Deep Throat and the FBI

The AP has obtained FBI files that detail the agency’s feverish efforts in the 70s to suppress showings of the porn movie “Deep Throat.” Reading about it took me back to a day when Houston’s marriage and family therapists were asked to review the film as a public service. We were asked to give our opinion as to whether the movie was dangerous to normal men and women, or if it had some redeeming value.

Marriage counselors, as a group, are unflappable when it comes to hearing about other people’s perverse habits, but in our own lives we’re fairly conservative. I doubt that any of us would have gone to a theater to see “Deep Throat,” but since we’d been asked to see it as a public service to the community, we pretended it was a scientific inquiry and turned out en masse. The film was shown in an auditorium on the University of Houston campus, and we had to present our special invitations AND proof of identity to get in. Los Alamos probably didn’t have tighter security.

First we filled out a survey detailing how many porn films we’d ever seen and how we felt about porn films in general. Then the film ran, and we were given another form to fill out for our reactions. Most of us were mildly amused by the film. We looked at one another with the smiles of sophisticates who had stooped to watch something beneath us for science. But we weren’t done. There was a second film in addition to “Deep Throat.” We had to watch it too, with more forms to fill out before and after.

The second film was “The Devil in Miss Jones,” which, unlike “Deep Throat,” actually had a plot and a dark message of sorts. The premise was that Miss Jones, a chaste, very religious woman whose life had been unremittingly dull, had committed suicide. In spite of her goodness in life, she had been sent to hell for the suicide. Bitter at all her good life going for naught, Miss Jones said that if she’d known she was going to hell anyway, she wouldn’t have lived such an exemplary life.

She got to go back and redo it, and she pretty much engaged in every low, vulgar, disgusting sex act anybody could imagine. At first it was sad, because the actress was good enough to make us think how disappointing it would be to live a holy life and still end up in hell. We sort of sympathized with her. Then it got too sordid to watch. Some of us actually covered our eyes at some scenes. Then it got boring. We began having whispered conversations about other things. Images of sexual depravity that had at first been shocking had become banal. We zipped through the final form we were given, checking emphatically that we would probably never see another porn film as long as we lived, and that we hadn’t found a single socially redeeming quality in “The Devil in Miss Jones.” It didn’t matter. Both movies went on to movie screens all over the world.

One of the FBI agents trying to stop distribution of “Deep Throat” was Mark Felt. He would later be a Watergate informant to Bob Woodward, giving inside secrets about Nixon’s dark corruption. Felt’s alias was “Deep Throat,” but “Miss Jones” would have been more appropriate.

Advertisements

One thought on “Deep Throat and the FBI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s