Catalonia: Porn Funded as Local-Language Promotion

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu May 3 13:21:17 UTC 2007

Porn Funded by Catalonia as Local-Language Promotion (Update1)

By Ben Sills

May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Movie maker Conrad Son says his work, including films
such as ``Good Time Girls in the Attic'' and ``Passion Gym,'' is part of
Catalonia's cultural heritage. The regional government backs that claim
with taxpayer money. Son, an actor and director of ``erotic'' works, won a
15,000- euro ($20,360) grant to dub and promote his latest opus, ``The Sea
is Not Blue,'' into the local language as part of a program to encourage
broader use of Catalan. Although the subsidy is a minuscule part of the
275 million euro budget for spreading Catalan culture, the payment has
triggered outrage among newspapers and politicians who demand that the
regional government stop supporting porn. Son dismisses the criticism,
saying it's an imaginative use of his native tongue.

``People in Catalonia have sex too,'' says Son, 41. ``It's good for us to
have our own language, and these films provide exact Catalan words for
erotic moments.'' That argument is dismissed by politicians who say that
Catalonia shouldn't subsidize smut. The northeastern region will get 3.2
billion euros for its transport links from the central government in 2007
and Catalan Finance Minister Antoni Castells this week pledged to win
greater funding from Madrid.

`A Disgrace'

``This is a disgrace,'' says Vicente Martinez-Pujalte, a lawmaker from the
opposition People's Party who represents Valencia, the region just south
of Catalonia. ``You're using taxes to pay for actions which don't help to
improve the moral level of a society.'' Son, who says promoting Catalan
culture is the first step toward political independence, follows a Catalan
tradition of erotic entrepreneurs. Others include Nacho Vidal, twice
winner of the Adult Video News award for best sex scene in a foreign film,
and Daniel Sanchez, a director of Private Media Group Ltd., a
Barcelona-based porn publisher listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Son says
he's dedicated his career to promoting and developing the erotic
vocabulary of his native language, releasing the record ``Sex in Catalan''
with his rock group, ``Conrad Son & the Porno Band.'' The people of
Catalonia, who won increased autonomy within the Spanish state last year,
are used to finding themselves at odds with the rest of the country. The
three-party coalition governing the region includes one party that wants
independence and an interior minister, Joan Saura, who has called for the
legalization of all drugs.

X-Rated Expression

Artistic expression shouldn't be limited to just G-Rated fare, says Miquel
Pueyo, secretary of linguistic policy for the regional government. ``It's
not for me to put limits on the freedom of expression of any
cinematographer,'' he says. The region's commitment to its principles may
be tested this month when applications open for 2 million euros of new
language subsidies. Son says he'll be applying again for funding for his
next project, the title of which remains a secret.

Some say more subsidies for Son would be intolerable.

``To use public money to show pornographic material when in Catalonia, as
in the rest of Spain, there are people living in terrible conditions, is a
mistake bordering on misappropriation of state funds,'' the Madrid-based
newspaper ABC said in a Feb. 19 editorial. To contact the reporter on this
story: Ben Sills in Madrid at bsills at

Last Updated: May 3, 2007 06:54 EDT


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