Rape, Jews, and Bollywood*
By Jonas E. Alexis, Michael Jones
Jonas E. Alexis: I was reading a number of articles the other day on the rape crisis in India and it was quite interesting to observe that no serious journalist has really gotten to the heart of the matter. “One explanation for the ongoing rape problem,” the Daily Beast said last March, “is the skewed sex ratio.”
Other ridiculous and worthless explanations have been propounded by the Guardian and other news outlets. The Washington Post and other organs of the New World Order obviously recognize that there is a problem, but they could never address its fundamental cause because they seem to perceive that providing serious answers would lead readers to disturbing conclusions.
You have done exhaustive research on the Jewish influence on Bollywood, the Indian version of Hollywood. Tell us about the rape crisis in India in minute details and describe how Bollywood itself has facilitated that perennial problem. It seems that these issues go back to Jewish revolutionaries such as Eve Ensler and Wilhelm Reich, the author of the Vagina Monologues and the Sexual Revolution, respectively.
I was surprised to learn that the Vagina Monologues has been performed even at a male prison! This is certainly an epidemic issue which needs to be discussed in a rational and historical fashion because it has moral and intellectual consequences for the entire world. Unpack this complex puzzle for us here.
Michael Jones: The answer to the rape crisis was, in short, feminism and social engineering:
“Speaking at a discussion last week about the media’s reporting on the Delhi rape, social scientist Nivedita Menon said, one of the most gratifying aspects of watching young girls and boys protest the rape was to see that the idea of feminism and equal rights had percolated through every layer of society onto the street. The slogans and placards spoke of an emancipated consciousness that was in the skin, beyond any studied political positions or self-conscious feminism.
“According to Sukalyan Roy, 27, a marketing executive in Delhi, a successful woman was someone ‘who is truly independent, who can live with her family or on her own, take her own decisions, dress as she wants, go where she wants and have as many sexual partners as she chooses.’”
The Muslims for the most part took the traditionalist position and dismissed Indian feminists for their “wishful thinking.” Feminism was an expression of the same western culture that had created the rape epidemic in the first place:
“Indian feminists, like their western counterparts, are insisting that they should be able to go out at any time of the night, wearing anything they want, and should expect not to be harassed by men. Such wishful thinking and a complete lack of appreciation for men’s nature is leading to situations like that of the woman who was brutally gang raped after going to a late night movie with a male friend who was not her husband.”
Eventually word of the rapes reached New York City, and Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues, packed her bags and headed east.
“Author and activist Eve Ensler, who organised One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women and girls, said that the gang rape and murder was a turning point in India and around the world.
“Ensler said that she had travelled to India at the time of the rape and murder and that after having worked every day of my life for the last 15 years on sexual violence, I have never seen anything like that, where sexual violence broke through the consciousness and was on the front page, nine articles in every paper every day, in the center of every discourse, in the center of the college students’ discussions, in the center of any restaurant you went in.
“And I think what’s happened in India, India is really leading the way for the world. It’s really broken through. They are actually fast-tracking laws. They are looking at sexual education. They are looking at the bases of patriarchy and masculinity and how all that leads to [rape].”
The Vagina Monologues was a piece of Reichian agit-prop that promoted Lesbianism, masturbation and child molestation among sexually conservative populations (Ensler admitted targeting the campuses of universities with religious affiliation) in the name of curbing violence against women.
The purpose of The Vagina Monologues, especially as performed on college campuses across the United States, is to break down the natural sexual reserve and modesty of the largely female teenage performers and audience as a prelude to colonization. It was a classic instance of sexual liberation as political control.
At Catholic campuses, the point of this exercise was, in anything, clearer. As Wilhelm Reich, the father of the sexual liberation of the ‘60s made clear, the chief opponent of revolution in general and sexual revolution (a term Reich coined) in particular was the Catholic Church.
As a Communist and Freudian revolutionary in both Vienna and Berlin in the 1930s, Reich quickly learned that it was pointless to debate things like the existence of God with seminarians. Reich, however, also learned that if those same seminarians could be involved in sexual activity, the idea of God simply “evaporated” from their minds.
