March 31, 2014

"What is it about porn stars that bothers you so much? Why do you hate us? What is it about us that you don't like?"

Says porn actor Conner Habib, who professes to dread the question — when he's out on a date — "What do you do?"
Well, I said to Alex, I'm a porn star.
Let me stop you here, Conner. You just called yourself a "star." If you were a "star," Alex wouldn't have had to ask. What's with porn actors always being referred to as "porn stars"? Actors in conventional movies aren't always called "stars," even when they actually are so well-known that if we had the chance to converse with them, we wouldn't resort to the old "What do you do?" small-talk staple.

Quite aside from that, you're suddenly conveying the information that you have sex with other people and you're going to continue to do so because it's your job. That affects the other person's idea of you as relationship material. Note that the 2 men were on a relationship-y type of a date at "this bourgeois tea and food place," with "a statue of Buddha," a menu that was "all platitudes," and teas with "names like 'Goddess of Wisdom' and 'Ocean of Mercy.'" Conner sounds awfully judgmental about the things Alex likes, Alex having ordered the Oceans of Mercy and Conner having limited himself to a glass of water.
What is it about us you don't like? I never get the answer, just the symptoms of the answer.
I guess Clarity of Answers was not on the menu. Write your own platitude.

Much more at the linked article (in The Stranger), including Habib's encounters with students at colleges in "middle of nowhere" towns where his lecture concentrates on the "blurry lines between 'pornography' and other forms of art." Between the blurry lines of his article, I see that the students are less interested in his musing about the art-porn continuum than in the dynamics of gender oppression, which seems to puzzle him, though it sounds exactly like what you'd expect from college students, even as exactly what you'd expect from a lecturing porn actor is the assertion that this too is art.

By the way, of course it's art. That's not a high bar in my book. But is it good art? Almost no art is.

I got to that article via Metafilter, where somebody says:
People hate male porn stars.

Because: jealous.
And somebody else says:
People hate porn stars of their own gender and orientation because: jealous.

68 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

My only comment is that the topic is not worth a comment. I did skim the linked article however...

David said...

Here's a question: why are people whom I mildly despise (or would if I gave them any thought) so eager to characterize my disapproval as hate?

David said...

But is it good art? Almost no art is.

Come to my town, which is working at being artsy, if you want further confirmation.

But every once in a while . . . .

Amichel said...

Perhaps people dislike pornographic actors because, while they probably don't think pornography should be illegal, they still consider it immoral and a contributing factor to the coarsening of our culture.

Peter said...


But what if many just think "yuk" when you tell them you're a porn star?

Could she be thinking "hate" when she's just seeing "yuk"?

Jay said...

Hate!!!!

After a minute, Alex said something like "That's nice." Or maybe he asked me a question. To be honest, I can't remember. What I do remember is that we were at his place not long after, making out on his bed. He was an amazing kisser, and our bodies fit together perfectly. And that's how our relationship started.

Isn't that nice?

John said...

If he is a star, why does he have to have other jobs?

If he is a star, why does he have to make 1-5 movies a month?

I seem to recall that male porn stars make something like $500 per movie. Do 5 and that is $2500 Times 12 and he is making $30,000 per year.

Not much more than working at Starbucks.

Andy why the word "Bourgeois" to describe the tea place? Sounds like the proper word might be "pretentious"

Sort of a Starbucks for tea? How is that bourgeois?

John Henry

Bob Boyd said...

David's right. People don't hate Conner. They don't care enough to hate him. They just don't respect him. He's not earning their respect.

Now if he was mime then people would hate him. Maybe he could get into mime porn.

betamax3000 said...

Comedy Stage Open Mic Night Comic says:

I've worked jobs before, I haven't always been a dead-beat, I've held many illustrious positions in the minimum-wage professions (laughter). For instance, I once delivered pizzas: let me tell you, delivering pizza is nowhere as exciting as the porn industry would like you to believe (laughter). A bit disappointing, that...

Now, I wouldn't mind working in the porn industry, but I would expect you would have to start at the bottom: yes, that was an anal sex joke, people, you can laugh (laughter). No, I mean they probably have you begin with menial tasks, like mopping sticky floors and wiping down pleather sofas after a shoot, perhaps a spot-cleaning of the ceiling in some areas (laughter). A lot of cleaning products involved there, I would think, a lot of cleaning products (laughter): the set better smell like Pine-Sol, bleach and Lemon Pledge when you're done, not like a Strip Club in Vegas after an after-hours P-Diddy party (laughter)...

After awhile you could maybe work your way up to becoming a go-fer: no matter how well you think you might have stocked for the shoot, I'm sure there'll always be a need for someone to run to the drugstore for more Klennex, Red Bull and lube (laughter)...

