Whale Shark

Witness

Recently, I received a letter from a Jehovah's Witness. From what I could surmise, the sender, a man, thought I authored "Why Women Bully Each Other at Work," which was not written by me but by the lovely and talented Olga Khazan. The letter included an article from the July 22, 1988, issue of Awake!, which is a Jehovah's Witnesses publication. "Even the Bible has not escaped the feminists' wrath," the piece reads at one point. "Millions of true Christian women today are finding the real liberation in filling their role described in the Bible," it concludes. The letter from the man ends: "I thought that you may find it interesting!" I recycled it.

Pique This

I'm a big fan of Merriam-Webster on Twitter -- yes, the dictionary -- because their social media is just aces. As someone who used to be a digital copywriter for billion-dollar brands, I know how challenging it can be to define the voice of a product and turn that expression into engagement.

Merriam-Webster does a terrific job of this, sending out a tantalizing stream of tweets that inform, delight, and inspire involvement. Yesterday, they tweeted a link to a post defining the difference between timber and timbre. On Twitter, I suggested they do one on the difference between peek, peak, and pique. (Misuse of these terms drives me nuts.)

Within hours, they'd done exactly that and created a post that dissected the various variations. I even learned a use of pique that I'd not been aware of previously: "Pique sometimes is used to mean 'to take pride in (oneself),' as in 'She piques herself on her editing skills.'"

words-from-london.jpg

This isn't the first time I've gotten a nod from Merriam-Webster. Earlier this year, I was quoted in a Merriam-Webster post about "Words from London," exploring "Words with London Origins." They quoted a Film Threat review I wrote years ago of "What Lies Beneath" in which I used the word "gaslighted."

In any case, if you want to see social done right, look no further than the dictionary.

Porn Star, Reinvented

Since relocating back to LA, I've had the opportunity to talk to some adult performers, and it seems in the years since I first set foot on a porn set, in 1997, the women have changed.

She's more entrepreneurial

Once upon a time, a performer like Jenna Jameson was the product of a production company. Nowadays, she's, more often than not, her own creation. The women who do the best, from what I surmise, are keen self-branders, shrewd marketers, and understand this is the adult business.

She's more of a hustler

She's on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. She makes her own content, trades clips, and monetizes behind-the-scenes glimpses. Social media connects the performer with the consumer, and she leverages that relationship to boost her bottom line.

She's more empowered

Or at least she has the potential to be. The Free Speech Coalition has recharged itself. There's APAC. Ideally, she's educated about her sexual health. If she doesn't have an agent, she sets her own rates, does her own PR, manages her LLC. Thanks to the internet, her career in XXX is in her hands.

Black Thursday

LA, Changed

It's been some time since I've lived in Los Angeles, and I'm happy to have moved back last month.

Here are a few ways it's changed.

It's more politically correct

It used to be that California was a bifurcated state. The North was where the hippies lived in politically correctness. The South was where the heathens lived in political incorrectness. Now LA is more politically correct. The recycling. The bag policing. The Priuses. Still, there's a layer of muck below the surface. Thick black tar, underneath it all. It's PC as performance.

It's more crowded

In LA proper, the streets are glutted with traffic. Nobody can agree upon the driving rules. The drivers are more aggressive. It takes forever to get anywhere. After dark, the freeways are red and white glowing streams of people trying to get somewhere, anywhere but where they are.

It's more expensive

In Los Feliz, the one bedroom apartment that I used to rent for $725 a month is now $1,850 a month. $2,000 a month gets you a dump near a busy street and maybe no refrigerator. Hollywood, the Valley, and the areas east are a bit more affordable. This is New York City, without the brownstones.

The food is better

Poke bowls. Handmade mozzarella. Fried Thai ice cream. Pop up restaurants. Food trucks. Fine dining with a side order of attitude. It's all there. And it's fucking delicious. Every bite of it.

There's a lot of art

The sculptures made of dead bodies. Whatever the hipsters are doing these days in Echo Park. Those loaded Broads. It ain't the Met, but I'll take it. Because the palm trees are Rodins, and the faces of the ladies on Rodeo Drive are Cindy Shermans, and the Hollywood sign is a Barbara Kruger.