The point then was to break down Catholic political resistance by changing their sexual behavior, and the first step in changing their sexual behavior involved breaking their sense of modesty, which, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.”
The performance of The Vagina Monologues at Notre Dame, in other words, is completely consistent with the strategy of sexual revolution that has devastated both the Catholic Church and this country over the past forty years.
The recent priest sex scandals were a media-orchestrated campaign to marginalize the Church even further. (Recently, a commentator from The Weekly Standard opined on CNN that the Catholic Church had no right to comment on the impending war in Iraq because of the priest sex scandals.)
Those scandals followed on the heels of the heart of the campaign, which involved the sexualization of the culture. The sexualization of the Catholic clergy, something which I have documented in detail in Libidio Dominandi, followed naturally and, in a sense, automatically from the sexualization of the culture, especially since the clergy and institutions like the University of Notre Dame were so eager to assimilate to the newly sexualized America of the ‘60s.
The purpose of The Vagina Monologues is the desensitization of Notre Dame students, in other words, the subversion of their sense modesty as a prelude to the subversion of their morals. The Vagina Monologues is not art; it is not scholarship; it is not even discourse; it is social engineering.
Assuming that a discussion after the fact will somehow ameliorate its offensiveness is deeply delusional. It’s like saying that it’s okay to toss the psychic and moral equivalent of a hand grenade into a crowded classroom as long as there is a panel discussion afterward. Malloy himself said the play was offensive. No discussion is going to change that fact.
The Vagina Monologues is not something that students study; it is something that is done to students to produce behavioral and psychic effects. Its main purpose is to break down their modesty and change their morals. The students were being acted upon (even if by other students) in a way that was calculated to modify their behavior, not clarify their thought. If anything, the play was an attempt to short-circuit the thinking process. It was a deliberate attempt to subvert reason by shock and arousal of passion.
The Vagina Monologues involves a violation of academic norms because it involves a violation of human norms. It is not meant to facilitate the discovery of the truth; it is a deliberate attempt to thwart that discovery by either the arousal of passion or the creation of the numbed shock which is the most logical outcome of the direct and intentional violation of human decency.
The Vagina Monologues, in other words, is not academic discourse. It is social engineering. It is the orchestration of obscenity for political purposes. As social engineering, it has more in common with the Tuskeegee syphilis experiments than the performance and/or discussion of a play by Shakespeare.
As such, it has no place in any public forum, much less at a university, much less at a Catholic university. It is deliberately obscene, which is to say in the etymological sense, something that should not take place on stage.
By allowing it to appear on stage, Notre Dame is enabling not education but rather the social engineering of its students. It is allowing outside agents to come in and deliberately offend their modesty and subvert their morals. The fact that many Gender Studies students were required to attend this performance only underscores the intrinsically coercive nature of the performance.
The 2003 version which was authorized by Eve Ensler was pretty much the same as the version I had seen at St. Mary’s a few years before. The 13 year old who got molested by a lesbian is now 16, but no note of condemnation has intruded into this pornographic paean to child molestation.
In order to make a stab at being fair to heterosexuals, Ensler has included a monologue which “was based on an interview with a woman who had a good experience with a man.” Lindsey Horvath reads the line with a straight face and seems surprised when it elicits a laugh from the crowd. The laughter over the fact that one woman “had a good experience with a man” highlights by contrast the otherwise unremittingly lesbian atmosphere of the other monologues.
Everything in the monologues is suffused with a homoerotic glow. Whatever is not intended to shock is intended to arouse. That includes the descriptions of child molestation and the brutal descriptions of rape as well.
All heterosexual sex is rape in the Monologues, but rape is portrayed in a way that lesbian sadists would find arousing as well. Since most of those attending were not lesbians, they can honestly say that they did not find these scenes arousing, but that does not change the intention behind them.
Secondly, allowing randy undergraduate males to have their say makes explicit what has always been just beneath the surface in any performance of The Vagina Monologues, namely the fact that the deliberate destruction of modesty is something which is going to make violence against women more likely not less likely.
