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The Porn King Versus the President (2004)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  1 November 2004 (UK)
6.4
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In 2000 George Bush Jr was voted into the White House thanks in part to the massive voting power of the evangelical religious right. In order to repay them for their support, Bush appointed... See full summary »

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Title: The Porn King Versus the President (TV Movie 2004)

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Cast

Credited cast:
John Ashcroft ...
Himself (archive footage)
Robert Black ...
Himself
Lizzy Borden ...
Herself
Rob Boston ...
Himself
Jim Bradford ...
Himself (as Pastor Jim Bradford)
Roberta Combs ...
Herself
...
Narrator
...
Himself (archive footage)
Dennis Hastert ...
Himself (archive footage)
Nicki Hunter ...
Herself (as Nikki Hunter)
Walter Jones ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jan LaRue ...
Herself
Barry Lynn ...
Himself
Julie Night ...
Herself
Mike Pence ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

In 2000 George Bush Jr was voted into the White House thanks in part to the massive voting power of the evangelical religious right. In order to repay them for their support, Bush appointed John Ashcroft in the role of Director General. With his opinions including anti-abortion in all cases, opposition to laws that protect ethnic minorities etc Ashcroft horrified liberals but cheered the religious right. One of Ashcroft's first targets was pornography and, in 2003, the FBI ordered four copies of porn films from the website of Extreme Associates. When the material crossed state lines it became a federal issue and Rob Black (owner of EA) was served with 9 indictments. With Ashcroft's job pretty much dependant on Bush returning to office in 2004, this documentary looks at Black's case and the increasing involvement of the religious right in American politics. Written by bob the moo

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1 November 2004 (UK)  »

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: A challenging and thought provoking documentary on free speech and the role of the evangelical right in American politics
4 December 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 2000 George Bush Jr was voted into the White House thanks in part to the massive voting power of the evangelical religious right. In order to repay them for their support, Bush appointed John Ashcroft in the role of Attorney General. With his opinions including anti-abortion in all cases, opposition to laws that protect ethnic minorities etc Ashcroft horrified liberals but cheered the religious right. One of Ashcroft's first targets was pornography and, in 2003, the FBI ordered four copies of porn films from the website of Extreme Associates. When the material crossed state lines it became a federal issue and Rob Black (owner of EA) was served with 9 indictments. With Ashcroft's job pretty much dependent on Bush returning to office in 2004, this documentary looks at Black's case and the increasing involvement of the religious right in American politics.

From the very start of this film, no bones are made about the content of Rob Black's films making it clear that women eat vomit and dog food, simulate rape and push the boundary of what is normally in porn (and hence sells cause it stands out from the crowd). Personally I watch pornography but I do not watch Extreme Associates stuff because I do think it pushes the bounds of decency but I accept that no one is doing anything they don't want to in the films; I do worry about the people who want to watch rape fantasies or people in masks of former presidents f**king each other but I chose not to watch it as a result, but I don't wish to prevent those seeing it who want to as long as they abide by the laws. However this film also looks at the other side where the evangelicals try to make their convictions into law.

The film's strongest point is just how balanced it is because it panders to neither side in the depiction and it really challenged my opinions. While I would like to just say that Free Speech applies to speech whether I like it or not, but when I watch a woman have her colon filled with water, drained into a glass then made to drink it, then engage in rough sex until the climax of her swallowing goldfish and vomiting them back up then I really find it hard to really justify my opinion. However at the same time to hear evangelicals talk about their very strict beliefs and demand that all Americans be legally forced to abide by their opinions is simply frightening. Looking at Black's case it is easy to see why his material was selected and his defence is based on the first amendment and the miller test on what is legally deemed to be offensive. If this case is won then it is likely that Black could go to jail for 50 years and the rest of the porn industry in America will be next on the hit list. As much as I don't like Black's material, you have to ask yourself where this would stop – what about violence and swearing in mainstream movies? Would the extremes in those eventually be on the hit list? At the same time it is worrying and mystifying to us in the UK to see God so much in politics. The current election (voting is happening as I write this) has played heavily on religion and this is very strange considering the UK generally tries to keep God out of politics – Alistair Campbell stepped in once to prevent Blair answering a question on religion with the words 'we don't do God', and Blair also being advised not to end a statement on the war with the words 'God bless us all'. The views put forward by the right here show how easily the country could slip to the other extreme and, having been to some religious states out there, it is frightening to see how much power they have. Out of extreme, violent porn and evangelists in the White House I would really struggle to decide which I would prefer (probably the former though).

Anyway, I don't mean to enter into discussion of this issue here because this is a review of the documentary itself and not a discussion piece. As can be seen from my rambling, this film works really well because it makes you think about a complex issues without ever really pushing its own agenda or pandering to one side of the case (although it is clear that the makers are concerned about the religious right). The people all make sense while also saying things that you disagree with at the same time. Black is a lively character with a big mouth. When I have seen him in other documentaries I have always respected him because he tells it like it is even to the point where he freely acknowledges the immorality of what he does. Here he managed to repulse me and win me over at the same time. It would have been easy to get some nutters to talk for the religious right but the film doesn't do that, getting a reasonable voice who still managed to frighten me with the extremes of his view – without even a hint of irony in there either!

Overall this is a great documentary. It presents the situation in a very balanced way to the point where I found myself disagreeing with the very opinions I assumed I had! The porn is presented in all its nasty glory while the religious right are given enough rope to hang themselves while experts pick apart the role of religion in politics and the worrying power they seem to wield. A thought-provoking and challenging film that deserves to be seen and, regardless of who wins tomorrow (or after a month of legal challenges!) is worth hunting out.


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