Yeah: hat's the thing about these glamorous industries (laughter), not everyone can be a star (laughter). Behind all the glitz and the magic are the little people, trying to find out where that last used condom ended up (laughter)... You've been great, thank you...

SGT Ted said...

Here's a question: why are people whom I mildly despise (or would if I gave them any thought) so eager to characterize my disapproval as hate?

SO the3 accuser can play the victim, rather than contemplate that other people disagree with him and might be right, while he may be wrong, I would imagine.

SGT Ted said...

Guys like Ron Jeremy and Johnny Wad are "Porn Stars", along with girls like Marilyn Chambers and some of the other big name girls.

He is a porn actor, not a star.

William said...

The blurry line isn't between porn and art but between porn and prostitution.......I didn't read the entire article. It's quite long. Maybe people don't like him because he never shuts up about being a porn star......I wonder if he gets paid more for giving talks about being a porn star than for actually performing as a porn star. Another blurry line. Where have all the red lines gone?....I hope he gets paid more than Bill Ayers.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe no one recognizes him with his clothes on. In Porn Stardom the lack of clothes makes the man.

Could this have something to do with the men in shorts taboo at Althouse.

Scott M said...

Alex having ordered the Oceans of Mercy and Conner having limited himself to a glass of water.

In his defense, he needs a lot of water. For his line of work, you need a lot of water to...uh, er...um...well, let's just say you need a lot of water.

PB Reader said...

Everyone is a star or superstar. That's why we give kids huge trophies for participation in youth soccer.

Anglelyne said...

He knows perfectly well "what it is about us that you don't like". Only the willfully obtuse pretend to be puzzled by the stigma associated with porn. Rail against the hypocrisy of its consumers all you please, but spare us the meandering exercises in denial.

As David @8:35 suggests, he's trying to control what people think of him, and good luck with that.

EDH said...

"That affects the other person's idea of you as relationship material."

Let me stop you there, Althouse.

Why start by sucking the humanity out of your potential mate for life? Linguistically, of course, not in the porn star sense.

Fritz said...

Why would a porn star go on a date? Isn't that sort a busman's holiday?

SteveR said...

To start with there is nothing added by actually knowing anything about them beyond what can be seen in a "production" in almost every case and in particular for males.

rhhardin said...

Imus's Tony Powell doing Lightning Hopkins, theme things are moving too fast these days, one fact in a series.

"When was the last time you sat through the dialogue of a porno movie? TV repairman comes to the door, his [unintelligible] a lovely young lady, sometimes I just want to see where that conversation is going. Instead we fast foward to see Rex the human tripod uncork his champagne."

June 14, 2013 7:23AM

Titus said...

I can't watch porn with "porn stars" with famous names-too predictable and boring.

You don't need to watch porn "stars" any more. There are amateurs doing it free in every place on this continent on the internet.

I am addicted to Chaturbait. Every country, every type, all doing it on line....for free!!!

tim maguire said...

To my mind, a star is someone well known in their field, a superstar is someone well known outside their field. Vladimir Guerrero is a star, Michael Jordan is a superstar.

It's easier to be a superstar in some fields than in others.

So it doesn't strike me as odd that he considers himself a star yet has to explain what he does to someone who doesn't know porn beyond casual watching.

But back to why someone would be reluctant to date a porn star. If he doesn't understand why some people wouldn't want to date porn actors and, more importantly, if he isn't understanding of people who don't want to date porn actors, then he isn't dating material anyway.

Scott M said...

Instead we fast foward to see Rex the human tripod uncork his champagne."

Hence the water drinking.

mccullough said...

I read the whole thing and I saw the twist coming at the end. The conversation on the train ride during the underground tunnel was too cheeky and cliched. I have a hard time believing this guy has taught some college English courses.

The Drill SGT said...

SGT Ted said...
Here's a question: why are people whom I mildly despise (or would if I gave them any thought) so eager to characterize my disapproval as hate?


Little white haired Southern Ladies (of either race) (in generations past) had the art of mouthing a gentle platitude while expressing disdain :)

dbp said...

"Let me stop you here, Conner. You just called yourself a "star." If you were a "star," Alex wouldn't have had to ask."

Alex would not have had to ask, if he was a follower of the porn genre, which very few people are.

I could meet the world's most famous cricket player and never know it since I don't follow cricket. He could tell me he is a cricket star and I could believe him or not, only a fan of cricket would automatically know the truth.

Amexpat said...

@Betamax3000

Great stuff! IMO,you're the shtick star here.

eric said...

I've never understood the fine line difference between porn and prostitution.

Why not set up a "studio" in your town with a stable of women "actresses" and offer to let men produce their own porn film?

Then you give those men the only copy of the tape and let them do with it as they will.

Is that porn or prostitution? Why?

Eric said...

What's with porn actors always being referred to as "porn stars"?

Exactly.

BTW, I like the new (for me) picture, ya hippy. No really its great.

