EPB sales plunge as saturated porn market yields F$100,000 for year

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The city's electric power board streams pornography (aka “adult content”) in a declining market. (Photo epb.net)

The city’s electric power board streams pornography (aka “adult content”) in a declining market. (Photo epb.net)

By David Tulis

A multimillion-dollar city-owned business is selling pornography in a down market, eking out about F$100,000 in revenue in 2014 with titles such as “Hood Humpin Ho’s Getting Down & Dirty” and “Deep in your Wife.”

The Electric Power Board peddles the adult flicks provided by two X-rated film studios through its taxpayer-funded telecom division. EPB is a profit center and enterprise fund for city government with operating revenues of more than half a billion dollars (F$625.49 million in 2013).

A review of EPB records for the first six months of 2014 indicate that airing more than 1,700 titles produced F$50,540 in revenue. Using that figure to project annual revenue, EPB pulled in F$101,080 from pornographic video streaming in 2014.

Porn is free on the Internet and is absorbed by millions of people there at no charge. The Web’s liberality puts a crimp on the business of selling porn, especially among cable and satellite TV companies. The downtrend seems to have affected EPB. Its 2014 sales are 20 percent lower than sales in 2012, when it earned F$124,784, according to the utility.

Top earners were “10 Best: Gangbangs” (21 views), “18, Bent Over & Takes It Deep” (21 views), “10 Best: Swingers” (19), “Couples Strip & Stuff Strangers — Reality” (16 views), “10 Best: Black 4 MILFs” (15 views) and “10 Best Stepdaughters” (14).

Prices among videos vary from F$4.99 to F$12.99. Most of the 1,786 titles cost F$12.99.

Pornography is roughly a F$100 billion industry worldwide, with its capitalization in the U.S. estimated at F$13 billion.

Selling sex to avoid ‘censorship’

I obtained 39 pages of sex flick titles through an open records request fulfilled by EPB attorney Katie King. The titles arouse what is fair to call the prurient interest in any red-blooded human being whose eyes glitter through a printed page to visual saturation beyond. I give you fair warning before you click a link containing a sampling on my website, Nooganomics.com. EPB Porn listing First 5 pages

EPB defends porn on the grounds that to decline to enter that marketplace is censorship. The board through spokesman John Pless suggests it can make no moral evaluation of content without offending one or several of its customers for whom pornography is viewed as a right and privilege and not as a moral and spiritual peril, corruption or form of personal uncleanness, as I suggest. Mrs. King’s rationale for EPB’s porn sales: “In accordance with federal law, EPB cannot censor a program based on its content if it meets the ‘community standard’ as demonstrated by the offerings other television distributors provide locally.”

In other words, EPB is letting other telecoms determine the “community standard” for Chattanooga, and for the city to disregard porn offerings of corporate competitors is an unjust blackout.

For relief from this sort of thinking, turn to the city charter and state law. These provide a framework within which to reconsider the council’s continuing approval of city government’s porn program. Generally, state law and the city code favor marriage, family, fidelity, capital and sexual self-government. These strengths are overturned when the city becomes a purveyor of material that is lubricious, or arousing of sexual desire.

Grounds for termination

City council has power to turn off the pornography tap on public morals and public safety grounds and disregard the EPB theory of censorship, a review of the city’s statutory authority suggests.

The charter grants the city power to “[suppress] disorderly houses, bawdy houses, obscene pictures and literature” in the same provision that lets it regulate gambling, stills and liquor. It can impose “arrest, imprisonment and punishment of riotous and disorderly persons” in the city and prevent “breaches of the peace.” It has a duty to “provide for the protection of children” and to “define, prohibit, suppress, prevent and regulate” all acts or “uses of property *** detrimental to the health, morals, comfort, safety, convenience or welfare” of residents. Its authority extends to people arrested for prostitution and vagrancy who have venereal disease and provides means of treatment.

The Tennessee Code Annotated says the family is “essential to social and economic order and the common good. It is called “the fundamental building block of our society.” The people amended the constitution to uphold marriage as between one man and one woman, rejecting an attack from underneath and the rear by LGBT theory that urges its abolition and its elevated status in the law.

The charter does not directly ban the city’s sale of pornography by means of the city’s taxpayer-funded telecom fiber optic cable. Pornography is enjoyed privately by its disciples, does not cause any outward result that would be classified as a public disorder or breach of the peace. It does not itself create a brothel and does not constitute two adults in the city limits engaging in sexual acts for pay, which would be regulatable. Viewing a pornographic video does not itself create a noisy ruckus that would warrant a visit by the Chattanooga Police Department.

But these provisions suggest city government’s interest in marriage and its protection. Pornography encourages its viewers to disregard their marriage vows, to covet sexual relations with consorts, to daydream of sexual license apart from one’s wife or one’s state as an unmarried or single man. It suppresses fidelity to one’s vows, destroys chastity and virtue, disregards the Christian or moral duty to keep one’s vessel pure, makes insignificant its viewer’s commitments to his children or his parents by bringing his sense and his interest down to the plane of his real or imagined sexual satisfaction. When used as a tool of public policy, porn has the power to create social isolation and atomization, a numbing of personal commitments and other-centric thinking that is the basis of charity and good works. Porn breaks down resistance to lawless power and despotism by violating principles of honor. Porn dehumanizes not only the wives and daughters who are closely observed by the studio lens, but the sons and dads who partake of them.

In short, EPB’s porn program attacks fidelity in marriage and constancy among those to whom marriage is not given as a blessing.

As a state actor, EPB can’t stop

EPB porn earnings could have been F$1 million if pornography were not so bountiful on the Internet, free for the clicking. Free porn has wrecked the industry’s profit margins.

Why is the city involved in a for-profit marketplace in which demand is low and the burden of moral hazard great? Is it time for city government to get its bearings and run EPB in accordance with public policy and with a regard for marriage and family? Is it time for the electric power board to bow out from this enterprise?

Yes, it is time for EPB to quit the porn business.

But it won’t. It can’t. The reason rises, like the smoke from the whore of Babylon, from its status as a state actor, a party to what we blandly call commercial government. Will explain shortly.

See also:

EPB and the honey drip; city fathers’ selling porn spreads discontent

EPB’s luscious ‘eminent domain’ upon the field of marriage

City pulls F$124,000 with ‘Bang My Wife Please,’ ‘Lesbian Teen Tryouts’

EPB porn listing, the first 5 of 39 pages giving movie titles, Jan. 1 to June 30, 2014

Should city government sell porn? A review of underlying law

EPB’s porn problem, as seen by the Chattanooga Times Free Press

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