Monday, April 20, 2015

Pornstars are People Too

It's occurred to me that this blog has had a sudden uptick of porn lately.

This is sort of odd for a Conservative-ish Catholic who writes novels about Vatican ninjas and hates sex scenes in mainstream fiction.  Had you told me I'd be talking about porn on my blog when I started it, I would have laughed in your face.

But, first we had retired actress Celine Tran, doing a nice sword fight video.  Then there was Sarah Garlits and the blog on rape.  It's starting to look a little strange. I can almost hear some people saying "Declan, is there something you want to share?"

Let me elaborate a little on my history with porn ... That sounds worse than it is. It's actually much stranger than that.

Before The Pius Trilogy ate up a quarter of my life, I had other projects I wanted to work on.  In fact, the one-volume A Pius Man was going to be the end of a series of books, with each of the characters appearing in other novels.  My series about the Secret Service Agent and the CIA assassin featured Father Frank Williams, the Pope, Giovanni Figlia, IRA leader Deaglan Lynch, the author Matthew Kovach, Scott Murphy, and mafia kneebreaker Jon Koenig, scattered in various and sundry parts throughout.  It's where the FBI computer hacker Blaine Lansing first appeared with Jennifer Lance.

It Was Only On Stun! was the first novel with Sean A.P. Ryan, and the first of a trilogy. If you've read the book (and I don't blame you if you haven't) I like dropping Sean into places where he is out of sorts and uncomfortable. The second book was supposed to feature protecting someone who was NOT Natalie Portman during her time at Harvard.

The third book was supposed to be Sean protecting a porn actress. Which would be hysterical.  He's not a prude, but he is really uncomfortable being around a naked woman he's not involved with. I figured it would be hilarious.

However, I knew nothing about porn.  But, having been to an all-male high school that shall not be named, I had heard the name Asia Carrera.  It was someplace to start.

Carrera
Strangely enough, I found Asia's personal blog. She was a retired, a widow with two children, suffering from panic attacks, agoraphobia, had to take Xanax to function.  She also played Carnegie Hall when she was 14 (the piano) and was a member of Mensa. She also moved to Arizona because the conservative atmosphere was better for her children, and she was running her own computer side business, acted as her own webmaster and tech support.

Tell me that those last two sentences don't make you want to high-five her.  It's kinda awesome.

When I saw that she was having money problems following the death of her husband, I chimed in with an email suggesting a biography. Heck, if Jenna Jameson could do it (her book was all over the place at the time), Carrera could do it. From what little I saw of her, she was way more interesting than Jameson.

She wrote back that part of her life was too hard to think about, and it was something she wanted to leave behind her, maybe some other time....

Huh.  Remember this, I'll refer back to it.

Come on, she's Troi, dang it.
When I followed the nerd news site Topless Robot, they did reviews about nerd-based porn. And they insisted that the Next Generation porn parody should have been a real episode (it had better graphics and a script that would have made an actual episode if the skipped the porn). In it, there was an actress who chose the name April O'Neil ...

Seriously, I can't argue with anyone who steals her name from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And look at her (left) she's adorable.

Anyway, after April starred in that, she went on to produce a Doctor Who parody, where the review noted that the plot was confusing, but the costumes were great, even if "the sex was boring."

No, I can't make this up.

And from what little I've seen of her in interviews, she's cute, and got a solid head for business. And a nerd.

And then there's Celine Tran, aka Katsuni, who had this great dance routine with swords (above). Seriously, that was just cool.

And, recently, I tripped over an interview with adult entertainers Stoya and Kayden Kross, where it was an entire discussion on business models, profit / loss statements, etc.  As I'm not a business guy, I was just glad I was able to follow it.

Also, they insisted that porn was more feminist than Hollywood, so that was interesting.

I'm a bit of a libertarian, mostly under the heading of "Leave me alone, I leave you alone."

As a Catholic, I'm also libertarian in my views.  In his book, The Irrational Atheist, Vox Day states that a libertarian Christian says "I don't care if you go to Hell." I think that's a little harsh. I do care if someone goes to Hell... But I also don't know who's going and who's not.

Frankly, the Vatican more or less backs me up on this. The Pope makes moral statements for Catholics.  Do we believe these ex cathedra statements are The Last Word? Yes.

Do we expect anyone else to follow them but Catholics? No. Non-Catholics can take them as suggestions. Period. Done. Next topic.

Saint Francis of Assisi is famous for stating that "I am the worst sinner I know," because he knew his own heart, and didn't know anyone else's.

