Porn Again

Satanic texts, dirty readers, and radical manuals make a potent library

Kevin slaughter’s literary interests include illustrated pornography, satanic texts, nietzsche. and eugenics. Photo by J.M. Giordano

By Baynard Woods (Baltimore City Paper, 10/3/2012)

A few years Ago, when the peep booths over at Sweden Books on the Block switched to DVD, Kevin I. Slaughter happened upon 3,000 Super 8 porn movies. It took him three trips to get them all home, where the boxes and boxes of antique smut and all of the projectors fill up the attic in the house he shares with his wife.

“We had to have that awkward talk about masturbation, eroticism, objectification,” Slaughter says. “I tried to frame it in evolutionary biological terms—the different ways men and women work. And being the egotistical individualist that I tend to be, it’s like, this is who I am. The biggest tension now is that the attic is full of it. It is more an issue about hoarding than porn.”

Slaughter is not just a porn freak. For him, it’s also about the cultural value of these objects. He wants to digitize the films and preserve them. He says that the blues have faded out of the film, meaning these blue movies are beginning to appear largely red. “I might have the only image of some film, you know, that exists anywhere,” he says. “The Kinsey Institute does some preserving of old porn, but not too much, and so I can’t just get rid of it.”

This preservationist attitude is also behind Slaughter’s publishing venture, Underworld Amusements. Using print-on-demand technology, he can bring out public domain books that may only sell a dozen copies. As a result, he can afford to publish only those works which allow him to say what he wants to say. When people ask him why he doesn’t write, Slaughter replies: “When I stop finding other writers who have said what I want to say a hundred times better, then I will start writing.”

Underworld Amusements’ catalog includes new editions of old, illustrated pornographic texts called “dirty readers”; H.L Mencken’s translation of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Anti-Christ; and a Satanic anthology in Spanish, to be released around December. Slaughter tends toward what he calls the “fringes and neglected and intentionally pushed away.”

Continue reading “Porn Again” at Baltimore City Paper.

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