Part 1: Here's how it is.
Siege has been shooting Justine Joli, the prettiest girl in Porn Valley. He says: "Justine is a defective porn star. She isn't a plasticized cliché. She isn't tan or blond or jaded. She's a nerd. She's smart. She's confident. But she has that little hurt inside. I have that too, and maybe I see a little of myself in her. We're both traveling in circles we weren't meant to. Living beyond our intended destiny."
posted by The Reverse Cowgirl at 8:57 AM
WHAT THEY DO IS NOT WHAT I DO. I AM SPECIAL, AND BETTER THAN THEM.
Justine Joli is a porn star. She has sex on camera, and is paid for it. It is what she does, and inevitably, part of what she is. But Siege has removed her from that. He dolls her up, spends time crafting a photo, and has wiped himself clean of the stench of pornography. The site the photos were taken for, Nerve.com, advertises "Hotter Photography. Photography so good, you could hang it in an art gallery — but so sexy, you'll be glad you can see it at home!" Sure, this is porn, but it's not porn porn. It has artistic merit, and isn't produced for soulless gratification.
Justine Joli is smart. She is confident. And she's not tan, or blond anymore. (She was, but that was a long time ago, back when she was still inside her intended destiny.) And she has that little hurt inside. And so does Siege. She's still a porn star, though, and he's still a pornographer. They have invented terms and genres and built justifications and redoubts to avoid being what they don't want to be. Pornographers and porn stars. Pornographers and porn stars, it seems, should be ashamed of themselves. They produce something empty and commercial that is never beautiful and never tender. It is plasticized and cliché. Siege and Justine are blessed to be defective, outside (and above, of course) the ordinary world of people who look at things for sheer physical gratification. (As a side note to Siege: Lots of people have that hurt. You, her, me, secretaries, plumbers, plenty of people. It doesn't make you special, it just makes you hurt.)
It is, of course, crap. Justine Joli is a porn star. She was blond, and tan, and they called her Swan. She starred in the same things other porn stars star in: Barely Legal #50, Barely Legal Summer Camp, Alien Love Fantasy, Rub the Muff #3, and Extreme Behavior #5. She's not blond anymore (still tan, most of the time), but now she stars in The Meridians of Passion, Beautiful Lies, and L'affaire. Her movies now have higher budgets, are thought of as classier, but the purpose and end result are always the same. Joli is a porn star.
Should she be ashamed of that? Porn is an interesting business, an odd mix of ordinary people, people who have been abused, people who are going to be abused, people who need money and people who love what they do. There is certainly shame in it, but there can be shame in almost anything you do. But I can't think of a reason why Justine Joli has to be ashamed of what she does. There is a market, and a role to be filled. If you're happy and good at what you do and getting what you need out of it, then what more is there? Obviously there are people who believe Siege and Joli should be ashamed, but what do they know? Stand up, say "I make porn," and let that be that. Be what you are. But they can't do that. Siege, who takes photographs for 'legitimate' magazines as well as the hotter galleries available to Nerve Premium members, has gone to great distance to not be ashamed of something he shouldn't be ashamed of in the first place. He has taken Joli with him, perhaps willingly, perhaps not. But they stand there, removed and clean, better than smut. They are not ashamed because they are not that thing.
no love, playa? honey's bounce when you throw bad game. try a dose of formula 50...and lose the pimp cup.
inspired by a certain hip, hot artist, formula 50 brings a serious entourage of vitamins. from a bling blitz at jacob the jeweler, to a cheddar check-in with the accountants, to a party in da club...you'll roll with 50 (per) cent of many of your daily requirements.
50 Cent doesn't drink alcohol, and often found himself drinking Glacieau Vitamin Water. So he bought some stock in the company. In return, Glacieau created a specific flavor just for him. Somewhere along the line, someone probably suggested that Vitamin Water wasn't something most thugs drink, and so maybe out and out endorsement just wasn't the best idea. What we're left with is a series of awkward suggestions that really, 50 Cent is totally behind this, he just can't exactly say it himself. They don't even say "hip-hop". But seriously, he's all about the Vitamin Water. The label on the bottle doesn't mention him at all, if you only read that you'd think the name was derived from the fact that it contains 50% of your vitamins and nutrients.
On the streets, people remind each other to 'be real'. Scholars use the term 'racial authenticity.' The point is the same: Remain true to what you are and where you're from. The odd thing is that if 50 were being real, he would cop to drinking Vitamin Water. He would smile and explain how the vitamins give him the boost he needs to mumble for hours. But it's clear that he knows plenty of people think he should be ashamed, so he hides his face off screen.
In contrast to Siege, 50 doesn't event large-scale explanations for why he's not what you think he is, and that's why he's not ashamed. 50 just doesn't admit to doing the thing that people think he should be ashamed of. 50 Cent shouldn't be ashamed of the fact that he doesn't drink, or that he drinks Vitamin Water. He should be what he is, and admit to it. But he can't do that.
