Jun 102008

>Conservative media watch-groups and religious political extremists are already hard at work trying to get Swingtown pulled from the air. While we don’t necessarily like to send them traffic, from the America Family Association there’s this and from the Parents Television Council we have this little gem.

To counter the form letter complaints that are right now making their way into the FCC folders of various local CBS affiliates, now would be a good time to send a brief note of your support of the show. As a former programming director for a small-town station in a largely conservative market, we can assure you that your positive input will be most welcome!

See below for the how-to particulars and feel free to spread this info widely:

NCSF Entertainment Media Update for “Swingtown”

Show Title: Swingtown
Episode Title: “Pilot”
Original airdate: June 5, 2008
Series continues: Thursday, 10 pm
Network: CBS
Produced by: CBS Paramount Television
Executive Producers: Michael Kelley, Allen Poul and Carol Barbee

From the program’s website – “SWINGTOWN, from the director of ‘Big Love’ and ‘Rome,’ traces two generations of friends and neighbors as they forge intimate connections and explore new freedoms during the culturally transformative decade of the 1970s. It portrays the ever-shifting “swing” of the pendulum that reflected the change in America’s collective value system — morally, politically and socially. After moving to an upscale lakeside Chicago suburb in July of 1976, Susan and Bruce Miller must confront temptation in the form of their provocative new neighbors, Tom and Trina Decker, while not abandoning their old friends Janet and Roger Thompson. As the adult couples evaluate whether to embrace or avoid newfound personal freedoms, the curious Miller and Thompson children begin to discover and assert their own morality and sexual identities as they come of age in a world on the precipice of change. In a shifting social climate — defined by its music, fashion and style — everyone in SWINGTOWN is confronted with personal choices, experimentation and varying attitudes.”

More info, including clips and the most recent episode of the show, can be found at:

NCSF Reviewer’s Note:
Originally intended for a cable network outlet, “Swingtown” has obviously been retooled to meet broadcast standards and withstand certain scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Nonetheless, while it shies away from nudity and direct depictions, the show still manages to take a refreshingly positive approach to sexual exploration and freedom. The most adventurous couple of the three featured, the Deckers, is presented as sharing a mutual enjoyment of their open marriage and seem to have a healthy, affectionate relationship. Similarly the Millers, introduced to the swing lifestyle in the first episode, are shown to be in love, but just seeking a little something to rev up their sex life.

It’s a little difficult to predict where the series will go over the course of its initial 13-episode run, but given how quickly the Millers jump into the action – counter to what most swingers themselves would counsel – there are sure to be complications ahead. While there are likely some consequences to be faced down the line, hopefully the show will maintain the sex-positive tone it exhibited in its premiere episode.

In light of complaints already being registered from media watch groups and religious political extremists, the CBS network and its local affiliates deserve commendation for airing “Swingtown” and should be encouraged to continue its broadcast. (Reviewed by Lisa Vandever, NCSF Media Committee)


Find your station here:

(Hard copy letters are generally more effective, but sending an email is better than nothing.)


CBS Television Network
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

(While hard copy letters are generally more effective, you can also send a direct email to the network via a form on their website – http://www.cbs.com/info/user_services/fb_global_form.shtml.)

(requires email registration)

Viewer letters are an effective way to convey a positive image of alternate sexual practices such as SM, swinging or polyamory. Your feedback can help to correct negative social myths and misconceptions about these types of practices, and may influence the future decisions of programmers and producers about the entertainment they provide. These letters help achieve the advocacy goals of the NCSF.

For more information and suggestions of points to include in your letter, see:

Please alert us to positive, negative or neutral stories about SM, swinging and polyamory at media@ncsfreedom.org

A joint Project of NCSF and ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a national organization committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression. NCSF is primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the SM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, who often face discrimination because of their sexual expression.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707

Sep 052007

>Apparently, we’ve had our head in the sand about the pending deadline to submit comments on proposed federal regulations effecting the production and distribution of sexually explicit content. That pending deadline is now very pending, as in Monday, September 10th.

