Condom debate offers another chance to explain porn personnel to us

Kayden Kross is interviewed in "No Condoms in Porn Country"

Kayden Kross is interviewed in “No Condoms in Porn Country”

I was recently sent a comprehensive and compelling article about the two sides to California’s condom battle. As I read it I realized that porn stars are still prime—and undefended—targets for media bias, even by thoughtful journalists.

A graduate student at the Columbia School of Journalism, Jacob Weis has published “No Condoms in Porn Country,” a grim but data-rich expose of Measure B and AB332, on the pay-what-you-can site Wordsworth.com.

Weis talks with performers Logan Pierce and Kayden Kross and adult industry attorney Paul Cambria as they present their arguments against passed and pending measures threatening the porn industry as they know it, and finds dissenting voices, such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Mark McGrath.

Describing a scene from the movie “Rose Petals,” Weis tells us Pierce is “considerate” and “romantic,” and quotes the star: “I’m the only male performer who actually wipes his come off the girl at the end.”

Cambria, Weis writes, is a “broad-jawed, slick-locked attorney,” and Kross has “tousled yellow hair, a form simultaneously toned and curved, a red upper lip as swollen as its lower sister, bright eyes that in photos play only coy or yes or surprise!”

All these things are true, neither unkind nor unfair, and represent Logan, Kross, and Cambria as characters in an anthropological study.

On the other side, Kreis finds early Measure B proponent Paula Tavrow, Director of the Bixby Program in Population and Reproductive Health at U.C.L.A.’s School of Public Health, and AHF consultant McGrath. Weis describes them as—

—well, he doesn’t describe them, aside from as a Ph.D. who may sound like the author’s grandmother when describing facial cumshots (Tavlow) and someone who gets huffy and sighs in the face of the porn world’s counterarguments (McGrath).

In addition, Weis takes the time to talk about Pierce’s disillusionment with being auditioned for the porn star pawn role and that Kross seems to be trying as hard as she can to sound erudite but that her script is failing.

In not describing the physical attributes or motivations of the players on the other side, Weis — and I’ll throw a lasso around the rest of the mainstream media here, too — implicitly sets up an Us v. Them scenario. You don’t need to know what these people look like, this approach says, because they are you, and you already know what you look like and what your motivations are.

My first articles about porn — 10 years ago — were just as glib but not nearly as thoughtful and well-researched as Weis’ story. But I feel that every “outsider” article I’ve read does the same thing with the talent (and does Cambria come off looking like a Mafioso in that description or what?): they’re cartoons, not people, and need to be described that way.

This observation does little to diminish a good piece of journalism, no matter how foreboding its conclusion. To sum up without spoiling the article: Porn is outclassed and its designated spokespeople are unconvincing.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: AB332 and the state of the state of condoms
See Also: No Condoms in Porn Country

One thought on “Condom debate offers another chance to explain porn personnel to us

  1. Pingback: Sex Work in 2013: No Debate | postwhoreamerica

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