A Creative Way To Market In-Room Porn: No Malware! No Spyware! No Viruses!

The pretty young woman in a miniskirt on my TV screen had an interesting sales pitch that caught my attention.

“Access your in-room adult movie selections,” she purred. “Where there’s no spyware, no malware and no viruses!”

Here, on my television screen at an inn in Oregon, was proof positive that purveyors of in-room hotel porn are getting desperate. Given the choice between accessing porn for free on their computers or paying through the nose for it on pay-per-view, most randy hotel patrons are voting with their pocketbooks.

Indeed, LodgeNet, one of the companies that provides in-room entertainment options to a variety of major hotel chains, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year; and, according to The New York Times, some of their competitors are also struggling. Meanwhile, some hotel chains, like Omni and Marriott, have gotten rid of in-room porn altogether.An industry expert cited by NBC News estimated that adult movies comprise 85 percent of the in-room entertainment revenues hotels collect, so the option to either market in-room porn more effectively or declare defeat and stake out the high moral ground, like Omni and Marriott, is clear.

I’m way too frugal to buy in-room movies, adult or otherwise, when I travel. If I want to watch a movie, I’ll stream something on Netflix, but that can be frustrating if the hotel has sketchy Wi-Fi. A story in the Times a few weeks ago speculated that hotels may move toward offering free low-speed Internet (thought it obviously won’t be called that) that will allow guests to send and receive e-mail but charge them for higher bandwidth access that will allow them to stream videos. One way or another, hotels will find a way to make money off of the guest’s desire to be entertained while on their premises.

What I would like from my in-room TV is the following: TV! When I hit the power button on the remote, I’m doing so because I want to watch TV. You know, the stuff that appears on the screen for free. But at many hotel chains, the default setting is the pay-per-view system and you have to figure out how to navigate out of it without accidentally authorizing something you’ll have to pay for. Often times, you just need to hit the channel up button, but sometimes you have to use the arrow buttons to navigate to the normal channel lineup. It’s not rocket science, but it is annoying.

Some hotels don’t have a pay-per-view system on default but they bring you directly to the hotel channel, which is normally used to tell you all about their overpriced steaks and massages and what not. I’d rather watch an infomercial for the Ab Lounge, thank you very much.

When I encountered the sultry vixen who promised me some adult fun with no spyware, malware or viruses, I was actually trying to find some cartoons for my kids. Really, I swear.

Vintage Nude Photos On Display In Berlin’s Photography Museum

The Museum of Photography in Berlin has just opened an exhibition of nude photos from the turn of the last century.

“The Naked Truth and More Besides Nude Photography around 1900” brings together hundreds of nude photos from an era we normally associate with old-fashioned prudery. In fact, nude photos were incredibly popular at that time. They had existed since the earliest days of the medium, and by the 1880s it was getting much cheaper to reproduce photographs. This led to a boom in the distribution of all photos, nudes included.

Soon nudity could be seen in magazines, advertising, postcards, collectible cards found in cigarette packs and large-format posters. The exhibition looks at a range of different styles and purposes of nudes, ranging from artistic studies to the blatantly pornographic. Rural images and scenes from Classical myths were also popular, as were photos of the nudist movement, which was seeing its first wave of popularity at this time.

%Gallery-187444%The explosion in nudes led to society questioning their traditional assumptions. The marks that corsets left on the flesh made some question whether they should be worn. Homoerotica became more widespread and the first homoerotic magazine, Der Eigene, started in 1896 and published many male nudes.

People who wanted to buy or sell nude photos had to skirt the law. By dubbing the images “for artistic purposes only,” they could claim their interest wasn’t prurient, a bit like how head shops nowadays label bongs “for tobacco use only.” The police did make frequent busts, and one of the largest collections of nude photos from this era is housed at the Police Museum of Lower Saxony, which supplied many of the more risqué photos for this exhibition.

Then as now, there was a continuous debate over what was or was not obscene. Simple nudes were generally considered acceptable, especially if they were artistic studies or images of “primitive” peoples. Surprisingly, images of nude children were also more acceptable than today since they were considered images of innocence. While some child nudes are on display at the museum, none appear in this article.

“The Naked Truth and More Besides Nude Photography around 1900” runs until August 25.

