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Inside%20Deep%20Throat%20Box%20Art%20FrontWatching the documentary Inside Deep Throat  got me thinking: would pornography be as big as it is today had it not been made so taboo by the U.S. government, or would it have died the same natural death all rebellions do when they are no longer rebelling against anything?

Inside Deep Throat tries to recreate the environment into which the “most profitable movie of all time” was made, and enlighten us on its lasting impact. Or it just wanted to catch viewership with its eye-catching subject matter, but I digress. That is for the opinion section, right?

I had never known what the movie Deep Throat was about, or I should say I didn’t know what the plot was. Everyone knows what the movie is about. As far as plots go, this one was what I would, in my limited experience, think a standard pornography plot would be: something that leads to sex relatively quickly with very little effort necessary on the part of the actors or the audience to keep up. The plot of this one…how can I describe it nicely?…this woman has arguably the most important center of female pleasure in the wrong spot: it is down her throat. Of course, this means in order to orgasm, she has to…reach deep inside herself (oh boy, this is getting to be a sticky wicket..let’s move back to the documentary).

I like documentaries. They usually answer all of the why’s and wherefores, spend a lot of time recreating the scene and the climate as if I am right there when the bomb hit, so to speak. The most fascinating thing about this style is usually the technique: bringing history or issues to life in ways that the masses will care about requires a lot of skill. Apparently it requires slightly less skill when you are chronicling a porno.

Let’s be clear: this was not a good porno by anyone’s measurement. Even the director said it was horrible. So why did it make so much money? The far right went after this piece of rebellion with every branch of the U.S. government.

This is the interesting conflict at the heart of the documentary. How far will people go to protect their rights? Does it even matter what you are fighting for the right to be able to do? At one point, a reporter asks the film’s star, Linda Lovelace, what she felt about all the scandal. She basically said people had the right to do what they wanted. He asked her how far could personal freedom be taken before it degenerated into anarachy. “I don’t know what that means,” she said. “I just know people have the right to be free and everyone should be able to do what they want.”

People agreed. Celebrities defended Harry Reems because they didn’t want to open the door to the possibility they could be tried in court for a character they would portray in a movie someday. This is America; we have the right to decide what we want to see and what we think of as art. How can you prosecute an artist, take away an individual’s rights simply because you don’t agree with what he chooses to do?

Of course, the creators wanted to distance themselves from the pornography of today. They claim what they were doing was art for rebellion’s sake. It wasn’t about the money; it was about the freedom. It was hard for unproven directors to break into Hollywood so many directed porns, and etc. The reason this documentary ultimately fails is because none of the controversial talk of freedom, of art, none of the delineation between the porn they made and the porn of today was conveyed in such a way that I felt like I was there. I couldn’t imagine a time in which any idiot with a camera couldn’t make a legitimate film. I can’t imagine people having sex on camera for rebellion, as part of the sexual revolution. It’s hard for me to imagine that the gist of Deep Throat,  rather than being about a male fantasy that women must get off on an act that is all about their pleasure, is really to highlight a woman’s right to sexual satisfaction and is in fact very feminist and liberating. The only thing that rang true was their utter bewilderment when the women who supported and saw the film turned on them and fled to the women’s movement. “These were our partners in the sexual revolution, and now their against us?” I don’t know how it happened either, because the documentary never told me.

The documentary spent so much time on the salaciousness of the subject of the movie, the rea impact and the bigger issues were lost, even with all the experts like Erica Jong, and comic relief from Dick Cavett, who pointed out that what was then such an unspeakable act, kids now don’t think counts as having had sex.

I wanted to understand what was going on in America at that time to make a horribly made porn with a shoddy plot line New York Times worthy, why someone almost when to prison, why the star later claimed that every time you watch Deep Throat, you are seeing her being raped. I know these things now, on the surface. But I know nothing about how we got from there to our sex saturated culture. But I digress. Maybe that wasn’t their job to tell me. Maybe I needed to watch another documentary to know that. I will sometime.

For all I did learn, I will give this movie:

***/ B

But I’m still disappointed.