Not too long ago, I was watching footage from "A Current Affair." The year was 1992, and A Current Affair was presenting "Allegations that could outrage the biggest wrestling fan." The news does these segments from time to time, blowing the lid off the sordid world of professional wrestling. On "A Current Affair", Superstar Billy Graham discussed the steroid use of himself and Hulk Hogan. Dr. D David Schultz ran down the crimes of cocaine use and sex acts. Superstar, apparently unaware of the origins of pro-wrestling, claims the carnival, freak-show nature of wrestling now totally makes you embarrassed to say "yes, I am a pro-wrestler." Over a decade later on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel", Vince McMahon was grilled about how many wrestlers die at a young age. (Most of the wrestlers who have died didn't work for Vince, but that's apparently beside the point.) Vince offered the standard explanations that these are grown men who make their own decisions, and it isn't Vince's job or right to control them. Gumbel kept pressing, though, and Vince grew increasingly frustrated until he slapped the papers Gumbel was holding and stormed off. The subtext of what Vince said, and the reason he was frustrated, was clear. Bryant Gumbel doesn't understand the business of pro-wrestling, and doesn't care to. Wrestling attracts a certain type of person, and combined with the stress and rigors of the business, drug use is a lot more likely than in the normal world. It is a hazardous business, often a hazardous lifestyle, and to suggest that death could be avoided would be absurd. It is a tragic fact of wrestling. A lot of guys live fast, and die young. Anyone who tries to learn anything about wrestling beyond what's immediately presented on television or in the ring can tell you these stories, of drugs and girls and sleaze. People outside of wrestling will point to these things as evidence that wrestling really is bad. They knew that nothing like that could be good at heart.
One thing never happens on these news shows. No one ever looks at the reporters and says "You know what? That's the business. That's the way it works, and I fucking love it." No one ever refuses to be ashamed. Ironically, it seems like the guys who will never make it to the top of the wrestling industry are the least likely to be ashamed of their participation. Superstar was a headliner, a champion, a legend, and he's spilling his guts to third-rate newsmen. The Rock will stop billing himself as The Rock as soon as he can get away with it.
Those are scars. Scars from times when he has cut himself, to draw blood and heighten the drama of a match. Steve Corino has never been a major draw. He was big in the dying days of ECW, which doesn't really mean that much. But look at his eyes. "Yes, I have done this to myself. No, I am not ashamed." Corino has embraced cutting his own forehead, he has embraced wrestling, and with that comes the reality of ring rats and drugs. That's the business. That's the way it works, and I fucking love it.
In 2004, Superstar Billy Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He shows up on house shows and punches The Coach in the face. If Superstar was embarrassed by what wrestling had become, why is he back? The same two reasons everyone else comes back: Either you love it, or it's the only thing that will have you. Sometimes it's both. And when that's the case, how can you be ashamed? Be what you are, and don't be ashamed of it.
Part Two: Oh God, I take it all back.
My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole.
I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead.
But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way. I share my adventures with the world. They are known as: The Tucker Max Stories
Tucker Max is a narcissist. He knows he is funny and smart and generally awesome. He knows what he is, and isn't ashamed of it. At all.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me tell you what I am like:
-I am selfish, aggressive and dominant in bed. If you want candlelight, romance and long meaningful gazes into your eyes, look elsewhere.
-I will never ask if you came, because I really don't care. I define my success in bed by my happiness, not yours.
-Again, I will never fall in love with you, and I for damn sure will never date you. Just being clear.
-I won't go down on you (unless I am really drunk and you are really hot and I really really like you).
Tucker knows that there is an advantage to be had by being a complete dick. He knows that some women will go for that, and so he plays it for all it is worth. It works for him.
I was recently freed from a 4-year long-distance relationship that began in high school and I wanted nothing more than to have sex with as many girls as possible.
Most of the things I did that summer are not story-worthy; you can only tell the same, “I got drunk on Dom and fucked this hottie” story so many times before it gets annoying. That summer I experienced every random sex situation that a 20 year old can imagine: fucking on the beach, getting head from random girls in club bathrooms, sleeping with 3 different girls in a day, getting so drunk I passed out during sex, getting arrested for receiving fellatio in the pool at the Delano, blah, blah, blah…Jesus. What does it say about how fucked up my life is that I don’t consider these stories to be extraordinary anymore?
It's important that even though he's not going to tell those stories, you know that he totally hooked up with all these chicks in so many ways and it was awesome. You should all be very impressed with his greatness.
If I can adopt a slightly different angle for a moment, I hate Tucker Max. He makes me angry. There are lot of things in this world that I don't agree with, and with most of them, I could explain my piece, and if nothing changed, I'd let that be that. Some things will just be that way, and you have to accept it. There is a short list of people and things that I cannot accept. Tucker is one of those things. I would gladly be ruthless violent with Tucker. Given the chance, I would beat his face into the pavement. I think Tucker gets it. I think he knows what he does is harmful and that he shouldn't do it. But he doesn't care. And for that I would jump at the chance to hurt him. I consider this a personal failure. I am ashamed that I feel this way, but I would totally and instantly resort to violence.
And that leaves me thinking of the value of shame, and how maybe it helps control us. Should Tucker Max be ashamed of what he is? I would say yes, but can I make that call, after defending things that others say are worthy of shame? I'm bad at drawing conclusions, but it isn't fair to leave the two sides sitting out there with no resolution. Luckily, Tucker Max comes through for me. One thing lets me cast Tucker into shame while insisting that others have no reason to be there. Tucker chronicles his stories, and revels in what he's done. It's not just that he isn't ashamed; it's that he's proud. Not content with just plain being what he is, Tucker insists that being what he is makes him great. Pride: St. Augustine's greatest of all sins.
Justine Joli is a porn star. 50 Cent drinks Vitamin Water. Wrestling is sleazy. Tucker Max is an asshole. And sometimes you really should be ashamed of yourself.