MA: Based on one of our previous conversations, I gather you had quite an experience at UNCA. Could you tell us the name of the event you attended and give us a little background information?
MR: Indeed it was an experience. It was a film called "Masters of the Pillow", produced by a professor of Asian-American studies out at U.C. Davis named Darrel Hamamoto. I learned of the event after I had dropped my daughter off for swim practice at UNCA one afternoon. I looked down on the sidewalk and saw a promotional pamphlet for the film. On the front was a photograph of an Asian couple having sex with a shot of Dr. Hamamoto lecturing behind them in front of a chalkboard. The pamphlet described the basic premise of the film, which was that Dr. Hamamoto felt Asian-American men had become emasculated by popular American culture, and that this project of his was supposed to somehow change that.
Anyway, I decided right then that as a taxpayer and as a parent of a soon-to-be college kid I needed to see this film.
MA: Well, that is an interesting thesis. But, first off, the administrators at UNCA must know that there are occasions when children below 18 will be visiting campus. It would seem that the administration would have the common sense to think twice about floating those pamphlets around campus.
I also want to make sure that I understand the thesis of the film and the professor?s work. He sees the lack of Asians in porn films as problematic? What is he saying? Does he think that white racism is keeping them out of the industry?
MR: Yes, apparently he views the American porn industry as racist, in that it has historically excluded Asian-American men. But Asian-American women have been adequately represented by his account. The pamphlet I found on the sidewalk indicated that this serious exclusion had produced a psychological problem--their emasculation, of sorts. He intended to rectify this situation with his project, which was to film an explicit sexual encounter between an Asian-American male, whom he had recruited, and an Asian-American female porn star. As I say, the whole premise was so unbelievable it almost seemed funny - except for the very excited and motivated crowd of college students who showed up for the production. They thought it was serious business, right down to the fellow two rows in front of me who took off his clothes halfway through the film while sitting next to his girlfriend.
MA: I think there are two troubling aspects here. First of all, you are probably aware that the educational attainment of Asians is very high in this country. I?m sure you are also aware that the Asian crime rate is very low - as is the Asian illegitimacy rate. That is due largely to the strength of Asian families. I would hardly expect an intelligent person to seek to revolutionize Asian American culture by pushing men into the porn industry and promoting promiscuity.
Instead, an intelligent person would seek to drive the involvement of Asian women in the porn industry down to the already low level of Asian men. Given what we now know about the child prostitution industry in certain Asian countries ? which targets young Asian girls - it seems that this professor from California has everything completely backwards.
The other disturbing aspect of the situation is that any type of porn film was shown to students on campus, regardless of the ?social message? behind it. UNC campuses are always pushing this idea that ?offensive speech? cannot be tolerated on campus. Sometimes Republican groups are prevented from getting funding because they are ?too political? or their speakers are ?too controversial.? And now we see the UNC system showing taxpayer-funded porn movies with people engaging in live sex acts.
Am I overstating the case, here?
MR: Not at all. The whole thing turned out to be even more troubling than I expected. There was graphic nudity. There were also very detailed depictions of sex in several variations. But the ironic aspect of the film was the way in which the staged sex was politicized by the angry professor. I thought this actually rendered it shameful in a different but equally tragic way when compared with ?normal? street-variety pornography. It was like in your face Asian-American sex, with an attitude. It was rather sad.
MA: Not to mention stupid, too.
MR: Yes. It was just a disturbing milieu, especially for kids, many of whom clearly had to be struggling with their own ideas of sexual identity. It was disturbing knowing that, as a taxpayer, I had helped fund it. And it was even more disturbing knowing that, in a few years, my child might be in that audience.
MA: Well, as a taxpayer and parent of a child considering the UNC system, did you ever contact the administration?
MR: Yes, in fact, I did two things as a result of my attending the show: I wrote the vice-chancellor for student academic affairs, Mark Padilla ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), with a list of questions I had about the film. I received only a "no comment". And, being a biweekly editorial writer for the Asheville Citizen-Times, I penned my next column on my experience. That column was blackballed at the last minute by the editor of the AC-T.
MA: Well, I think we all need to write to UNC President Molly Broad ( email@example.com ) and start demanding some answers. I am embarrassed and sorry this all happened, Mark. I can promise that the story is not dead yet.
Mike S. Adams ( www.DrAdams.org ) can still remember the time that UNC feminists prevented the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders from coming to campus. The feminists, who were offended (read: threatened) by the cheerleaders did not, however, consider filming them in live sex acts with Asian football players. That would have changed everything in the eyes of diversity proponents.
Mark Ruscoe likes to blog in his pajamas at ( www.theculturewasteland.com ).
Darrel Hamamoto teaches in California. That really says it all.