In case you missed the ground-breaking story, the former porn star Sasha Grey, was discovered reading to little children at a public school, Emerson Elementary School. She claimed it was for Read Across America Compton, but according to Read Across America, they do not show any record of Sasha Grey ever having any affiliation with that group, or that she was reading for their program. Regardless of any of that trivial stuff, the uproar that came along was that a porn star, or ex-porn star, dared to read literature to little children who might be so impressionable that they’d start up porn careers, or whatever it is that paranoid parents assume is going to happen because of this. Believe me, they’re a lot safer around Sasha Grey than they are any Penn State football coach who might be volunteering to help out. I’m just saying.
But what’s even more interesting is this whole fascination with redemption that Sasha Grey is attempting to go through, and miserably failing. You see, if you’ve ever been a porn star, you’re doomed to be a porn star forever. In the United States, any sex-related career is about as low as you can possibly go, and any attempt to “better” yourself will always end up with some sanctimonious asshole holding that previous career against you because it’s so easy to do in our prudish environment.
Personally, I have zero problem that Sasha Grey used to be a porn star. So, I don’t care if she reads to children, administers mass during Christmas, or continues having sex with blindfolded midgets. However, I can’t speak for the rest of our society that seems to have problems with anything involving sex, even when serious incidents of hypocrisy are screaming in our face.
The real problem for me is that Sasha Grey is attempting to capitalize on her fame as a porn star and turn it into fame as a mainstream star without suffering any of the backlash for tying her fame to a questionable past. If she wants fame in our society, a society that frowns upon porn activity, then it’s really hard to cry foul when she has done nothing to separate her desire to be famous from her desire to be famous as a porn star. You see, Sasha Grey is most likely not her real name. It’s her “porn” name. If she wants to be seen as mainstream, she needs to completely separate her porn name from the name that she uses as a future star. But she’s not willing to do that because she’s gained a certain amount of notoriety for being a porn star.
The problem is the baggage she brought along with her. And that’s really no one’s fault but her own. While I don’t have a problem with her being a former porn star, I’m not the one she has to convince. She has to convince the rest of mainstream America, which is founded by a bunch of prudes who are two steps away from being a fundamentalist church state. If she wants to make her way as a famous actress, she’s going to have to live with the fact that a lot of people are going to hold her to her past, as long as she’s going to keep using that past to propel herself into a productive future.
And that means facing the fact that the majority of our nation is pretty shitty when it comes to holding people to standards they themselves can never reach, nor would they even try. That’s too bad, but no one actually has the right to be famous and rich. To do that, you have to actually go to the people who allow you to become rich and famous. And they’ve spoken. And what they said amounts to not wanting a porn star reading to little children.
Sure, it’s wrong in so many ways, but when has the path to fame ever been based on right and wrong?