I spend a considerable portion of every Sunday reading up on all the random articles and things I hadn’t otherwise had the opportunity to get to. One such bit of compelling from today was “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape” (12/22/14 via Rolling Stone).
Sub-head with “Porn, guns, the mob and one very disgruntled electrician: how the superstar couple’s most intimate moments went global,” the article details the backstory of something that’s such old news..? Except no.
Some points to consider:
1. The Pam and Tommy Lee case represents one of the only true instances of an actual celebrity sex tape.
Cases like that Backdoor Farrah BS (professionally produced under the guise of scandal and/or contrived intimacy) or Kim Kardashian (maybe a sincere case of private sex, but a model release was signed before the film was made available to the public – she gave permission to Vivid to distribute it and money most certainly changed hands) are not. Neither are things like Chyna being in She-Hulk XXX (FYI).
Pam and Tommy Lee’s home movie was legitimately stolen and released without their permission; and, if they ever made any money off it, I truly believe it happened after the fact.
2. A re-hashing of the case gives us a look as a significant turning point in cultural history.
All things being equal, the Pam and Tommy Lee case could never happen today. The internet is different, the public in general is more media savvy, and even if we weren’t already so inundated with “celebrity sex tape” nonsense, relevant law is so much more refined. Pam and Tommy Lee, in many ways, were victims of circumstance, and their case epitomizes an acme point of significant cultural changes occurring in the ’90s. (Who knew so much was happening during that silly decade!)
3. Though the author does put forth a great effort to capture what was going on in porn at the time, she also falls into some of the same misrepresentative schticks many others do and have done.
For example: “This is not gonzo pornography…” Actually, it is, more so than most other things the mainstream calls gonzo. Gonzo means “talking camera,” like a home movie. So though this tape isn’t pornography in the sense that it’s not professionally produced (or even amateurly produced with the intent of it being seen by others), it’s of the gonzo style.
And describing porn as a $5 billion industry in the mid-’90s? Where the heck does this number even come from?! Trust me – no statistics describing anything like this even exist.
I have a couple more points of contention with porn-essence of the story and I know that Rolling Stone isn’t exactly looking good these days in terms of reporting, but I still found this entire piece very compelling. Do it!
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