The only real hope I've had for the coming election was when Al Gore started wearing these lame clown outfits. He showed up in one on the cover of The New York Times, and it seemed impossible that America would consider a presidential candidate who dolled himself up in trendy earth tones. Bill Maher is supposed to dress like that. Leaders do not. But that was before the whole Naomi Wolf story broke, which seemed to make it all seem okay. Hey, the public said, the Vice President isn't a fag; he just takes advice from a woman who dresses him like one.
So the salesclerk comes up and asks if he can help me. "Yes," I reply. "Does this store have any clothes for men?" I may not have necessarily come up with that clever line on my own. It may have been stolen from a "Wizard of Id" comic strip. But who cares? People get Academy Award nominations for screenplays that offer entire scenes that simply recreate ancient jokes. Hell, I just saw a copy of an alt-weekly with two different cartoons about George W. Bush's resemblance to Alfred E. Neuman.
Originality is for suckers. Besides, making the cut at the Algonquin is purely secondary to speaking out for important issues about men. We all owe it to the Brotherhood to stand up and address these increasingly everyday outrages?such as trying to dress us up in outfits that are gayer than AstroBoy.
Is it any wonder that it's practically an industry by now? Yet I'm still surprised to find myself back in the guy business. To be honest, I was closing out the century determined to put these professional-boy antics behind me. This turned out to be the kind of decision that continues my resentment toward my high-school guidance counselor. Mr. Bird should have encouraged me to pursue a living as a pathetic homeless druggie. Given the trajectory of my past careers, this would have ensured me a future as a millionaire real-estate tycoon.
So now I'm deeper into the boy biz than ever. I'm so deep into the boy biz that Father Bruce Ritter should be forced to view my happy lifestyle from a big-screen tv in hell?except, of course, we're not talking about real boys. We're talking about grown boys, which means that Father Ritter would be doubly damned to find out how much of my time is spent ogling gals. Ogling gals is practically my Job One, and the auto industry can only dream of matching my J.D. Power rating.
But it's fun. And it's not like I'm a pornographer. You know who's a pornographer? Evan Wright. At least this cretin is under the impression that he used to be one. "In 1995," he wrote on the January 18 edition of Salon, "I became a pornographer." Actually, he only became the entertainment editor for Hustler. This means that he was a guy who wrote about porn films. But dwelling on that would interfere with his big rush to apologize to everybody in the world about his horrible past. Christ, is he ever sorry he got into that business. He's written for paragons of virtue like L.A. Weekly and Rolling Stone, you know?or so claims his important little blurb at the end of his simpering essay.
To his horror, Wright found out that porn is directed toward male fantasy. Some of those fantasies aren't very pretty. Wright is particularly repulsed by the work of an actor named Max Hardcore. "Turn the sound down," murmurs Evan, "and it is a rape."
Actually?with the exception of hippies posing for The Joy of Sex?the vast majority of hot sex likely bears some resemblance to rape. But this isn't the lamest statement from Evan's desperate cry for forgiveness. The guy quickly demonstrates the sharp creative skills that got him the job at Hustler. Stumped for a recent example of degraded women that doesn't involve our President, the author invokes the ancient shampoo ads where Kelly LeBrock intoned, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful":
The flaunting of LeBrock's unattainable beauty was obnoxious?clearly, you did hate Kelly LeBrock. You hated her because she was so beautiful. You knew that a woman as beautiful as LeBrock would seldom look your way. And your girlfriend knew she would never look like LeBrock no matter how many times she shampooed with Pantene. At least, this is how the commercial worked on me.
In truth, Kelly LeBrock was addressing the ladies in the audience. In the case of Wright, however, his confusion is understandable. That commercial probably had a similar effect on many male virgins. Then they eventually got laid and went on with their lives. Real men know that any desirable woman looks exactly like Kelly LeBrock once the morning sun finds her in his bed.
There are certainly several good reasons for rejecting jobs in the porn sector. I once walked off a publishing job when my bosses complained about my coming in late to work all the time. They didn't care that I was busy having sex, and if they didn't appreciate my research and development, then they deserved to have a subscriber base that depended on state prisons. If they didn't want me to have sex, they shouldn't have insisted on those photo illustrations for my column in our sister publication. I spent three weeks on Ave. A asking strange women if my suit looked appropriate for my upcoming Playgirl shoot.
Nobody outside of the Salon editorial pool could actually buy that Evan has ever been concerned about the degradation of women. Nobody who really respects women would ever work for Larry Flynt, anyway?though Evan notes that he was seduced by the rebellious allure of Hustler. He was especially pleased that they once offended Jerry Falwell. Evan probably also started smoking after he saw his first Mötley Crüe video.
But to fully appreciate the depths of Wright's deception?that is, after ignoring fun personal facts that have gotten out about the guy?take a look at the lame rationalization toward the end of his piece:
Before I left Hustler, I wrote a highly favorable review of a Max Hardcore video. I described Max as a genius, who was making some of the most brutally honest cinema in America today. My praise was tongue-in-cheek. Max's films were disgusting and sick, but they raised uncomfortable questions about myself and the industry I worked in.
Writers always have a problem with paper trails. It's fairly obvious that Wright never wrote anything wryly during his entire stint at Hustler. He was simply a hack who?like all Flynt employees?dutifully wrote away to fit his master's expectations. And then, like a true hack, Wright printed a public apology once he decided to bid for more upscale hackery. The guy's worse than a gender traitor. He's practically an honorary girl. There may have never been a single female porn editor who didn't immediately write some sappy "expose" the minute that she eventually left the job. In fact, a former female editor just recently contacted me to pitch a piece about her work in the porn industry. She made it sound like she had something interesting to say. Instead, she sent the typical rant about how happy she is to no longer help those horrible men enjoy their misogynistic fantasies.
I still haven't bothered to send her a proper rejection notice, which is probably impolite of me. To make up for that, I'll helpfully suggest that it's been nearly six months since the Village Voice ran a similar article. They'd be delighted with how she tears the roof off the whole dirty charade.
This isn't to say that there aren't numerous women with legitimate gripes against the porn industry. I recently talked to ex-porn star Jasmin St. Claire, who delighted in expressing her contempt for the entire industry. Then again, she was equally contemptuous of the biz throughout her career, while actually working hard to gain her voice of authority. She also didn't blame society. She seemed more upset about low budgets. In that sense, she's kind of an honorary guy.
In contrast, consider how Miss Evan Wright was so terribly tainted by our collective sins: "Is pornography misogynistic? In my mind, there is only one response. How could it not be? Pornography comes from a culture that breeds misogyny. At least it seems to have done so in me."
Damn that Kelly LeBrock. Didn't we always know Steven Seagal was too good for her?