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If Black wins, and San Francisco cracks down on obscenity, will that make us classier?
Or will it mean true decorum dies, because there's no longer anything to compare it to?
"The elimination of swearing would have a negligible effect on the tone of public discourse in the city one can be quite effectively rude without access to a few words," Grace writes in a gracious e-mail. "If a bit of cursing prevents shoving matches at City Hall, then I'm all for it."
Alan Black has a personal stake in this issue, given that his Edinburgh Castle bar, site of February's Swearing Festival, sits in the Tenderloin portion of District 6.
"I think that cussing in public for politicians, it increases at least the humor or excitement around them for a brief second. It pricks people's ears up, they pay attention for longer. They remember it. Who can really remember a politician's speeches? But you can certainly remember when they say "fuck," notes Alan Black.
Rob Black, the supervisor candidate, claims the idea that he'll ban obscenity in District 6 stems from a misunderstanding.
For one thing, Randlett, a professional operative who stands to make money off the perception that his actions sway important political events, got the story wrong on Rob Black's initiation into politics.
It's just not true that Black began talking to people about the idea of facing Daly in the District 6 race last summer, back when Randlett was doing his best to make an issue of Daly's swearing.
It wasn't until this spring when "I talked with the mayor. And I talked with Wade and other stakeholders," Black says.
More to the point, Black says, he isn't out to ban swearing or obscenity in San Francisco. Black merely wishes to make a campaign issue of Chris Daly's coarse style of politics.
"To me, swearing is not the issue. I'm not going to try to outlaw particular words. I don't think that's appropriate. The issue is trying to intimidate people either physically or verbally," Black says.
Fine then. Let's hear you swear.
"Hell yeah," Black says.
"I do swear. But I try to ... " Black says.
Let's hear you swear for real.
"I'm just trying to understand what we're doing here," Black says.
You claim you're not anti-swearing. Prove it.
"Shit. Damn. Hell," Black says, sportingly, which leaves one more matter to attend to.
By campaigning on a platform of decorum, under the name "Rob Black," Black the candidate for supervisor stands to undermine the efforts of porn entrepreneur Rob Zicari, who performs under the name "Rob Black," and has made extreme pornography a free-speech issue.
This stance has subjected Zicari/Black to the most important federal obscenity prosecution of the past 10 years, thanks to a dare Zicari/Black made to prosecutors in a 2002 PBS Frontline episode.
The idea seemed to be that the First Amendment would protect Zicari/Black, owner of Extreme Associates, which serves customers with a fetish for the grotesque, such as watching people swallow booger and semen cocktails. A federal appeals court recently ordered that Van NuysÐbased Zicari/Black stand trial for violating federal obscenity laws when he produced movies such as Ass Clowns 3 and 1001 Ways to Eat My Jizz.
So just as Rob "Black" Zicari faces prison in defense of obscenity, a milquetoast politico dilutes the raunchy Rob Black name with a decorum platform.
"I would love to hear a debate between the two Blacks," says Social Grace. "I wonder if the local Black would be able to refrain from swears in that situation."
Multiple e-mails and phone calls to a dozen or so Zicari-related phone numbers and addresses didn't manage to roust the great man.
So I challenged our local Rob Black to the next best thing: If you're not a prude, prove it by watching a "Rob Black" film.
It turns out San Francisco's Black knew all about Extreme Associates.
"They have titles like Asses of Goop and all kinds of stuff," San Francisco's Rob Black notes.
Even more horrifyingly, he says: "If you want to watch one with me, I would view it as an honor."
Having spent the afternoon shopping at porn stores, buying pretzels, popcorn, beer, and what must be the least offensive Extreme Associates title in existence, I find myself in the SF Weekly conference room watching Violence on Violence in the VCR, while Rob Black whoops as his namesake cowers before giantess Bass, while she gives Black swats, headlocks, and razor cuts.
"When I would watch this stuff as a kid on TBS or whatever it was, they would always get cut, and get all bloody or whatever," Black says, loud enough so I can hear him above the other Black's recorded moans. "It was great."
After 10 or so minutes of watching Bass and Zicari/Black move about the hotel room, I begin mentioning the possibility we turn it off, a suggestion San Francisco's Rob Black brushes off until I insist.
Hoping to pull ahead in the final stretch, I take out a notepad and ask San Francisco's Black how it feels to see Rob Black get the pretend shit beat out of him by a steroid-enhanced giantess.