Mr. Buckley playing the Vagina Avenger declared his willingness to pleasure vaginas wherever possible. Is it too far-fetched to think he or some of the people whose modesty was assaulted by his speech might insist on this at some point? Modesty is the first defense against this sort of exploitation, but modesty was deliberately violated and ridiculed by the people putting on the play.
Which brings us to the real message of the play, something which came out in the monologue “My Short Skirt,” which is about being deliberately sexually provocative and at the same time denying that fact and using it against its victims.
The Vagina Monologues is a perfect mirror of the culture of political control through sexual arousal. The fact that it was performed at Notre Dame means that Notre Dame accepts its role as an agent of the government-sponsored sexualization of American Catholics.
This goes to the heart of Theodore Hesburgh’s deal with the Rockefellers. In exchange for large amounts of money from foundations and the federal government, Hesburgh agreed to turn Notre Dame into an instrument of social engineering for America’s Catholics.
Notre Dame cannot object to a performance of The Vagina Monologues, no matter how crude and blasphemous it becomes, because they have accepted their role as the instrument which is to bring about the sexualization of America’s Catholics.
Notre Dame, in other words, is getting paid by the government to engage in the social engineering of Catholics, and since sexual liberation is the prime form of social engineering, The Vagina Monologues will continue to be performed on campus, no matter how offensive or blasphemous it becomes. To ban the play would call their allegiance to the regime into question.
By arousing the sexual passions of the male students who attend its performance, The Vagina Monologues encourages the rape and violence against women which it purports to prevent.
When I brought up the fact that the play was a deliberate assault on modesty and, therefore, something which made violence against women more likely. Mr. Romano dismissed the possibility out of hand, but the word “modesty” set off a reaction from three students on the other side of the room, who, it turns out, were secret papalist Catholics. They took the modesty ball and dribbled it up and down the court for a while, eliciting positive remarks from some of the other girls in the room but negative comments from Mr. Romano.
At one point one of the undercover Catholics urged the pro-Monologue faction to attend an upcoming lecture by Christopher West and offered to give the other students tracts by the pope on the theology of the body. “The pope is really cool,” he concluded.
The Rape Crisis in India was, in other words, a crisis that this Jewish sexual revolutionary was not going to let go to waste.
The arrival of Eve Enssler was a sign that the feminists, i.e., the Jewish ladies from New York City, were attempting to take control of the discussion. In an interview in The Forward, Ensler announced that The Vagina Monologues had been performed in “villages in India.”
Ensler was, in other words, now targeting another traditional, sexually conservative culture, promoting sexual deviance as the antidote to sexual violence. Ensler came from a long line of Jewish sexual revolutionaries, most notably Wilhelm Reich, who advocated the promotion of masturbation among women as a way of destroying the cultural hegemony of the Catholic Church over Austria during the 1920s.
When the interviewer asked Ensler if she were Jewish, she responded by saying that her Jewish identity was “a cultural thing.” Ensler then told The Forward that she:
“had a Jewish father, a Jewish family, and I had chicken liver with my aunt every Saturday. I grew up in a tradition where having ideas and contributing to the community and creating art that had an impact on the world mattered. That’s part of the Jewish tradition. The comedy that’s in me is very much part of Jewish theater history. When I look at my own heart as a social activist, there’s the spirit of Emma Goldman and Hannah Arendt and so many others.”
Roughly one week before Jyoti Singh was raped, Ensler was calling for:
“a billion women across the planet who have been raped or beaten to walk out of their houses, schools, and jobs to dance [at a designated time and place]. So far, 172 countries have signed up. So have unions, bishops and stars, and it’s growing.
“Look at our website [onebillionrising.org] to see the groups that have joined. It would be great if the Jewish community — synagogues and Jewish leaders — could get involved. A lot of churches have signed up. Many Jewish actors have signed on. But we’d like this to be a massive wave. We want everybody with us.”
