Lucas Lascivious

Foe of moderation, champion of excess

Month: March, 2014

The View‘s Porn Problem

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On Monday’s edition of The View, so-called “Duke porn star” Belle Knox (government name: Miriam Weeks) was featured in what was supposed to be a conversation about her being outed as an adult entertainer by a fellow Duke student and the ensuing harassment she’s received as a result. Instead of taking the opportunity to actually comprehend what would make someone want to enter the sex industry or focusing on the blatant misogyny she’s experienced as a result of her “outing” she was met with castigation and patronization.

If you’ve ever watched The View, you know it’s a fairly liberal panel, but aside from the fact they’ve made some grossly antiquated, anti-feminist statements in the past, a common trend is that they treat women in the sex industry like dogs under the guise of genuine curiosity.

Take Jenna Jameson’s interview from 2008, where even rah-rah-feminist Joy Behar mockingly introduces her and states the title of her film in a flippant tone. Yes, Zombie Strippers is a ridiculous film title, but even the nepotistic ‘other’ Kardashians, who’ve all made a name for themselves based on their sister’s sex tape, garnered more professionalism and overall respect than the regard that was given to Jenna Jameson. But, by The View standards, that interview was tame.

When the panel invited Sasha Grey to talk about the uproar that surrounded her reading to elementary-aged children as a mainstream actress, it was even worse. Obviously she’s done porn, but that’s not how she was presented to the children; rather, she was being philanthropic as a mainstream actress. Of course Sherri Shepherd, the voice of ignorant puritanism, piped in to essentially demote Sasha Grey’s sexuality as a woman because of the potential effect it could have on her socially retarded child, never mind the fact women are subliminally sexualized every single day, especially when it comes to Hollywood. The only difference is Sasha Grey removed thin strips of fabric to reveal her natural, basely, human self. The irony, of course, is that she’s openly admitted to buying her husband porn to “set the mood,” but that hypocrisy seemingly escapes her anytime she’s talking to someone who produces the porn she’s bestowed upon her husband. Barbara especially highlights her austerity when she says that no parent wants their child to grow up to be a porn star. Well, no parent wants their child to grow up to be an alcoholic, drug addict, depressive, etc., but that’s a far more prevalent matter-of-fact than porn. She, the most publicly impartial of the group, even had the gall to ask why, if Sasha Grey believes so staunchly in education, she would choose a porn career, which insinuates that sex industry workers as a whole are ignorant and demeans the profession, because you obviously can’t fuck for a living and subsequently be smart.

And now we move on to the most indescribably despicable porn star interview I’ve ever seen on The View. From the get-go, the panelists were in attack mode. Personally, I don’t find Bella Knox to be particularly intelligent or eloquent, especially when she starts going on about her cursory ideas as to what feminism is, but the manner in which they “interviewed” her wasn’t so much competent as it was exploitative. It actually took a man, Jorge Ramos, to ask questions that weren’t subconsciously demeaning or without integrity. But wait, it gets better: Jenny McCarthy, who’s been in Playboy numerous times, sardonically and gloomily asked what would make someone want to go into porn. Really? Coming from someone whose entire career stemmed from her attractiveness and willingness to flash her tits?

What was appalling to the panel is that Miriam Weeks admitted to watching porn from the time she was 12. When I say “appalling,” I mean they were absolutely aghast at the fact. Statistically, nearly three-quarters of males under 18 watch porn regularly, while, in a general sense, 85 percent of males watch porn regularly, meaning at least once a month. In the bubble of The View, though, statistics don’t matter, which led Sherri to proclaim, “My heart breaks […] when I hear this.” Her heart may hurt, but it’s likely due to fat-clogged arteries, rather than her insipid view of pornography.

Porn is Capitalist 101: where there is a demand, there needs to be a supply, which is a need porn fulfills. To derogate those who nourish that demand is simpleminded sanctimony.

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Wendy Williams’ “Transphobic” Comments Should Be Cause for Education, Not Vilification

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Wendy Williams, radio-shock-jock-cum-talk-show-host, is no stranger to controversy. She’s essentially made a career of being brash and with brazenness inevitably comes offensiveness, so it should come as no surprise she’s managed to ruffle her fair share of feathers throughout her career. On Thursday’s (March 13) edition of her talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, during a panel discussion about about Chloie Jonsson, a transgender personal trainer who is suing CrossFit for $2.5 million for being denied the opportunity to participate in the women’s division of the CrossFit Games, she and one of her panelists made incredibly insensitive and blatantly ignorant comments about not only Jonsson herself, but about transgendered people in general. Specifically, Williams defended CrossFit’s actions, saying:

“This is an unfair advantage… you can take away female parts or male parts or whatever — it’s like Chaz Bono! You know Chaz is a man now, but I bet she [sic] still fights like a girl like the rest of us and she’s [sic] not as strong as a man who was born a man.”

Panelist Joe Pardavila had his own absentminded opinion:

“Think about it. You look inside — she’s got all guy muscles, and the juices! You know, I’m not a doctor or anything but inside her that’s all there.”

Gay media outlets were especially quick to pounce on the comments, prematurely labeling Williams and her guest “transphobic.”

While their comments were oblivious and incredibly obtuse, what always seems to happen in instances like this is that, instead of using the moment to expand public understanding of LGBT issues, people go into attack mode. The transsexual and transgendered communities are particularly susceptible to widespread misunderstanding, even within the LGBT community. What makes the ordeal especially dismaying, though, is that Williams is a visible media figure who’s used her noteworthiness to be very vocal in her adoration of the LGBT community for pretty much her entire career and has done a lot in the way of promoting LGBT causes, specifically HIV/AIDS. That in itself is more than most of the people criticizing her can say. The sudden hostility towards her for one misguided and flippant comment is astounding. She’s not a tireless anti-gay activist who spends every waking moment trying to demean every effort made by the LGBT community to gain equality (quite the opposite actually), so why is she being treated in the same manner? She misspoke on an issue she’s clearly under-informed about, she’s not a villain.

Moreover, labeling her or Pardavila “transphobic” is as naive as the comments themselves. Not only is treating terms like “transphobia” and “homophobia” as being synonymous with “anti-trans” or “anti-gay” archaic, but neither of them fit into any of the aforementioned categories. The prefix “anti-” and suffix “-phobia” imply, respectively, an aversion towards or legitimate fear of something. They’re not ‘anti-‘ anything or so-and-so ‘-phobic’, just ill-advised, so to hastily brand them with terms that imply nefariousness is unmerited.

Williams and Pardavilla were both obviously quick to apologize after the ensuing attacks:

Apologies are nice, but hollow if you haven’t learned anything from your mistakes. While it’s clear their comments were not intended to be malignant, the best way to help the ill-informed is to better inform them. This is why, more than anything, if the LGBT community hopes to continue to improve understanding, philistinism should be met with education, not denigration.