Have you ever been to Hollywood? It’s fantastic! The sun shines 365 days of the year because the smog is not conducive to condensation. Everyone is beautiful, tanned and full of more post-industrial plastic than a recycling plant. The food is delicious and served in microscopic sizes because eating more than negative 50 calories is a cardinal sin. It’s the most fabulous little house of cards you can ever live in!
All this to say, Hollywood – both the city and the industry – is a shining, shimmering splendour, made possible with soul-crushing ironies. Take, for instance, that odd little balance between mainstream cinema and porn. Both are major industries in Los Angeles; executives in both make untold amounts of money each year, and yet porn is invariably shunned into the corner in favour of mainstream cinema. The dynamic between the two can be described only as a regret fuck: yes, cinema prefers to think that porn doesn’t exist, and yet they keep ending up in bed together.
Perhaps the most apt image of cinema and porn’s tenuous romance would be the recent New York Times article about Paul Schrader’s The Canyons
, a movie that stars the most infamous woman in Hollywood, Lindsay Lohan, and pornstar James Deen. To say the picture they paint isn’t a pretty one would be an understatement: Lohan is presented as grossly unprofessional and id-driven to an almost pathological degree. Deen, meanwhile, is drawn with far more forgiving lines and seems to be the most rational, sane, professional person on set.
Pornstar James Deen stars in Paul Schrader's The Canyons alongside Lindsay Lohan.
And yet between the two of them, Lohan is probably the only one with a chance at a mainstream acting career. Sure, she may be a nightmare to work with and have, at best, debatable talent, but Deen’s a pornstar! Can you imagine people just fucking?
See what I mean about the hypocrisy? In Hollywood, it’s important to appear approachable and human, and the best way to accomplish this is by removing any trace of humanity from yourself. You cannot eat, fuck, sleep or excrete bodily fluids that are not tears. And perhaps that’s why porn is relegated to the back of the closet: it’s about humans acting like humans, and no one wants to be reminded of our daily needs.
Yet oddly enough, porn is probably the art form that most quintessentially represents the modern era. PR and marketing are giving way to the idea of full disclosure, or at the very least, a close approximation of it. Those in the public spotlight are expected to take to Twitter and divulge every little facet of their lives, no matter how monotonous. And pornstars are nothing if not chronic over-sharers. The only real difference nowadays between a celebrity and a pornstar is that pornstars get paid less and appreciated even less.
No matter how you try to gussy it up, modern celebrities are, as Patton Oswalt said his book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
, galumphing goats of greed and gimmie. Everyone in Hollywood may be shiny and plastic, but at least a pornstar will be the first to admit it.