Pornography, perceptions and partisanship.

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Sometimes we might see an actor on television or in a movie and exclaim “who the heck is that?” I recently watched a comedy movie and it was clear that a character being showcased was meant to be, not a main character but, a meaningful character in the movie and the way he was presented we should take note of his scene.  The person I am referring to is Ron Jeremy. Some reading this may immediately recognize that name while others may say exactly what I put in quotes previously (who the heck is that). When those who know him explain to those who don’t, inevitably someone would say he’s a “Porn Star.” Now how they know who he is, no one necessarily needs to share, but I can tell you I can’t name a single porn star.

Look I’m no prude, of course in my lifetime I have seen an adult video or clip, I’m 45 years old and I’m not a saint, but can’t name a porn star. I can, however, name some “Adult Film Actors.” Two names I know are Jenna Jameson (she was on Bill O’Reilly once) and Mike Holmes (there was a movie loosely based on his life called Boogie Nights with Burt Reynolds, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Mark Wahlberg) but that is about the extent of my knowledge in that area.  Again not a prude and I have seen porn in my lifetime but I certainly didn’t want to know the actors’ names, etc. The purpose of this article is to decipher why we are partisan in our description of certain titles. What makes some of us give a different title to essentially the same thing?

Take for example the aforementioned Porn Star reference and juxtapose it with Adult Film Star. They essentially describe the same person except for one small difference to many. Many people don’t consider those who engage in pornography “stars.” Many people would say they are “adult film actors” while some may call them much more negative terms, but let’s just utilize these two terms for the purposes of this article. Now, why does it matter what we call them, i.e. Porn Star versus Adult Film Actor? Well, to start with, in my opinion, the term “star” implies more than what the actor deserves. The term star is meant to be a mostly positive connotation, a form of praise or adulation for someone who is accomplished.  Is it all that difficult to be a popular person, “a star,” as a young attractive female if you engage in detailed, graphic sex on screen? Of course not, every 14 year old boy on earth would love to see that and will google the name to see more, but to call her a star is a stretch. She is an actor, involved in pornography, but an actor, not a star. Does it take talent to engage in that activity, no! Believe it or not the two dumbest people on earth would find a way to have sex. Like I said, I am no prude, and I am not here to judge that actor but I won’t praise the behavior, because morally I disagree with pornography.

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Again, I am no saint, I have engaged in numerous sins throughout my life but I recognize when it happens and I do what I need to in order to atone. I’m not here to preach to you, you may be agnostic or an atheist, my point is that titles can lead to certain perceptions. Would you want your 21 year old daughter to come home with a new boyfriend and when you ask him what he does for a living he proudly states he is a “porn star.” I am certain most fathers would not deem that young man who just walked in the door with their daughter a star, unless he was thinking, “yeah, more like ‘star’ of my next trip to the gun range.”

Should someone be praised for something you may not necessarily agree with?  I don’t mean to go off on a tangent here, I am just demonstrating how individuals might look at something like pornography. Obviously, some see it as disgusting, vile, a sin, while others might deem it art, seductive, intriguing. Personally I think porn kills love. I am going to give credit for that, I recently saw that phrase on a t-shirt and could not agree more. We are, mostly, all very interested in sex, it is human nature, it is very enjoyable but if you believe like I do, it is meant for a husband and wife. When we give a title like “porn star” to an actor, it glorifies that activity, calling them “adult film actors” doesn’t even demean them, but it changes the perception of the industry.

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My article is not meant to be about pornography in general (sorry 14 year old boys, no nude pics here) but about perceptions. We are political here, clearly with a conservative skew. So on the prior topic I am not claiming that all liberals would call Jenna Jameson a Porn Star while all conservatives deem her an Adult Film Actress, but what about other terms and their partisan perceptions.

Take for example immigrants to our country who are here without obtaining citizenship. From the left we hear them called “undocumented immigrants” or “undocumented workers” while on the right “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants.” What is the difference? Undeniably each term holds a certain perception, depending upon your political affiliation. The left’s perception is that they are migrant workers here to seek freedom and pursuit of happiness (and to give us votes, lol).  On the other hand the conservatives might view them as M-13 gang members here to rape and rob our daughters and wives (all illegals are bad!).  (I don’t believe this by the way). You can see how simply giving a term to something tends to skew to your political direction/beliefs because of our perceptions.

Here are some common terms/phrases the left and right use to describe different activities while essentially meaning the same thing but depending upon who utters them they take on particular political connotations:

Rioting, Protesting, Demonstrating, Gathering, Marching, Bad Optics, Discouraged, Disappointed, Propaganda, Mercurial, Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Patriot, Tea Party, Reckless, Scandal, Unethical, Definition of what Sex is, Make America Great Again, Locker Room Talk, Bleachbit, Demagogue, Emails, Congress, Radical Islamic Terrorism, Refugee, Political Correctness, Deplorable, Hypocrisy, Fiasco, Transparent, Truthful, Wikileaks, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Mission Accomplished, Let me be clear, Trust me, Make no mistake, Victim, Triggered, Snowflake, Micro-Aggression, Free-Speech

Depending upon your political views, you probably have a version of each of the terms listed above with which you can appreciate and connect. The point of my article, and yes I troll on twitter all the time but I am doing it as satire, is to be cognizant of what you hear and the purpose behind the term. Know its definition, its use and how you perceive it, its’ nomenclature. Don’t just use just one term over and again as a talking point, let the politicians do that.

Sometimes we fall prey to the normalization of words or terms which have completely separate perceptions depending upon the origination of utterance, so all I’m suggesting is that before you use one term for something maybe use an alternative term to shake things up.  So instead of Porn Star or Adult Film Actor maybe you describe them as a Person Engaged in Coitus For Monetary Gain and Scant Celebrity.

Stacy Adams

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