Porn

The .xxx domain is nothing more than an efficient means for domain registrars to extort money from businesses and organizations afraid that their names will be bought and used by porn sites, and from adult site operators who must purchase their .coms in .xxx format, lest someone else do so and hijack traffic. They basically said as much themselves with the “Can You Afford Not To?” video ad campaign. You have to give them credit: When they finally approved the .xxx domain, ICANN created worth out of thin air by allowing domain registrars to run what is essentially a protection scam: “That’s a nice brand you have there. It’d be a real shame if it redirected to a porn site.” [READ MORE]

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Three strippers and a well-adjusted boyfriend attend the 7th annual Seattle and Portland amateur porn film festival, Hump!. This was Kat and her friend’s first time attending and the second for my man friend and myself. We learned that we never want to see sex to piano music again, that stop-motion animation can be more obscene than real life, and that Kat’s former coworker wasn’t afraid to be penetrated with a knife.

Standing in the long line outside of Portland’s Cinema 21, I was immediately struck by how chipper the crowd was. An equal proportion of mid-twenties to late-thirties men and women chattered excitedly in the rain. I actually stood on my tiptoes to peer down the block, looking for solo older men lurking in the shadows, but didn’t see any. All six Portland showings had completely sold out and the line of hip young people wrapped around the block. Kat overheard a guy tell his girlfriend that they were at the new Harry Potter movie, which didn’t seem unreasonable given the mob of excited people. [READ MORE]

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The one thing that all the well-adjusted, fiscally responsible, long-term sex workers I know have in common is a sense of humor. Not that I hate my job, but certain things have happened where I’ve had a choice of either collapsing into a fetal position and bawling, or folding over with laughter, with really no middle ground between the two. It’s like Abe Lincoln said, “I laugh because I must not cry.” (Actually, I just wanted to quote Abe Lincoln and have no idea whether he’s talking about the Civil War or what.)

As a fan of standup comedy, I’ve had to sit through too many jokes about my vocation to count. There are just so many strippers’-names-are-so-fake, dead hooker, and porn star bad childhood jokes out there.* Have you heard the one about how we’re all dead inside, which you can tell from our lifeless/soulless eyes? Yeah, me too, about a million times since I first heard it on Family Guy. Sometimes after I hear these jokes, I worry that people can smell the stripper on me, what with the blond mane and the not laughing. And then I wonder why these people at the open mic can’t make fun of their own coworkers at Kinko’s and why I can’t just see some comedy without being reminded of my daddy issues.

Where are all the sex-positive comedians with Women’s Studies degrees who can discuss Female Chauvanist Pigs? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were also Jewish and loved animals? These guys really exist and their names are Eli Olsberg** and Jake Weisman. They host a podcast called The Morning After and I love it. Each episode typically has one porn performer guest and one comedian guest and they all discuss the porn industry and life. [READ MORE]

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“A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star. It invites forgivable prurience: What is that relationship like? Granted the intellectual’s hit hanky-panky pay dirt, but what’s in it for the porn star? Conversation? Ideas? Deconstruction?”

That’s Glen Duncan, over at the New York Times on Colson Whitehead’s “zombie novel,” Zone One. He made that lazy analogy in service of the equally offensive idea that Whitehead’s literary fiction talents might be wasted on readers of genre fiction. He comes around at the end with “If this is the intellectual and the porn star, they look pretty good together. For my money, they have a long and happy life ahead of them.” CAN I TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK FRANKENSTEIN AND THIS GUY POE HOW ABOUT THAT TOO.

Comments like Duncan’s belie a casual misogyny and narrow worldview we at T&S love to sink our teeth into. There’s so much here! Does he think that there aren’t intellectual porn stars? Doesn’t he know about Annie Sprinkle or Filthy Gorgeous Things or even, for crying out loud, Sasha Grey? Did he not even see Joanna Angel’s reading list? Is he a self-hating genre writer? Aren’t we supposed to be past the lowbrow/highbrow thing now? How in the fuck did this nonsense get published? We aren’t the only ones who think it’s stupid; as always, The Rumpus has sex workers’ backs.

So listen, I like reading Colson Whitehead. It’s great that he got a rave in the NYT and has a bestseller on his hands. And I think all us strippers and hookers and porn performers and sex workers of all stripes should read Zone One this week (we’ve all read enough Foucault and Lacan, yeah, so let’s treat ourselves to a crackin’ genre novel). Go get yourself a copy, and come back here next week to discuss.*

*If you don’t decide, “Fuck, reading is boring. I’ve got to get out there and bang an extreme-sports athlete on blow.”

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This is the first book I’ve read that I had to set down because it caused me to have a heaving fit (on two separate occasions, actually). As in, certain muscle groups in my body involuntarily contracted in a desperate attempt to push something that I had read out of my throat. Those were just about the only times I was able to set the book down. Oriana Small really puts it all out there: the good, the bad, and the cheese dick*, letting readers do what they might with the information presented. It’s dark and it’s honest and you’ll never once hear Small refer to any part of her own anatomy as a “ding-ding.”

It seems that Oriana Small can’t really tell the story of her career as Ashley Blue without also sharing the story of her first love, which she can’t properly include without the cocaine. There’s plenty of coke-fueled drama, so it’s surprising that I enjoyed this book as much as I did; I don’t especially want to read about cokeheads any more than I want to be cornered by them at parties. And yet, I found myself engrossed enough that I opened a rental account at the local porn store. I started with a video from the Girlvert series, the namesake of the book. They’re sort of the XXX equivalent of The Bad Seed. [READ MORE]

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