As Jay Gertzman has pointed out in his book Bootleggers and Smuthounds, there has never been a time when pornography as the vehicle for cultural sexual subversion has not been associated with Jews, certainly not in America where it grew up in the shadow of Hollywood.
The crisis came in the 1920s, when the Jews who controlled Hollywood tried to sexualize American culture by smuggling nudity, ridicule of the clergy, and promotion of homosexuality into their films.
It turns out that India was no exception to this rule. On July 7, 1896, a representative of the Lumiere Brothers in Paris screened the first motion picture in India at Bombay’s Watsons Hotel less than seven months after its original screening in Paris.
Seventeen years later, at around the same time that their co-religionists were getting started in Hollywood, the Jews created Hindi cinema in India. Jewish involvement in the Hindi film industry began with Jewish actresses, who were both lighter skinned than their Hindu and Islamic counterparts and willing to break the taboo banning women from performing on screen.
Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema “reveals how these Jewish stars, working with other Jews in Bollywood, pushed the boundaries of Indian cinema to make Bollywood what it is” today.
In “The Jews Who Built Bollywood,” Zeddy Lawrence claims that the first actresses in the Hindi film industry were Jewish. They succeeded because respectable Indian women would not act on stage and because Jewish women, who often took Muslim names, were willing to “show their flesh.”
Jews predominated in other areas as well:
“It’s not just women though who have made their mark on Bollywood. On March 14, 1931 the first full-length Indian talkie, Alam Ara, opened in Bombay. Its script was written by a playwright from the Parsi Imperial Theatrical Company, called Joseph David.
“The film starred Prithviraj Kapoor, father of the late lamented king of Indian cinema Raj Kapoor. Interestingly, the actor counted a certain Jewish writer Bunny Reuben as one of his closest friends. Bunny is the Barry Norman of Bollywood, an acclaimed film journalist, who has penned the definitive biographies of both Kapoor and Mehboob Khan, one of India’s most influential directors. There were also male stars in front of the camera.
“If you check out the credits for the classic 1964 movie Haqeeqat and the 1965 film The Guide, and you’ll see that one of the leads in both flicks was an actor by the name of Levy Aaron. . . . And so to the present day. As well as Shilpa Shetty, notable personalities on the Bollywood big screen include former MTV Asia presenter and star of Bombay Dreams, Sophiya Haque. The VJ turned actress made her big screen debut seven years ago in the black comedy Snip! and describes herself as “half British-Jewish, half Bangladeshi.”
According to Ha’aretz, the Jews succeeded because they were willing to “push the boundaries of Indian cinema.” That, of course, is precisely what the Jewish filmmakers were doing in America at around the same time.
During the early 1930s in America, the Jewish penchant for moral subversion led to a battle between Catholics and Hollywood Jews over who would control the content of what America watched in its movie theatres.
After Cardinal Dougherty launched a financially crippling boycott of Warner Brothers theatres in Philadelphia and other Catholic bishops threatened to expand it into a nation-wide boycott, the Hollywood Jews capitulated and implemented the production code, which prohibited nudity, obscenity, and ridicule of religion, and would remain in force for the next 31 years.
In India the Jewish penchant for moral subversion ran into the wall of a cultural inertia that measured its existence in millennia. The result was the subversion of the subverters. Indian culture won out because of its sheer inertia in both space and time:
“This sense that every film must address the theme of what it means to be Indian or reflect Indian thinking can be traced to the beginnings of Indian cinema. The early silent films were based on well-known Hindu epic takes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayan. The first cinema audiences loved seeing familiar mythological stories involving gods combating demons brought to life on the screen.
“The new Western invention was perfectly suited to the Indian context of storytelling, which relied on oral tradition. The fact that cinema techniques, such as special effects or low angle shots could enhance the mythical was seen as a great asset in the telling of heroic tales.”
According to Torgovnik, one of the “key ingredients” of the Hindi film is “a sense that the social order and moral order will not be changed,” something that:
“is still apparent both in the way music and drama work together and in the portrayal of stock characters of Indian cinema. The villain, for example, is still given a curling moustache and a sinister laugh, an instantly recognizable version of the stage demons associated with Ram Leda.”
