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They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?

A brilliant essay on the adult film industry and its recession, the depths of its dissonance and damage, by Susannah Breslin. I would call this your essential read of the day: They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?

At the center of the screen, a young woman is perched on the edge of the couch, alone. As the camera closes in on her, she smiles tentatively and crosses her arms protectively.

Her look is that of a 21st century Bettie Page. She has long, dark hair with short bangs and bright blue eyes rimmed with heavy black eyeliner. She wears a cropped black top with a plunging v-neck, a baby pink plaid miniskirt (not unlike the one worn by Britney Spears in the schoolgirl-themed music video for “… Baby One More Time”), and white high heels—otherwise known as “stripper shoes.”

“OK, so what are we going to do?” a man standing off-camera asks in a voice that sounds as if it has been digitally altered. “Should I just beat the shit out of her?”

Published in people I know researchmaterial


  1. “Fuck Pig: The Movie,” eh? Well played.

    (I wish I had something more insightful to say about such a great article, but fuckpig is the limit of my competence right now.)

  2. An edifying read. Thank you for linking it.

  3. Viktor Walters Viktor Walters

    Wow. That was some damn interesting stuff. Reminds me of your writing on the porn industry in “Crooked Little Vein”, though. I wonder if that’s a coincidence?

  4. d d

    The final lines break it, great article BUT

    in the end says

    ‘if people didn’t want it, it’d not happen’

    I feel

    if there wasn’t a big freaking industry to feed, noone would be choking on live baby eels

    It’s such a huge failiure too, toppling at the end. Dammit I wanted it to be good.

  5. bob bob

    Once upon a time, pornographers were kings. Now, content was king. “Everybody talks about ‘content,” Powers bemoans, disgusted. “What the fuck is ‘content’?” he sneers. “That’s what it’s turned into. Content. Even that word is offensive!” he shouts, banging his fist on the desk. “The average shooter, nowadays, he has no interest in making a good movie. He shoots content. We might as well be pimps!” he hollers, waving his hands in protest. “Pimps and whores! And we shoot content!”

    Content… is that really all anyone does any more? Produce content. Un-anchored, disconnected filler. Porn of course was always really like this… straight to the action. But as someone who grew up with the internet, watching old porn movies is interesting. TMI maybe, but the story, as ludicrous as they were.. the setting… it all really adds something to the experience. It isn’t just about getting off. It isn’t just about the fucking. Its about what leads up to the fucking that is really what makes it so good in the end. I think the devolution of all production into content… yeah not good.

    There is no anchor in this new media world, no sense of connection to a greater whole. No sense of scale or effort or really of any humanity what so ever. There is just the content. There and then gone. Lost in a web of links. Links that don’t connect. A link of a chain connects things, a link of the web takes you away… on to the next chunk of content before you even knew where you were.

    There is no patience any more. No willingness to put forth effort. Everything is just there for you. But how long can that last? Sooner or later everyone is just going to expect it to be there. 99% of people don’t care how Google works. The just know it will spit out people fucking. When you get something for nothing it is worth just that: nothing. It just is. It has no meaning because it cost no effort.

    A book speaks. Not just in the words it contains but in the very physicality of the thing. It speaks, no, screams effort. Months and years of work and synthesis and blood and tears to create not just an idea but a thing. A physical entity that will always be there.

    It creates a story. A setting. Porn is just stuff to jerk off too. As the article says it exists because we create it. Looking at what we create we see ourselves… and all we see any more is content. Not the stories of our lives, just content to fill space until the next big screaming orgasm/media event comes along to drag us down the next link… before we even knew where we were.

    And if we never know where we were, we can never know where we are going. Now sometimes that is called exploration (if you can bring back something interesting or come back at all). Most of the time it is just being fucking lost.

  6. bob bob

    Fuck that got rambling. Maybe try this: compare a porn film from the 70’s and a clip from today. Now think back, if you can, to a time before the internet came into your life. Think of everything you ever got for “free.” Now think about the quality of those things. Those things were junk I’d wager. The didn’t cost anything and they didn’t mean anything. Cheap incitements beckoning to some greater promise. They just felt cheap, a let down in every way. To paraphrase: I don’t value cheap things. Cheap goods lead to cheap men, which leads to a cheap society.

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