By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Whither Debbie Does Dallas?
Manufacturers and distributors of adult video tapes are threatening to pass up the Video Software Dealers Association national convention in Dallas this May. The convention will fill the Dallas Convention Center, welcome 14,000 participants, and, according to organizers, pump as much as $15 million into the local economy.
But somewhere, the adult video distributors got the idea that they might not be welcome in Dallas. According to a trade publication, Adult Video News, the adult dealers are wary of Dallas' "censorious nature." A recent issue of AVN notes that owners of two video companies have been convicted of federal obscenity charges in Dallas and adult bookstores "are constantly being busted under nuisance laws."
VSDA president Jeffrey Eves has been assuring adult video distributors that they will have no such problems, explaining that he has gotten guarantees from Dallas officials that no one at the convention--which is open to members of the industry only--will be hassled: "We have been assured that the adult people will be left alone."
VSDA spokesman Bob Finlayson says that adult video producers represent only about 5 percent of the 3,700 VSDA members who produce and distribute all manner of video technology on subjects ranging from clean Christian living to holistic health to romping naked people.
Finlayson says the VSDA supports the adult video members' right to be at the convention. "We are strong proponents of the First Amendment--that people have a right to make a choice. Once you start down that road to deciding what people should see--there's no end."
While other media turned to legal and criminal experts, the S-T, as Buzz has previously reported, staked out new journalistic territory by gathering a group of Tarrant County citizens--with no special qualifications whatsoever beyond an astounding amount of free time--at the Arlington office to watch the entire trial.
But on February 16, members of the group came close to fisticuffs after someone's head blocked another's view of the television. In the resulting clash, the group briefly discussed whether one panelist had called another panelist "stupid" or a "dumb broad." Someone else (exactly who did or said what is unknown because the S-T, in reporting the predictable deterioration of this idea from the idiotic to the ridiculous, has suddenly refrained from printing panelists' names) was told to "shut up." Another panelist was described as acting like a "butt." The resulting fracas required the intervention of yet another panelist, who put one of the combatants in a bear hug, saying "I've had easier times breaking up fights at hockey games."
A failed attempt to patch things up, chronicled (incredibly) on the front page of the paper's Arlington edition, left Arlington bureau editor Jim Witt (who dreamed up the shadow jury in the first place) contemplating whether to pull the plug on the entire project, which would leave us with only the real O.J. Simpson trial for amusement.
Say it ain't so, Jim.
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