February 6, 2013

"Like any physically-demanding, socially-vexed form of labor, sex work isn't easy work...."

"... not least because of the stigma and meager income.... We should remember to celebrate Arpad, the sexy man behind the scenes and in front of the camera who gave so much of himself for our desire, and not condemn a choice privately considered and personally significant enough to result in such extreme measures."

Arpad Miklos, popular star of gay porn, commits suicide at age 45.

***

From the essay "Big Red Son," which is about the porn business, by David Foster Wallace (himself a suicide):
Thirty-four-year-old porn actor Cal Jammer killed himself in 1995. Starlets Shauna Grant, Nancy Kelly, Alex Jordan, and Savannah have all killed themselves in the last decade. Savannah and Jordan received AVN's Best New Starlet awards in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Savannah killed herself after getting mildly disfigured in a car accident. Alex Jordan is famous for having addressed her suicide note to her pet bird. Crewman and performer Israel Gonzalez killed himself at a porn company warehouse in 1997.

An LA-based support group called PAW (=Protecting Adult Welfare) runs a 24-hour crisis line for people in the adult industry. A fundraiser for PAW was held at a Mission Hills CA bowling alley last November. It was a nude bowling tournament. Dozens of starlets agreed to take part. Two or three hundred adult-video fans showed up and paid to watch them bowl naked. No production companies or their executives participated or gave money. The fundraiser took in $6,000, which is slightly less than two one-millionths of porn's yearly gross.
That essay, published in 1998, quotes the industry's gross income at an estimated $2-2.5 billion. You might guess that the number has shrunken since then, what with piracy and all the free stuff on the internet, but I'm seeing a recent estimate that puts the number at $14 billion.

20 comments:

JHapp said...

Reminds me of the "God Made a Farmer" commercial

Shouting Thomas said...

When it comes to suicide, both of the intentional and unintentional forms, few businesses can match the music biz.

Musicians start dropping like flies as they approach the age of 30. I got tired of going to the funerals.

So, I'm not sure I get the point. Should a biz bear a stigma because it either attracts suicidal people or because it makes people suicidal?

Some people enjoy a life of high risk. This outlook is embodied in the old motto...

Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse!

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm surprised, Althouse, that you haven't been covering the football concussion hysteria.

Here again, I always thought that everybody knew the risks of playing football. That's part of what makes the sport attractive.

I hate the rule changes that make it just about impossible to bloody up the QB. That used to be a big part of the game.

In all the carrying on about Junior Seau, few people have noted that his mother was a laundry attendant and his father was a janitor.

Seau's children inherited a huge fortune. We used to think that the risk Seau assumed was worth the gain. What changed?

Mitchell the Bat said...

I've never seen gay porn -- not my cup of tea -- but I have seen a style of porn that approximates a CrossFit WOD.

Also, not my cup of tea, but that must be what they mean by "physically-demanding."

Shouting Thomas said...

From time to time, I am contacted by gay adult websites looking for a web programmer.

No thanks. Tolerant... yes. Willing to watch that shit for hours on end... no.

Likewise, many years ago, I turned down a job with a hetero adult website. The task was converting hundreds of hours of VHS porn to digital.

No thanks. And, I do like some hetero porn. Lucy Thai is beautiful and outrageous. (Althouse readers will now flock to Lucy's website! I'm going to have to ask for a percentage.)

Shouting Thomas said...

I don't believe, Althouse, that you've ever addressed the huge death toll of the AIDS epidemic and you seem completely unwilling to connect that to the sexual choices of gay men, probably because it undermines your gay marriage crusade.

Some risks seem worth it to you. Others... not so much. How do you choose?

edutcher said...

A lot of these people were abused as kids.

One book described them, "99% of them are some of the most messed-up people on this earth".

Clearly, it gives the lie to the phrase, "Victimless crime".

bagoh20 said...

Never heard of him, but damn, even I think he's sexy, and that's rare. If he's not needing it now, and medical technology is up to it, I'd like to take over that body. I won't drive it as hard a he did, and I'll keep it on conventional roads.

David said...

Loneliness.

Paul said...

And why did Arpad Miklos commit suicide? AIDS?

Richard Dolan said...

Suicide is painless, so the TV songtrack for the show said (not very convincingly). The culture of death isn't new, but it is gaining.

William said...

I just hope that everyone here consider themselves properly warned and do not go into a career in porn.

Geoff Matthews said...

I've heard numerous claims that organized crime is still involved in the porn production business, using it to launder money, as well as generate revenue.
Their involvement makes me skeptical of any numbers on revenue.

Basil said...

"Better tell me now, have you made your selection?
Are you ready for correction?
Cause the wages of sin are an expensive infection.
It'll make you bankrupt.
Better pay up now, don't interrupt.... "

Love for Tender
Elvis Costello.

Basil said...

"Better tell me now, have you made your selection?
Are you ready for correction?
Cause the wages of sin are an expensive infection.
It'll make you bankrupt.
Better pay up now, don't interrupt.... "

Love for Tender
Elvis Costello.

Revenant said...

a recent estimate that puts the number at $14 billion.

That seems unlikely, unless it is a worldwide estimate that includes PG-13 material like Maxim.

Baron Zemo said...

Well it is a good thing that the porn business is not regulated very much.

I mean it is not like guns.

TMink said...

God rest his soul. I hope he made peace with Christ.

Trey

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kentuckyliz said...

he broke into a data closet at a major engineering university and hacked into PORNSTOR to try and liberate millions of files...free the data!