The early Hindi films were so religious that they often got incorporated into local prayer services: “Early film screens from 1913 onwards took place in tents behind villages and small towns, where after prayers, devotees made their way to see Lord Ram or Lord Krishna come alive on the screen.”
Unlike America, which looked askance on government censorship, Indians, both in the colonial period and the period following independence, had no qualms about imposing strict controls on the Hindi film industry. “After the golden age of the 1950s-60s, the form of popular films started to change. By the 1970s, Hindi films began to combine all genres in a singe movie, with song and dance firmly at the heart of the narrative.”
But the censorship remained: “Bollywood films tend to be spectacular melodramas about love and romance. Kissing scenes are allowed in the movies but explicit eroticism is strictly forbidden by the country’s censorship laws.”
Government censorship buttressed Indian cultural sensibilities. Given the Jewish involvement in the Indian film industry and their penchant for pushing boundaries, it is not surprising that the Indian authorities viewed film as a threat to public morals and the social order both under English colonial rule and in the period following independence.
Mahatma Gandhi felt that films were a foreign technology that promoted vice and felt that it should be treated like other vices like “satta,” i.e., betting, gambling and horseracing. After receiving a questionnaire from the film industry in late 1927, Gandhi responded by saying that he had no views about this “sinful technology.”
“Even if I was so minded,” he continued, “I should be unfit to answer your questionnaire, as I have never been to a cinema. But even to an outsider, the evil it has done and is doing is patent. The good, if it has done at all, remains to be proved.”
Like his father, Gandhi felt that motion pictures were an “imported vice from the West.” One of the promoters of the Hindi film industry later claimed that Gandhi’s distaste for the cinema derived from the fact that most films dealt “exclusively with sex and love themes.”
The notion that films were a foreign vice continued in the post-colonial period. The film industry could never shake its reputation for moral subversion. Producer G. P. Sippy complained,
“For entertaining people, you should get some reward from the government. What is a movie? It brings a smile on your face. If we make even one face smile, that’s the biggest social service which a person does; instead [the government] will say, ‘Oh you are exposing the bodies.’”
Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi’s successor, shared his skepticism about the moral value of film: “Under the Nehruvian developmentalist paradigm. . . state policies treated and taxed commercial filmmaking as something akin to a vice.” As late as 1989 the Supreme Court of India defended government censorship of films by arguing that:
“A film motivates thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and retention as compared to the printed word. The combination of act and speech, sight and sound, in semi-darkness of the theater, with elimination of distracting ideas will have a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions; therefore, it has as much potential for evil as it has for good and has an equal potential to instill or cultivate violent or good behavior. It cannot be equated with other modes of communication. Censorship by prior restraint is, therefore, not only desirable but necessary.”
The Indian government kept the film industry “in check” long after the Jews broke the production code in Hollywood with the release of The Pawnbroker in 1965. The belief that government censorship was “not only desirable but necessary” changed, however, when the Soviet Union, traditionally one of India’s closest allies, collapsed and the ensuing vacuum was filled with Neoliberal propaganda and IMF loans.
Subhash Ghai argued that the connection was far from fortuitous: “American films have enabled the United States to dominate the world culturally, even leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” Hollywood was the most effective weapon in the United States’ cultural arsenal. “America became Big Brother because of the entertainment industry. . . . I would say Michael Jackson and Robert De Niro—they broke Russia. . . What is the threat? Bill Clinton? No, movies.”
The global wave of “privatization” which followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 affected the Hindi film industry dramatically and marked the beginning of what we now call Bollywood. Ganti claims that all of the changes which took place in the Indian media landscape in 1992 were
“engendered by the process of economic liberalization. After the advent of satellite television in 1992, dubbed by the press and some commentators as an ‘invasion,’ the mass media became the locus of public debates, controversies, and anxiety around questions of Indian nationhood, cultural sovereignty, authenticity, tradition, and identity.”
