All Words: Jeff Jetton
All Photos: The Cobrasnake
It’s pornweek here at brightestyoungthings.com. You’ve got your feelings about it, we know. You might hate porn, you might LOVE porn, we don’t really give a shit. It’s out there, deal with it. We dropped by the 2011 Adult Entertainment Expo with our Keynesian caps on, hoping to get a barometer reading on the health of the smut sector.
There were no expectations upon arrival to the convention. We just figured it would be the South By South West of pornography. Just subtract the pretentious musicians and add naked men and women having sex on camera. What we found, though, is that the A.E.E. is a bit more like the ComicCon of pornography. Take a look at the photo below.
These are men (and women) who are rabid about their interests. Much like a collector loves his comic books, an attendees of the A.E.E. loves his porn. Again, study the picture, notice how the line of fans stretches back to the wall across the convention center, makes a 90 degree left turn back to another wall, a 180 degree turn and then stretches all the way to a third wall. It’s like a Tron Lightcycle trail of determined dirty movie watchers.
Conversations with the stars of these films are enlightening. Within an hour at the AEE, we had spoken with the giants of the industry. But where there is a supply schedule, there is too a demand schedule. Basic economic model of price determination in a market. You probably learned it in high school. Normally, you’d graphically depict the demand schedule as a downward sloping curve. However, we’ve chosen today a different sort of graphic representation: photos of the guys and gals who demand the supply of graphic images and videos. Follow us here.
Demand (you’re getting the picture now):
Apologies if this is remedial Economics, but we’re having fun with it. We’ve determined our demand schedule, now let’s begin to look at a supply schedule. Again, graphically represented, this time quite a bit more graphically, by photos rather than an upward sloping supply curve (we’ll skip the upward sloping curve jokes).
You’ve got it now. Demand and supply. Supply and demand. And this is what it looks like when they meet in your high school textbook…
…but THIS is what it looks like when demand meets supply in the real world.
Sometimes, though, there’s a 1/2 inch thick piece of curved glass acting as a barrier between supply and demand, and demand gets all creepy and presses it’s face up against that glass while trying to get a closer look at supply.
Well, friends, that’s because supply, in stated case, is some sort of uber-realistic fuck-doll made to the exact specifications of one’s favorite pornstar. That’s right, some enterprising chap has taken the actual girl of your dreams…
…and turned her into the latex lover of your reality. Is that a mindfuck or what?
Sorry, though, that was a little bit off-topic. We were talking about demand:
…and how in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium of price and quantity. And presumably, this equilibrium means that everybody is happy, both suppliers and demanders…
But here’s where shit gets weird. Ok, not weird like a faux-flashlight looking device called a Fleshlight that a male inserts his genitalia inside to simulate the stimulation of a female’s reproductive organ.
That’s a whole different atmosphere of shit getting weird. What we were referring to is demand meeting supply at an equilibrium of zero. Zilch. Goose egg. Nada. No dollars. Meaning, basically, that everything is available for free on the internet.
And don’t, for one second, think that hasn’t got the Fat Cats of San Fernando Valley quaking in their Cole Haan loafers.
As legendary pornstar Tom Byron mentioned in an earlier interview the proverbial (and kinda literal, too) cat is out of the bag. Why would someone pay for something that they’ve gotten for free?
Just like the music business, the ‘industry’ as it’s commonly known is having a bit of trouble with credible threats to the marketplace: an influx of cheaply made international porn, cheaply produced domestic amateur porn and finally the dreaded internet piracy. We heard whispers about something called ContentX technologies, some sort of breakthrough in the anti-piracy game, with a catch slogan of “turning piracy into profits”, but who knows. It’s hard to imagine the average consumer getting used to the fact that porn is anything more than the ‘free parking’ of the internet.
And yet, demand for porn remains strong, due to it’s relatively inelastic nature. You see, goods and services have price elasticity. An elastic good is one for which there is a substitute good; for example, as pen prices rise, the cross elasticity of demand would result in consumers buying more pencils instead. An inelastic good is one for which there are few or no substitutes, such as tickets to major sporting events or original works by famous artists. Or porn. As porn prices rise, consumers would have little or no substitutes for their masturbatory needs.
Just as the music industry struggles with convincing internet users that illegal file sharing and downloading is hurting everyone, so to the porn industry must convince consumers that illegal downloading and internet piracy is also hurting the entire market. As profits decrease, fewer producers will be willing to expend capital to make the goods, leading to decreased supply and a general decrease in quality.
And that, readers, is bad for everyone. Now, who needs a drink?