This morning has been a testament to the indignities that New York inflicts upon the people desperate and/or crazy enough to be determined to live here, come hell or high water. I spent about 20 awful minutes trapped in a subway car with an incredibly stinky person–and, readers, when I say “incredibly stinky,” I really mean it; in New York I am exposed daily to numerous horrific smells, and this was about an eleven on a scale of putridness–before being stranded while trying to transfer to another train for another 15 minutes. When the train finally came, it was too crowded to fit onto, so I ended up walking 15 blocks to get to my dayjob.
Luckily, I love New York, and it was a warm, sunny morning. And also luckily, New York is awesome. Because, disgruntled and grumpy as I was by the Meteropolitan Transit Authority’s absolute inability to operate according to its schedule, I still get to go to the Cinekink film festival from Wednesday-Saturday in the East Village this week, acting as a juror for the Kinky Film Festival’s short films, and interviewing directors from all over the world. Because New York is amazing.
If you don’t know about Cinekink, go to the link and find out more. It travels, so even if you’re not in NYC you can catch the kink- and sex-positive awesomehood that is this super-fun film festival. It’s one of the best experiences you’ll have all year. I say that without any irony–I went last year and I’m SO psyched to be taking part in an official capacity this year that I’m slacking off many of my other duties just to do it. F’realz. Go.
Anyway, on to fun early-in-the-week links to peruse at your liesure (btw that should beproncounced “leh-zherr” like you’re British because that’s cooler)!
1) The rock star stuff: A fantastic interview in Richardson Magazine with the ever-awesome Jiz Lee, along with a whole lot jaw-droppingly sexy and powerful images of the genderqueer powerhouse!
2) The hilarious-yet-troubling stuff: Nightline did a short piece last week on James Deen. Sounds great, right? “OMG a popular male porn star on a network news show?! That’s so great! Men in porn are getting more attention and porn is becoming less taboo!” That’s what I wanted to think, too. But, true to form, prime time network television couldn’t be progressive or even intelligent about this one. Apparently, according to Nightlime, James Deen’s everyman appeal, charm, and sex positivity are “deeply disturbing” because, obviously, Deen is luring underage girls into watching porn. That’s right, folks, this nefarious sin-monger is after your children! He’ll make off with them in the night and… expose them to new sexual positions and pornography in which he kisses and respects his costars… which is… terrible?
Honestly, I’m annoyed by this bilge, but the way they cherry-picked the quotes for the interview to make him seem as ridiculous as possible (because, let’s be real, I’m sure James Deen has got his dark secrets and what-not, but all things told, I don’t think he’s exactly the plotting, scheming, supervillain type, so they had to go for ridiculous over evil) is just so entertaining. And I’m not sure if the creators of this knee-slapping little segment are aware of this or not, but telling people on prime time that something is bad means more people will Google it. D’oh! Porn and sex-positivity: +1, sex-negativity and small-mindedness: 0.
3) The absolutely fucking terrible: spoon-feeding semen to elementary students for a “taste test.” Worst. Teacher. EVER. Holy CRAP. Let the fact that nobody had any idea this was happening for so long be a reminder that sexual predators are not always the monsters we want them to be. Not ever child molester wears a mustache and skeezy, too-tight pants and goes around gaping openly at children. They’re part of our communities. That’s why talking to kids about sex. their rights, and their bodies early is so important–so they can learn how to feel empowered enough to say no to weird shit like this. Ugh. This makes me want to go join some other class of animal altogether–amphibeans are looking pretty good right about now.
4) The redemption of humankind through positivity and sharing and porn–and Jiz Lee, again: They’ve put out a call for submissions to an open-ended “coming out about porn” project that you MUST get involved with if this story applies to you. If you work in or around the sex industry, particularly porn, Jiz is asking that you share your “coming out” story/stories with them. Personally I think this is the best idea anyone’s had in a while: sharing stories of similar problems overcome is a surefire way to humanize the experiences and to bring people together. Sometimes the porn community is so dispersed and possessed of so many different types of people that it’s hard to reach a consensus or feel a sense of community, but everyone who’s worked in the sex industry has got some kind of story about how their friends/family/etc. “found out.” They’re funny, uplifting, heartbreaking, and ultimately SO human. Porn and sex work of all kinds needs as much humanization as it can get. Please, if you’ve got a story, submit.
5) Kind of sigh-worthy but still generally good: Susan G. Komen changed its mind about cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood after massive displays of outrage swept the country last week. This is awesome. Not because a bunch of fickle fucks at a bloated charity enterprise were brought back into touch with women’s needs and how important listening to the people you serve is (although, yeah, that’s great), but because its decision to stop donating to Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings brought out the sleeping dragon of Fucking With Women. Last year’s Boehner-led assault on federal funding for Planned Parenthood was well-timed in that everyone was so busy worrying about Iraq, the economy, and so on that it met with resistance but still managed to pass. This year, though, when Susan G. Komen for the Cure tried to follow suit, Americans had had enough and vocalized as much–loudly. It’s about time that the non-conservatives amongst us who value women’s reproductive health all shouted about it at once. “What kind of fuckery is this?” we asked. “The kind we are SICK of taking.” Go team!