Boogie Nights

We watched “Boogie Nights” last night. It’s about the producers, cast and crew of pornography films. This morning, there was an article in the San Jose Mercury about a local beauty contest winner (Miss Tet, of the Vietnamese community) who had been exposed as having posed nude for adult photos. Of course there was subsequent outrage, shame and embarrassment for her, her family and friends and the community. (Had Miss Tet been paid for posing nude for a sculpture that was to adorn a public park, or museum, would there have been the same reaction?)

It’s unfair. If you consider that pornography is a business, just like carpet-cleaning or baking cookies, it’s pretty straightforward: payment in exchange for goods or services rendered. If the buyer and the seller (both of age of consent) agree on a price for a particular product/service which the seller delivers and the buyer is satisfied with the product/service, why should any third party care? It’s really none of their beeswax. You clean a carpet, you get paid. You bake cookies, you get paid. You pose nude for photos, you get paid too. Each of these are basic economic transactions. If we earn the money honestly, and not by lying, stealing, scamming, or embezzling, it should be OK, right? But in a puritanical environmental where the public glimpse of the female human nipple inspires such outrage, the social stigma of adult entertainment drives the economic exploitation of women and infringes on their dignity. What Miss Tet did was not morally wrong, but unfortunately it was socially unacceptable.

A while back, there was a single mother in the Central Valley who was trying to earn enough money to afford the tuition fees for her daughter to attend a private Christian/Catholic school. She entered the adult entertainment business. When the school administrators found out, they rejected her child as a student. What a display of charity and compassion. If Carol Doda and Kenneth Lay stepped up to the pearly gates, who should be let in?

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