Trending
Calendar
 
CP on Facebook

 

CP on Twitter
Print Email

City Folk

Porn Again

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

Photo: J.M. Giordano, License: N/A

J.M. Giordano

Kevin slaughter’s literary interests include illustrated pornography, satanic texts, nietzsche. and eugenics.


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.” Of course, ideas like this don’t pay the rent and, in addition to publishing, Slaughter does freelance graphic design and works at a gun shop on weekends.

With an antiquated, copper-colored mustache, a tall brow made taller by the grease in his hair, and retro clothes, Slaughter looks like he could have stepped out of a Coen brothers’ film. The walls of his living room are lined with his vast collection of books—an entire shelf of “adult paperbacks,” old educational manuals, Spengler, Nietzsche, Mencken, and he can quote from almost any of them in regard to any number of his obsessions, which include, in addition to porn, radical individualism, free-thinking, and eugenics (which he insists is not racist and has more scientific validity than cultural anthropology).

This may seem like a strange and somewhat unsavory combination of interests now, but porn and high-minded ideas have gone hand in hand—or something in something—for centuries. Works like James Joyce’s Ulysses and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer were considered porn and were distributed by houses that dealt in smut. As Underworld Amusements’ web site puts it, it “produces and disseminates objects celebrating [sic] both human accomplishment [and] human degeneracy.”

Slaughter’s print-on-demand venture is the natural outgrowth of the ’zine culture he grew up around in Winston-Salem, N.C., in the 1980s. He started his first ’zine in middle school, and in his freshman year of high school, he published The Modern Anarchist, which printed the names and addresses of his teachers. Though he got into some trouble, Slaughter says that to some people it seemed “the teachers behaved a little better for the rest of the year.”

He quit high school two years later. “I’ve had a deep interest in ideas,” he says,” but a very shallow interest in authorities telling me what to do.”

Slaughter graduated from an adult-education program and took various community college classes on subjects that interested him. He started a mail-order company called Den of Iniquity. He says that the web site was hacked and there were “Islamic type warnings in the code, but it easily could have been someone trolling,” he says. He says he shut down the site because he didn’t feel like he could provide a “safe shopping experience” to his customers.

Around the same time, he moved to Baltimore to work at Reptilian Records, where he started Scapegoat Publishing with Reptilian’s owner, Chris Neu (better known as Chris X), who shares Slaughter’s satanic interest and who was arrested for selling drugs in 2011 (“Sweet Deal,” Mobtown Beat, March 23, 2011). Slaughter no longer worked at the store at the time of Neu’s arrest, and as Scapegoat was tapering off, he began Underworld Amusements and has since published 10 titles.

He also met his wife (whom he asked not be named) when he moved to Baltimore. He was immediately drawn to her, he says, but for years he thought she was married. “I’d walk by her store every day to see her in the window of her store,” he says. “When the store put some of my dirty books on consignment, I got a foot in and asked her if she was married.” Slaughter says that when it turned out she was single, he knew that he wanted to marry her.

“I’m not a porn creep surrounded by all these old movies,” he says, “I mean, I am that. But I’m also happily married.”

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus