"Hey Susannah,'At this point in her career, the Duke porn star speaks with as much authority about working in porn as a Nordstrom employee speaks with authority about what it’s like to work at McDonald’s.'
In your Forbes article on the subject (http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2014/02/25/duke-porn-star/), you wrote,
I haven't seen her video or know her name or whatever (I've only read her interview a few days ago), but I think you miss the point. To me, she's playing with powerful symbols to further the noble agenda of aligning the reality of the human condition with the hyperreality/simulacrum of our dominant cultural framework. I mean, Duke in the public eye is a school for rich, white people. That's not the 'truth,' but that's generally what our broader culture perceives it as. If that happens to not be the case, it's at least what her polarizing persona dictates to be the case. Freshman year of college I had a difficult time discussing the rape culture that undergirds our society and the imaginary walls and lanes of social conduct and thought and blah that keep us constrained from helping out those that can't be helped. I went through a period of depression and sadness a la Melinda Sordino of Speak (the novel) because I felt as if I didn't have a voice... and I've struggled over the past year or so because of that. But learning about this Duke freshman, coupled with help from other people and personal therapies of sorts, really helped to save my voice... and for that I am thankful. I don't know how to reach out to this freshman to say thanks, nor do I feel the need to do so (because it seems to me that she has a fairly good/healthy support system of her own), but I'd like it if you didn't compare her cause and the cause of sex workers to that of Nordstrom and McDonald's employees. While they have their own sets of issues, which may or may not be comparable, the fact of the matter is this: sex workers are undocumented. What you or I may see on the Internet is just the tip of the iceberg. By opening up dialogue about the nature of human/female sexuality and our society's relationship with porn, we can open up further dialogue about the nature of our society and the people at 'the bottom' who had their voices taken away or never even had a voice to begin with. You know, the drug addicts, the rape victims, the murdered, etc. Who knows, maybe eventually people will realize that 'evil' (or at least the normative notion of evil) is without center, void yet ever present, an insidious threadwork pervasively stitched through us all.
P.S. Yeah, she's probably in the .01% of sex workers that are treated well, but who else is going to speak up? Where else? If she's able to secure her continuance as a student at Duke, then I hope she speaks as loud, and as far, as possible. Because that is a voice that will be heard. Hopefully this last comment doesn't seem incongruous to you, because to me it kind of ties my whole message together. It's from Kanye West's Twitter, and it's something he posted a couple weeks ago: 'Ten years later I am still the same kid from Chicago, still dreaming out loud, still banging on the door. The doors may be heavier, but I promise you WE WILL BREAK THEM.' Replace the word 'Chicago' with any place, and the message is applicable to anyone trying to understand and trying to help. She secured her position as a student and they can't take away her voice or her right to be a student because of her polarizing position in the sex industry. Kanye West secured his position as a hugely successful artist and 'they' can't take that away from him, either. If anything, the last question on my mind before I head off to bed is, Why all of the hate? What are 'they' afraid of? That, to me, is the question that strikes at the core heart of the matter."
"Once upon a time, porn stars changed their names and compartmentalized their lives. You were one person in the real world — with a birth name, a mortgage, a family — and you were another person in Pornlandia — with a stage name, a box cover, a fan base. Decades ago, it was a way of protecting yourself, your family, and your future from the near unilateral disdain the culture had for your occupation. In recent years, porn stars’ personal information has been disseminated online, making it increasingly difficult to be a porn star with a private life."
I've been blogging for Forbes for three years.
After this week, I've moving on to new things.
Want to hire me before someone else does? Email me.
"Since I started my professional writing career over a decade ago, I’ve worked for two brands that opened doors across the board and around the world. One was Forbes. The other was Playboy. Aligning my personal brand with a high-value existing brand gave me the opportunity to meet people and do stories I would’ve been unable to do otherwise. That’s been invaluable."
"Artists shouldn’t kid themselves that most people give a fuck about them directly. At least not at first. People want what you’ve made, they don’t want you. You have to seduce them into also wanting you. And you can only do that by making more stuff that they want, and hopefully attaching yourself to it in the minds of some small percentage of its fans. This is branding."
For Valentine's Day, I bought my husband this NRA "Coexist" T-shirt.
"This 6 oz., 100% preshrunk cotton shirt is the perfect balance of humor and attitude. Carrying a subtle, yet compelling message, it spells out the word 'COEXIST' using rifles, pistols, magazines, ammo and the venerable NRA shield. To really drive home the message, we’ve added 'A Free People Must...' at the very top of the t-shirt."
"Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t it seem the entire system for performers in Porn Valley is set for failure? There is no career in porn for 99.45 percent of these girls. The talent agencies are really nothing more than walk in Ready Labor outfits with zero benefits. Get in line…perhaps you’ll work…perchance you won’t. Step out of line and voice your concern, to the back of the line with you. For most performers in Porn Valley that’s the reality. The quick paycheck is the nail in the coffin. Used by the agents and producers alike, it is the best career suicide diversion of all time. The talent base in LA has yet to grasp that and also figure out that everything and anything they shoot or will shoot in LA was or is going to be sold, resold, repackaged, resold again and then promptly shipped to the tube sites where the real damage subsequently begins to their careers. Just about every performer who has more than 15 or 20 scenes in LA is so saturated on the tube sites; she is simply not marketable anymore. Why would she be? She is on every tube site a thousand times over…for the low price of free. That kind of saturation can be insurmountable. She gets a few scenes here and there, and before you know it she is doing the million man double anal cream pie followed by an anal toilet brush reaming for $500. The vast majority of Porn Valley performers are destined for the industry standard of an extremely short career that seems to be so popular among them. The good news is that their retirement package ensures that they will always be able to log on to PornHub and watch their own scenes for free in HD…for eternity…resting comfortably knowing they will never be paid another dime for any of it. Perhaps that is why I really don’t know of any “porn stars” right now…just a bunch of talent passing through Porn Valley and landing permanently on Porn Hub. Maybe these other girls…you know the ones who seem to be doing so well outside of Los Angeles…are on to something. I could be wrong."
I don't do much anime, but I read about "Space Dandy" on Lauren Rae Orsini's blog: "Why Is the Media Covering 'Space Dandy' While Other Anime Get Ignored?"
"The New York Times. The Atlantic Monthly. The two last places you’d expect to see critical reviews on a show with 'breasturants' as a major plot point." [Otaku Journalist]
I haven't been to a lot of breastaurants. I think the only one I've been to is Hooters. I've been meaning to go to the Tilted Kilt, but I haven't made it there yet.
"So perhaps there’s also reason to be patient when 'Space Dandy' gets off to a rocky start in its first episode, the only one available for review. Particularly painful is an early sequence in which the pompadoured title character, an intergalactic alien hunter, travels through space to his favorite hangout: a cross between the 'Star Wars' cantina and Hooters, where 'zero G meets double D.'" [NYT]
It sounds hilarious. It's not surprising that a clever, surrealist take on sex comes from outside the US. In America, the gender wars turned the bedroom into a battleground.
"Ironically, Space Dandy’s campy style—there is a literal boob monster in one episode—begs to not be taken too seriously, but with his pop-culture sensibility and cinematic directing style, Watanabe may be anime’s greatest chance of getting the respect it deserves." [The Atlantic]
"These headshots, taken at the Former Playboy Bunny Reunion in Las Vegas, are the result of my interest in the women of Playboy and where they are now. The tight frame and non-retouched images allow space for one’s personal reflection on age and beauty. The body language suggests even more about who these women are: strong, beautiful, fragile, provocative, and everything in between. They are complex characters that are proud and empowered by their beauty and sexuality, at the same time stricken by the fleeting nature of it."
"MDL: 'Boogie Nights' scored horribly. They recruit for these [test screenings] off a paragraph [synopsis] in the mall, and the paragraph for 'Boogie Nights' made it look like a sitcom, and then they come for this three-hour exegesis on existential crises in porn. It got to a point where Bob Shaye, my old boss, chased good scores on that movie, and that movie was never going to score high.
MW: I remember he did his own cut and made Paul watch it.
MDL: Yeah, it was horrible. It was tough. That movie was going straight to video, and then the reviews started to come in at the New York Film Festival. If it wasn't for early reviews…"