If you prefer the literature version, go for The Great Gatsby.
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had."
....Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parceled out unequally at birth.
Short version: I don't know what's in anyone else's heart. Heck, what's in my heart will get me halfway to Hell, especially during rush hour.

And, again, the Catholic church has never said any individual person has ever gone to Hell.

Do I approve of men or women doing pornography? No, but they didn't ask me, and it's their life, and if they're happy, good luck with that. I don't know what their conscience tells them, I don't know what their heads or their hearts tell them, and the likelihood that I will ever know are so slight as to be nonexistent.

Look at Asia Carrera's comment above when I mentioned doing a bio. I don't know what she's been through, what went through her mind when she was employed, nor do I know what situations and beliefs brought her to make her decisions. Nor do I know what she regrets or doesn't. Neither do you.

Do I think doing porn a bad idea? Yes, I do.

Do I think that makes the actors in porn evil?  No. For all I know, half the people in porn go to confession afterwards.

Hell, you want to play moral score card?  By my math, there are some women in porn who have slept with fewer men than any one character on Sex in the City. For all I know, the circles of male actors they frequent are smaller than the Rolodexes of the women I know in real life.

I don't know.

I also don't care.

Honestly, does Tran's former porn career make her swordfight any less awesome? No. Does Sarah Garlits' make her efforts and statements on rape any less eloquent, poignant, or on-topic? No. Does Asia Carrera's make her any less smart? No. Does April O'Neil's current career make her less of a nerd? No. They're people. And like people, they're multi-faceted, and their jobs aren't their entire life. Unless they're just shallow and that's the only thing they're able to do ... but isn't that about half the workforce?

What little I've seen of these people as people, I like. Sarah Garlits is goofy and witty. Asia Carrera is smart and honest. Stoya seems good with numbers.  April O'Neil is adorable with nerd cred.

What's my point? Pornstars are people too.  Yes, I usually think that people suck, but you get the idea...

And, given the topic of this post, that may not be the best phrasing.

10 comments:

  1. Like!!!! I really like the way you think. It totally makes sense, John. Thanks

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  2. The sad thing is that many, if not most, don't go into that industry willingly.

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  3. Well said, especially that you don't know who is going to Hell, and Christian rules are for Christian people, not for everyone else.

    Also, why would an adult movie star's sins be so much worse than anyone else's? God doesn't really view sins like deck card games. Porn +10 sin... Lies +3 sin... Murder +20 sin... etc.

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    1. Thanks.

      And deck card games ... I like that.

      Though I'd say cold blooded murder was a +50.... :)

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    2. Might be on to something. "Sin and Salvation" deck card game? Ah, but you couldn't make it a true competitive game, because that would mean playing sins on others, and leading others to sin is a sin, so you couldn't play against someone without playing against yourself... okay, I see why this logistically hasn't been made.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Well, Christian rules are for everyone, but some don't want to play the game . . . and if you don't play the game, you don't get the benefits of said game.

      But, to continue the game analogy, you have a perfect right to play a different game, or not play at all. It's absolutely your choice, and anyone who says differently . . . well, isn't playing this particular game. Or they're attempting to cheat, but the GM is pretty good at spotting the cheaters.

      I think the game analogy only goes so far. :)

      And yes, sins aren't scored. There was a great line in an otherwise-questionable show called Joan of Arcadia. "It's not a point system, Joan. You don't get coupons."

      Let's just jump right through Godwin and use Hitler as an example. If Hitler repented, then he'd be fine. He'd probably spend a while in Purgatory, but eventually he'd be purified and be a saint. (A saint isn't just someone you hold up as an example for how to live. "Saint" is the title of anyone in Heaven. When the Pope canonizes a new saint, it's a declaration that this person has made it through Purgatory and is in Heaven.)

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    5. (I messed up on posting and had to repost.)

      Actually, you COULD make a Sins & Salvation game. It would just need to be cooperative. That could be interesting.

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  4. You mentioned we should remember Carrera not wanting to remember that part of her life and that you'd get back to it. Did I miss something?

    Also, you say there's a sword dance "above," but I'm missing that too.

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    1. The sword dance is the first link, from Celine Tran ("acting" name is Katsuni)

      "Look at Asia Carrera's comment above when I mentioned doing a bio. I don't know what she's been through, what went through her mind when she was employed, nor do I know what situations and beliefs brought her to make her decisions. Nor do I know what she regrets or doesn't. Neither do you."

      That's what I considered "getting back to it."

      Delete

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