The reverse engineering of the Hindi film industry–i.e., creating Bollywod as the Indian version of Hollywood—was a capitalist project from its inception. It was:
“enabled by the neoliberal restructuring of the Indian state and economy—intensified from 1991, after the IMF mandated structural adjustment policies—resulting in a dramatically altered media landscape, marked first by the entry of satellite television and then by the emergence of the multiplex theater. . . . the Hindi film industry’s metamorphosis into Bollywood would not have been possible without the rise of neoliberal economic ideals in India.”
Capitalism, as we have come to expect, brought about the “creative destruction” of the moral order in both East and West. By the first decade of the 21st Century, thanks to the economic liberalizations that allowed satellite TV and the Internet, India had a tradition of “home-grown porn”:
“In India, it is legal to access pornographic material privately, but illegal to distribute or produce it. Because of this, the production of so-called ‘blue films’ – generally softcore – is not openly discussed. That has not stopped the industry, traditionally based in southern states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala where censorship is more relaxed, from being worth an estimated one billion dollars.
“It is thought that the slang ‘blue film’ originates from the use of blue sets and lighting to conceal the identities of the actors and ensure that they are safeguarded from social stigma. Indeed, public opinion about porn stars is very negative: they tend to be viewed as sex workers rather than actors, a serious slur in a culture which attaches such shame to sexuality.”
In 1992, the year that Capitalism began working its destructive magic on the Hindi film industry, transforming it into Bollywood, Bill Clinton was elected president. George H. W. Bush, Clinton’s immediate predecessor, had vigorously prosecuted obscenity, but all obscenity prosecution stopped under Janet Reno, Clinton’s attorney general.
Pro-pornography Hollywood propaganda films like Boogie Nights and The People vs. Larry Flynt brought about the failure of The Communications Decency Act to stem the spread of pornography to the new media and insured that the Internet would become a conduit for the transmission of pornographic imagery world-wide.
The arrival of satellite TV and the Internet flooded India with sexual imagery, immediately nullifying the government’s decades’-long attempt to preserve the moral order through censorship of the film industry. The arrival of the IMF after the collapse of the Soviet Union “involved . . . negotiating a transition from an earlier era of decononialization and ‘high nationalism’ and into the newer times of globalization and finance capital.”
Following four decades of Nehruvian socialism, the Indian government liberalized the economy in 1991, relaxing restrictions and controls around various sectors of the economy. This economic liberalization was propelled by the International Monetary Fund, which had granted two loans to the Indian government.
Consequently, state-run projects and government subsidies were replaced in favor of a more Westernized, consumerist-oriented model: Import restrictions and duties were relaxed, significantly for the Indian media, rules governing foreign investment were relaxed. This economic liberalization paved the way for the establishment of a number of Indian and multinational media companies, such as MTV India and Sony Television.
These changes coincided with the spread of satellite technologies that led to the establishment of Zee TV and STAR TV (a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation), providing Indian television audiences with a wide range of viewing choices.
By the late 1990s, the Hindi film industry was in deep financial trouble, largely because of the highly sexualized competition that satellite TV provided. In 1996, K.D. Shorey, the General Secretary of the Film Federation of India, claimed that:
“the situation in the film industry is very alarming. While the cost of production is on the increase, the revenue at the box office is dwindling because of the rampant piracy of feature films on the cable and satellite networks.. . . the entertainment tax which was started by the British as a war-time measure, has increased to such large proportions . . . that it is eating into revenue of films.”
The government responded to this crisis by granting the studios official recognition:
“On May 10, 1998, the former Information & Broadcasting minister, Sushma Swaraj, declared at a national conference on ‘Challenges before Indian Cinema,’ that she would shortly pass a Government Order declaring ‘industry status’ for the film industry in India.
“This was a direct response to perhaps the most intense lobbying the film industry had yet down to achieve what Hollywood, for instance, achieved in the 1930s and what Indian cinema had been denied since its inception.”
After the Hindu nationalist and pro-business Bharatiya Janata Party conferred industry status on the film industry, dramatic changes followed the government’s conversion to neoliberal economics.