In a nutshell, obstensibly intended to prevent the use of underage performers in adult entertainment, 2257 regulations have been on the books since 1988 and in effect since 1995. To comply with the regulations, producers are required to complete a records keeping compliance form for every model/performer who appears in any work, ie photo, film, video, including depictions of “actual sexually explicit conduct.” This form asks for all kinds of personal information, including the performer’s legal name, date of birth, any and all stage, webhandles(?!?) or pseudonyms used, and it asks for personal ID numbers, along with an attached photocopy of the performer’s ID. These records are to be kept on file by the producer, cross-referenced so that they are easily retrievable by performer name and/or title of the work, and readily available for inspection by the attorney general or “his or her designees.”

Recent amendments to 2257, which were proposed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush on July 27, 2006, expand these regulations to:

* Cover a new class of so-called “secondary producers,” meaning anyone…
(ii) digitizing an image, of a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct; or, assembling, manufacturing, publishing, duplicating, reproducing, or reissuing a book, magazine, periodical, film, videotape, digital image, or picture, or other matter intended for commercial distribution, that contains a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct; or ‘‘(iii) inserting on a computer site or service a digital image of, or otherwise managing the sexually explicit content, of a computer site or service that contains a visual depiction of, sexually explicit conduct.

Sound like anyone you know? Probably closest to home, this will apply to websites, many of which you possibly visit on a daily basis, including, as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force recently pointed out, adult social networking sites such as Gay.com, AdultFriendFinder, Bondage.com and SwingLifestyles. Anyone who is a “secondary producer” will now need to have copies of the 2257 record for each and every model/performer depicted and keep those readily available for inspection, as above. That’s alot of forms.

* Cover simulated sexual conduct in addition to actual sexual conduct. While there is apparently some provision for a safe harbor that might protect mainstream (aka non-adult) entertainment producers from the regulations, that provision is yet to be defined. And whether the largesse will extend behind the coffers of big-business Hollywood to embrace independent producers will also need to be seen. And aside from all that, what precisely equates simulated sex?

* Lump in the “lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person” as a new, fifth type of regulated depiction. You can probably guess where we’re going with this, but in whose eyes is something determined to be lascivious? In case you’re wondering, the regulated depictions already covered are “sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; bestiality; masturbation; sadistic or masochistic abuse” (In case you’re wondering, as we certainly were, what the hell is “sadistic or masochistic abuse?” – and for the switches among us, shouldn’t it be and/or – it’s another one of those terms that could mean nearly anything. For instance, a recent Google search turned up a city code with this definition: “…flagellation or torture by or upon a person clad in undergarments, in a revealing costume, a mask or bizarre costume, or the condition of being fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained on the part of one so clothed.)

Overall, a burdensome series of hoops that will do little to nothing to protect children and serve only to chill the open expression of sexuality. (We’re certainly feeling chilled!)

So, bottom line?
If you’re a producer, secondary producer and/or consumer of any depictions of sexually explicit conduct, actual or simulated, produced for the adult entertainment world or not – and/or you’re a supporter of full sexual expression for all – submit your comments protesting these regulations by Monday, September 10th.

Address your statements to: Admin.ceos@usdoj.gov .

IMPORTANT : Be sure to include the following in your email subject line: (Section 2257 Docket No. CRM 104).

For some samples of what you might write:

From the Gay Lesbian Task Force a letter focused largely on the rules’ effect on adult-social networking sites

From the Free Speech Coalition, some guidelines on submitting comments that relate to the rules’ effect on the adult industry, including economic impact; look also for the 2257 FAQ talking points available for download at the bottom of the page.

From the Pro-Porn Activism Blog, letters – main body and comments – from a pro-porn, free speech perspective

Whichever works best for you, just make sure it’s in by next Monday, September 10th!

(Oh, yeah. Please note that we are not an attorney and none of the above should be construed as anything resembling legal advice.)