisy in turning against the institution that made her a superstar. I like her unequivocally, because she stood tall in front of a judgemental world and proclaimed with a beaming smile that she gives a damn good blowjob, and that giving a good blowjob is something worth being proud of. In doing so, she irrevocably changed the psychic landscape of human sexuality, far more than Krafft-Ebing or Freud or Kinsey or any other high-falutin' academic could ever dream of. And she did a damn sight more for the sexual freedom of women than anyone who tried to use or control her. The fact that she also starred in a mildly entertaining dogfuck tape... well, that's just gravy.



Dog 1, in all its hi-definition glory