The entry of the Indian corporate sector in the 21st century infused previously unheard amounts of capita into the Hindi film industry, making available consistent finance, so that the risk of a film not being completed decreased dramatically, but global capital demands standardization, which meant R-rated movies, which led to the sexualization of Indian culture, which led to rape.
The search for predictable outcomes in the financial realm led to unpredictable outcomes in the social realm. Capitalism led to sexualization, and sexualization led to violence, and although few people see the connection, virtually no one is happy with the outcome.
As in America during the 1950s when Hollywood entered a period of crisis because of competition from television, Bollywood turned to sex as the solution for its financial woes. Economic liberalization went hand in hand with the liberalization of sexual morality. The former could not succeed without the latter. Globalization in economic terms meant globalization in sexual terms as well.
Indian actresses like Priyanka Chopra felt pressured to “represent globalized images of a liberated female sexuality,” during the filming of Aitraaz, a psychological thriller Chopra found “challenging because I didn’t just play a bad girl, I played a sexually aggressive character.” Chopra found the role difficult because
“this character is the absolute antithesis of what I stand for. Sonia is not a character I empathize with. I will never play a sexually deprive [sic, i.e., depraved] woman again. I do not wish to be typecast as some kind of sex kitten. Right now I’m happy playing the stereotyped Hindi film heroine, because that can be equally challenging.”
After her bad experience in Aitraaz, Chopra publicly declared her determination to no longer, as she put it, “expose.” In a January 2005 interview with the Bombay times, Chopra asserted her new identity as a modest woman: “I hate the ‘sexy/seductress/sizzling’ tags I have.”
In a December 2004 Interview with Filmfare, Chopra intimated that she was being pressured into conforming to what might be called globalist sexual standards of behavior. Sonia, Chopra said referring to the sexually aggressive character she played in Attraaz, was a sexual fantasy that was alien to India, because
“women like her . . . don’t exist in India. . . . I don’t think such things happen in our country because women are brought up on different values in our culture.”
Chopra concluded her Filmfare interview by vowing: “I will not kiss or expose from now on . . . .”
At this point it became necessary to import foreign actresses to “expose.” Sunny Leone, the American porn star, arrived in India in 2011. Leone was born Karenjit Kaur Vohra to Sikh Punjabi parents in Sarnia, Ontario on May 13, 1981. She received her stage name from Robert Guccione, founder and publisher of Penthouse, who named his creation Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2003.
Leone then went on to become a porn star for Vivid Entertainment, where she earned the dubious distinction of being named one of the 12 top porn stars of 2010 by Maxim, another one-handed magazine with English roots.
One year later, Leone moved to India, where she became an instant celebrity after appearing on the Indian reality show Bigg Boss. Leone at first refused to divulge her past as a porn star, but when the truth got out, it only enhanced both her own career and, not coincidentally, the legitimacy of pornography by attaching it to the fresh, recognizably Indian face of someone who was also a “businesswoman,” at least according to Wikipedia.
Then things started to go sideways. In the aftermath of the Jyoti Singh rape, members of the Indian Artistes and Actors Forum as well as Lok Sabha, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth organization, began claiming that porn stars like Leone were responsible for the Indian rape epidemic and began demanding that she be put in jail as punishment.
On April 14, 2012 Leone announced that she had become eligible to become an Overseas Citizen of India because her parents had lived in India. She made the announcement shortly before beginning the filming of Jism 2, a soft-core porn flick with Indian themes.
Then the December 2012 rape of Joyti Singh and the subsequent international uproar that it caused threw a monkey wrench into Sunny’s career plans. Now Indians saw Leone as the epitome of everything that was wrong with India. If Joyti Singh became a martyr to the “culture of impunity,” Leone became its dark patron saint, and the same public that idolized her when she appeared on Bigg Boss was now saying: “She deserves to go to jail if she continues to promote pornography.”
Leone attempted to defend pornography by claiming on the Headlines Today news channel that there was no link between pornography and rape.
“Pornography is not for people who think it’s for real. It’s fantasy and it’s entertainment,” she said.