Paul said...

I don't hate them.. I hate the sin they love and try to corrupt others with.

For that is what they do, corrupt others by their actions and words.

MaxedOutMama said...

Disapproval or distaste is not hate. So I think it is impossible to answer the question, because it begins by being inaccurate.

As to why people disapprove of porn, there are many reasons. It's a form of prostitution, and maybe it's not something that can be banned, but it certainly should be regulated.

People do hate pimps, because they make money off it, and they can be very exploitative. Those who make the porn films are pimps, and they pay the performers very little, and they make an awful lot. In the process the performers are the ones who run all the risks. There are real risks, not least of which are lack of strong romantic relationships.

I felt very sorry for the author because apparently he's still stuck on this guy Alex. But he was unrealistic about the relationship - if Alex was monogamous, and the author was emphatically not, it seems like the author was refusing to see the obvious and is now creating an excuse for that. The author knows damn well it was about the porn, and is deflecting the blame onto society.

The bottom line is, Alex wanted a monogamous relationship, and the author didn't. It's got nothing to do with societal attitudes.

But realistically, how many prostitutes have firm relationships? It's hard to put your all into a relationship with someone who's sleeping with a couple hundred other people a year. Hard and risky on several different levels. Life - it forces choices and tradeoffs on us all.

Roughcoat said...

No porn star is a celebrity to his fluffer.

Paul Zrimsek said...

What calling them "porn stars" does for you is keep you from trying to call them "actors" with a straight face.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Pawlak said...

If, and only if, there is a problem, the usual solution is AIDS/HIV.

rhhardin said...

If, and only if, there is a problem, the usual solution is AIDS/HIV.

Commercial porn is heavily tested, on their own initiative by the way.

n.n said...

It's simple. The traditional and natural perception is that sexual relations are a subset of intimate relationships, especially with a focus on procreation. Pornography, other than forcing a focus which reduces a human life to its parts, sabotages the traditional and natural social structures. It panders and provokes our base desires, which distracts us from life, love, and happiness. In this respect, it acts as a quasi-psychotropic drug.

So, the purveyors of pornography are analogous to drug lords. While the actors are analogous to drug pushers. Or perhaps its pimps and prostitutes. Either way, do not inhale and do not buy the "rent-a-friend" model. They offer a short-term high, with often long-term consequences.

rhhardin said...

Imus's Degan Mcdowell says commercial porn continues to sell because the lighting is better and the women better groomed.

That must have something to do with stardom.

rhhardin said...

It panders and provokes our base desires, which distracts us from life, love, and happiness. In this respect, it acts as a quasi-psychotropic drug.

Actually it lets guys stop obsessing about sex by getting it over with.

The drug in question turns off a wired-in obsession, released by orgasm.

Which is why guys watch only a few minutes of porn.

Then you're good for a little while.

Eventually with age some neuron stops firing and you don't obsess. You can go for a whole day without thinking about sex.

As I think Aristotle said, of old age and the stilled obsession, it's like being unchained from a maniac.

Women watch porn for some other reason, probably.

Roger Sweeny said...

In World Wrestling Entertainment, all the male performers are Superstars, and all the female performers are Divas.

rhhardin said...

The onset approaches In Just Spring

jr565 said...

Why do lefties always use the word "hate" to describe someone's reactions to their lifestyle.
I don't HATE almost anybody, except maybe Hitler and Sadaam Hussein or people like them.

surfed said...

40 years ago, back in our younger days, my life long best friend (and current family attorney) and meself were rapping about what would "the perfect job". We decided to form a company called Stunt Cock Inc. where in the director yells "Cut! Bring in the stunt cocks." We would then run in and, assume whatever the position was and be filmed from navel to thigh our identities forever hidden. But this was back in the days of ill lit and grainy film...With modern HD it would probably be a no go nowadays... I guess we tapped the glass one to many times for that one.

William said...

Stephen Hawking's first love was pornography. He was a superstar among a small coterie of motorized wheelchair fetishists, but he had less appeal among the wider audience. They found his movies slow moving and ponderous. His movie, My Sinner With Andrea, did receive favorable critical notice. It was in that movie that he first formed his theory of black holes.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Well I hate to state the obvious but to many many people, commercial sex (prostitution, strip clubs, pornography) is not only immoral but gross. There's a reason we have an instinctive recoil instinct from promiscuity. As the great Banky says about the titular Amy, "I'm telling you that chick is probably a bigger germ farm than that monkey in Outbreak!"

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

D'oh; please forgive my instinctive type instinct.

Sigivald said...

"and teas with "names like 'Goddess of Wisdom' and 'Ocean of Mercy.'" "

Ti Kuan Yin is pretty standard oolong.

(As for bourgeois, well ... first, what's wrong with that?

And second, frankly, what other kind of tea joint is there in the States?

Oh, they all pose as being bohemian - but that's thoroughly bourgeois, isn't it?)

t-man said...

Betamax's posts make me think of all of the great characters -- in addition to our hostess -- who have written here over years. Sir Archy and the Blogging Cockroach immediately spring to mind.

n.n said...
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n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

jr565:

Emotions, nothing more than emotions. It's an effective marketing tactic. Human beings are known to be sympathetic or vulnerable to emotional exploitation.

Well, some of us are, anyway. For others, its money, sex, ego, and convenience. Don't block the toilet. Throw another clump of cells on the barbie.

The Godfather said...

This (sort of) confirms my assumption that most male porn actors are gay -- that's the only way they can maintain the required -- detachment. If I'd had such a job in my youth (if you knew me you'd laugh more than Betamax's audience), they'd have had to stop the shoot every 45 seconds or so.

The other thing I used to assume was that making porn movies was illegal and must be done "underground". I mean, as several commenters have said, it's not fundamentally different from prostitution, which I think is still illegal except in Nevada. But the news tells me that the porn movie "industry" in California is big enough that they can threaten to move out of state if the government require that the "actors" use condoms, and nobody laughs. What a weird world we live in.

tim in vermont said...

They might have had to stop the shoot aftr 45 seconds, but they could restart after about three minutes too.

Revenant said...

What's with porn actors always being referred to as "porn stars"?

"Porn star" came into widespread use because most people scoff at the idea that acting is involved. It is, actually, but few people believe that.

Besides, the term isn't inappropriate. A star is a person who stars in something, not "a famous person". "Starring [actor]" is a common thing to see in film credits, even for grade Z movies.

Revenant said...

Pornography, other than forcing a focus which reduces a human life to its parts, sabotages the traditional and natural social structures. It panders and provokes our base desires, which distracts us from life, love, and happiness. In this respect, it acts as a quasi-psychotropic drug.

It is a shame to see physically abnormal bodies slamming into each other, watched by people who care nothing for the human beings involved and focus exclusively on their physical side. Then there's the base pandering to our lust for violence, strife, and tribalism, distracting us from from life, love, and happiness.

Ah, but there I go again, whining about professional sports.

Revenant said...

why are people whom I mildly despise (or would if I gave them any thought) so eager to characterize my disapproval as hate?

Er, possibly because "despise" and "hate" are synonyms?

Anglelyne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

professional sports

Physical attributes, but not physical components. It's the difference between art and pornography.

Anglelyne said...

Revenant: Er, possibly because "despise" and "hate" are synonyms?

In Newspeak, maybe.

Iago hated Othello; he certainly didn't despise him. He hated him because he could not despise him.

David: ...why are people whom I mildly despise (or would if I gave them any thought) so eager to characterize my disapproval as hate?

Hate can be much more easily incorporated into one's personal psycho-drama in a self-flattering way. After all, the envious and resentful hate, inferiority is not inherent in being a hate-ee. (Who can't easily tolerate being hated for his beauty, wealth, or brilliance - or defensively fabricated special snowflake-osity?) But contempt is unbearable.

Crazy Jane said...

I don't hate porn stars. Don't watch them, wouldn't recognize them (ha!) if I saw them on the street.

But that's me. I don't respect people who have sex for money. Any of them.

People who clean bathrooms at the airport, I respect.
Hard job, no fun, no fame, but honest work.

What you do tells people a lot about who you are.

Revenant said...

professional sports

Physical attributes, but not physical components. It's the difference between art and pornography.

I'm trying to pick a coherent thought out of that reply, but it isn't working. I can't tell if you're claiming professional sports are art (which seems sillier) or that pro sports don't focus on the physical components of the players (which seems, if anything, sillier).

Revenant said...

"Revenant: Er, possibly because "despise" and "hate" are synonyms?

In Newspeak, maybe.

And in the OED and Merriam-Webster.

Anglelyne said...

Revenent: And in the OED and Merriam-Webster.

If you can read an OED, you shouldn't be having such difficulties with understanding David's distinction.

cobaltbob said...

The TV series I miss most, "Sports Night", had a few episodes in which Joshua Molina's character dated a 'porn star'. One of the recurring lines is that those in the industry prefer the term 'adult film actor'.

cobaltbob said...

Malina, not Molina.

Dammit.

Jason said...

The women in the industry are widely recognized to be nearly pathological liars. They are called PWs, short for porn whores. Their trash boyfriends who double as their "agents" are referred to as "suitcase pimps."The men are called 'stunt cocks.' The unknown, shiftless random losers who answer cattle call ads for bukakke shoots and the like are called "mopes."

Er, so I've heard.

lee woo said...

In motivating people, you've got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example - and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.

#involved.
www.mocsbar.com

lee woo said...

In motivating people, you've got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example - and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.

#involved.
www.mocsbar.com