[Photo copyright Heinrich Kühn, copyright Estate of the Artist / Galerie Kicken Berlin]

Naughty Roman Frescoes Uncovered In Colosseum

Archaeologists working on a conservation project at the Colosseum in Rome have discovered ancient frescoes of gladiators and erotic scenes, Agence France Press reports.

The brightly colored fragments were found on the walls of a corridor currently closed to the public for restoration. The scenes show gladiators being honored with laurels. There are also erotic scenes, although the researchers didn’t go into detail about what they showed.

The popularity of erotic art in the Roman Empire has led to the perception that it was a permissive society. Actually that was only half true. Many Romans were straight-laced and sexually conservative. A good parallel is the modern United States, where a large number of people frown on public displays of nudity or sexuality, while on the other hand Americans produce and consume vast amounts of pornography. Often these are the same Americans. A 2009 study found Utah has the highest per capita consumption of online porn.

Archaeologists are still working on uncovering the delicate pictures and hope to have them preserved and on view to the public by 2014.

Ancient, Renaissance, and early modern graffiti was also found, raising the question of how old graffiti has to be before it stops being vandalism and starts being of historic interest.

The Colosseum has been quickly decaying in recent years, with bits falling off and archaeologists discovering that the building is beginning to lean.

[Image of gladiator fresco from the Roman amphitheater in Mérida, Spain courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Why your state sucks: the depressing but true map of America

The folks over at Pleated Jeans have come up with a funny yet painful new map of America. It doesn’t show our cities or rivers or mountains, it shows our flaws. As you can see, each state is singled out for what they’re worst at. Maps reveal a lot about the territory they cover, and this one shows more than some people may want to see.

I’ve lived in three different states and I have to say that I wasn’t too surprised by the results. New York has the longest daily commute? My job there certainly had the longest commute I’ve ever had to do. Arizona has the highest rate of alcoholism? There was a bar near my house that served $1 pitchers of beer. Missouri being ranked highest in bankruptcy didn’t come as much of a shock either, although I would have guessed somewhere in the Deep South.

I also wasn’t surprised at Utah having the highest rate of online porn subscriptions. Harvard economics professor Benjamin Edelman, whose study came to this conclusion, noted, “Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality.” Ah, the good old religious double standard!

In Washington state, they don’t need online porn because they’re humping animals at a higher rate than anyone. The source for this has a very small sample size, so maybe Alaskans are better at keeping their huskies quiet and Texans take their steers far out on the range.

Do you agree with the assessment of your own state? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

Australian customs pushes foreigners on porn

Tourists and business travelers are getting annoyed with the Australian government. Hey, nobody likes airport security and customs employees in any country, but this time, the Aussies have just gone too far. In an attempt to pacify fundamentalist Christians in the country, the authorities decided to target porn.

And hilarity ensued.

According to TechEye, “[S]ince that would not go down well with your average Aussie, they decided only to scare the hell out of foreigners coming into the country.”

Basically, porn is only bad if it’s carried by foreigners. Australian-carried skin flicks are good to go. There’s no indication of whether the fundamentalists weighed in on this. But, it’s safe to assume that it really is the foreigners that make porn bad, not the locals.

So, how can you get busted for toting the collected works of Seka down under? First, you’re asked to ‘fess up on the landing cards. And, they want to know how you’re bringing your nightlife substitute porn into the country: computer, camera or phone. The risks associated with lying are high, TechEye notes: “The risk for a tourist was that if a border patrol sniffed their computer and found boobies they could be deported, or fined on the spot.”This is pretty much where the hilarity kicks in:

According to the Australian Sex Party spokesman Robbie Swan, one case involved a couple on their honeymoon, who thought they had to declare naked iPhone pictures of themselves after reading the incoming passenger card.

This does sound like a pretty awesome fmylife submission … especially because the couple was forced to show the photo while in line with other people.

Unsurprisingly, the government realizes it may need to change the rules, at least because the average foreigner probably doesn’t know how “pornography” is defined under Australian law. So, they either need to show their material to someone in a face-to-face situation or rely on the ol’ Justice Potter Stewart standard, which has served the United States so well … “I know it when I see it.

[Via The Awl, photo by lucyfrench123 via Flickr]