“It’s complete nonsense to blame rape on adult material out there. Education starts at home. It’s mums and dads sitting with their children and teaching them what is right and wrong.”
Needless to say, the mums and dads were not pleased to hear that they were responsible for the rape epidemic. Then, on February 3, 2013 (at 10:10 AM IST, to be precise), Leone made matters even worse by tweeting
“Rape is not a crime, it is surprise sex.”
Leone later denied ever having made the comment, but the damage was done: “Detractors [were] blam[ing] Leone, star of X-rated hits including Sunny’s Slumber Party, for bringing adult material in India to a wider audience.”
Leone was a protégé of Bob Guccione, publisher of Penthouse. The ‘70s were Penthouse’s golden years. According to Rolling Stone:
“A prime artefact of the glamorously gritty Seventies, Penthouse was the adult magazine that wormed its way into the kinkier recesses of the libidinal subconscious and, arguably, did more to liberate puritan America from its deepest sexual taboos than any magazine before or since.
“And in its moody visual style and muckraking, conspiracy-theory-heavy journalism, Penthouse also happened to be a direct reflection of its complex, unsmiling and mysterious creator. “Bob’s a little an-hedonic,” says Dick Teresi, former editor of Omni, the science magazine that Guccione published from 1978 to 1996. ‘There’s a satanic sense, a darkness — even a Sicilian darkness that reminds me of all my Sicilian relatives. A paranoia. Playboy has fun-loving girls. But with Penthouse — there’s a darkness. Well, that’s Bob.’”
In addition to radiating darkness, Guccione had links to the CIA, through the Castle Bank & Trust of Nassau, a CIA front operation used to launder drug money, which was in turn used to fund black ops throughout the world. Castle Bank & Trust was succeeded by the Nugan Hand Bank, a Cayman Islands bank that was intimately involved in the heroin trade during the 1970s.
Nugan Hand assumed its role as “the CIA’s banker” after Castle Bank & Trust of Nassau was compromised in 1973 by an IRS investigation. In 1973 agents of the Internal Revenue Service were able to photograph the Castle Bank’s customer list while a bank executive dined in a posh Key Biscayne restaurant with a woman described as an IRS “informant.”
Along with the usual suspects, like mafia figures Morris Dalitz, Morris Kleinman and Samuel Tucker, the names of two notable pornographers showed up on the list: Hugh Hefner of Playboy, and Robert Guccione of Penthouse. The CIA set up three banks to launder money.
Castle Bank of Nassau, which handled Hefner’s and Guccione’s accounts, was the first of the three. In “The People vs. Bob Guccione,” A. Nolen claims both Hefner and Guccione were CIA assets. Like the Marquis de Sade, both Hefner and Guccione were aware of “the centuries-old understanding of the political effects of pornography.”
By the 1970s, when both Penthouse and Playboy enjoyed their heyday, the CIA began to make use of pornography as one of the weapons on their arsenal of psychological warfare.
In 2002 the CIA collaborated with Israel’s Shin Beth in broadcasting pornography over Palestinian TV stations in Ramallah during one Israel’s periodic incursions into Palestinian territory.
During the run-up to the 2003 invasion, the CIA contemplated doing a pornographic featuring a double who looked like Saddam Hussein, as a way of de-legitimizing his government.
In the mid-‘50s the CIA actually produced a pornographic film to bring down President Sukharno of Indonesia. But by the 1970s, it had become clear, if for no other reason than the simple division of labour, that the production of pornography could be out-sourced to people like Guccione, whose magazines had become more popular with soldiers in Vietnam than Playboy.
Michael Jones (Ph.D. Temple University) is a former professor and is the author of numerous scholarly studies, including The Angel and the Machine: The Rational Psychology of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film, Dionysos Rising: The Birth of Cultural Revolution Out of the Spirit of Music, Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior, Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation & Political Control, The Slaughter of Cities: Urban Renewal as Ethnic Cleansing, Ballet Parking: Performing the Nutcracker as a Counter-Revolutionary Act, and most recently Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict between Labor and Usury. Jones is the editor of Culture Wars magazine.