The Duke Porn Star and Twitter

February 26, 2014

The Duke porn star (“star”?) has legs, evidently. Here we are on Wednesday and she’s still in the news, this time with something approaching a full-on manifesto.

Two points: (1) Since she elsewhere professes to embrace real-deal libertarianism as part of the explanation for why porn is a no-shame lifestyle choice, I found this bit curious:

Of course, I do fully acknowledge that some women don’t have such a positive experience in the industry. We need to listen to these women. And to do that we need to remove the stigma attached to their profession and treat it as a legitimate career that needs regulation and oversight.

I had always supposed that the Libertarians for Regulation and Oversight club was pretty small. But maybe not.

(2) Then there’s this section:

It terrifies us to even fathom that a woman could take ownership of her body. We deem to keep women in a place where they are subjected to male sexuality. We seek to rob them of their choice and of their autonomy. We want to oppress them and keep them dependent on the patriarchy. A woman who transgresses the norm and takes ownership of her body — because that’s exactly what porn is, no matter how rough the sex is — ostensibly poses a threat to the deeply ingrained gender norms that polarize our society.

I am well aware: The threat I pose to the patriarchy is enormous. That a woman could be intelligent, educated and CHOOSE to be a sex worker is almost unfathomable.

Without taking sides in the Patriarchy vs. Duke Porn Star fight (although if you don’t take the Patriarchy plus the points, you’re a sucker) I am struck by the lack of historical perspective.

Once upon a time, we had this amazing research device called Lexis-Nexis. It stored information from a whole host of places and it was easily searchable via an electronic interface. You could go back to stories from the New York Times in the 1970s with a few keystrokes; could pull up transcripts of every newscast of the last 30 years. It was awesome. Anytime you wanted to research something, you’d sit down to Lexis-Nexis, spend a few hours, sifting through documents, print yourself a couple hundred pages, and then hunker down to read them. Research has never been so painless.

And as a result, everyone knew that before you opened your mouth about anything, you really had to go to  Lexis-Nexis first, so that you didn’t sound stupid.

But then the internet happened and the Google. And people pretty much forgot about Lexis-Nexis. So research became a jaunt through the first three pages of Google results, maybe a footnote or two from Wikipedia, and that was that. Entire careers were made out of this sort of “research.” The net effect of which was that, to the internet culture, anything that came before the internet and wasn’t catalogued by Google simply didn’t exist.

Yet at the risk of sounding like an old fogey, it would shock you how much stuff isn’t on Google.

But then came Twitter, which is essentially unsearchable. Oh sure, you can theoretically search Twitter and you can sift backwards through timelines, but not with any real dexterity. And the net effect of Twitter on the internet mind was to convince people that every single thought was brand new.

I mention this because Nina Hartley was making the intellectual, sex-positive case for feminism from within the porn industry back when the Duke porn star’s dad was still learning to shave.

You wouldn’t know it from her Wikipedia page, which only gives a brief nod to Hartley’s feminist work. Or from Google searches–PageRank can’t really disentangle the “porn” from the “feminism”–but Hartley (and with lesser acclaim, Annie Sprinkle) were up on these ramparts decades ago. (And, if we can be candid, with more intellectual panache.)

All of that aside, I’m pretty much down with Duke porn star’s middle-class critique about college costs and the rigged game of financial aid. She’d be much better off trying to be “A Voice of her Generation” on that score than laying siege to the Patriarchy.

But then, I would say that.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave February 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Mr. Last,
You are an amazing writer. The fact that I agree on all counts is an added benefit. Please keep up the good work!
Dave

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Samuel Long Johnson February 26, 2014 at 9:49 pm

If someone did a porn parody of Yuval Levin’s book (OMG SO HOT!!!), this lady would be the epilogue.

Paine’s progressive liberalism led him to demand but just freedom but also affirmative support from the government. Similarly, the Duke Blue (Movie) Devil wants more than just to be free from government constraints on her vocation — she also demands affirmative government to free her from other non-governmental constraints, be they cultural or otherwise.

When she gets her own book deal — and of course she’ll get her own book deal — I hope the title is “Born Free But Everywhere In Chains (And Whips).”

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Anonymous Mike February 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

+1

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James Ballswell March 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Well played, sir.

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SkinsFanPG February 28, 2014 at 9:21 am

I love that she defines women taking “ownership” of their own bodies as completely submitting to the most base sexual desires of aggressive men, and getting paid for it. Would I “own” my right hand if I agreed to let someone chop it off for $100?
I’ve never understood why some women attempt to justify their porn careers with pseudo-intellectual nonsense when the honest answer is far more understandable and acceptable:
– I need money
– I am attractive
– I enjoy sex
– I am young and do not have a skill-set that would command a decent salary in the job market
– Hence, I work in porn

End of argument. Would anyone argue against this?

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Nedward February 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Feminism seems to be mostly about women pulling rank on other women–instead of coed-moonlighting-as-courtesan (a tradition recorded from the beginning of women’s colleges in the U.S.) she’s an artiste/activist. Sort of like how Client #9’s sex worker looks down on the lowly Santa Monica Blvd streetwalker, porn performers style themselves “actors” with Greco-Roman heritage, though an alternative accurate way to describe them would be prostitutes who do heavy business with other prostitutes. Should every other podunk college town have to embrace the ad-hoc syndicalism of these barely legal special pleaders? Isn’t this why we have the federally owned nuke-testing range known as “Nevada”

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jon March 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

Tough to be a “threat to the patriarchy” when you’re on your knees taking a facefull of baby batter from six different penises.

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