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Medium: Bijou porn

BY CAROLINE BERG | FEBRUARY 18, 2010 7:30 AM

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Watching porn has never been on my list of things to do before I die. However, when the UI put its foot down on the Bijou last week for its scheduled Disco Dolls in Hot Skin in 3-D, I was actually a wee bummed and a bit peeved.

I feel it was a poor decision to pull Disco Dolls out of the Bijou because the actual content of the porno parallels a night with The Rocky Horror Picture Show rather than a loner’s night at home watching hard-core adult content on the computer.

I talked to a couple graduate students in the cinema and comparative literature department who put a social-studies spin on the taboo film genre. Andrew Ritchey talked about the history of midnight movies and campy art house flicks such as Disco Dolls. David Harvey, who will teach a two-week segment on pornography in his gender and film-studies class, talked about porn’s significance to feminist theory.

Tom Rocklin, the interim vice president for Student Services, released a statement last week explaining his decision. “If showing the film were essential to an educational objective, the situation would be different. The intent in this case was to provide entertainment.”

The focus of any cinema is to provide entertainment. Moreover, the Bijou is not a virgin to showing pornographic films. In recent years, local residents could view Italian Stallion, starring Sylvester Stallone, and The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy in 3-D. Why and how has the situation all of a sudden changed?

Besides, has anyone on the opposing side seen this film?

Countless reviews online depict Disco Dolls as harmless, even sometimes verging on artsy. One online review of Disco Dolls described the cast as more tired than turned on. Even the soundtrack, the review said, is the caliber you would expect to overhear in the produce department at the grocery store.

University spokesman Tom Moore said he is aware that Disco Dolls is a cult classic, but the XXX rating is more important. He was also aware that Showgirls would play at the Bijou in its place. He spoke of no qualms about this film because the edited version is merely R-rated (for strong sexuality, nudity, language, a rape scene, and drug use).

Personally, Showgirls seems like one further step down on the totem pole of disgrace. Even the film’s poster is arguably as racy as the poster for Disco Dolls, if not more so.

An online review for the R-rated film describes every woman character as laughable sex objects and that the film’s nod to female empowerment “is a slap to the face of anyone who’s been paying attention.”

See the difference? One film is so awful it becomes mindlessly hilarious. The other is so awful it’s depressing.

I’m not suggesting students go buy an argyle sweater vest, comb their hair over, and spend the weekend dissecting adult films by the fireplace. I’m just saying appearances can be deceiving and labels such as “XXX” aren’t always cut and dried.


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