By David South
Id Magazine (Canada), October 3-16, 1996
Steeltown is a little less hot now that View, Hamilton’s alternative weekly, has dropped a controversial sex columnist in the face of complaints from distributors. The fracas has raised a thorny issue: to what extent should a newspaper stand behind a controversial writer?
My Messy Bedroom, a weekly column by Montreal journalist Josey Vogels, mixes graphic language and humour in its look at sexuality. The dispute erupted over a column in the August 22 issue entitled Cock Tales 1 (Cock Tales 2 will not run in View).
A surprised and angry Vogels says she only found out her column had been dropped when id called her in September. Vogels believes the problem was with the frank discussion by men of their sexual tastes. “Maybe it was the opening line. ‘Mouth on my cock, finger in my butt, looking me in the eyes,’ then a joke: ‘Would you like fries with that?’”
Vogels maintains View knew what it was getting into when it picked up the syndicated column in June, 1995. “You can’t say you want a column because of its nature, then say you don’t like it.”
Vogels says she co-operated in the past when the magazine asked her to tone down a column. “But there is a line where my integrity is at stake.”
Tucked away among five pages of classified ads, My Messy Bedroom was the only piece of journalism with a sexual theme in View.
Editor Veronica Magee says View received complaints that children were reading the column, and some distributors refused to carry the paper. In a rambling editorial in the September 5 issue, Magee defends the decision to drop the column, saying it was time the paper made some changes.
Magee writes that Vogels’ column taught “sexuality is something clean, not dirty,” but admits some urban weeklies aren’t so urban, and must cater to a more conservative, suburban readership. “Hamilton is a conservative city,” she claims.
In an interview with id, Magee admitted View’s attitude towards the column was “what can we get away with – let’s push the limit.
“Some people argue she should have known better. Although I’m sure people will believe we are making the writer suffer for a decision we made, that is not the intent.”
But the publisher and editor of View offer conflicting explanations of who actually pulled the column. “It was a collective decision,” says Magee.
Sean Rosen, one of View’s two publishers, told id the magazine had been considering dropping the column for some time. But Rosen says the decision was solely Magee’s. “The editor decided it had run its course, trying to be sensational for the sake of being sensational.”
Books by author and sex columnist Josey Vogels: More Love & Sex from My Messy Bedroom (Vehicule Press: 1998) ; My Messy Bedroom: Love & Sex in the 90’s (Vehicule Press: 1998)
Read more on the 1990s sex economy here: From Special Report: Sexual Dealing: Today’s Sex Toys Are Credit Cards & Cash: A Report On The Sex-For-Money Revolution
Other stories from the special feature:
“Barely Legal”: Scummy New Generation of Mags Evades Anti-paedophilia Laws by Nate Hendley
Randy for the People: Conservative Ontario City Home to Porn Empire by Nate Hendley
Is Stripping Worth It? by Cynthia Tetley
Those Old Crusaders: Pornography and the Right by Eric Volmers
Feminists for Porn by Nate Hendley
The Sex Trade Down the Ages by Fiona Heath
Update: It is over 20 years since this Special Report was published. It forecast the significant role the Internet was to play in the growth of sex content and the sex industry and vice versa. Here is an interesting overview of the situation in 2020. The Internet is for Porn – It always was, it always will be.
“One of the biggest and most interesting things happening in the consumer web right now is running almost completely under the radar. It has virtually zero Silicon Valley involvement. There are no boastful VCs getting rich. It is utterly absent from tech’s plethora of twitters, fora and media (at least, as they say, “on main”). Indeed, the true extent of its incredible success has gone almost completely unnoticed, even by its many, many, many customers.
I’m talking, of course, about OnlyFans.”
Read more on the 1990s sex economy here: From Special Report: NMM (New Media Markets) Spotlight On The Emergence Of Satellite Porn Channels In The UK
ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.
© David South Consulting 2021